The media should never have published the story about US Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton working as a high-end escort. Reporting on it sends the message that sexwork is somehow “different” from all other work; if Suzy had been working as a teacher, cleaner or data entry clerk, it would not have been worth reporting on. More disturbingly, the message of sexwork being ‘different’ is more often than not a negative one, with connotations of misogyny and associated judgements of being ‘dirty’, ‘slutty’ or (traditionally) ‘immoral’.
And this holier-than-thou thing has got to stop. Even if sexwork is in some way different, and Suzy is ‘dirty’ or ‘immoral’, what are we to say about the morality of the client who outed her for money, or the news corporation who also outed her and exploited her for money? The client who goes to a ‘dirty’ person and contributes to the ‘dirty’ business of sexwork is himself dirty; yet he is not criticised because he’s not a public figure. This whole thing is just disgusting; a tale of money-grabbing at any cost and not caring who is hurt in the process, while pretending to be somehow better than an Olympian who owns a business and works as a sexworker. Like, yeah, I can see how we’re all totally better and more successful and hardworking than Suzy.
At least this article may change people’s perceptions of escorts and show how ridiculous criminalizing sexwork (it is criminalised in America) is. The original and subsequent article state that Suzy is a separated mother who owns a business, thereby debunking the stereotype of drug-addicted sexworkers and showing people that sexworkers can have other jobs too. The Madonna-whore dichotomy is debunked here, too: Suzy is wife, mother and whore. Also, her statement that she contacted the agency to “fulfil a fantasy” and got “hooked” proves that sexworkers are not unhappy ‘sex slaves’ as abolitionists would have us believe; neither was Suzy forced into sexwork. The subsequent article states that Suzy may, against her will, be forced to tell the FBI details about the agency who made her work possible – proving how criminalization can have upsetting consequences for sexworkers and ruin agencies’ businesses.
And hopefully Suzy will be able to put her prices up now. Here’s to you, Suzy, and may we all have the courage to fulfil our fantasies as you have done.