Harlots Parlour

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Ever since I became involved with the sex worker rights movement over ten years ago I have argued that there is a huge gulf between the “sex worker” and the sex worker rights activists.

I am sure that a certain distance between any activist and those they activate for is probably common and “perhaps” in some instances even a good thing “sometimes.”

I learned that in activism you learn very quickly to be more careful in the language you use in interactions with, media, politicians, activists from the opposing side.

The result of course is that activism becomes, like much of modern politics, a middle class, elitist and privileged and rarefied and politically correct world where similar types interact as enemies, very politely of course, before sharing a tofu burger and a soya decaffeinated, fair trade latte’.

This is all very well, but with this snobbishness often comes a cruelty, a tendency to abruptly and cruelly shout down anyone who dares have an opinion that is expressed in the language of the everyday, the real language used by people and in this case sex workers.

Any opinion that questions the assumed superiority of those who fixate on being politically correct, who claim to defend minorities, who in this case, claim to be an authentic voice of sex work, as if any such thing could ever exist, is labelled silenced. It is bullying and within activists ranks bullying thrives I am ashamed to say.

In this case a male escort, the type of person who we desperately want to join or at least support sex worker activism, was vilified on a public networking site by a group of so called sex worker activists.

His crime was that he retaliated against a radical feminist who had insulted him. He used the language of the everyday and referenced his abuser as being a lesbian. I have no idea if she was or was not and it is irrelevant to the point being discussed.

Instead of receiving support from “all sex workers” as a sex worker suffering a whorephobic attack and telling his abuser in explicit terms that her behaviour was unacceptable, he instead receive a tirade of hateful tweets against him from a small group of so called sex worker activists.

They called him a misogynist and “like all male sex workers” a woman hater. The sex worker activist leading the assault is (or claims to be ) a street sex worker and possibly a drug user (the drug use I mention to clarify comments in his blog post below).

The reason I have chosen to re-blog his response to his abuser/s is that the treatment he received has relevance to the constant discussion about why so few sex workers in the west involve themselves with the sex worker rights movement.

“Steve escort” represents so many real sex workers that I meet out side of activism, male and female.

Male sex worker voices should be equal to women. They suffer abuse and stigma and the effects of criminalisation the same as women. For so called activists to deny their voices is to deny a large portion of the sex worker community.

The particular activist who abused Steve Escort, like many in activism, presumes that her street work credentials and possible drug use gives her voice more authority. Such activists dismisses others as prejudiced or privileged and often express hatred for all men including fellow sex workers, clients, managers. All men are pimps and misogynist according to this cruel and twisted activist logic which has far too much authority within the movement.

What we need in activism today is a sense of community and we must learn to extend a welcome hand of friendship to all supporters regardless of gender or orientation or class or ethnicity or faith.

If you cannot learn to accept an inclusive and welcoming community, to have a sense of humour and a readiness to engage with the real people within sex work, then perhaps sex work activism is the wrong place for you.

As long as snobbishness exists within activism and intolerance then we will never be a populist movement.

I have however pointed out many times that many of the organisations that presently exist to represent sex work are not inclusive and not welcoming and do not want to be populist movements.

So we are at an impasse are we not.

I have included Steve Escorts response, which I think is a good response to those who attacked him and who really do sex worker rights no favours at all.

Enjoy and I am sure that he would welcome comments.



My oh my, this really is the word of the moment. Dare to say anything as man to a feminist, lesbian or even co-sex worker and you’re labelled misogynistic.

I am a very intelligent guy and I had heard the word maybe a couple of times in my entire life until recently when it seems to be the “in word” to describe any guy who dares to question a woman’s integrity. I’ve been called misogynistic by fellow sex workers, by lesbian feminists and sex work campaigners all because I dared to have another point of view which doesn’t fit with their lefty labour voting, trade union type beliefs. Not all sex workers are female yet there are some female sex workers who think they’re the only ones on the party invite.

As someone who has always been always been pro-rights, sometimes the people labelling others as misogynistic are really just that themselves, they use the word to make themselves look like the ones being persecuted and carry on their vendetta towards anyone who doesn’t agree with them by being thoroughly nasty, spiteful and vindictive, doing themselves no favours in the process. Instead of having a healthy debate, their posts spill out into vile hatred of anyone who isn’t a street junkie striving to put bread on the table. Maybe if they stopped shooting IV drugs into their veins and went on a drug rehabilitation program they may be able to re-build their lives and see other peoples points of view. Until then I still have a block button for the times they get nasty.



