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This was originally posted on my personal blog.
…I have more power than a Playboy model in the real world, since my opinions are taken seriously. All of us would never have this if we posed for Playboy, because as much as the men who make the rules coo and flatter Playboy models, they actually think you’re dumb bimbos and they don’t give a shit what you have to say. – Amanda Marcotte on Playboy & the sex industry.
I normally wouldn’t want to stop anyone from expressing how great their self-esteem is (God knows, we women critique ourselves way too much already), but, and I hate to break this to you but it really needs to be said, many men and women do in fact take people like Renegade Evolution and Nina Hartley pretty seriously. Hell, when Linda Lovelace spoke about being forced into the industry by her abusive husband and being used by the likes of Andrea Dworkin, her statements on the subject of sex-work carried just a tad more weight than yours.
Of course, realizing that and working toward more recognition for women who have actually done sex-work would mean letting go of some of that privilege and authority that “good girls” enjoy, or think they enjoy, right?
I know that patting yourself on the back for not being a dumb dirty whore is practically a rite of passage in certain upper-to-middle class feminist circles, but a little perspective never hurt anyone. And anyway, it’s not as if there aren’t millions of men all over this world who think you’re a dumb dirty whore simply for being a woman. Or, for that matter, a feminist woman. Particularly a feminist woman who writes blog posts in which she actually cops to liking sex. So how come their opinions don’t matter, but the standard misogynist view of a Playboy Playmate must be legitimized for the sake of arguing against the sex industry? Because you’re a special and unique snowflake who never let her knickers down for money, and hence deserve to keep your dignity intact?
The comment section is, as always, a treasure trove, some good observations notwithstanding. I did like this exchange between McDuff and calm tongue, on the subject of what should be done about the sex industry in general:
Take it away, calm tongue:
I hate the idea of having to make people’s lives harder, but sometimes things have to get harder before they get better.
Oh. Wow. Even for a bastion of relative economic privilege that liberal blogs inevitably present, this is a hall of fame moment.
And here’s McDuff:
Ah, spoken like a true middle class liberal.
You do know, don’t you, that it’s not the middle class hookers or the wealthy porn stars who suffer most? It’s the already vulnerable people in the sex industry, the ones who you’re so concerned about, allegedly, who get hurt by bad laws written by people who are trying to legislate the industry out of existence because of their moralising, authoritarian, patronising need to try and save the poor, victimised fallen women.
But, OK, fine, you’re willing to make the noble sacrifice of making their lives worse before they get better. You blessed, brave soul. I’m glad you’re willing to accept the sacrifice of being called a lousy fucker by women whose lives you make harder while doing nothing whatsoever for them, under the guise of “making the world a better place”. Except, y’know, not for them, obviously. You made their world worse, but their working conditions and safety were a sacrifice you were willing to make. You bravely contributed to the problem in the hopes that some day, the millennia-old strategy of criminalising sex work and treating sex workers are victims or sluts would finally work. Go you, you inventive, noble soul! Keep that up, and some day all sex workers will be miserable, and then they’ll stop doing it, and feminism will win! Or something, I guess.
Thank you, McDuff. I’d kiss you silly, but I wouldn’t want any of my fellow feminists to think I’m a dumb dirty whore.