There are a lot of misconceptions about sex work. The general public often don’t understand the job, even the clients that see us don’t really understand. It is easy to get fixated on media representation or fantasies and forget that we are just everyday people working a job to pay our bills.
Hence I was furious when a dear friend received an email from an old friend this week that called upon almost every stereotype imaginable for a sex worker. So this is for you Audrey.
Now I don’t know what the background of this email hate was… there is clearly history between the girls, and quite frankly I don’t care what the background is as it doesn’t warrant what was said. Some of the things said made me totally ropable so let me enlighten you on the real life of a working girl.
The following quotes were from said email.
I am not ‘jealous’ of you or your life in anyway. I genuinely feel sorry for you. You have lost your identity. This lifestyle will catch you up one day
Sex work has given us greater identity in fact. This job allows us to explore our sexual nature alongside others, and helps us become a lot more headstrong and a lot more determined about what we are OK with happening to our own body. There is no greater way to test your boundaries of what you accept for yourself than when someone asks you if you’ll let them stick a fist up you or pee on you. We learn to say no to people all the time, which many of the general public don’t learn to do as they feel so pressured by societal expectations. This lifestyle has a few negatives such as peer or client pressure and the occasional dodgy client but generally is a very positive industry. We make excellent money for little hours, which allows us to pursue other avenues that we would rather devote our time to (for me this is uni and a business). It is allowing me to save for a house deposit as a uni student which is unheard of in the “muggle world”. We don’t need pity – if we didn’t want this job then we could leave. There is only a small minority of women who feel locked in the industry for a variety of reasons; by and large it is instead a choice that women and men make to work towards their life goals.
For how long will you continue to live this lie? This double life? Posting pictures as (one name) then (another name)…
Discretion and anonymity is the name of the game in this business. Even if my family found out today that I’m a sex worker, I wouldn’t reveal my identity. Some gentleman like to be able to take us out for dinner and not worry if someone else recognises us as a well known sex worker. In keeping my face anonymous, I afford my clients a bit more privacy regarding their sexual life. I think that this area of their life is theirs alone and no one else’s business, and I don’t want recognition ‘out and about’ for this job or it would limit their privacy.
You could have confided in us instead of throwing the middle finger to our friendship and hospitality
I have experience in telling or not telling people. I have in fact told many of my closest friends. The majority have been supportive, two said that they still supported me but not my job, but one…. one dear friend told me that she couldn’t support me full stop. To have over a decade of friendship worth nothing because of a job that does not have any bearing over me as a person is devastating. Ever since that day I have kept my cards close and only tell people that I feel will support me. This job can at times be isolating enough as it is… I don’t want people around me who will judge me. I need love and acceptance and support. This is why we don’t confide in everyone… even our closest friends can turn into our worst support.
all of your bridges are burned with me and my family. It’s not just because you’re a whore now (to be honest, I’m not bothered by that in the slightest – I loved Billie Piper as Belle!)
What a fantastic double standard. This is the sentence that made me rage. The words she used were “It’s not JUST because”….. implying that part of the reason why bridges are burned is because my friend is a sex worker. She then goes on to say that she loves Belle and doesn’t have a problem with prostitutes – despite earlier saying that she feels sorry for my friend in her job.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”. It started a big shift in the stereotype of sex workers from one of a sad, abused drug addicted hussy to a young, independent, empowered, wealthy woman who knows what she wants. That is just it though… it’s still another stereotype. The reality is that sex workers are of all ages and from all walks of life. Mothers, students, women in their fifties or their twenties, dark skin or light skin, sad backgrounds or supportive families – everyone’s story is different purely because we are normal people, and every person is different. Some of us make a mint, some of us struggle to put the pennies together some weeks. This is the reality in a fickle, often superficial industry with much more supply than demand. We have such a huge amount of outlays to run our business that we are not as in front as people probably think (although it is still better than the average full time job). But it saddens me that people love the idea of a prostitute represented in an empowering way in media, but are threatened or have hatred for the real deal. You should look up to us… We work a job that would be very emotionally challenging for most of you, and we work this job on top of running a household or studying or planning our lives. We book keep, we buy our own stock, we have to interact with customers, we have to market ourselves…. Roll an entire company into one person and that is what we do on top of our everyday lives. More importantly, we make a massive difference to people’s lives – and if you don’t believe that then you need to read www.charlieforde.com.au/blog/we-all-just-want-to-be-superman .
So to say you don’t have a problem with our job but then say bridges are burned because of it…. That is not OK. There’s one side of the street or the other, choose a side and stick to it.
Tell me, who has the friends – you or Audrey?
Another one liner that had me seeing red.
Charlie and my real name are the same person. There is no difference. In the “muggle world”, if you make a friend at work then there is no reason why they can’t become a personal friend as well. Similarly for me, if I make friends with a worker then I consider them a friend of mine regardless of whether I met them through work or not. Why does there have to be a divide? Why can’t you accept someone as a buddy purely because they are amazing, and regardless of the circumstances as to why you met?
The girls and guys that I have met through this industry are in many ways the best friends I could ask for. They don’t judge me for my job, I can talk to them about the most confronting things and they don’t bat an eyelid. I can ask them for advice about ANYTHING, even if it involves body cavities and fluids where most other people would rather not go with a ten foot pole. They are there if I’m worried about anything, they don’t tell a soul about my problems. They promote me – I remember starting a home business before my current line of work and literally no friends helped me to launch my career. It was a hard slog from the bottom. You only have to meet a sex worker and all of a sudden you’re being retweeted, referred to other clients, receiving daily messages reminding you that you are an amazing human being. I absolutely adore them.
So I will always be there for Audrey along with my multitude of other close friends. They deserve just as much love from me as they give. They work so hard in a physically and emotionally demanding job that they deserve someone there at the end of the day to talk to and to tell them… “You know what? You are such a cool person, and regardless of anything in your life I’m here. I’ll always be here”.
Love you fellow workers.