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My reply to Richard Lucas

So, the Bill fell. And I’m getting a lot of responses to my Adultwork profile. Life is good. I might post some of my emails to Kane, the poly dom. I saw them again today and got a bit of a shock. Howl! Seven days to the wolves! (copyright Nightwish – it’s a great song, by the way.) A she-wolf meant a prostitute and of course there’s my Seven Nights stories and fantasy…But before I blog the good stuff, here’s my hilarious (even if I do say so myself) missive to our friend Richard Lucas, a homophobic anti-abortion abolitionist who debated Laura Lee and Douglas Fox. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzgc4PoBfWY I’ve got a reason to dislike -maybe hate – the guy. I don’t usually hate people I’ve never met, but this guy…he’s worse than Ann Widdecombe. And what he said…and my other reason for hating him, which only a couple of people know. This blog would be so much more interesting if I could just tell you. I guess I can say that he made me powerless and uncomfortable, even though I maintained control of the situation. He also defamed people, and I really have a thing about lies.

Anyway, Lucas was giving his usual whorephobia/pro-full criminalisation moralising to Scot-PEP, and Glasgow Sex Worker, who was Facebooking for Scot-Pep at the time, replied. So did Gaye Dalton and Matty King, and Lucas was of course steadfastly maintaining his position and questioning someone’s story of abuse in their childhood. (He also pointed out his views differ from Grant’s – yes, they’re WORSE!)

Here’s my incredibly long reply:

Oh Richard. Truly it is a privelege – nay, an honour – to meet such a uniquely arrogant moralist-driven oppressor as yourself. I bow to an inflated pride far greater than my own. Your sense of entitlement to govern the careers and bodies of your fellow humans is indeed a wonder to behold. Oh Lord Richard, I am so angry right now that I’m aroused and could hatefuck you – but all in its own time. For now, to work:

Okay: So, what you haven’t addressed is what gives you the right to moralise. Yes, you say you evaluate sex work “on its own basis” but you’re candid about your religious beliefs – for which I do genuinely respect you. So, what if Muslims, Jews, Pagans, Wiccans, Hindus and Mormons all got their way with the law? Every religion as a different view. Why is Christianity the chosen superior religion that should rule the masses? In 2013, should Britain turn from a democracy into a theocracy? When laws are based on religion, that is theocracy; so you are prepared to condemn these sceptered isles to a future of theocratic control? And come to that; why is YOUR brand of Christianity the supreme truth over Catholicism, Rastafarianism, Jehovah’s Winess(ism?) and those loonies who cast out demons? You want full criminalisation, and that results in murder, rape, increased trafficking and sex workers being arrested and so unable to exit the industry because employers wont hire criminals.

Their children get stolen by the state just because the mum or dad is working in the sex industry. You have children, oh Richard the Saviour of All the Unsaved. Imagine if social workers snatched your sons just because you’re a minister. Imagine losing custody battles, being imprisoned, being outed in the press, just because of your job. Sex work isn’t my career, unlike other sex workers you’ve debated. I’m not representative. But I still fear being outed. I know 5 people on Twitter who have been outed, as were Laura Lee and Douglas Fox. (I believe LL was outed twice- once in the 1990s and once more recently.) You cannot comprehend how much I wish I could say this with my real name. But so many people get fired for past sex work, even if it was 10 or 20 years ago, that I cannot risk it. Though it’s not my career, my blog’s existence and its explicitness put me at more risk of discrimination than the few other virginity sellers who’ve been documented. So, Oh Prophet Mine, the question is: are you really going to have women and men murdered, raped, mugged, exploited, fired, outed, separated from their children, stigmatised, discriminated against by potential employers, and saddled with criminal records JUST TO SATISFY YOUR MORALISM? Will you do that? If you are against prostitution then criminalisation – whether full crim or criminalising the buyer – works AGAINST you. It stops sex workers finding jobs in other industries and keeps them doing sex work. One woman was fired after her boss found out she acted in a porn film several years ago. She ended up going back to sex work for five years – the very job that her boss hated! Besides, other industries cause much more harm than sex work. We’re killing people in other countries. They are starving right now because we have to have nice clothes and drink at Starbucks and buy cheap jewellery. We’re killing animals. We get fat stuffing ourselves with chocolate and the farmers don’t get a fair price; their kids never get an education or enough food. This laptop was probably made by children working 14 hour shifts, or it’d have cost thousands of pounds.

Richard, if you’d like to buy my virginity, DM me on Twitter (@KalikaGold) Offers over £12,000 considered. I’m a Masters student, young, 22D, 5″6. Photos on request. I’m a bit bi so could do your wife as well or any grown-up children you may have (I could do you a family discount). (My original client went AWOL after I sold sexual services twice for £2,000).

 

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Why sex worker activists should support the decriminalisation of street work

First published on Harlot’s Parlour.

(I’m not a sex worker activist and though I’ve been planning this post for months, I wasn’t sure if I should write it; if I’m not a sex worker activist, or even a representative sex worker, then how can I tell sex worker activists what to think? But after a  brief conversation on Twitter, I decided to finally post this. – K )

If you’re for sex workers’ rights then you have to be for street sex workers’ rights too. Otherwise you’re not standing for ALL sex workers. If you think that your brand of sex work, whatever it is, should be decriminalised and that you deserve rights but that street sex work should remain criminalised, then that’s elitism. You’re saying that you’re “better” than street workers, or that you’re different to them in a way that you aren’t different to other sex workers who work in different areas of the industry but not on the street.

And if you take the view that street sex work is dangerous and therefore should be criminalised – well. Doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s the antis’ argument against the entire sex industry (including the adult entertainment industry). So, basically, you’re an anti – just an anti who wants non-street work decriminalised but is still for the abolition of street work.

Finally, if you believed that street sex workers have agency and can choose to work, how could you deny them human and labour rights? So it’s clear that to be in support of criminalising street sex work, you have to see street workers as having no agency or in need of “rescuing” by sex worker activists. Again, this might sound all too familiar.

And let’s be practical – criminalising street sex work in the UK has been proven to create what academics call the “revolving door” effect: street workers are fined for soliciting and then have to do more sex work to pay off the fine. While working to pay off the fine, they’re arrested again and hit with another fine, and so on. Which actually stops them from “exiting” street work (oh, how I hate that phrase – for all other jobs we say “finding another job”.) So, if you’re eager to rescue street workers, criminalisation actually works against your objectives. Not to mention the fact that a woman or man with several soliciting offences on their criminal record is not going to find it easy to get employment in another industry.

The Merseyside model includes exiting strategies and only uses arrest as a last resort, though unfortunately the use of exiting strategies instead of fines is, in my view, just as intrusive and is also a harassment – not to mention insulting as it implies that street work is unacceptable and that the worker doesn’t have agency. (That’s the one bit of the Merseyside model that I would wish to see changed. I mean, if they’re so obsessed with rescuing, why not rescue street workers into another type of sex work, like indoor work or, if they fit agencies’ preferences (or there are ‘specialising’ agencies nearby), agency work?)) Not that I’m for rescuing anybody anywhere; it’s just an interesting question why the police feel that the entire sex industry is exploitative but other industries are totally fine.

The fact that street sex work is criminalised might be making it more dangerous. Since clients were criminalised for kerb-crawling, maybe the law looks more equal, but it might be having the effect of weeding out the clients who don’t want a criminal record, leaving only those who might already be known to the police. How are the workers and clients supposed to report any violence they witness or experience if they know they’ll get a court appearance and a criminal record? The clients know that the workers might not report violence so they might not be deterred by the possibility of police action. (This could also be true of the sex workers, who might be more prepared to perpetrate crimes against clients because they know the clients won’t report it.) I’m not just talking about violence here, but blackmail or theft as well.

Therefore, the more dangerous you think street sex work is, the more you should be in support of decriminalising it. While there is some evidence (in the Home Office report referred to below) that criminalising clients forces street workers to work indoors in relative safety, that was a small-scale study and it’s obvious that there are still street workers even though street work is criminalised in the UK.

