Hi everybody! Thanks for all your comments on my last post! I’m going to write a whole thing about that. In the meantime, here’s something I wrote about empowerment.
There’s been a lot of interesting talk about the internet lately about empowerment. Someone smart said somewhere (?) that it doesn’t really matter if sex workers are empowered. Workers rights issues are workers rights issues – does anyone care if people are empowered by working at WalMart and does that have anything to do with them getting arrested?
I think I’m just writing about the empowerment thing because it’s this big ol’ buzz word that can be interpreted any which way. Also because I got a letter in the mail the other day from the most amazing of sacred whore friend talking about all the judgement and bad thoughts that bubble up around sex work. How to feel empowered in whore-dom?
verb (used with object)
1.to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means: I empowered my agent to make the deal for me. The local ordinance empowers the board of health to close unsanitary restaurants.
2.to enable or permit: Wealth empowered him to live a comfortable life.
I use sex work to get money. Money, in our culture (not in reality), is power. It’s a warm place to sleep, organic food, private schools, attentive medical care, and all the iPads you’ll ever want. Or it can be a way to buy land and ditch capitalism. Money is also a way to determine value in a free market system.
(I remember once upon a time, a drunken bartender in a West Virginia strip club shaking her tip jar at me after a cop threatened us with new legislation again. “You know why those people hate me? You know how much money I make? Those assholes have to go to school for years and kiss ass every day of their lives and they still don’t make as much as me!”)
Sex work empowers me because it gives me money, which is power. I have land, solar panels, a boat with a good engine that has a warranty, and a truck that’ll last me the rest of my life or until civilization collapses because of sex work. I’m empowered to live a life I love and spend most of my days walking in the woods, cutting wood, and hauling water, because of sex work.
Our culture says that my sexuality is valuable. According to the free market system, my sexual attention is worth about three times as much as a lawyer’s legal attention or a doctor’s medical attention. We value doctors and lawyers because they are smart, and we give them money (power) because they took their smartness to school for almost a decade. We value me because I’ve spent my life becoming awesome. Also I read a book about marketing.
Respect is another way of giving and receiving power in our culture. Whores don’t get so much of that, but when Rush Limbaugh calls us names* it’s because he’s jealous of our empowerment.
* Actually, I’m kinda confused about this Rush Limbaugh thing. Did he just call us prostitutes? Why do we care? I’m without teevee, but I’m being contemporary, dammit!
** I think there’s correlation here! Everyone I’ve ever heard/read say that sex work isn’t empowering was either well off already or wasn’t able to make much money with sex work anyways. Someone should do a study!!