pop culture

Fuck you, Pay Me: On Business, Sex Work and Courting

I often find myself discussing sex work with possible suitors.  Probably a cringe worthy notion to some. Why would you discuss sex work with a man who’s trying to woo you? Won’t that dissuade him?

2 things.

1.   I don’t really care if it does.

2. I’ve found a person’s opinion on something like sex work says a lot about their mindset.

It’s no secret to those that know me that in the future I would love to actively work in the sex industry.  Now here, for most people, their first thought is “She wants to be a prostitute” because to them, it is the end all, be all of sex work.  This thought is usually followed by “Why would a sane [haha, I haven’t been that in YEARS] seemingly normal person willingly want to be a streetwalker?” and when we get here, I have to turn back and explain a few things.

Sex has never been taboo for me. As far back as I can remember, it’s always fascinated me beyond the prepubescent frenzy things kids shouldn’t know causes.  I’ve always wanted to understand it, how it makes people feel, what it does, the effect it has on the body and the mind.  As much as many over the years tried to dissuade me from viewing it in a non taboo way, it hasn’t worked.

I still marvel at how something so simple, so natural, has so much power.  How cleavage can cause a ruckus.  How the female body can be seen as both the Devil’s playground and  a mecca for society at large.  How a man’s body is viewed by society as a Temple, a pillar, no matter how ugly it is.  How the meeting of these two, for pleasure, for financial gain, with consent or without, is viewed  by society.  What it means.

My views on sex were never as simple as “It should only be had by people in love”.  Bodies were Legos to me.  Where’s the fun in only joining the two pieces that fit exactly together? What can you learn from that? What does it create?

Because I appreciated sex, I appreciated those who had it.  You can’t love the product and hate the producer.  Sex workers, to me, were kindred spirits.  I read about them, I watched movies about them, I wanted to know their stories, their backgrounds, who they were beyond what society says.

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And I did.

And the more I understood, the more at home I felt.

I’ve often told people, writing about sex isn’t something I chose, it chose me.  The life that I live is conducive for that and honestly, it comes too effortlessly for me to NOT think it’s one of the things I’m meant to do in Life.

Oprah, Karrine Steffans and Asa Akira are the closest to role models I’ve ever had.  People worlds apart who fit perfectly in my mind when it comes to my goals.  All three women have been trail blazers in their respective fields and are celebrated worldwide for their achievements.

Oprah has an award winning mouth, Asa an award winning anus and Karrine, an award winning mind.

I deem them all glorious.

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I’ve met so many women over the course of my writing career who just needed some reassurance.  A helping hand, an ear. Understanding.  And I have related to each and every one of them.

I have friends who are sex workers and I have friends who are chaste and unapproachable on the subject.  I have seen both sides and I judge neither.

A lot of people use the law to shit on the credibility of sex work.  People who watch pornography and listen to urban pop stars and have galleries full of scantily clad women will be the first to spit on a prostitute should they meet one.  Or judge women with Sugar Daddies.

A person with a favourite pornstar will be the first to yell out how whores are disgusting.

The cold, cold irony.

They pick what makes them feel morally clean without logically and critically thinking of their statements.

An escort and a porn star aren’t worlds apart.

A street walker and a stripper one can pay a little extra for other favours aren’t worlds apart.

Hell, the modern day pop star isn’t all that different from a stripper.

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They all deserve respect but a lot of people don’t see this. Even in the sex industry itself there’s classism.   The porn star will think she’s better than the prostitute.  The lady with the sugar daddy will think she’s smarter than the stripper.

And that is honestly how a lot of people are.

When people ask me with thinly veiled contempt if I’d be a prostitute my response is “I wouldn’t particularly WANT to go into that avenue, I’d rather be an escort but hey..” And it’s not a classist issue for me. Hell, it’s not even a safety issue per se because at the end of the day you end up behind closed doors with a stranger.  Escorting would just be way more convenient.

No, I’m in no way trying to gloss over the problems sex workers face.  The abuse, the rapes, the loneliness and solitude, the shit side of it, but I’m saying, as a society, viewing them as unworthy of compassion or understanding, as less than, because they do what they do, is grossly hypocritical considering that in one way or the other, everyone is connected to the billion dollar industry that is.

Sex work stories need to be told.

Not just porn star memoirs, we need more honest depictions from both those who joined it out of necessity and those who joined it of their own accord. We need to make this a safer place, a stigma free place, for those who partake in it.  And I want to be a part of that transition. A part of that change.

First and foremost I dedicate what I do to educating and assisting. I’ve found I make the little difference that I do through relaying honest experiences and sharing what I’ve learned, and that isn’t changing.

That isn’t changing and I need possible suitors to understand that my mission, my journey in Life, though not set in stone, has a path, and what’s on it may not always be peachy and mainstream.

I don’t desire the “Sex work is disgusting” men. I don’t desire anyone who has a problem with what other people do to survive and thrive, that doesn’t affect them.

And so the “I’d pay for sex but sex work is immoral” people are written off.

So are the “Why don’t you do something more noble?” people.

People need protection and they need someone in their corner.  They need understanding. They need to be heard.  What they do with their bodies does not suddenly rob them of their rights, contrary to what a lot of Governments and society tends to assume.

So, if I do become a full fledged Whore, I will do so wholeheartedly. Because what is ownership of one’s self if what one does is still dictated by everyone else?