References:

R. Matthews (1986) “Beyond Wolfenden? Prostitution, Politics and the Law” in R. Matthews and J. Young (eds) Confronting Crime, London: Sage

R. Matthews (2008) “Prostitution, vulnerability and victimisation” in Prostitution, Politics and Policy, Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish

The Scottish Executive (2004) Being Outside: A Response to Street Prostitution (about exiting strategies and small red light zones in non-residential areas of cities. Proves that there’s only about 2,000 sex workers in all of Scotland who street walk OR work out of flats – meaning that less than 2,000 are street workers, as the number includes independent indoor workers.  Available at:http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/30859/0024989.pdf)

J. Phoenix (2000) “Prostitute Identities: Men, Money and Violence” British Journal of Criminology 40 (1) 37-55  (There is violence, but it’s not as bad as some NGO’s make it seem, and it’s hard to see how criminalization would enable these sex workers to report violence to the police or leave violent boyfriends. Oh, and non-sexworkers also experience domestic abuse, even rape.)

R. Matthews (1993) Kerb-Crawling, Prostitution and Multi-Agency Policing”, Police Research Group Paper 43, London: Home Office

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

At the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) event in Glasgow, the ECP revealed that after police failed to deal with a serial rapist, they funded a successful private prosecution. But the two women had their Criminal Injuries Compensation cut by 50% – because they sex workers.

Para 25 p11 of the Ministry of Justice’s Guidelines state that compensation can be cut for “conduct”:

An award may be withheld or reduced where the conduct of the applicant before,during or after the incident giving rise to the criminal injury makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.

Sex work was considered “conduct” which provoked the rape. No other job could be so willfully and openly punished, and no other rape victim would have been victim-blamed so much. If anyone was in doubt that sex workers are stigmatised, this is the final proof.

Happily, the problem is easy to remedy. Para 25 goes on to say “For this purpose, conduct does not include intoxication through alcohol or drugs to the extent that such intoxication made the applicant morevulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime of violence.” So all that is needed is for the words “choice of career”, “work”, “sex work” or similar before or after the line about intoxication.

As Irish Law student  @belowcontempt noted, the Irish Criminal Compensation laws are even more far-reaching, though they also do not specify rape or sex work.

Compensation was witheld – for both rape and murder – in Australia in 2006. The judge reportedly made shocking comments like “this wasn’t a woman waiting at home for her husband.”

Women are being reduced to their job – sex work. They aren’t human beings, they’re commodities. This is also insulying to men because it imples that rape is simply a risk of the job, that all clients are potential rapists.

The targetting of sex workers raises a number of philosophical conundrums: would compensation be cut if a sex worker is raped while not doing sex work, for example if she is raped by her husband? What if a man is raped one hour before exiting the sex industry? Or if, an hour after being raped, a woman joins becomes a sex worker (and how would the start time be calculated, anyway? Her first phone call to the escort agency, or when she sees her first client?) Gaye Dalton (@mechanima) raised an interesting question: where would I fit? How would they see my conduct? Are all sex workers equally culpable in their own rapes, or are VirginWhores less fallen so maybe should only have their compensation cut by a third instead of by half? Or is selling virginity even more reprehensible to men who literally reward (with compensation) sexual inexperience in women and punish experience?

This is disgusting. A century ago, rape wasn’t recognised as rape if the victim was not a virgin. And it looks like nowadays, rape isn’t really rape if the victim is not a non-sex worker. The Criminal Compensation Scheme is literally ascribing more value to ‘good women’ than to sex workers.

And even in its misogyny, it fails. Because non-sexworkers can be “sluts” and they won’t even require payment for doing it. At least sex workers only do it for work. And as I pointed out above, it seems to be a lottery of when you get raped – if you haven’t stopped or started sex work yet, you get double the compensation.

Government incentives to keep the women of Britain pure and under control.

Ministry of Justice Criminal Injuries Compensation Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/victims-and-witnesses/cic-a/am-i-eligible/criminal-injuries-comp-scheme-2012.pdf

The Irish Department of Justice’s guidelines: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Injuries_Compensation_Scheme

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Police Chiefs tell all UK forces to spy on sexworkers, sabotage their ads & stop people entering sex work

While researching for the Merseyside Model campaign, The Slutocrat came across the ACPO (National Association of Chief Police Officers) Guidelines on Policing Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation Strategy (yes, they have tied the two together because obviously sex work and trafficking are all the same thing). I don’t even think exploitation, rape and trafficking are the same thing – they’re all vile, but they’re different and you can be exploited without being raped or trafficked.

I thought tweeting some of the bad stuff would be enough, (I did that yesterday) but the more I read, the more I realised I had to do a blog on it. I’m not going to mention the good stuff that was in it, because The Slutocrat is going to do that (because we’re trying to publicise the Merseyside model and some feminists won’t click into my blog because it has the word ‘whore’ in the title – though apparently having ‘slut’ in the title is fine).

The guidelines themselves do make limited use of the term sex worker, and do acknowledge that sex work has a long tradition in human society. Sadly, the text of the guidelines seem to confuse sex work with exploitation and blur both with trafficking, and use of the term “prostitution” instead of sex work is consistent throughout. The focus on interfering in sex workers’ lives and trying to make them exit the industry is especially worrying, as even if the police do consider someone to be exploited, they could help them find non-exploitative roles in the sex industry. The police are told to treat all migrant sex workers as trafficking victims until they prove they know they haven’t been trafficked (p8) which is nonsensical at best, and ‘othering’ or disscriminatory at worst (from the point of view of migrant sex workers).

The guidelines refer to sex workers’ cards in phone booths and the sight of sex workers and clients as “visual pollution” and claims that the presence of sex workers is risky for “the vulnerable” (p9). It also seems to assume that all (not just some) sex workers are exploited: “People who use the services of sex workers may not consider themselves to be exploiters, but it is the sex workers’ loss of self-esteem (and/or drug dependency, poverty, etc.) that is often being exploited.” (p10)

The Guidelines state “A key aim must be to ensure that individuals donot become involved in prostitution in the first place” (p7) – apparently freedom of choice and the choosing of one’s career are unimportant in modern police-work.

And what about “Creating a bespoke intelligence “picture” for each local area of active sex workers, which includes new sex workers to the area, kerb-crawlers and exploiters/coercers” (p8) and building intelligence on clients, whom they call “users and abusers” (p10)? This might be a good thing to protect vulnerable street workers, but are workers in any other field of employment spied on by the State like this?

The police also admit to colluding with BT to remove sex workers’ cards from phone booths (p10).

Prostitution is victim-centred, not victim-less” they state on p5 – and they obviously mean ALL sex work, not just some…looks like the radfems have sunk their claws into our police now. Which begs the question of what a radfem state would look like.

Remember how the police raided sex work establishments in the run-up to the Olympics, forcing workers to be questioned while still in their work clothes and deporting a few women? (No trafficking victims were found). Well, it seems like all along the police knew that there wasn’t going to be trafficking in the run-up to the Games: “Concerns were raised in a Metropolitan Police Authority report, published in 2009, that sex trafficking may increase in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games. At present there is no intelligence to support that such a trend is occurring. During the run up to the Games, the Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9) of the Metropolitan Police Service is working to disrupt prostitution [not just trafficking, but all sex work/”prostitution”]and rescue victims, including victims of trafficking [“including victims of trafficking” – what other victims are there? Victims of sex work??], in the five Olympic London boroughs.”

If they knew trafficking wasn’t going on, then stopping trafficking couldn’t have been their motivation for the raids. So- what was their motivation?

On the whole, the use of language is offensive and very stigmatising of the sex industry as a whole, but hopefully we can use these guidelines for a good purpose – to back up the implementation of the Merseyside model.

The ACPO’s Guidelines on Policing Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation Strategy

http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/crime/2011/20111102%20CBA%20Policing%20Prostitution%20and%20%20Sexual%20Exploitation%20Strategy_Website_October%202011.pdf

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Let’s make all crimes against sex workers hate crimes

In Merseyside, Police have worked in partnership with sex worker organisations to catch serial rapists and declared all crimes against sex workers to be a hate crime. The police have now have achieved a 67% conviction rate for rape against sexworkers – the national average is just 6%. Article here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/dec/22/merseyside-police-sex-workers-protect

After Jemima (@itsjustahobby) over at itsjustahobby.wordpress.com sent Ruth Jacobs (@RuthFJacobs) who blogs at soul-destruction.com the link to the article, Ruth has got an MP on board with this sex worker collaboration model. Ruth has asked me to work with her to get this model implemented in every police force across the UK.

