The prostitution debate has a curious texture to it. It is fervently and belligerently held, relies regularly on simplistic, narrow theorizing (and lets face it, basic ignorance), and encourages its participants (which is pretty much most of everybody) to ‘pick a side’, based more on how that ‘side’ curries with a fashionable political identity, than as a conclusion to sound arguments or (as much as we have them) material facts.
To be blunt, the general philosophical electorate know very little about the nuances of the issue, have not much personal investment in its upshots, and yet are encouraged to have a very definite and unequivocal position. Usually supporting the sex industry’s full, and total commercialisation. And people having strong opinions about serious matters that they don’t understand? Its kinda problematic and promotes an unhealthy forum. But we are steeped in it.
Because, purportedly, there is only one opposite to the coolbro politics of prostitution; which is a political architecture smashed out from libertarianism and postmodernism, utilising an eviscerated socialist vernacular, to form a contorted rhetorical comb, containing no internal logic and happily confounding any intrepid untangler. The sex industry (or pimp) lobby, bank on the confusion.
That… and the stereotype they will attach to your social surface, should you even try.
The nuggety puritan. The Prude.Who gasps in shock and bashes faux pearls against skinny clavicles, whenever encountering anything that cannot be crisply called Sublime. Sort of like a Victorian lady yanking her skirts when she sees the nubile Irish gardener with his linen shirt off, dripping sweet sweat atop her clenched rose buds. Or screams and runs when happening upon a carrot made phallic by some ominously bulbous side growths. Oh the humanity.
You know there are only two breed of woman these days? The woman gluttonous for tonsil tunnelling any man with a jingling wallet (and the woman who supports said woman, insofar as she writes journo or sociological fluff on her experience and *would* join in if only she could find the right kind of underpants) and the woman who wilts like a basil leaf in the sun when somebody attempts to vocally sex a sparrow. Which one are you, ladies? You have to choose.
Are you an Ideal? Or a Pariah? And the Ideal shifts; its important, if you are to survive in approbation, that you know this.
Indeed, there was a time when the Lady Ideal was an ankle skirted housewife, Highland dancing with a vacuum. Presumed coquettish, due to her coral pink blush and twinkles, but in reality, off her tits on Vodka and Valium. Her two great loves.
Now the Lady Ideal is a perpetual adolescent, molten wax, sans clit and Fucking Bananas. I’m not the only person to have taken note of the convergence between the Lady Ideal and the rise of the Sexbot, in merit, place and aesthetic.
Its all myth making. The most difficult thing about being a woman involved in any politics – but especially a politics that relates to the mass ahistorical sexploitation of womanity – is that your opinion, your experience, your knowledge or your analysis can never shift the hard, heavy heft of the myth in which you are meant to live. Have you heard the myth about the modesty trousers for 19thcentury table legs…? Its what you feminists want, no?
Forget about the truth…the truth that that those prudish Victorians who us radfems are meant to emulate… were reasonably tolerant of prostitution as a so-called evil neccesity. A sort of social drainage system for the sexual violences of upper and middle class males. A way of saving finer (pre-vacuum) women from assault. Forget that it was proto-feminists and the labour movement that challenged the usage of poor women as sacrifices for the bourgeoisie. Yes those coolbro politicos have a lot more in common with that kind of elitist, fuck’em ‘pragmatism’ than any feminists I can think of.
But no. Challenging the sexed, classed and raced form of commercial sexual slavery does not make you a radical political progressive. It makes you a mad fanatic, driven to justice seeking due to your grave tendency to self imposed celibacy.
Otherwise known as the reactionary moralist; its a crude ham-fist, applied thickly to any dissent to prostitution commerce. Its is the assumption that as soon as the ‘Moralist’ even sees the word Prostitution, they would furlong themselves face first through the nearest window. The ensuing concussion dis-enabling them from sane debate.
Even I, and other exited women – despite years in the sex industry, and a former full belly of ‘sex work is work’ cult chanting – have been called it. It isn’t logical to call someone reactionary when they’ve taken almost a decade to react. I’d call that stupendously accepting. Woefully ponderous. Like the kid that watches the teapot spill till empty and thinks, “Hmmm, I should….probably…think…about…thinking…about…cleaning…that…up.”
But hay, what has logic to do with any of this?
Because no-one wants to have the identity of sexless crusty muffet or mad hooting rage seeker painted onto them. Sometimes I decide, tired of having this characterisation shoved into my mouth, to simply bag my concerns about the full decriminalising of pimping and profiteering (and thus the subjecting of prostitution, absolutely, to the free market) and go and find some less controversial calling. Fed up of having current prostitutes, seemingly trundling through the same agitated state of defensiveness, I myself have previously been accustomed to, kicking out at me like a drunk whose morning tequila porridge cocktail has been timidly queried. Exhausted by imperious men whose knowledge of the sex industry is akin in measure to the sophistication of a squashed aphid, attempting to educate me on ‘the truth of the matter’ – (usually that most prostitutes earn ten thousand pounds a month and are the most financially empowered women what ever lived and even without their bags of wonga, love through sheer spirit, to share their utterly undiscerning sexual appetites with any knobsausage who can manage to put aside a few quid.)
I think, maybe there is some less controversial calling I could attend to. Like, Hug a Hedgehog. Down with Damp. De-Litter Ludlow..?
But then again I think…well, I’ve been called a slut, a whore, a bitch, a cunt, a witch, a trollope, a munter, hussy, a hoebag, a hound, a harlet…a dizzy blonde, a fat cow, a stupid woman, a fuck hole, tits and arse, a pair of legs, a bit of fluff, a ball and chain, a hoe against bros…
…prude, moralist, reactionary? Pimp lobby…you are going to have to do better than that.
To read installments of my memoir visit my Patreon account, and subscribe from $1 per month.
Or follow me on Twitter @raycstory