Why Do Other Feminists Want Me To Shut Up and Sit Down?
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute." ~Rebecca West, "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982
As most feminists-in-training have, I've seen this quote before. had heard it before when I was young and just beginning to come into my own with feminism. But only recently did I learn that "or a prostitute" was part of the sentiment expressed. Lovely. Cause prostitutes and feminists are on opposite sides, right?
Well, guess what, Rebecca West, Andrea Dworkin , and Julie Bindel —listen up. I'm a feminist and a prostitute. Yup, I peddle in sex and sexual expression. I spread my legs for money, too, sometimes. I wear red lipstick and high heels and talk dirty. Sometimes I wrap my body in corsets and leather. Sometimes I wear converse and jeans. I run my show the way I want it to be run, and I don't roll over and play feminine fantasy Mistress.
Do I sell sex? Yes. Do I sell a perfectly manicured Domme dream figure? Um... no.
One of the major complaints I've run into as a feminist and a sex worker is that I'm adding to the objectification of female bodies as commodities. One excellent and now ex-blogger Bitchy Jones used to write a lot about this, about how professional dominatrixes ruined femdom for female dominants, by feeding into the passivity of "my pretty is my worth". Or, to quote:
Now, I get what she's saying here. Definitely. Though, that said, I feel like it's a myth that's been making the rounds, that you have to fit a certain type of beauty to be financially viable as a sex worker. I have not found that to be the case, and, looking at other pro Domme websites, there's a lot of body types and variety in ages, and of all of the types of sex work where you have face-to-face contact, pro Domming is probably the least likely to judge you on your looks, but rather your reputation and skills.
I think in a consumerist society we tend to judge people on what we think they're worth an awful lot, whatever your profession. I mean, I can't show up to the office wearing whatever I want, not having brushed my hair or teeth- no matter where you work, looking presentable is generally required. I don't think that's limited to sex work. But- sex work is older than consumerism. It used to be sacred. And honestly, if I was in an environment where my housing and food needs were taken care of in a quality way, and if I didn't need money to get by the way we do now, I'd be a sacred whore, doing it for the energy and the exchange, not for the money.