Ruth’s focus – in her own words – has always been to protect women in prostitution, and since finding out about Merseyside she has decided that focussing her efforts in implementing this across the UK is the best way to realise this goal. I think that whether you’re a sex worker or an abolitionist, you can support this collaboration model. It is possible for us to work together on this while each side continues to fight the Nordic model and push for it respectively. Ruth will be using the term “prostitution” in her blog post, and I’ll be calling it “sex work”, and that doesn’t matter. We plan on creating a blog solely about the Merseyside/Sex worker collaboration/Hate Crime model. This site will further our cause and will be a place where both sex workers and abolitionists can feel at home, and the rest of sex work politics are put aside.

We’re also considering creating a petition. While crimes against sex workers are not a hate crime in national law, Merseyside Police have designated these as hate crimes and hate crimes should be dealt with in a standard way across all police forces. With the single police force coming soon in Scotland, this collaboration/hate crime model might be relatively easy to implement in Scotland.

I hope that you all choose to support me and Ruth in this. A truce in this matter should be workable, even if you’re against abolitionists about every other issue.

Kali xxx

 
5 Comments

Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Padraig MacLochlainn makes political decision based on tweets, bullies public, and doesn’t deny pimp with 5 aliases gave evidence to Irish prostitution hearing

On 25/02/13, elected Irish politician Padraig MacLochlainn started hurling insults at the sex workers he is claiming to help. Padraig is the TD for Donegal North East and Sinn Féin’s 26 County Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence. After insulting various members of the public including sex workers, bloggers, an Irish Law student and a parody account and ‘blocking’ most of them, MacLochlainn frther demonstrated his contempt for political debate and evidence-based policy by tweeting that he will now advise Sinn Fein to support Turn Off the Red Light – not because of evidence, but because he was feeling annoyed with the people he’d just mocked and blocked.

Turn Off the Red Light is an anti-prostitution organisation.

padraigtorlfull

Padraig openly claimed that in “24 hours” he had made his decision (if not actually immediately due to tweets). This doesn’t sound like the thoghtful, evidence based conduct we would expect from politicians.

When tweeted a link to an article exposing the fact that one of anti-prostitution organisation Ruhama Agency’s witnesses, a prostitution “survivor”, is actually a convicted pimp with several aliases, Padraig did not deny this. He only said that other witnesses had used aliases – which entirely misses the point. Using aliases is normal within the sex worker community, because our sex-negative society forces sex workers to remain pseudonymous. But using multiple alias on different TV shows, at hearings and other public forums is creating a false impression to the electorate that many more “survivors” support the Swedish/Nordic model than is in fact the case. And if a sex worker is also a pimp, they need to admit this at the Irish prostituution hearing, because there could be a conflict of interest. There isn’t necessarily a conflict of interest, but there might be, because the fewer rights sex workers have, the more money pimps could make, just like any other labour relationship.

padraigdoesntdenyaliases

There’s no denial. Does Padraig MacLochlainn not care about the integrity of the Irish prostitution hearing? Or did he already know? I guess we’ll never know. Article here: http://sexwork.ie/2013/02/24/false-witness/

Padraig MacLochlainn also showed incredible disdain for sex workers (and everyone else who attempted to engage him in debate). He blocked people for sending him a single, polite, reasonable tweet. He replied to tweets with “zzz” a few tiimes, then called people  “arrogant” and “very sinister” simply for engaging in political debate. Padraig MacLoclainn also appeares to take issue with the fact that “many” of the random people who happened to tweet at him at that particular time were “from overseas” (i.e. Scotland – where the same attempt to force the Swedish model is being made right now -and England). Despite his public image of helping women in the sex industry, MacLochlainn insisted on calling sex workers “prostitutes”. Padraig MacLoclainn also called someone “pathetic” for “hiding behind a false name” despite his earlier  fierce defence of  using 5 aliases in public debate and hearings. The person in question was actually a parody account rather than a “fake persona” or “false name” as MacLochlainn alleged.

But don’t take my word for it:

padraigbbwmelody

Stand-up comic @BBWMelody’s plea for MacLochlainn not to keep blocking people and replying with “zzz” is seen by MacLochlainn as another opportunity to insult the general public.

MacLochlainn's Twitter timeline becomes a catalogue of his derision for anyone disagreeing with the Swedish model

MacLochlainn’s Twitter timeline becomes a catalogue of his derision for anyone disagreeing with the Swedish model

padraigmaggie

padraigturnoffrl

What a shining example of the Irish political process – if Sinn Fein really dies endorse Turn Off the Red Light, we’ll all know it was because one Padraig MacLochlainn decided to bully members of the public – including an Irish Law student and an Irish sex worker – then got in a bit of a huff after his blockfest.

Update: Sinn Fein has endorsed Turn Off The Red Light.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Feminism, Media, Sex work

 

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PHALLACY: The myth that prostitutes are ‘used’ by men

The idea that sex workers are ‘used’ or that their bodies are commodities is a fallacy. But many feminists use this argument to claim that sex work is degrading, anti feminist, commodifies women or is harmful to them. Moralists (who are sometimes indistinguishable from the radical feminists) use the argument to justify looking down on sex workers or pitying them because they’re “degraded”. The radfem myths of ‘false consciousness’ and sexworkers’ lack of agency are also  heavily dependent on seeing them as used bodies, as sex slaves.

But if you think that sex workers are used by clients, that idea is actually made up of several patriarchal ideas about gender and gender rules.

1) It means you think there aren’t male sex workers and that there aren’t female clients. So it’s a world where there are no LGBTQ people to sell sex or buy sex. It’s also a world where only men like sex and therefore pay for it; women are chaste so would never buy sex. They only provide it. They don’t have sex for pleasure. They only have sex for money, just like housewives or women who marry for money. The word “patriarchal” doesn’t quite cover it; words like heterosexist and double standard could be applied here, too. And of course it’s all about rigid gender norms and a non-fluid gender identity – as well as other things. So, this idea is clearly flawed because male sex workers and female buyers do exist. In the Irish Justice committee’s sex work hearing, Quinlan gave evidence that in Sweden twice as many men as women sell sex (to both women and men).

2) It means you believe in the economic model of sex. The economic model is the idea of sex which is the most misogynistic and the most harmful to women. The economic model says that women “give” sex for other things like money/financial security (i.e. housewives and prostitutes) or love. This also means that sex is something women ‘have’ that men “get”. So, a woman will always lose something (an unknown entity) through sex and the man will always gain something (sex) from the woman. This is exactly what radfems believe – that only men by sex, and they buy it from women; and that no woman would really ever choose to be a sexworker. Again, the double standard and rigid gender identities and gender norms are all connected with this, and again LGBTQ people are conspicuosly absent. Other models of sex are less misogynistic. For example the performance model would view women and men as equals, and focus on the act as “doing” rather than as one person “getting” something from the other (which makes absolutely no logical sense, anyway.) The economic model is flawed.

3) It means that you don’t believe women enjoy sex. Radfems think that no woman would choose to be a sex worker and so all sex workers are either trafficked or only doing it because they’ve got no other choice. Not some sex workers – all of them. But if women get pleasure from it, it would follow that some women would choose a job in the sex industry, or at least wouldn’t need rescuing by feminists.

4) It means you believe that women should be pure and that the sanctity of the female body isa real thing, and is precious. Or why else would uneducated women doing sex work to avoid being on benefits be such a tragedy? “Little girls don’t dream about being a prostitute,” they say. But little girls don’t dream about working in Tesco’s or Poundland or McDonald’s. They also don’t dream about doing boring jobs like being a wages clerk or hman resources personnel, but the reality of life is that many jobs are administrative and nonexciting. Most people don’t get to be princesses or astronauts or cowboys or pirates. But radfems act like women working in the sex industry is a tragedy, and seem to prefer women to be on the dole, barely able to eat and stigmatised as unemployed. Wouldn’t you rather be unreasonably stigmatised for working as a sex worker than be unreasonably stigmatised for not being able to work and being the poorest of the poor, while being harassed and bullied by the Jobcentre? Because that’s what Jobseeker’s Allowance amounts to. Radfems also only focuus on sex trafficking and talk about it as if it’s separate from all other labour trafficking/human trafficking, despite labour trafficking being a much bigger problem. So it seems that, for radfems,  if it involves sex – whether it’s a job or a crime – it’s infinitely worse.