About Douglas Fox

29 comments on “Misogynistic

  1. aspasialibertine
    26 May, 2013

    So glad that I’m not the only person who has been seeing a lot of this lately. I have to say it is seriously souring me on many of the people within the movement.

  2. jemima101
    26 May, 2013

    I kind of wish Steve had been allowed to post this without the context, becasue i think it detracts hugely from what he is trying to say.
    The calling into question whether another person is a sex worker, the irrelevant mention of someone being a substance user, but most of all this,
    “Some twenty to twenty five per cent of sex workers are men. Their voices should be equal to women. They suffer abuse and stigma and the effects of criminalisation the same as women. For so called activists to deny their voices is to deny a large portion of the sex worker community.”

    1/4 should mean an equal voice? More importantly the stigma and risks faced are not the same, and the fact we live in a patriarchy means men voices are louder, more listened too, given more weight already. Yes, mens voiced need to be included, but not at the expense of women.

    As for Steves point, I agree largely, twitter can it seems turn into a very nasty brawl in the wink of an eye, and there are many feminists who do seem to assume all men are the enemy…however their are those like me who don’t. Some people want to debate and others shout. The pile on has been written about many times, it is never good, and it never changes anyones views.

    • Douglas Fox
      26 May, 2013

      25 men is a lot. Men on sex work suffer stigma and discrimination often as abusive and excluding as that women suffer. We often share the same clients.
      If you are saying men can only speak for 25 % then can street workers only have a 20% input ? Top end escorts say ten percent., agency workers say 30% and brothel workers 25%… who has the most say or is it just a an accident of birth that makes your voice most important ? Hardly makes sex work inclusive.

    • MsLilithe
      27 May, 2013

      I think it is unfair to say the sws who called steve on his problematic misogynistic, fat shaming, gay bashing (from a gay man!!) words assume all men are the enemy. In fact, the one sw in question in this blog post, the one who he responded to with these problematic statements, responded with direct, firm but polite words. She did not devolve into name calling. Problematic shit, is problematic shit and must be called out – and it was not just one instance, but I can see 4 or 5 instances where this misogynistic language was used – language that could also describe the sws he was interacting with. Even his own sw friends were calling him on it – including you as I recall.

      I think he called more “bullying” in himself by crying wolf of being on a “hit list” for his “joke” (ah male privilege strikes again!), retaliating with more hate. FFS, dude (steve), just quit mansplaining and apologize for the lack of awareness. Then add Douglas’ remarks about “The PC brigade”? The commentary about drug use? Ugly shit.

      Steve and Douglas, look to your own selves for your problematic language and misogynistic, privilege abuse for why this shitstorm has come down on your heads.

      I want to hear men’s voices in sex work – I don;t even need to talk percentages – but I will NOT listen to language that is at the expense of women – ANY women. And that is what y’all are asking for in this blog post. You don’t get it from me.

  3. fallenfemale
    26 May, 2013

    It’s a constant battle isn’t it…the fight against the antis? And in that battle we are all involved – male, female, trans, street workers, escorts, sugar babies…the list goes on and on. We are all on the same side. So I too am always saddened and disappointed when divisions appear and we fight with each other. I’ve had snippy discussions on Twitter with women who probably class themselves as “elite” and look down on all the rest of us…and I have tried to point out that no matter how well-educated you are, no matter what your perfect stats, essentially the service you are selling is exactly the same as everyone…and I mean EVERYONE else. But sometimes the back-biting is too much to bear and we hit out. We’re allowed to…we are a community and that’s what communities do. And for every incidence of that there are so many more where we gather around our own in a virtual way to provide so much support and love. That’s what I hold on to …

  4. Infighting is never good, and I’ve to disagree with Jemima on this. There is an incredible targeting and ostracism of any male opinion, much of which is expressed from individuals entirely innocent of any intended wrongdoing or “misogyny”.

    There is no overarching “patriarchy”, any more than there is any feminist “sisterhood”, and the vast majority of feminists seem to be blind to this. There is everyday privilege among both genders, but the vast majority of either gender do not benefit substantially from any of it.

