Hi, I’m Tara…

I'm a whore revolutionary and a wilderbabe. I'm pretty much in love with this little river I live on and myself and if you stick around you'll read (and see) all about it.

Financial Coercion and How to Save Whores

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I wrote this handy dandy financial coercion quiz for Tits and Sass, which is an awesome blog with daily sex worker commentary on the media affecting us. Originally I thought I could make a flow chart or a line graph but, well, it’s complicated. Go see it! What’s your score? Post it in the comments or on your blog!

I took the test for me when I first started doing sex work on my own and got 27 – I had problems. Most of my high score areas at that point came from the dominant culture: I wasn’t legally old enough to have a job that would support me, I was young and homeless and the state threatened my friends with jail if they housed me, I couldn’t imagine being rude to someone who was paying me and I thought everyone was who they said they were. I was lucky that my clients were mostly respectful of boundaries and sweetly patronizing and the club culture was low contact and performance oriented. For the odd client who wanted to take advantage, I was more than ripe for the taking.

This really drives it home for me that activism needs to center around giving women and girls other options (not like this) and teaching skills like boundaries, negotiation, and general savvy. Destroying capitalism would help a lot too. The Young Women’s Empowerment Project in Chicago is a great example of relevant services and activism.

Rescue-based organizations who try to “help” women and girls by taking away options through criminalizing us, taking away access to condoms and health care, and telling us we are damaged and should not trust our own judgement actually increase victimization. There is no saving us, there is only giving us the tools and knowledge to access different choices.

I re-took the test again for myself now and got a 9 – that means I’m basically coercion free! Sex work is pretty good to me these days, and it’s because I’ve learned how to market myself to people I enjoy who want things that I enjoy, other sex workers have taught me great boundaries and negotiating skills, and past sex work has set me up so that my financial needs are very small and I never need money.

I’m incredibly grateful for the women who taught me how to navigate this industry with a minimum of bad experiences and a maximum of good ones. I want to do my part to pass these skills on because I believe that passing on of these skills is the most viable way to prevent victimization and coercion in our industry.

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