5) You think sex is degrading. Or why would radfems think sex work is degrading, but give other jobs where you have to touch peoples’ bodies (doctor, masseuse, carer, midwife, gynecologist etc) a free pass? And lots of people are degraded and dehumanized while working as waitresses, shop assistants or in any kind of employment. Casual workers and low-wage workers are particularly vulnerable. I knew a school girl who worked part-time as a shop assistant who was forced to clean toilets by the boss who hated her. I had to tell my boss whenever I went to the toilet as a waitress; my boss frequently swore and shouted at me and once docked my pay.for telling a customer the wrong price. These stories aren’t unique; my co-workers were paid £3 per hour at one job, and knew a waiter who was only allowed noodles for lunch (he had to eat on the premises). I could tell more stories, and they’re all stuff that happened to me, my friends,acquaintances and co-workers. This was clearly exploitation, but we were too young to know it or too desperate for money to care. Some employers don’t register employees, especially students and pupils, which means that these teens and young people have no rights. You can be fired on a whim, which means you’ll do anything to keep your job, like changing the bins in the toilets or sitting through 20 minutes of yelling and criticism (both of which I have done at two different jobs). Yet radfems think that if it’s not sex, it’s not as bad – even though a sex worker earns £100-£200 per hour and we were paid the minimum wage or under it. So even if sexwork is degrading, at least you’re being paid a lot to be degraded; it’s better than being paid peanuts to be degraded. But again, without sex, it’s just ordinary exploitation and the radfems don’t care.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the myth that sex workers are used by clients does not hold together. It’s based on untrue facts (that sex workers are women and clients are men) and all the other component parts of the myth are flawed or illogical.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Pretty Woman and Belle de Jour: Are they happy hooker myths or the complete opposite?

“It’s not like Pretty woman, you know,” say the abolitionists whenever the issue of sex work (“prostitution”) comes up. They use this one-liner to justify criminalizing sexwork and pushing the Swedish or end demand model (which makes paying for any kind of sexual services a crime) on the rest of the country. At other times, a more 21st-century version of the old gem is used: “It’s not all Belle de Jour”.

But first…THINGS ABOLITIONISTS MISS

1) “It’s not all Pretty Woman” is only a valid and relevant argument if Pretty Woman was designed as a documentary to speak for sex workers. It is meant to be fiction. We all know Hollywood gets it wrong, especially with regard to marginalized groups; they do this all the time.

2) “It’s not all Belle de Jour” also makes no sense; the books do not claim to speak for all sex workers; the blog called itself “Diary of a call girl” – i.e. the diary of a specific individual; the books were called the “intimate adventures” of a call girl; again, a single individual. They were not academic articles or textbooks. Why do abolitionists persevere in thinking that Belle was speaking for anyone other than herself? And with lots of sex worker and sex activists out there, they choose Belle to focus on – feminism, or jealousy because the others aren’t famous? Hmmm…

3) You can’t call a real story unrealistic

4) Pretty Woman represents a street sex worker, not the majority of sex workers

5) Abolitionists and the feminists who side with them use criticism of Pretty Woman and Belle de Jour interchangeably, not realising that they’re not the same or even similar things, and it’s not ethical or logical to think of them as similar. To elaborate: when you say you hate a film, that’s OK. You’re criticizing the scriptwriters, actors, director, producer – everyone and every thing that holds a movie together. (Note that feminists use the title oof the film when they criticise it). But when you say you hate a memoir, you’re saying something againsst the person – not the author (because its not fiction) but the person (because it’s a memoir). Saying a film script isn’t realistic doesn’t hurt anyone; films exist to make big bucks for the studio and they’re multi-person projects as well as completely fictitious. But saying a memoir isn’t realistic is different. (Note that the so-called feminists don’t use the book’s or TV series’ name here, they use the writer’s name). And these two cultural phenomena are totally different: one’s a multi-million dollar project started by studio execs, made by celebrities and created as fiction. The other is the un-funded true story of a year-and-a-bit in the life of a migrant student, as told in her own words.

Am I suggesting the feminists shouldn’t criticise the blog, books or TV series? YES. No. I mean, we dish it to them, too; and free speech for one and all, right? I’m just suggesting that they see Pretty Woman and Secret Diary of A London Call Girl as separate, very different entities, and think more carefully about which of the two to criticise in any argument, and what point they’re trying to make by bringing it up.

6) The other Belle de Jour book and film, which Brooke Magnanti named herself after. (“It’s not all Belle de Jour! I mean the first Belle de Jour!”)

bdj67

PRETTY WOMAN

What they allege – with no evidence – is that Pretty Woman is not an accurate portrayal of sex workers (or, in their lingo, ‘prostituted women’). And actually I agree – but for the opposite reasons. The character in Pretty Woman is a street sex worker. Street workers make up only about 10% of sex workers in the UK, so the film is not relevant to the UK sex industry (and it was made in the USA, not UK). I’d heard all about how the movie unrealistically glamourises sex work, so when I watched it on TV I got a shock. It seemed as if the film had been written and performed to stigmatise sex workers and the sex industry.

And far from glamourising prostitution, the film actually stigmatises and stereotypes sex workers. Vivian dresses in a revealing outfit, has never seen an elevator or been inside a nice hotel, is awed by the size of a small room, is emotional, is unable to even shop for a dress without the help of others, and charges $300 per hour yet is stupid enough to stay an entire week for $3,000 which really would only be the price for 10 hours. I mean, yeah, I get it that if you use more of a service or buy in bulk you get discounts – but that discount seems a bit much.

Vivian also feels upset that her client told his friend she is a sex worker, and decides to leave without taking the payment for the services she has sold. This is stereotyping sex workers as ashamed of their careers, as if all sex workers are slut-shamers and furthermore have internalised that slut-shaming and turned it on themselves.

Vivian is portrayed as uneducated; her friend appears to be struggling with money.

Vivian then falls in love with Edward (after only knowing him for a few days). She decides to leave the sex industry (suggesting sex workers are unhappy and want to leave.)

This quote from Wikipedia says it all:

His leaping from the white limousine, and then climbing the outside ladder and steps, is a visual urban metaphor for the knight on white horse rescuing the “princess” from the tower, a childhood fantasy Vivian told him about. The film ends as the two of them kiss on the fire escape.

The whore has redeemed herself by love and monogamy with the kind of alpha male that would return in two decades’ time in the form of Christian Grey.

Conclusion: Not happy hooker! Instead, its a radfem’s wet dream, and pure hollywood from start to finish.

 

BELLE DE JOUR

I’ve only read a bit of the first book, but it’s obvious that this is more than antis have read, so that’s why I feel qualified enough to comment on it. I will also be using stuff like logic and actual reference to the text instead of huge sweeping statements about Pornstitution or Moral Decay or the State of The Country Today And Why Feminism No Not Your Feminism But My Slut Bashing Feminism Is The One True Way.

There is nothing “glamourising” about the book. In fact, sex bloggers right here on WordPress glamourise sex far more than Belle ever did. Her books are not explicit; they cover many aspects of her life including relationships with family, friends and The Boy. The whole point of the award-winning blog was that the sex work narrative got entangled with everything else – and maybe that’s one reason why the blog/books were successful. A description of one sexual act after another with no exploration of relationships and emotions may not be destined for success except as erotica or porn. I was surprised at the lack of explicit detail in the book, that summer day in 2011 or 2010. I remember reading “..and a bit of (very light) torture” and being slightly irritated with the author (who I only knew as ‘Belle’, unaware her identity had been revealed a year earlier), like, ‘I want the juicy juicy details!!!’

Does Belle de Jour glamourise sex work as much as E.L. James glamourises monogamy or marriage? Brand-names and helicopters don’t feature in Belle’s work. Or, for that matter, does it glamourise sex work as much as James Bond glamourises spying (and murdering)?

When you consider other published memoirs such as Sarah K’s BDSM memoir or the sex blogging of Zoe Margolis, the “glamourising” charge becomes even more problematic.

I’m no literary critic, but I’d say that the theme of Belle de Jour is one person trying to live her life; it has been said that recurring themes are loneliness, self-sufficiency and independence, though personally I’m unconvinced about the loneliness. But this blog – the Diary category – probably ‘glamourises’ sex work even more. I write in a sexually explicit way, being careful not to omit a single detail. Recurring themes are thrills, experience and sexual fantasy. The joy experienced by selling sex is repeatedly stated. My blog is not only memoir, but also (arguably) sex blogging – something Belle de Jour (arguably) never was explicit enough to be.

