Archive for the ‘Perception’ Category



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The modern porn-addiction treatment industry…seem[s] to be feeding and enabling narcissism.  –  David Ley

The Public Eye ($660)

We’ve seen sex workers win elections in Latin America, but can one win in the puritanical US?

A [nurse practitioner] running for [office] in Virginia…performed sex acts with her husband for a live online audience and encouraged viewers to pay them with “tips” for specific requests…Susanna Gibson…streamed [the performance] on Chaturbate…and…more than a dozen videos of the couple…were archived on [another] site…[called] Recurbate…a Republican operative [snitched to] The Washington Post about them…in…an [attempt to harm her campaign.  Gibson called the outing]…“a sex crime”…[alleging that sharing the] videos [without her permission] constitutes a violation of the state’s revenge porn law, which [criminalizes]…“maliciously” distribut[ing] nude or sexual images of another person with “intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate”…

Out of Control (#1116)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

For decades, patients warned Columbia about the behavior of obstetrician Robert Hadden. One even called 911 and had him arrested. Columbia let him keep…practicing for another five weeks.  Eight patients say he assaulted them in that time…To date, more than 245 patients have alleged that Hadden abused them, which by itself could make him one of the most prolific sexual assailants in New York history.  But the total number…may be far higher.  On any given day during his two decades…at Columbia, Hadden saw 25 to 40 patients.  Tens of thousands came under his care.  A baby girl he delivered grew up to be a teenager he allegedly assaulted.  Hadden…was sentenced in July to 20 years in federal prison — the result of a long, arduous process that Columbia often undermined…In agreeing to pay $236.5 million to resolve lawsuits brought by 226 of Hadden’s victims, Columbia admitted no fault…But the university’s own records show that women repeatedly tried to warn Columbia doctors and staff about Hadden…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1278) 

Anyone who’s ever been involved with a narcissist will see the truth of this:

In 2012, when I first began publishing challenges to the concepts of sex addiction and pornography addiction, one concern I raised was whether these diagnoses enabled persons with personality disorders to externalize responsibility for their often selfish behaviors…Now, new research justifies my early concerns, finding that personality features associated with narcissism contribute to viewing oneself as a porn addict.  Past research has found that persons high in narcissism report higher levels of pornography use in general, and…recent research has found that persons higher in narcissism…are more likely to identify themselves as victims…Externalizing responsibility and blaming others are common features of narcissism, as persons high in narcissism rarely see themselves as at fault for problems or misbehaviors…

See No Evil (#1316)

Australian cops, bravely protecting imaginary children from imaginary abuse:

A[n Australian] man has been charged over allegedly creating and operating an online child exploitation game used by…paid subscribers…The…game…[featured lolicon] images, which [are criminalized] in Australia…[cops swaggered around pretending they had saved the world from some] insidious [evil while vomiting out moral panic shibboleths such as] “in our own backyard” [and]…”hold them to account”…

The Cop Myth (#1343)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do, even if she’s a cop herself:  “[An Alabama cop named] Kenneth Booth shot and killed…[his cop girlfriend] Lexi White, then took his own life during an argument…

A Moral Cancer (#1356)

Because obviously prohibition doesn’t ruin enough lives yet:

Disposable vapes will be banned [in the UK under the pretext that children [are] becoming addicted to the devices…health ministers…[have] decided [to borrow the American propaganda that no adults like]…bright colours and [sweet] flavours…

Torture Chamber (#1358)

It does not help young victims of governmental brutality to infantilize them as “children”:

A federal judge ordered Louisiana officials…to begin moving kids out of the former death row unit at Angola, one of the nation’s most notorious prisons…U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick accused state officials of breaking “virtually every promise” they had made when announcing the plan to move [legal minors] to the prison…[screws] had locked [minors] up in cells for days at a time as a form of punishment, punished detained youth with the use of handcuffs, mace, and denial of family visits, and failed to provide appropriate educational and social services and mental health treatment…The ruling gives the state one week to move youth out of Angola…


I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Longtime reader Mark Draughn, AKA Windypundit, was recently talking about playing around with ChatGPT, and after I joked that it might be amusing to see it try to write an essay “in the style of Maggie McNeill”, he couldn’t help himself.  This is what it produced; it’s more like a collection of talking points that a coherent essay, and it lacks my wit, style, and verve.  But for something produced by a soulless collection of algorithms, it’s not half bad.

