I’m very engaged in the sex workers on social media scene and it’s a completely different world than my quotidian dealing with strip club employees.
Strippers, dommes, escorts and other sex workers I follow on Twitter are extremely articulate, predominantly well educated and yes, relatively “priveleged.” Most, but not all, of them, have me beat in the “mental stability”, “maximum earning potential” and “sound business sense” departments.
That is a concession I will make right now; girls who don’t struggle as much with mental health and addiction have a firmer head on their shoulders, and are generally much more successful, not to mention healthy, than myself. But I measure success in personal progress, ie “doing me” not just earnings and account statements.
Some of my peers on the Twitter/Blogosphere can come off as snobby, and there is obviously infighting. I don’t like feeling like the elephant in the sex worker room because
I’m a “statistic” being someone with trauma in my past, a mental illness and addiction. I can’t boast a long standing sobriety date and I know I shouldn’t drink. My meds could stand some tweaking; I don’t firmly subscribe to the uniquely American pill pushing culture of overdiagnosing normal emotions, but I also know that I refuse meds based on their reputation for making people fat, even if they offer increased “stability” to my current regimen.
I understand both sides of the picture; a priveleged faction of a disenfranchised labor force wants to a) prove stereotypes wrong and b ) call out even more priveleged feminist scholars for daring to insinuate sex workers have addiction and mental illness in disproportionate numbers. I prefer to be brutally honest, even though it conforms to stereotypes. I fit into certain stereotypical boxes, but as I stated before, women who are more sound of mind and addiction-free tend to thrive better in my industry.
It’s depressing to say I have a stigmatized, sometimes dangerous, job just to get by. As a former colleague said, “I don’t take my clothes off just to pay my bills.” I just bought a $900 flight to Italy when I still owe the IRS 4K for chrissake. But treating myself is validating. I will still make my IRS tab on time.
Digression aside, I spend most of what I make, both on valid things such as taxes, as well as extravagant things. I don’t blow rent money on alcohol or cocaine. All I know is, as my family’s black sheep, I don’t have to go seeking handouts. Did I stumble into sex work because I was sick of working shit jobs for belated, shit pay? Hell yeah. But I know that the industry can also be a haven for people who lack the mental stability or sobreity to cut it at “vanilla/normal” jobs.
I know well-meaning sex workers want to debunk stereotypes, but I choose instead, to applaud the industry for allowing people with problems who are disenfranchised in other ways, to earn a living. Finding a traditional job with a criminal record and other personal demons can prevent you from being a part of the work force at all. I’ve avoided criminal history, but there is a lot I’m not cut out for and I’m just happy to remain gainfully employed without having to beg, borrow, steal, be a government assistance sponge, miss bill payments, jeopardize my credit score etc…..