So why is it okay for sex bloggers to glamourise sex? Because they’re glamourising unpaid sex?

Antis feel sorry for me, and annoy me but they don’t say I’m glamourising prostitution…which may prove that instead of being about feminism or morality, they discredit people based on good old fashioned envy of fame and (in this case, percieved) material wealth.

The TV series was about a sex worker quitting sex work but finding out that it’s not as easy as it seems (this was the series’ tagline) – again, stereotyping sex workers as not enjoying their job. How is this glamourising? It is clearly showing the sex industry in a negative light, and the sex worker as having little agency and control over her own life and being unable to exit the industry.

Another criticism abolitionists and radfems make of the Belle books is that they’re unrealistic. But “Belle” was a real person who had really worked as a sex worker – her testimony is as real as the stories of the few prostitution survivors who are used by abolitionists to speak for their cause.

Abolitionists also haven’t figured out the main difference between Vivian and Belle: one isn’t real, the other is a real person deserving of respect like all human beings. There’s a reason why, when Belle had full editorial control (her blog) sex work was not portrayed negatively (or at least not more so than many other jobs) but in the TV series and in Pretty Woman it was portrayed as an industry the sex worker wanted to leave.

Conclusion: Belle de Jour is realistic because it is a memoir and you don’t get any more realistic than that. It has equal legitimacy with, (and represents the experiences of sexworkers much more closely than) the stories of the women who call themselves survivors. It does not glamourise sex work; it only tells a true story and is less glamourising of sex work than sex bloggers are of sex.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Film, Literature, Sex work

 

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Ruhama Agency ran the Magdalene Laundries: Round 2 of abusing fallen women, or, how sex workers replaced Magdalenes

The government disappointed survivors and Justice For Magdalenes campaigners yesterday by not apologising for being complicit. Perhaps if more people realised that the Ruhama Agency which is currently advising the government on sex work is run by the same people who ran the Magdalene Laundries, they would be even more outraged. The Magdalene Laundries were started for sex workers, then later began preying on unmarried mothers as well, and on women who committed minor crimes like taking a night off work or not paying for a train ticket. Sex workers were abused and died in the laundries, and now those same people are advising the government on policy which directly affects sex workers. And sex workers weren’t allowed into the Dail hearing where Ruhama was giving evidence to the government.

The Ruhama Agency was started in 1989, and its trustees continued to run both Ruhama Agency and the laundries together, until the last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996. Ruhama have refused to meet with Magdalene Laundries survivors and say they can’t pay compensation. Allegedly, they’ve also silenced sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads and paying for Ruhama ads that intercept search engine terms used to find sex workers’ activism sites. They also allegedly censored tweets about Ruhama abusing girls from an abolitionist parody Twitter account, which was suspended three times until yesterday when the Magdalene Laundries report came out. On the day when Ruhama feared the parody account would tweet about the report (or that people would be more interested in the parody), the account was suspended for a fourth time. Ruhama also replied to tweets about abuse, saying they were “serious allegations” when we all know – and the Magdalene Laundries survivors know – that it was all too real.

The next sex work hearing will be secret and will not be streamed, according to Pat O’Neary, as reported by individuals who emailed and phoned him. This is wrong – all policy must be made in the open and sex workers must be included as they’re affected most of all.

The Ruhama Agency is still being listened to and valued by the government while survivors are ignored (the Magdalene Laundries investigation was only started because the UN Commiitee Against Torture required it) and sex workers are not allowed to influence policies which affect them the most out of everyone (or even witness the hearing).

Even now amid the Magdalene Laundries controversy, those responsible are still excercising their power over fallen women – just not confining themselves to a few thousand women in the laundries. This time, the whole of Ireland is their playground. There has been little change – this is just Round Two of their state-sponsored attack on fallen women. Only, now sex workers have replaced the mix of sex workers, unmarried mothers and minor criminals who made up the “magdalenes”, and instead of enslaving women in convents, they’re actually lawmakers now.

Ruhama are contributing to making laws about sex workers by advising government. And the law they’re pushing for is the Swedish model which will result in more rape, murder and trafficking in the sex industry and expose sex workers to unsafe working conditions, abuse by police and control by pimps.  And, funded and listened to by a state which excluded its victims from the hearing, they might just succeed.

Interested? Here’s more…

Ruhama won’t meet with survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and claim they can’t pay compensation – even though they’ve recieved over 14 million euros since 2006 from the Health Service Executive alone. http://www.paddydoyle.com/laundry-orders-run-sex-workers-aid-group/

Media reports that Ruhama is run by those who ran the laundries, and is funded by TWO government depts! http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0625/1224299584327.html

A sex worker’s rights blog on how Ruhama are harming sex workers: http://www.stop-the-lights.com/old/times.htm

Ruhama does very little work; last year Ruhama only helped 241 women (some of whom were ongoing cases) and none of which were trafficking victims. (They say a few are “suspected” trafficking victims, but list no figure for women who said they were trafficked). Do they really need all that funding from taxpayers? http://www.thejournal.ie/ruhama-reports-18-per-cent-increase-in-demand-for-support-services-567797-Aug2012/ And last year was already a large increase in the numbers!

Ruhama try to silence sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads: http://www.turnoffthebluelight.ie/2011/06/08/ruhama-paying-to-stop-people-seeing-what-sex-workers-have-to-say/

Follow #sexworkhearing, #sexwork and #JusticeForMagdalenesNow on Twitter for live tweets of the hearing and more on Ruhama, the laundries and sex work politics.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Are You Sluttier Than A Prostitute?: Sluts, sex workers, and why we’re all whores

DISCLAIMER:

This post will use conservative-moralist terms and rhetoric to better express the ideas contained within it. No part of this post should be construed as an endorsement of sex-negativity, misogyny or slutshaming, or any part of the radical feminist or conservative-moralist agendas.

Sex workers are stigmatised because of slut shaming, and society views sex wotkers as the ultimate sluts (because they fail to distinguish between sex for pleasure and sex for work). Though, with me, the two are combined because I’m doing this for a thrill and to fulfil a fantasy.

However, even if slut shaming or the idea of the “slut” was, like, actually real or logical or anything like that, I’m still not sure that sexworkers really would succeed in coming out on top as the Sluttiest of Them All.

Take my favourite Asian gay guy’s latest TV exploits. Gok Wan’s Gok’s Style Secrets involves picking a potential husband out of any reasonably good-looking guys in a bar. Quite apart from the fact that life partners shouldn’t be chosen on looks (or a lottery of who happens to be in the bar when you walk in), why is choosing a husband in this way any “better” (to use the conservative-moralist terminology) than paying a man for sex?

Go into any bar or club and you’ll find a man who will let you take him home and have sex with him for free. At least sexworkers will only do it for money. The word “easy”, literally referring to how easy it is to have sex with a woman, os bandied about a lot. But lots of women and men have one night stands, friends with benefits and sex with strangers. Some even advertise for casual sex, most commonly on Craigslist and sites like BeNaughty.com. Many go out in killer outfits to snag some guy or girl to take home, walking the streets at night in search of sex with a stranger.

And this is better than prostitution? Why? Because they’ll do it without being paid? Because instead of phoning and making an appointment, or going through an email vetting process, or contacting an agency, they bought a girl a drink or slow-danced with a man? Seems like a lot of sexworkers are actually less easy than people who aren’t sexworkers. Some sexworkers won’t see you if you’ve missed one appointment or your email or text message contains text-speech or grammatical/spelling errors. Some will look up your name on websites set up by sexworkers which name and shame clients who don’t pay (which I would call rapists) or who are violent. With a lot of sex workers, you have to wait a couple of hours or days to see them and there are things they won’t do.

But people who aren’t sex workers will sleep with strangers immediately and without caring how their spelling is or knowing if they could turn violent.

My own experiences fit this model too. With Roland, I trialled him by going to a nude photoshoot to see if he seemed potentially dangerous and to test whether he would pay. We also sent messages a couple of times, then finalised the arrangement face to face. So, with sex work I seem to vet the client and it takes days before I’ll sell sexual services.

However with Donny, we just started spanking and touching each other suddenly, and he says “You could spend the night” and I’m like, “Yeah, great, I’ll just phone my mum and tell her I’m staying over at Kathy’s.” So I actually am more ‘easy’ when it’s not sex work, and the performing of sex is immediate.