The Myth of “Saving” Sex Workers

One of the most pervasive myths society loves to cling to is the idea that all sex workers are helpless victims in need of “saving.” This narrative is not only overly simplistic but also incredibly harmful to those in the industry.

Let’s be clear: no profession, including sex work, is devoid of exploitation or abuse. However, it’s egregiously misleading to paint an entire community with such a broad brush. By perpetuating the belief that all sex workers are victims, society erases the autonomy, agency, and diverse experiences of countless individuals.

When was the last time you heard someone say they want to “save” a coal miner from their job? Yet, isn’t it interesting that many who loudly proclaim their desire to “rescue” sex workers often have little to no direct experience or interaction with them? Their intentions might be well-meaning, but the implications are patronizing and often lead to policies that further marginalize an already stigmatized group.

Moreover, the “rescue industry” — those organizations and individuals claiming to help sex workers exit the industry — often has a one-size-fits-all approach. In doing so, they disregard the numerous reasons someone might choose this line of work: financial independence, flexibility, or even, believe it or not, passion for the job. Not all sex workers want or need to be “saved.”

It’s high time for a paradigm shift. Instead of viewing sex work through a lens of pity or disdain, we should approach it like any other profession — with respect, understanding, and a genuine desire to listen to those within the community.

Decriminalization is a step in the right direction. By removing punitive laws that push sex work further into the shadows, we can pave the way for better working conditions, increased safety, and access to essential services without the fear of persecution.

It’s simple: if you truly want to help, listen to sex workers. Respect their choices, experiences, and voices. Let them tell you what they need, rather than assuming you already know.

Please note that while this post is inspired by Maggie McNeill’s advocacy and style, it is a fictional piece and does not represent her direct views or writings.

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The…notion that members of the ruling class have the right to inflict violence upon everyone else “for their own good” is so useful a tool of control they’ll never let it go until it’s ripped from their cold, dead, severed hands.  –  “New and Improved

I think it’s absurd and dangerous to conflate sex with love; just because I have sex with someone doesn’t mean I love him in any way, and just because I love someone doesn’t mean I want to have sex with her.  –  “Once a Client

Many people who recognize the inherent instability of monogamy go instead for polyamory, an attempt to fix the problems inherent in ongoing committed relationships by multiplying them.  –  “Uncoupled

I feel no masochistic need to watch the noblest of animals abase itself by groveling to sociopathic control freaks who think every individual is their personal or collective property.  –  “Argument Department

I wonder how many abductions it takes to make a furniture store a “hot spot”, and how many women have been abducted from the Covina Ikea in comparison with, say, the Cost Plus in San Dimas or the Ethan Allen in Pasadena?
–  “The Widening Gyre (#869)

The only people who support women being paternalistically treated like imbecilic disease vectors who need others to make decisions about their bodies for them, are those who stand to gain power…or money from such a system.
–  “Empty Set

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It’s the fear that’s the point.  –  Neesha Davé

If Men Were Angels

“Pastor and sex offender” is a large and ever-expanding group:

A [typical and represntative] Green Bay [Wisconsin] pastor will spend at least 15 years in prison after…[buying porn from and sending dick pics to] a minor [of unspecified gender] in Venezuela.  Cory J. Herthel…[was turned in by an informant at his own] church…Herthel said he met the [minor] begging on the streets during a mission trip to Ecuador.  After…the [minor and their] mother returned to their native Venezuela, Herthel kept in touch…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#1021)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

The [San Diego] county Board of Supervisors [has] approved a policy to increase [“]human trafficking[” propaganda indoctrin]ation in public schools…[politicians led by fanatical prohibitionist] District Attorney Summer Stephan…[want all students from] kindergarten through 12 [brainwashed to fear sex and view women as moral imbeciles.  The politicians vomited out ancient, rancid nonsense about how “]San Diego is one of the nation’s 13 hot spots for human trafficking[“]…and [“]there are 8,000 victims per year in the county, with average age being 16[“]…

Hey, San Diego! 2013 just called and it wants its “sex trafficking” fantasies back.

