Friday the Thirteenth.

I can’t say it any better than Maggie, the Honest Courtesan:

…[F]rom soon after the beginning of this blog, I’ve asked those of you who aren’t sex workers yourselves to speak up for our rights on this day.  The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until thefriends and families of gay people got involved, and it’s the same for us; since only about 1% of Western women ever formally work as whores, we’re going to need a lot of help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex at least once (which might be as high as 10% of all women).  We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally, which comes to about 20% of the adult male population.  We need all of the women who recognize that cops can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs, and that laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex.

La Traviata, Erté

I qualify as a kinky porn-consuming libertarian poly-friendly former mistress. Consensual crimes are the shame of the justice system It behooves all of us to support our sex-worker sisters and brothers, because we cannot allow the morality thugs to gain further claw-holds in our activities.

I will determine what qualifies as appropriate in my own life, and won’t tell other people what is appropriate in theirs.

I will not tell athletes, models, and construction workers that it’s okay to use their bodies to earn a living, but escorts, strippers, and adult actors that they can’t.

I will not tell women of the emerging world that they must labor in a factory for pennies instead of becoming sex workers, because it’s degrading, you know. The sex work, that is.

I commit to fighting for the ability of women to control their destinies and themselves.

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7 comments

  1. krulac

    Great post, Sasha and … uh …

    I qualify as a kinky porn-consuming libertarian poly-friendly former mistress.

    You should “explore” that a bit more in future posts! LOL

  2. Steersman

    I quite agree with your “Consensual crimes are the shame of the justice system”, although I would argue that it is the shame of society itself. Particularly when the social attitudes that undergird those laws lead to the physical and mental abuse, and worse, of prostitutes because they are conceived to be the lowest on society’s totem pole.

    Although I might question your somewhat false dichotomy surrounding factory work in undeveloped countries. Both factory work and sex work should be given the non inconsiderable credit they both deserve. The Western developed world has generally done ok on the former; still needs some work on the latter.

    • Sasha

      Steersman, I actually have no problem with factory work. I agree theoretically with many of the people who argue in favor of so-called “sweatshops”, factories for multinationals that employ local populations. But I part company with them when they start saying things like “factory jobs are awesome because the alternative is (shudder) PROSTITUTION!” No, the alternative is rummaging around in garbage dumps. Prostitution actually likely pays better than most factory work, but both are honest livings. Sorry if I didn’t make that clearer.

      • Steersman

        Sasha, thanks for the clarification. However, while I certainly won’t claim to have much knowledge of the economics of either sweat-shops or prostitution, particularly in third-world countries, it seems to me that the history of labour law in the West is that it took no small amount of effort, frequently bloody, to get decent working conditions and wages. But those benefits ultimately have to be paid for by those who buy the products they make, and I can’t see Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public voluntarily paying more for all of the flotsam and jetsam they do buy. Not at all sure how they can be forced to do so except by some combination of local activism, and the shaming of the international corporations who control that process.

        As for prostitution, I’m not sure on the analogous process that is required, particularly in the West where it is illegal, at least in many countries. Although I think it would be a very great step if it were to be made legal as an important starting point since the very fact of its illegality tends to put any corrections of odious working conditions and wages outside the control of the law in the first place. But there again, group efforts – Maggie’s Friday the 13th post being a notable and commendable example – are an important part of the solution.

        Although, as she suggested, support from clients is also an important part. Relative to which, I will readily admit to having hired no few courtesans, escorts, street-walkers, hookers and prostitutes in my time, and will cheerfully admit to generally appreciating the frequently “tender mercies” in the services rendered. While I think there is a periodic tendency to romanticize the profession – “Pretty Woman”, for example – I also think there is an unfortunate tendency to deprecate what I think are some rather non-trivial if not actually profound benefits to it as well.

  3. Pingback: Still Another Friday the Thirteenth | The Honest Courtesan

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