I think this pretty much proves that the problem people have with sex work is the money – the fact that people want payment for something that is seen as too enjoyable to be work. Or perhaps because sex workers want payment for something everyone else ‘gives up’ for free.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Sex work

 

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Kat: You are not my leader

We have a problem. Being feminist in Britain now means you’re anti-sex work and anti-porn. The sex-negative feminists (heirs of the 1970’s radical feminists) have hijacked these debates and the word “feminism” itself. Women (and men) are afraid to call themselves feminists if they don’t share these ideas. They may feel, as I did, that because they are okay with sex work or pornography that they are not feminists.

This creates a vicious circle: when only anti-sex work, anti-pornography women call themselves ‘feminists’, they create a sex-negative public image of feminism. And so when the media portrays feminists and feminism, it is forced to portray sex-negative anti-porn women, because that’s the pool it has to choose from. So now Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista and ally of Object (an anti-sex work, anti-porn NGO aiming to make sex work a crime) is “Britain’s leading young feminist” according to The Guardian. This title implies that all feminists share her beliefs. But as we know, many feminists do not agree. Some feminists are sex workers or work in the sex industry. Some do not want to ban pornography or sex work. Yet others feel that different issues are more important and more to blame for gender inequality.

Yet, can we blame the Guardian? With only antis labelling themselves feminist, who else could they choose? If it wasn’t Banyard, it would be another with exactly the same views. Sex-positive public figures such as Dr Brooke Magnanti could never be labelled as our leading young feminist, because they reject the label of ‘feminist’.

Many sex-positive bloggers and sex activists already call themselves feminists or gender-equalists ‘in their heads’ but not publically.

So, this is a call to all sex-positive people – female, male, trans, genderqueer, whatever: CALL YOURSELF A FEMINIST! Then strippers, models, women who watch porn and sex workers can no longer be stigmatised or subjected to laws that harm them in the name of ‘feminism’, because it’ll be obvious that many feminists are against these measures. Showing publically that you are a feminist could be as simple as putting the word “feminist” in your Twitter, Facebook or blog/site profiles, or creating social media groups about sex-positive feminism, or social media groups to encourage others to adopt the label. As my lecturer said,” if you believe women should be equal to men then you are a feminist” – so millions of people are feminists but don’t accept the label because they associate feminism with people like Banyard.

Eventually, prominent feminists won’t only be sex-negative, we will have sex-positive prominent feminists! More famous people will adopt the label of feminist, and stigmatising all models/lapdancers/sexworkers as ‘slaves’, and women who like porn as ‘brainwashed’, -or even trying to criminalise prostitution in Scotland -will no longer be done in the name of feminism.

IIf all sex-positives call ourselves feminists, we remind everyone that Object, SCASE and the ever-lingering voice of 1970’s radfem Andrea Dworkin do not speak for us. And Banyard is not our leader.

Please RT, reblog etc or spread the word in your own words 🙂

Thanks, ‘Lika

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Feminism, Media

 

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Moulin Rouge!: Smashing the ‘happy hooker’/sex slave dichotomy

Baz Luhrmann’s 2002 movie about naive young Christian (Ewan MacGregor) falling in love with Moulin Rouge dancer and sex worker Satine (Nicole Kidman) tells a nuanced story of love and sex work.

The Moulin Rouge nightclub and brothel is owned by Harold Zidler. The movie follows Christian as he writes a play that is to be performed there and pursues Satine, finally recieving reprocity and having to keep their love a secret from the jealous Duke who wants to marry Satine. All of the characters’ success and happiness (and, for Zidler, his livelihood) depends on Satine keeping the violent Duke happy by ceasing her sex work. This is reminiscent of the great cultural burdens of honour that women historically carried/still carry in some communities; if they lost their virginity it was a betrayal and tragedy to their families.

Although Satine is what we in 21st-century Britain would think of as more of a ‘sex slave’ since there was no welfare state in her time (so if she didn’t do sex work she would starve), she is portrayed as enjoying her work and as having agency. She is capable of building healthy relationships – friendships with the other characters and being in love with Christian. Satine can recognise unhealthy or abusive relationships (the Duke’s possessiveness and, in a sense, Harold Zidler for using her for business).

Best of all, when Satine becomes the victim of attempted rape, this is not portrayed as an inherent risk of sex work or as Satine’s ‘fault’ for being a sex worker. Instead, the Duke’s abusive, insecure, violent character is to blame.

Of the two men interested in Satine, the one with the rescuer mentality (a desire to ‘rescue’ sex workers from their work) is the evil abusive character. Christian, while struggling with jealousy, seems jealous only of the Duke and diesn’t go as far as demanding Satine stop doing sex work, as the Duke does by requiring a contract from Zidler that “binds Satine to me”.

None of the characters are stereotypes. Zidler is both the unscrupulous pimp and the concerned father-figure; Christian is a respectful, loving boyfriend but still toys with jealousy. And Satine says that she must do sex work to survive – “A girl has got to eat/Or she’ll end up on the street” and that she has ambitions beyond the sex industry (to be an actress, the next Sara Bernhardt) but, at the same time, she obviously enjoys her work and is capable of manipulating clients (such as using love, sex or charm to get the Duke to invest in the play). This portrayal seems quite odd to some participants in the current sex work discourse; how can one want to exit sex work, yet enjoy it, be proud of it and not want to escape the industry to a life of luxury by marrying the Duke? Significantly, Satine does not realise her dream of “flying away” and “leav[ing] all this to yesterday” but instead dies in the Moulin Rouge.

The Duke’s possessiveness, Christian’s love, Zidler’s business plans and Satine’s ambitions were really just dreams all along – Satine had tuberculosis and would never have lived long enough for any of this to be realised. All that was real was their love and her sex work.

A good point in the film is when Satine talks of escaping the Duke and the Moulin Rouge with Christian; however Christian isn’t rescuing her, she is choosing her destiny and wants to depart with Christian as equals.

Satine also only began to have wishes of exiting prostitution when she was told of an opportunity the Duke was affording her to become a celebrity, and this feeling only intensified when she fell in love and her relationship with Christian became her priority. So, without these two men entering her life, Satine would have remained happy to be a sex worker.

In addition, Satine is a well-rounded character who has a talent for acting and enjoys socialising – she isn’t a cardboart-cutout prostitute.

Sex work is not portrayed as either degrading or empowering in the film. It seems to be just another job, seen alongside the other characters’ jobs of acting, singing, dancing, writing and the arts – ( indeed, even interchangeable with the arts, as the sex workers dance in the Moulin Rouge and act in the play, and the actors (and writer) date and form friendships with the sex workers. The play itself is about a sex worker, and Christian’s novel, which narrates the film, is about the Moulin Rouge; Satine’s ambition is to act.)) All of these professions are shown as falling under the Bohemian Revolution spirit of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. The Duke, who stops Satine’s sex work, is the one character who is opposed to these ideals – “I don’t care about your ridiculous dogma!”.

In general, Moulin Rouge! does not fall prey to either side of the happy hooker/sex slave dichotomy, but embraces the good and the bad of sex work without demonising, glamorising or dramatising it; it’s just another way to make money in a corrupt and unequal society.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Film, Sex work

 

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Marriage: priveleged in public discourse on rape, emotional health and childrearing

This is another post I’ve been wanting to write for a while.

Marriage. Sure, we accept it can cause problems, especially that the definition of marriage is problematic. We accept that domestic violence and rape occurs in marriage more than it does in relationships where the partners aren’t living together. But marriage is priveleged.

I’m going to start off with the example of rape, then move on to emotional and mental health, and finally childrearing. For this post, I’m only going to be talking about heterosexual women because it seems like most of the discourse and marriage-privelege is centered around this group. This post will assume some knowledge/sympathetic views (will not have references, statistics or attempt to prove points).

Rape/sexual assault

When a woman experiences sexual assault outside her marriage – especially if she is a young single woman – she may be blamed for it. She was out late, she was walking alone, her clothes were a certain length, cut, or showed a certain amount of skin, she wasn’t sober, she shouldn’t have trusted that man, she shouldn’t have hung around with those guys, she was flirting, she should have realised she was in danger earlier, she shouldn’t have led him on…

So, the social norms of socialising, drinking, flirting, dating, and even shopping (a shop sold her the clothes, why not criticise the designer or the retailer if you think the outfit is too short/tight?) are out of bounds for raped women. It’s okay to go out for a drink with your friends, but if you get attacked coming out of the bar, you shouldn’t have been out so late. If you don’t go on dates you’re a loser, snob, frigid or ugly, but if you go on a date and things go wrong in the car or at his place, you have only yourself to blame for being stupidly naive or a flirt who led him on. It’s always okay to do those things – until you get attacked. Then it’s your fault for being a normal person with a social life, errands to run, a life outside your kitchen, and clothes that aren’t hand-me-downs from Granny.