The Next Target (#1191)

It’s about goddamned time:

The American Civil Liberties Union [has] filed a formal complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Mastercard for discriminatory practices against sex workers and adult content websites.  The ACLU filed the complaint along with sex worker collective Hacking//Hustling and a coalition of sex worker…and LGBTQ+ organizations…express[ing] its opposition to Mastercard’s 2021 policies for adult content websites using its credit card or payment options, and urged the FTC “to…put an end to these discriminatory and dangerous practices”…[includ]ing requirements such as pre-approval of all content before publication, forbidding certain search terms, and keeping records of age and identity verification for all performers…

Feudalism Redux (#1251)

Two forced-birth states are moving to legally reduce women to serfdom:

Alabama’s attorney general is insisting that he has the right to prosecute people who help pregnant women obtain out-of-state abortions…[absurdly claiming] such actions amount to criminal conspiracy.  [Steve] Marshall’s filing comes as part of a case involving the Yellowhammer Fund…an “abortion advocacy and reproductive justice organization”…[which] sued Marshall in July over [previous iterations of the same claim]…Marshall “specifically referenced the accessory liability and conspiracy provisions of Alabama law as the basis for prosecuting abortion funds”…

Texas prefers a more piecemeal version of its fashionable mob-rule approach:

More than a year after Roe v. Wade was overturned, many [authoritarian]s have grown frustrated by the number of people able to circumvent [totalitarian] laws — with some [wannabe tyrants] grasping for even [more draconian and unconstitutional] measures they hope will fully eradicate abortion nationwide.  That frustration is driving a new strategy in…cities and counties across Texas.  Designed by the architects of the state’s “heartbeat” ban that took effect months before Roe fell, [these] ordinances…[criminalize] transport[ing] anyone to get an abortion on roads within the city or county limits.  The laws [encourage and enable] any private citizen to sue a person or organization they [decide to accuse] of violating the ordinance.  [Prohibitionist fanatics] behind the measure are targeting regions along interstates and in areas with airports, with the [impossible and deranged] goal of blocking off the main arteries out of Texas and keeping pregnant women [trapp]ed within the confines of their…state.  These provisions have already passed in two counties and two cities, creating legal risk for those traveling on major highways including Interstate 20 and Route 84, which head toward New Mexico, where abortion remains legal and new clinics have opened to accommodate Texas women.  Several more jurisdictions are expected to vote on the measure in the coming weeks…

The Punitive Mindset (#1288) 

I’ve linked a number of articles about D&D in prison under this tag, but I’ve never before read one that actually brought tears to my eyes.  Journalist Keri Blakinger worked on this story about men playing the game on Texas’ death row for The Marshall Project for several years, so it seems to me only fair that anyone who cares about humanity should at least spend a few minutes reading it in its entirety.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1344)

Politicians don’t even try to make their new laws Constitutional any more:

Free Speech Coalition and…a coalition of major adult platforms and creators…have been granted a preliminary injunction against the Texas antiporn law…The Court agreed…[that] the law violates First Amendment rights of creators and consumers…[and] has a chilling effect on legally-protected speech…[that] parental filters are a less restrictive and more effective method of protecting minors…[and that] the state does not have the right to compel speech in the form of…pseudoscientific “health” warnings…

Meanwhile, in Arkansas:

…the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas has halted enforcement of an Arkansas age verification law that…bans minors from using social media platforms…unless they prove they have parental consent…all social media users—including adults…would be forced to turn over official IDs in order to speak or access information online…the state [absurdly] suggested that all of social media should be treated like “a bar” for purposes of excluding minors…[Judge Timothy] Brooks [wrote]…”minors have no constitutional right to consume alcohol…By contrast, the primary purpose of a social media platform is to engage in speech, and…social media platforms contain vast amounts of constitutionally protected speech for both adults and minors…it is likely that many adults who otherwise would be interested in [using]…social media platforms will be deterred—and their speech chilled—as a result of the age verification requirements, which…will likely require them to upload official government documents and submit to biometric scans”…

Torture Chamber (#1346)

Americans’ sick lust for torture is turning ordinary prison sentences into death sentences:

As brutal heat waves continue to engulf large sections of the country, hundreds of thousands of prisoners are being forced to endure deadly temperatures inside heat-retaining steel or concrete facilities that offer little, if any, access to air conditioning or circulation…Despite its notoriously hot summers, Texas is one of at least 44 states that does not offer universal air conditioning in its prisons…70 percent of units in its prisons are entirely or partially uncooled…this year…dozens of incarcerated people have died due to cardiac-related or unknown causes in sweltering Texas prisons…[but] state officials [simply lie]…Texas…has not officially classified a prison death as heat-related since 2012, even as research has shown that intense heat is associated with an increased risk of mortality behind bars, including due to heart disease and suicide…[instead,] Texas…prison commissaries…raised the price of bottled water by 50 percent as temperatures spiked in June…


I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Every politician, every prohibitionist, every social engineer and every naked ape with a title, uniform or badge is bound and determined to bring as many other people under his control as possible, and because this drive springs from his warped psyche you can be sure he will never relent as long as he remains above ground.  –  “Eternal Vigilance

If one is going to publish propaganda, one can’t be distracted by facts.  –  “Time Warp

When Coca-Cola, Disney, IBM, Google, Monsanto, Chase, Wal-mart or Kraft starts sending out gangs of thugs to rape, rob & murder people, then and only then will I be more concerned about them than I am about government.   –  “The Greater of Two Evils

Bluenoses and control freaks want to seal all of society, even older adults who have no dependent spawn, into a worldwide nursery where everything conforms to their idea of what is “safe” for young children.  –  “Children’s World

“The statement ‘2000 QW7 is the size of Burj Khalifa’ is not-dissimilar in accuracy to the statement ‘A 2019 Honda Accord is the size of the bag of sugar in my cupboard’.”  –  “Assume a Sphere

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There’s seemingly no policy turd that lawmakers are unwilling to polish in the name of “the children”.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Saint Death 

Apparently, popular and social media have played a large part in the global expansion of her worship:

…one Latin American New Religious Movement has reached Kyiv that perhaps few would expect: The cult of Santa Muerte – Holy Death…Dr. Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University, probably the foremost expert on Santa Muerte, says that the Mexican folk saint depicted as a female skeleton, from whom her devotees seek protection and favors, is the fastest-growing new religious movement in the world.  The skeleton saint went off the historical grid until the 1940s when American anthropologists “re-discovered her,” in Mexico. [The religion] became known to the larger American audience due to the television series Breaking Bad, as an object of devotion for Mexican drug cartels…the professor…[says] Santa Muerte “made her way to Europe via social media, especially Facebook and Instagram”…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastor and sex offender” is a large and ever-expanding group:

…Allan Kyle Jones…pastor at Lifeway Community Church in Loxley, [Alabama,] was [arrested and charged with possession of child pornography]…

Choke Point (#993) 

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there:

The House Judiciary Committee is investigating banks for sharing Americans’ financial information with the FBI without regard for privacy concerns…there’s no doubt about the threat to civil liberties posed by the government’s leverage over the financial industry; that’s long established.  At question in this investigation is whether…that cozy relationship is being wielded in political warfare between the country’s political factions…financial institutions have long operated as surveillance arms of the state, tracking transactions and movements, making assumptions about what they might mean, then turning that information over to government officials under regulatory pressure…based on idiosyncratic interpretations of vague laws and regulations…such power creates incentives to over-interpret activity as “suspicious” and to snitch on customers to stay on the good side of federal agencies…