    What is see is infighting and exclusion and it clearly does put people off. Escalating infighting in a group can set it back years and kills initiative, and is lethal at times when legislative consultations are ongoing as happened in Ireland with a division, much like FallenFemale experienced, between escorts and street workers leading to both camps being divided.

    As I’ve said before, I recognise as a man there is particular inherent privileges, I do not see things through a lens of gender, those who believe in equality don’t need separate labels. There is great work being done by sex worker activists in the UK and I would hate to see it undermined by personal disputes or set back by those afraid to come forward because of fear of exclusion.

    If you only stick to exclusive identity politics then you will not get very far.

    • JB
      26 May, 2013

      ‘I do not see things through a lens of gender, those who believe in equality don’t need separate labels.’


      • Thanks.

        I should clarify, I didn’t mean that patriarchy doesn’t exist but it’s not one cohesive phenomena in my view. Yes, women have been and continue to be treated as second class citizens but alienating rather than educating male allies isn’t ideal.

        I think we’re all a little stressed out and emotive over these issues at the moment, though it likely doesn’t come through well in writing.

    • stillicides
      26 May, 2013

      ‘I do not see things through a lens of gender’

      Are you colour-blind with regards race, too?

      • MsLilithe
        27 May, 2013

        @stillicides – Thank you – my thoughts exactly.

      • I’ve friends of all faiths and none, I don’t tell them they only make up less than 1% in group discussion and therefore should not be heard as much.

        You can say things are not equal now, but it’s not a good sign if rectifying inequality means treating others not as you would like to be treated.

  5. “1/4 should mean an equal voice?” Yes. Unquestionably yes.
    Unless you want to play the ‘Numbers = Power” game, a game which has marginalized minorities and particularly woman for eons. As a former male sex worker, how many times did I need to be raped, brutalized and abused to earn ‘equal’ status with you?
    I support all sex workers, but I also distrust those -whether socially or politically – who turn their personal pain and anger into a petty weapon against any minority.

  6. jemima101
    26 May, 2013

    Everyone seems to be conveniently ignoring the “more importantly….”

  7. JB
    26 May, 2013

    ‘Some twenty to twenty five per cent of sex workers are men. Their voices should be equal to women’

    But that undermines the very core of the feminists case!

    Until the industry can talk with one voice representing all then we’re fighting a losing battle.

    The feminists would argue that the majority of sex workers are female so their views are valid. My experiences in Spain are that more than 80% of sex workers are not Spanish. Following the feminist logic, then sex workers rights are immigrants rights. I doubt many would subscribe to that.

    Most, but thankfully not all, activist organisations cling the the women’s rights view (and this cascades down to support organisations etc).

    Even here on Harlots Parlour we are not free from it. For example a recent post from Douglas (who I have a great respect for) suggested sponsorship of a book, Are They Bad Girls or Brilliant?. Follow the link to the website and one of the first things that jump out at you is that ‘sex worker’s rights are women’s rights’.

    If 75% of sex workers were male, any suggestion that ‘sex workers rights are men’s rights’ would be met with a load chorus of sexism. Why is it acceptable the other way round?

    On a side note, where do TV/TS/TG sex workers fit into this male/female divide?

  8. Nun Ya (@Ishfery)
    27 May, 2013

    Does this mean Steve will stop attacking female sex workers? After all, infighting is terrible.

    • I would absolutely hope so. There is justifiable anger at his attitude which, as it turns out, is misogynistic and not simply a once-off or an accident, but all the pile ons in the world don’t change it.

  9. JB
    27 May, 2013

    I think a lot of the problem is that multiple issues are being combined into one. As a result objectives of one are clouding the objectives of another.

    It doesn’t matter to me if a sex worker is male, female or TG; black or white, old or young, Christian or Jew. They all deserve the same rights.

    I also believe in equality of gender, race, religion, age etc.

    However if you mix equality with sex workers rights then it seems to me that the sex workers rights becomes secondary to the equality issues. Two people may agree on the sex workers rights issue but be divided over equality issues. The end result is that the case for getting sex workers rights improved is weakened by division of those campaigning for it.

    It also seems very Orwellian, some are more equal than others…

  10. stevegayescort
    27 May, 2013

    This did upset the apple cart didn’t it.