So, a woman’s lifestyle or even career (in the case of sex workers) is blamed for ‘causing’ the rape. You got raped because you were flirting/drinking/socialising/outside your home after dark, or because you are a sex worker. Your behaviour or your job is the culprit.

Yet, when a woman experiences sexual assault in her marriage, the institution of marriage is never blamed. (Note: I’m not saying victims of domestic violence are not blamed; sometimes, people and courts might not take them seriously compared to a woman who is assaulted by a knife-wielding stranger, because domestic abuse sometimes doesn’t seem ‘rape-y’ enough.) What I am saying is: women aren’t usually* blamed for marrying. People don’t say ‘it was her fault she was raped, she was living in the same house as the guy so it was really easy to rape her’ or ‘She should’ve realised he was a rapist before she married him’ or ‘What was she wearing?’ or even ‘She was alone with him in the bedroom at night, what did she think was going to happen?’.

Even though the fact that you’re living with a man makes it very easy for you to be sexually assaulted – close proximity, less chance you’ll call the police, etc.

But marriage is never seen as the culprit. Nobody ever says, ‘You were raped because you are a wife’ or ‘See, marriage causes rape,’ ‘Marriage is dangerous and degrading to wives’. But it’s not that uncommon to hear or see victims blamed: ‘She was raped because she is a sex worker’ or ‘See, sex work causes rape’, ‘Sex work is dangerous and degrading to sex workers’. Nobody tells wives to “Stop dressing like sluts” in front of their husbands (the comment that inadvertently launched the SlutWalks) or that they must restrict their freedom of movement and be on their guard against rape.

Some of this is because of practicality – it’s hard to be on your guard in your own home. But being on your guard in your own home is no more ridiculous than being told to be on your guard in your own neighbourhood,. And there’s no reason why bigots couldn’t tell wives to watch how they dress.

 

Emotional/mental health

Marriage is still thought of as a stress reliever, especially in the case of parenting. We all know marriage can be stressful, but if a woman has emotional problems, it tends not to be attributed to her marriage unless she tells us so. We tend to think of work or family issues as the culprit. Whereas a single woman having a breakdown is often asked about boyfriends or sex partners, and we more readily assume that her sex life is causing the distress, before we think about her family or career as possible causes.

Sometimes it is still assumed that a single woman is looking for that special someone to eventually marry, and only then will she find true happiness. Some people still assume that a string of casual boyfriends is not true happiness, or is just the prelude to a long-awaited union with Mr Right. Marriage is still, in some circles, seen as the key to a woman’s happiness. Womens’ dating and sex lives are reduced to a lengthy search for Mr Right.

 

Childrearing

 

When kids misbehave, get into trouble with the police or don’t do well at school, parents and not teachers are usually blamed. That’s a subject outwith the scope of this blog, which only deals with issues surrounding my Diary (a young single polyamorous woman selling virginity to a rich open-married polyamorous guy for fun and thrills). What is within the scope of this blog is the fact that, although all parents of criticised children and adolescents are blamed, marriage is never seen as the cause of the child’s failures. Divorce, single motherhood, polyamory, parental dating and problem marriages where the parents argue continually are all blamed. But a marriage where the parents don’t argue is never seen as a cause for the child’s problems. Why not, if single motherhood is sometimes blamed – especially in the media – for juvenile delinquency? If a one-parent or separated/nonmarried/divorced background can be a cause, why not a two-parent/married background? Studies show that single parents’ children do as well as coupled parents’ children (when poverty and educational status are controlled for, which wasn’t done in earlier studies – see my post ‘Lone mothers: the Government, the media and the law hate you. Get married!’ for references and statistics.)

 

*Usually, in media representations and other forms of public discourse. I’m not saying family members don’t do it, ‘Oh you should never have married him, I told you he had shifty eyes! Isn’t that right, Doreen? [nudge] Eh?’

 

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Roland pays me near my house

We were going to stop off where I lived and he would pay me there. It was wrong. It was exhilarating. And it was risky, because in this small area, a BMW is noticeable, and so am I; and my mum could be out walking the dogs. And she knows a lot of people in the area from walking the dogs, so what if one of them saw me and Roland and told her?

“Yes, what if you were seen getting out of a BMW when you were supposed to be in Edinburgh?” Roland grinned like a pervy shark.

I was trying to figure out what to tell my mum if she asked about my day; “She usually never asks me, or she just asks if I had a good time, but it’d be just my luck if she asked me this one time,” I explained.

“Yeah, you’ve got to get your story straight,” he said, savouring every word.

Earlier, I’d asked what his parents would think of this sordid affair.

“They’d think it was naughty, but then, boys are naughty,” he’d replied.

“So I’d be the naughty one? I’d be the slut?”

He nodded. “Yeah, they would think of you as a slut.”

Later, he’d taken his wallet off a shelf, and the wallet was hugely fat with all the money in it. The notes were bulging out. He looked at the money inside and stuffed some more wads in, all the time while driving. Then he told me to count it. I counted it 3 times and got a different answer each time, which is normal for me. This is why I always count money 4 times, so that 2 amounts will match. Like I said, I’m not good with numbers. Roland suggeted I fold a note around each hundred so it’s easier to count. I was dizzy from lack ofsleep when counting them. It was £740 or something. That’s what he’d thought it’d be. He said we coukl stop at an ATM where I lived.

Right now, I was happily fretting over being seen. What a thrill! Roland asked where there was a cash machine and I suggested we park at the supermarket, where there was less chance of my mum or one of her acquaintances spotting us. However, there would be few cars in the car park at this time, so if someone did happen to be coming out or going into the supermarket, we would be conspicuous. A BMW would be more conspicuous parked than it would be driving along, where it could just be passing through. (Most cars are old or cheap in this town/area).

Roland’s age would also cause more suspicion if my mum heard about it; if he’d been my age he could be a friend or another student.I wondered about saying he was my boyfriend if it was suspected, but decided no way. Roland seemed to agree, though to be honest I’ve no idea what he was saying because I was so wrapped up in my own fantasies of being caught. I know he rubbed my leg and said he wouldn’t say he was my boyfriend or that’s not what he’d call this relationship. Well, obviously; I don’t even think we’d qualify as fuck buddies or friends with benefits, as we’re not friends and money is being exchanged. I’m his prostitute and he’s my punter. If I was seen with him, and it was suspected I was sleeping with him, I would have to tell the truth about the deal. No way could I let anyone think this old fat guy was my boyfriend; I couldn’t bear the shame. Unless they knew he was a millionaire; maybe that would be okay. (I didn’t say this out loud, of course.)

“You must have been waiting for something,” he said, “You’re very pretty; you could have lost your virginity; you must have had many chances. But something was holding you back. And this Chastity character, you want to kill her, don’t you? Get rid of her?”

I understood what he was saying. “Chastity is a part of me, my sort of secondary personality? She’s been keeping me from losing my virginity and when I do, she will die?”

“Yes, that’s what I think. You’re part virgin and part whore. She’s the virgin and you are the whore. But it’s only now that you’re getting stronger than she is, and I wonder why.”

I was pretty stunned. “I think that might be true,” I said, “Yeah, I see it. How did you know?”

“I can just tell. Something was holding you back. You have all of these desires but something was stopping you.”

I felt it was all true. I know Roland is the personification of a part of me, too – the sexually adventurous, slutty, experienced, sadistic domme side. Chastity is the repressed, innocent and submissive side. Songs of Innocence and Experience – as a five year old I’d thought they should have been named ‘innocence’ and ‘evil’. But often it is experience or power that make us evil. And experience that makes us powerful.

Experience makes us formidable, changes us, makes the innocent easy prey for us. Before the Case I was innocent; a 9 year old still largely trusting even though I knew people could lie and be bad. Now I am experienced, trusting no-one, with an arsenal of tools at my side to challenge any libels and lies, to trick perpetrators into revealing their misdeeds, to win addendums clearing my name.

And prostitution will be much the same.