It’s rare that a court rules that some violent hooliganism is so stupid even a cop should’ve known better:

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Waylon Bailey…of Rapides Parish, Louisiana, made a joke on Facebook that alluded to the 2013 Brad Pitt zombie movie World War Z.  “RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFFS OFFICE HAVE ISSUED THE ORDER,” he wrote, that “IF DEPUTIES COME INTO CONTACT WITH ‘THE INFECTED,'” they should “SHOOT ON SIGHT.”  He added: “Lord have mercy on us all. #Covid9teen #weneedyoubradpitt.”  That post went up on March 20, 2020…that same day, about a dozen deputies wearing bulletproof vests descended upon Bailey’s home with their guns drawn…[screaming obscenities] and arrested him for violating a state law against “terrorizing,” a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison…the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office [wisely] declined to prosecute Bailey.  But when [he] sued…[a] judge…dismissed his claims with prejudice, concluding that his joke was not covered by the First Amendment, that the arrest was based on probable cause, and that [the pigs were] protected by qualified immunity…the 5th Circuit [has now] ruled that…was wrong on all three counts…

The Mob Rules (#1303)

Stupid people want you to believe that anti-sex authoritarians “do not agree on much”, because red and blue pap:

[Maine politician] Lois Reckitt…intends to submit a proposal for consideration in the 2024 legislative session modeled after a porn age-verification law in Louisiana …[joining six other] states — Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, Virginia and Utah — [in the monkey see, monkey do parade]…with unanimous or near-unanimous support from…[censorious imbeciles with the social sense of lemmings.  Unsurprisingly, the puritanical] Reckitt…[was also behind the scheme which recently imposed the dangerous, misogynistic Swedish model on] Maine

You Were Warned (#1359)

Some politicians apparently believe that KOSA doesn’t destroy the internet thoroughly enough:

…the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act…borrows bad proposals from another federal bill and combines them with legislative idiocy enacted at the state level.  The resulting concoction could destroy internet privacy, subjecting all our online activity to government scrutiny in the name of shielding wee ones from harm…the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act generates the sort of cross-aisle consensus that generally only accompanies terrible ideas.  The bill “contains elements of the dangerous Kids Online Safety Act“…and…doubles down on bureaucratic control and surveillance of internet activity…its authors find substituting restrictive laws for parental responsibility…a convenient excuse for imposing controls that people would be unlikely to tolerate under any other circumstance…the digital ID pilot program is the real warhead in this particular legislative weapon, since…[politicians hate] online anonymity.  The bill provides a clear path towards linking internet activity to identities so that, for example, politicians could identify their critics…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1366)

The way local media parrots copaganda in the face of clear evidence of its foolishness is utterly pathetic:

…Milwaukee co[p]…Adriean Williams had an unexpected [panic attack after touching a scary]…blue sweater…”It’s terrifying” [he whimpered, remembering the scary, scary fuzziness.  Then another cop wasted]…Narcan, a nasal spray that counteracts the effects of opiates [and can act as a placebo for hysterical cops who imagine they’ve touched magic insta-fentanyl.  Actual doctors have explained time and again that]…incidental fentanyl exposure [has no such] immediate and profound reactions, but [cops are superstitious children who imagine they know better.  This mass hysteria affected another of]…Williams[‘ cronies]…the very next day…[when he] believe[d] cocaine….[was] fentanyl [and had a panic attack]…

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Regular readers need no introduction to Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist, whose groundbreaking book Sex At the Margins introduced the term “rescue industry” and set the bar for conversations about sex work and migration for two decades.  When she told me of her new project, I invited her to write about it; I think you’ll find the result as interesting as I do!