    I did post this without the context on my own blog which nobody seems to have a problem finding. It was clear from the post Douglas Fox made that the post was lifted from my own blog. I discussed with him the possibility of adding it onto Harlots Parlour as it struck a cord with many,

    Two weeks ago I made a pass away comment, totally innocent, making a joke to someone on my twitter feed about the stereotypical image of a sexworker abolitionist. It was a joke, a total joke that wasn’t meant cause harm and one very nasty woman in Australia picked up the comment before I had chance to to remove it and over dozens of twitter posts, slagged me off like I was a piece of shit on her shoe. She was also a sex worker and no matter how much I explained my actions and that it was an ill thought out joke, her and her cronies, some of whom should know better spent half the evening slagging me off. These people don’t know me yet one joke, that wasn’t even directed to sex work was used as a catapult to accuse me of hate crimes and have me hung from the gallows. I am sorry but I didn’t deserve that. I made one mistake, quickly realised it, yes it didn’t go down too well but the damage from these vile people had been done. They just couldn’t accept it was a joke and that is where I first heard that I was misogynistic, not once but 10 times. It was OTT and wholly unnecessary. No matter how much I explained it was a joke, the damage had been done. I was now misogynisic apparently. Nobody expect one person really stood to my defence and he was labelled even worse for daring to question them. She even hand picked comments on my twitter where I made reference to a vile abolitionist that you commented on too and laughed about, but my comment was presented as vile hatred to woman (it was directed to someone being vile to sexworkers in the first place) and she pulled me to bits for it, but left you alone for the same post. She was just being nasty for nasty sake. It was an appalling witch hunt and you know how upsetting it was for me. That one action, led to this post because I was disgusted at how I was treated and how others were treated for trying to reason with them. Those sex worker activists who carry on like this with fellow sex workers do themselves no favours when it comes to getting proper recognition for their work and I know I was no better last night but quite simply I’ve had enough.

    Then…. I was told by you that 1/4 should mean an equal voice ? ……. but not at the expense of women. I am sorry but you banter on twitter all day about equality and rights and theres a lack it in your own back door. That made me feel a bit shit. Yes on the whole you agreed with my post but it went over your head that I had already posted about it on my own blog hours earlier and now I was being told that I am not equal, well that just really annoyed me. How can you ask for equality when you don’t practice what you preach. The argument spilled onto twitter and I said some things I shouldn’t have said but as someone who chats along nicely with you every day what made you feel you had the right to make me look like I wasn’t worthy of a voice. If, as another contributor touched on, 75% of sex workers were men, you’d all claim we were being sexist and oppressive. Your view is no better. Tell me Jemima, what’s so special about you in the 75% having the voice, what’s so special about that. Men can campaign but not at the expense of women. Oh right I see. Women have been striving for years for equality and strive to this day but when it comes down to sex work, well that equality can go out of the window because the women want the glory, they don’t want some bloke having a say. If a group of sex worker friends won the lottery and there was 10 men and 10 women in the syndicate, do the women get 75% of the winnings. No that’s just stupid isn’t it. Well so was your statement.


    I’ve already covered most of your comments in the above paragraph, but she did not respond with polite words. They were anything but polite. I didn’t follow her, she didn’tt follow me but her hatred was never ending that in the end I had to block her. The comments were every few seconds. She couldn’t just post one comment saying I was out of order, I opened my twitter account to find 10 posts in the first few minutes. She got her point across, she didn’t need to carry on twisting the knife,

  11. Caty
    27 May, 2013

    Really not happy with the drug user shaming here. Plus, why shouldn’t he be called out for derogatorily referring to someone else as ‘lesbian’?

  12. ninaperez
    28 May, 2013

    “His crime was that he retaliated against a radical feminist who had insulted him. He used the language of the everyday and referenced his abuser as being a lesbian”