Pop Culture: On SAPS, sociopaths and Khuli Chana

Why do we as a society place people on pedestals then resent them?
Do we as a society create celebrities not just to love them or celebrate their work, but to have a common entity to hate, judge and critique with less guilt because hey, you don’t know them and you’re not the only one doing it?

One only has to look at the comments on articles regarding tragedy befalling others, any celebrity’s mentions or read Twitter discussions to know that in many people’s minds, there’s a certain nonchalance that they regard human life with, especially when it comes to celebrities.

As we become more immersed in pop culture, the Haves and Have Nots and Us VS Them,separating the average from those we deem extraordinary, are we also moving further from understanding empathy and altruism?

Pop Culture: On SAPS, sociopaths and Khuli Chana

You wanna Minaj?

I have rather different role models from the average female, or similar ones with some, depending on where you’re looking.

Amber Rose, I love her. Nicki Minaj, I feel her. Kim Kardashian, I’m on that.  Beyonce’s nice. Condoleza Rice too. Corrine Bailey Rae, a wonderful female..but I cannot relate.

Now a lot of people would look at these women and think Whore,Sell Out, Slut in that order. Understandable considering the way they’re portrayed/the way they’ve lived.  Amber was a stripper at 15, later labelled a gold-digger and really under normal circumstances wouldn’t be the girl you introduce to your mother. Nicki Minaj is raunchy as hell. She burst on the scene with lyrical content shouting out her sex game and was a mere sex object for many. Still is. Despite the fact that she said she fought for women and little girls to have a voice and such, it was hard to believe when all she did was prance around in lingerie and dropped lyrics such as “..and when he spank this, I make my pussy fart..” and “pussy open, it’s nothing..”. Kardashian became a household name when her sex tape with former relevant musician Ray J leaked. For the fact that you can type in her name into a search engine and see her doing the deed, she’s been labelled a skank for life. Her 72 day marriage didn’t do much to help her image either.

All in all given what we know about these women, the last thing you’d want would be for anyone with some sense to look up to them. A whore, a Sellout and a slut? God no. But here’s why I feel as I do. 

Amber went from a basic stripper to Kanye West’s boo. Now I don’t know whether it was her body or her mind that attracted the man, nor whether she actively pursued him or Lady Luck just happened to smile her way but she made it out of her circumstances. I doubt the girl was trying to strip forever, whether she enjoyed it or not.  She happened to get a man who wanted to take care of her. I’m not saying you should go and look for a man to “save” you, if you want to, sure, but that’s what happened here and it was not a bad thing.  Being in her circumstances, as a woman, would you have let the millionaire walk by?

But fast forward to when they were secure in their relationship, Amber didn’t lay around and bask in Ye’s glory. She posed for Louis Vuitton, she walked the runway at New York Fashion Week, appeared in reality shows and went on to work on her own eye wear line.  She was smart. She didn’t sit and watch shit happen.  Life happened and she got smart and rolled with the punches while making moves. How can you not respect that?

Now? She’s happily engaged to a millionaire with a baby on the way and a comfortable life. What is there to be mad at?

 

Nicki was born in Trinidad and Tobago to an accounting clerk and an airline employee.  Her father was a drug addict and apparently tried to kill their mother once.  She came to America, later went to LaGuardia, the same institution Lady Gaga went to, and struggled to be an artist. Eventually she was discovered by Wayne and signed to Young Money. Here she is today, wealthy beyond even her wildest dreams and successful. She made it. Now as I said, a lot of people could view her as a Sellout but I must ask, does the truth make you rich/successful lately?Is anyone being honest? No. People don’t accept that. That’s why songs about ass and guns are making people millionaires. We are the generation that seeks to numb everything and forget. How are we gonna get mad at a woman for fitting into the mold society has for her in order to live comfortably?

Is it a shame that she has to be portrayed as a toy in order to get some attention,yes definitely.  But it is what it is and the woman got smart about it. Honey, we’re out here trying to survive. If that means being a puppet sometimes, go ‘head. 

 In an interview with Vibe magzine she discussed her sexed up image and said “When I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex a lot… and I thought that to have the success they got, I would have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn’t have to represent the same thing,” later adding, “I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You got to have something else to go with that.”  As I said, it’s a sad reality that things are like that sometimes, but look at the fact that she got her foot in the door and got to work. Now, she’s an American Idol judge, has her own fragrance, Awards, endorsement deals..I mean, you notice her body but you acknowledge and appreciate Her and her work. What is there to not respect there?

 

Kim was just a random Armenian girl, Robert Kardashian‘s daughter, who became Ray J’s  girlfriend who’s now a millionaire, a brand, and all this from a sex tape. How many of us would have been able to drag ourselves out of the shame that comes with millions of strangers seeing you as “that girl who fucked Ray J” to having a dollar for every stranger who saw you naked? With the help of her mother, Kris, who’s also her manager, Kim worked her ass off and made all the right moves and now here she is with a reality show, dozens of magazine covers and a life many of us would kill for. The “slut” was smart enough to turn that all around.  Isn’t that lovely?

Looking at their respective lives/struggles, I personally find theirs more inspiring because they’re way more realistic. They are things I could relate to, situations I may end up in.  And the bottom line being: Shit happens. What are you gonna do about it?

As the saying goes “It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”  Are you still being exactly what people say you are?

AMBER THEN:

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AMBER NOW:

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NICKI:

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KIM:

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