What do you do when you get pretty old and have no pension but do have your health?  I had to confront this during a couple of years of lockdowns, living in someone else’s house because I was trapped by airports closing.  But for some years before that I had wanted something new to happen.  I wrote a crime-novel, The Three-Headed Dog, and would have been glad to write its sequels, but it seemed impossible to get the book seen by more than a small number of readers, and anyway I didn’t want to sit in front of screens all the time.  So after enormous amounts of walking and exploring during lockdowns, I thought about becoming an on-the-street guide.  Not to take tourists to the bucket-list sights but to lead the kind of walking tours I like, with guides who take you to places far from the obvious, such as weird industrial areas, backwaters, and neighbourhoods no one ever tells you to visit.  I’ve been a house- and cat-sitter for many years so was always doing this on my own, but here were guides who could tell me histories of these places.  So I thought I might run walks where I could give my own kind of history, ignoring mainstream events and personages – monarchs, prime ministers, wars, celebrations of capitalism – and instead talk about ordinary working stiffs, especially women, who usually get left out.  It would just be me having my own point of view as always, only on the street, talking with anyone who wants to sign up – no institutions or classrooms involved, even virtual ones.

Is it possible to include sex work in guided tours without being a jackass?  Ever since I began talking in public about the sex industry, I’ve dealt with the problem of language; always someone is offended, if not by the topic itself then by the words used.  I wondered if I would ever discover the perfect vocabulary that would enlighten without someone in the audience looking hacked-off.  Then I realised it was a hopeless goal.  My PhD thesis-proposal was called The Production of “Prostitution”, a term impossibly fraught and divisive and yet it’s the one everyone knows.  “The Sex Industry”, “Commercial Sex”, “Sex Work”: all require explanation and endless quibbling about which phenomena are to be included.  Spin-offs like “the Sex Trade” and “Survival Sex” and absurd inventions like “the Sex Work Industry” add to the chaos.  On top of that, many sex workers use and affirm the word “Prostitute”.

For my own label, I’m keeping the “Naked Anthropologist” handle because it continues to describe my point of view.  “London Walks with Gender, Sex and Class” tells what my commentary focuses on, and I’m still the same person thinking about sex work and other ways women choose to get by, make ends meet or make more money than they would in the usual jobs available to them.  Remember, I got started in the Caribbean 25 years ago listening to poor women planning to migrate to work in Spain, where they had two job-options: live-in maid or sex worker.  Conversations went like this:

Woman 1:  I’m going to be a prostitute, I’d rather die than be someone’s maid.
Woman 2:  I’m going to be a maid, I’d rather die than be a prostitute.

My walks will always include people who sell sex.  For my walk in September’s Totally Thames Festival, “Scratching Out a Living”, I created six characters whose jobs were common amongst the poor in 14th-century London.  One is a laundress who can’t make ends meet unless she also sells sex part-time.  Another prefers picking pockets to selling sex.  The language of the time called these two women “common”; being without a husband was grounds enough to assume the worst.  A third woman is a migrant who manages a regulated brothel with her husband and is on the house’s roster of prostitutes: married but fully professional.  Historical language shows us how women who deviated from the norm were stigmatised. In another walk, “The Backside of Knightsbridge Barracks”, a woman from the country comes to London to work as a maid; she meets a dashing horseguard in the park and becomes his dolly-mop: This term for an unmarried woman having sex with a soldier indicated to listeners of the time that she was “an amateur prostitute”.  She gets pregnant, he helps her out from his paltry pay, and after a couple of years they get permission to marry.  Their daughter grows up, marries and leaves home, but that doesn’t work out and her life ends when Jack the Ripper finds her sleeping in an East End courtyard.  There’s no evidence she ever sold sex, but police and newsmen of the time said she did.  In this same walk Harriette Wilson is an author and demi-rep: this term, composed of “demi” meaning shady or doubtful and “rep” for reputation, indicated Wilson was a certain type of prostitute, who tries to blackmail the Duke of Wellington.  Catherine Walters, courtesan on horseback in Rotten Row, sometimes got the label horsebreaker (another term for prostitute); she lives a long life discreetly listening to old men’s stories and persuading them to contribute to her maintenance.  I’m creating other walks all the time, full of ideas about the women omitted from histories.  And I suppose I’ll never offer a walk that doesn’t have paid sex in it because it wouldn’t be real life.  Sometimes the women are called mistresses, and sometimes they may have managed to preserve their technical virtue by sticking to hand-jobs, but the language always marks them out.