    i want to add a few things here- there seems to be confusion as to why calling a woman a lesbian an insult (or joke) is wrong. this is very problematic language, even though i understand the radfem in question was whorephobic and abusive. i understand how much it hurts to be judged for being a sw. i understand the need for solidarity among sex workers (male and female). i know why there was urge to insult/mock the radfem. the part that seems to be missing for me is why is it ok to call radfems/antis lesbians (gender insult)?
    and if that is everyday language, everyday language needs an adjustment especially considering the context of why the term lesbian is a insult. women are judged as “unworthy” of men if they are lesbians. a woman fucking another woman is repulsive in society because it assumes the lesbian is not a “real” woman because she cannot attract men so she has to settle for inferior partners- other women. a woman is not a good woman unless she has sex with men.
    obviously this is false, and many awesome women, sex workers and otherwise are lesbians. but to use the term as an insult is hurtful and anti-women. it is okay for a man to call me lesbian if i am outspoken or if i disagree with him? or does he mean “those” lesbians, but not me? calling a woman a lesbian in a negative context is just like using other slurs. ultimately when someone uses a woman-bashing term, there is no guarantee the term will not be applied to me or other women someday. its like using racist terms, homophobic terms… why use them if you are angry at a in individual but bear no ill will to a group (in this case women as a class and/or lesbians)? if you use a term that slams an entire group, it implies that is how you really feel about certain types of women. it means that using gendered insults are okay, because some women deserve it.
    so yeah i get the anto hate, can we stop using gendered insults?

    • jemima101
      28 May, 2013

      i have generally stayed out of this since my original comment , because it has turned into a pity party for men who seem to think the world should revolve around them but your excellent comment reminded me of another objection, which is not just mine, but my partners.

      Can we stop this ridiculous you have to female and radicalized to spot feck witted bigotry. I live my life surrounded by men, working class men, men who would never use the problematic language defended here.

      Sometime it is not rocket science, perhaps the reason everyone thinks you are a twunt is because you are a twunt.

  13. jemima101
    28 May, 2013

    Since people seem to be using thi sthread to make pulpit statements i am making mine, then ending any involvement i had with a blog that claimed to be a voice for all in sex work.

    Firstly saying sexism exist in society and sex workers rights orgs should recognize this and do what they can to give a voice to women who are doubly oppressed is not bigotry or bullying, in fact Steve said very much the same thing in his blog post entitled ” Why male sex workers have it easier” This post was actually an attempt to understand that whorephobia and stigma affect women the most. If this had been followed through he would have recognized his privilege and perhaps become a voice for all sex workers.

    Instead what has happened is that this space has become misogynistic, male entitlement means it is hard for cis men to understand they do not have an automatic right to st at the table, they see men as the default, men can speak forall but women can only ever speak for women. In many ways what is happening her is what happened with pride and any number of gay orgs which threw everyone except hetronormative gay men under the bus.

    Perhaps there is an argument sex work activism shoud go the same way, that is certainly what Holland, Gerany and parts of Australia decided. Except we know that is not the ideal anyone, except it seems gay men, want. Sex workers as a barley tolerated other is not equaliry.

    So where do we go from here?

    Personally i think if male escorts feel so margenalised they use this spsce to do something about it, stop talking for all sex workers, especially stop telling women how they out to feel or act.

  14. Nun Ya (@Ishfery)
    28 May, 2013

    When Steve apologizes for all the fucked up bullshit he said, then we can talk about solidarity.

    • Douglas Fox
      28 May, 2013

      Just to make my position clear. I HAVE NO SOLIDARITY WITH MANIPULATIVE BBULLIES and they are not welcome on Harlots.

  15. Douglas Fox
    29 May, 2013

    Just to say that I have edited this post slightly re stats. I (or anyone else) has any idea re stats for any group of sex workers.. its all guestimate 🙂

  16. Douglas Fox
    30 May, 2013

    If anyone would who disagrees with this article you are welcome to write an article saying why. Provided it does not tell lies about me and provided it is not another tirade of abuse.

    Harlots does not censor and welcomes discussion and alternative views and opinions.

    If you wish to write such a post please email me at dearharlot@googlemail,com


  17. Aphrodite Phoenix
    5 June, 2013

    It’s always disheartening to see people whose groups have traditionally been oppressed being hateful and oppressive, themselves. It seems to happen all the time.
    And as far as the misogyny thing goes, in my book I make it clear that it’s high time to give men a break. True misogyny is true hatred of women, and most men worship women. Their worship may be tinged with fear, and fear can be defensive, but take a close look and it’s easy to see that it’s worship all the same. OK, so they do it AS MEN…getting hard for the pussy and all, with a boundless, helpless lust…but it’s a needful, pleading homage to the feminine, and why do so many women fail to see that, and love that?
    Sex workers in particular should never fail to see that, and sex work activists need to understand that they’re advocating not only the right to do sex work, but the right to let well-behaved clients be the rightfully needful people they are.

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