Sex Workers Are Indeed Exploited -- by the Mainstream Media
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A sampling from my inbox and phone queries today:
From Fox News:
"I am trying to find someone to explain how credit card payments work with escort services. Specifically, how do you make sure the name of the escort service does not show up on a credit card bill. If anyone can explain that I would be very grateful."
"Good Morning America is looking for anyone who has ever worked in high-end prostitution as a madam or sex worker for their coverage of the Gov. Spitzer scandal. Their preference is def someone along the lines of Heidi Fleiss (have interviewed tons of times and don't want to call on again)."
From an Italian news channel:
"I need a prostitute to describe what it is like to meet with men, how she selects them, what they do in the meeting."
"We need someone familiar with the political, social, legal and economic issues that affect sex workers to comment on this story. Someone who advocates for sex workers is preferred."
Oh wait, I made that last one up. Because it doesn't exist.
The closest I got to that was the conversation on The Brian Lehrer Show this morning. This one was actually really good, and despite the mention that I'm a former sex worker, there was no harassment of the "what kind of sex worker were you?" variety.
We exist. In growing numbers, there are sex workers and allies of sex workers who have a critical and political take on how our bodies and our labor are legislated. Not to mention, we are well aware of and constantly struggling with the ways our stories and our work are grossly exploited by the mainstream media in an attempt to get a juicy story. You want to talk about exploitation of women, media? Look at your own goddamn questions, the exposure you ask us to engage in, the personal questions you want us to answer. Look at the sexy container you put us in, all sultry bad girl secret story, no room for brains with the boobs. We don't want to tell you our naughty secrets. What's in it for us? You won't give us the space and air time to talk about issues that matter to us, we won't give you the dirt.