Luttrell Psalter, Add. 42130, British Library

If you come to London and are interested in Plain Talk on the subject of sex work, come on a walk with me.  Selling sex isn’t going to be a special emphasis, but it’s always going to be there, the way food, drink and politics always are.  To know the dates of scheduled walks, follow my blog and see the Walks Calendar tab on the top menu of my website.  Or follow me on Eventbrite: The Naked Anthropologist.  You can also contact me for a private tour, either on the platform ToursByLocals or via the contact-form on my website.  For private tours I’ll do the research required to come up with history of a particular area or person that I can recount on a series of pauses in a walking tour of a few hours.  I like research, and I’m good at it; I do it in the British Library, where during lockdown-years I focused on the late Middle Ages because I was annoyed at the superficiality of commentary on the medieval regulated brothels of Southwark.  When the dearth of references to the existence of working women was a yawning crevasse I took to perusing illuminated manuscripts in a special room, because for a short period illustrators in East Anglia decorated the margins of religious texts with figures: mostly antic, often grotesque, occasionally realistic.  Just above is an example: a detail from the early 14th-century Luttrell Psalter described as “A Lady at her Toilet with her maid”.  Some interpreters of these marginalia go further, however, to say the lady is obviously a prostitute.  You know what they mean by prostitute?  A woman looking at herself in a mirror.  Go figure.

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You say she “let you look for a few seconds into her soul”; I’m not sure what sort of mystical or pharmaceutical process was involved there, but I can assure you that unless you are The Shadow or Dr. Strange or something, I sincerely doubt it was her soul you saw.  –  “Body and Soul

“Hi, you need to move because these two people like to shove their body parts into each other’s orifices.”  –  “The Cult of Coupling

As long as…websites allow themselves to be governed by mindless machines, this will never stop, but cheer up:  think of how exciting driving will be once this same kind of algorithm is actively operating a sizeable fraction of automobiles.  –  “Idiocracy

People…are…willing to believe in grandiose fantasies utterly divorced from all known facts about statistics, economics, psychology, sexuality, anthropology and plain common sense rather than accept that some women can have pragmatic sex, that most men are willing to pay them for it, and that many people are happy to strive for truly Pinocchian levels of dishonesty in order to make a profitseize powerget rid of people they’re bigoted against or even seek petty vengeance.  –  “Ulro

There are police budgets to be justified, prisons to be filled, minorities to be suppressed, populations to be terrorized, surveillance powers to be expanded and rights to be eroded, and if the Drug War no longer serves to allow those things the rulers will have to replace it with something else.  –  “New Excuse

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The Swedish model is not “partial decriminalization”, and I wish people (especially reporters; we expect lies from politicians) would stop pretending otherwise.  Sex workers are still criminalized under it.  Imagine robbery itself were not illegal, but everything about it (including, say, “entering a business with intent to rob” and “possessing stolen money”, etc) still was.  You would call anyone crowing that “robbery was partially decriminalized” an idiot, and you would be right.  So please, don’t be an idiot.  The Swedish model is not decriminalization of any kind, “partial” or otherwise.

Things that are still illegal under various Swedish model regimes (they’re not all the same):

  • seeing clients at a specific place, such as a home (often enforced by compelled eviction)
  • talking to or assisting other sex workers
  • having any support (maid, driver, etc)
  • advertising

The Swedish model also criminalizes all normal human connection a sex worker might have, including friends, romantic partners, landlords, sometimes even adult offspring.  Sex workers can be evicted, expelled from university, deported, committed to institutions, or have their children ripped from them.  Their persons can be “searched for evidence” (guess where), and they can be caged to force them to testify vs their clients.  Still think it’s “partial decriminalization”?  No?  Then don’t be a damned stooge parroting prohibitionist propaganda.

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