William Blake was right all along.

We took the shortcut we’d spotted on the way down, and Roland said he was a total pervert, and asked me what my mum would think of him – whether she’d think he was a pervert.

I said, “Well, you’ve got a PhD, so even though you’re a pervert at least you’re educated, so she wouldn’t mind.”

“I’m an educated fucking pervert. So that’s okay.As long as I’ve got a degree.”

“Yeah.”

Earlier, he’d been a little worried that Magda would find something – a hair, something– and I’d said, “Will she spank you if she finds out?”

He’d chuckled. “No, it’ll be much worse than that.”

Roland and I came out into where I lived, and I pointed to my house, fairly close as the crow flies but still half a mile away on foot. He looked at it (well, the whole street, as he probably couldn’t distinguish this particular house. Or maybe he could, because I told him which number it was from the side.) He’d said he needed yet another coffee despite having had three coffees already – “that’s like a drought! I need 10 cups of coffee a day”. He’d asked me where to get coffee here and I told him. That cafe was the local daytime/evening hangout for teens and young people because there was so little to do here. I’d been for a interview there once – ironically just after I’d got a Saturday job. It was weird thinking of Roland in there.

I suggested maybe he could stop on the high street, as then I wouldn’t have to carry the £1000 very far if he parked in front of the bank (we both have accounts in the same bank). The High Street meant, paradoxically, more chance of people who knew me walking by but less chance of sticking out like a sore arse (heh) in a nearly-empty carpark.

Roland glided the car onto the main street and parked right in front of the bank. He got out, withdrew the cash, came back and counted it out, then made me count it. He was paying me cash because the bank had queried the cheque.

“And did they query it?” he’d asked.

“No,” I’d said, “The lady just said ‘wow, I’d like £1,000’ and I said ‘I had to work very hard for it’ but she didn’t ask me anything.”

Roland giggled at that. “The bank did query it,” he said, and so his secretary had asked him to approve it/if he’d signed a cheque to one Kalika Gold.

“I said, ‘yes, she’s a lawyer’,” he’d reported. I’d asked if he’d had to think before replying or got nervous but he said he didn’t.

It was £1,000. I kept thinking I was seeing people I knew or my mum passing by but it always turned out not to be them. It was such a thrill and I was having so much fun.

I told Roland I didn’t want to wait that long before seeing him again.

I still hurt from the cane, and said so. It was really funny, but sore. He said he was sorry.

“Don’t be sorry; it was fun,” I said.

A police car pulled in front of us. We were talking for a bit – not the wisest thing to do as really I should’ve got out of his car quickly to avoid being spotted. Roland asked me to kiss him, which I don’t like doing in case he gets attached to me and vice versa. Snogging is different because it means power.

We were going to kiss when Roland says, “Oh there’s a police car. We’ll wait till it goes away.”

It left almost immediately and we kissed, which was kinda nice and I liked it more than last time at the bus stop. Only much later did I realise that neither kissing (even of under-16s) nor prostitution is a crime (unless you’re soliciting or kerb-crawling – ie streetwalking is a crime but not other forms of sex work). So we were pretty stupid to think the police would be interested. I’d wondered if the police had parked and left so quickly because they’d seen Roland come back from the ATM and hand over a wad of cash, and suspected prostitution. But of course not, as it wasn’t streetwalking; perhaps they suspected illegal activities or maybe the police car was just a coincidence. I think we were wary of the police because we knew we were doing something naughty.

Roland said to enjoy the money. “And I do hope your bottom gets better,” he added.

“You’re not as cruel as [fictional] Roland, you’re a lot nicer,” I observed.

“No, I’m not as cruel as Roland. I do hope it gets better.”

As I got out he said, “Watch out for cars. And mothers. Watch out for mothers.”

Two minutes later after waving him goodbye as he sped to the cafe just along the street, having asked me for directions, I was in the bank putting the money that had just been taken out into its old familiar home.

The End of this chapter

Awaiting the next part of my adventure…

 

 

 

 

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If you’re a happy hooker you must be in denial: my rambling thoughts

I just really need to post this before I get onto posting the next part of the Diary. And after that, I’ve got an ex-call girl’s blog to read. It’s important to me that I read it, as she regrets sex work and if I’m to regret it, at least this is a last-minute chance to stop it, though of course I doubt I will. But it does pain me to know there are others who regret it, it always did even when I studied prostitution at uni. And she sounds quite like me – formerly proud to be a prostitute and charging up to a thousand or two for a few hours.

Anyway, this post is not directed at anyone; that much will hopefully be obvious by the general/non-specific nature of the writing, but I just want to get that out of the way before some random person comes along and thinks the post was aimed at them (which has happened to me in real life, with talking). This post only contains my thoughts and is not meant to be factually-based, reasonably argued or carry a message unlike other posts on this blog, nor does it represent my views on anything.

The post

I’ve seen some shit in my time – stuff I can’t tell you guys, because you wouldn’t believe it. Professionals – teachers, social workers, police – I’ve seen them lie. I’ve seen them surveillance, make up horrible accusations behind peoples’ backs and write them down and tell other professionals, discriminate certain family forms, and nobody can stop them because there are no laws to stop them. It’s all council or department policy. The Ombudsman, MSPs, the General Teaching Council, the police complaints commission…you can complain but you can’t do much to stop it happening. I’ve seen them do it to others. And to me. My life wasn’t sad or tragic. It was happy and fun. But it was more unbelievable than the most tragic stories I’ve read. Speaking of tragic stories, read the wordpress blog ‘Bipolar for life’ if you’ve got a strong stomach and some tissues handy…and yes, it’s triggering.

So, yeah. I’ve seen stuff. I’m tough. Bad stuff is just normal to me. I grew up with it. I had a loving family and a wonderful childhood, but I knew there wre evil people out there – people I should’v been able to trust. But even with the constant monitoring, observation and lies, there was one thing that remained inviolate: my personality. My sense of self, my experiences, my emotions, was never touched. It was never cast into doubt. Oh, my intelligence was – I was autistic and had learning difficulties, they lied, even though I was top of the class. But they never said I was depressed or attacked my personality. And it was a unique personality. Yeah, I’m bragging, but I’m not asking anyone to read this. This is for me, written for me because I don’t know if anyone else understands or wants to know.

Anyway, it was a unique personality. I’ve never been like other people; people say I think outside the box, am quirky or crazy, and will do anything. And I know I don’t react to things in the usual way; I don’t feel sad or stressed very easily, for one thing, and I’m weirdly confident. I sometimes have to mimic emotions, because although I’m capable of more empathy than most people, I do not naturally show it in facial expressions. And I’m tough because Asians don’t have much emotions; they don’t feel as sad. I was raised by an Asian mother and taught not to cry or be cowardly. And I’m tough because of what was done to me by those professionals. Once you’ve been through the fire, the flames are powerless to burn.

They couldn’t harm me, because I had a family who loved me. But the last few hours, for me, have been stressful – something that does not happen to me often. Usually, things are just irritating. A few things are annoying. I am not my usual carefree happy self, and it was to be expected; I knew this journey might make me a bit weirded out or stressed. I thought it would be the sexual stuff, or my friends’ reactions, or religious people hating my blog, but it’s none of that. It’s people being so sure that I’m a victim, or in denial, or not doing this by choice (and these statements didn’t come from the same person, so please nobody comment claiming I’m talking about them. I’m not even going to say whether the statements were tweeted, texted, comments, Facebook messages, emails, whatever. Because, you see I’m not talking about these particulat individuals. Who they are doesn’t matter even 1%, and I’ll tell you why: it’s the whole attitude that’s damaging. When you think that just because some sex workers didn’t choose it, or regret it, and force that story into the mouths of all sex workers, you take away their personality. You devalue and eradicate their story. You make their job, blog, views, writing, sex activism, etc worthless and meaningless.

And there are far too many people out there doing that. That’s why it doesn’t matter who these individuals are – one was going to come along someday. Brooke Magnanti got a lot of flak from the radical feminist and the anti-sex work crowd – and no, they’re not the same thing. I know that. It’s just that at the political level, their interests overlap. Like how in Sweden sex work is criminalized for feminist reasons (and recently a student sex worker was suspended from college for sex work even though it was legal as only clients are criminalised, not the sex workers.) (Story on the Harlot’s Parlour, WordPress.)

I guess I was prepared in a way by following other sex workers on Twitter – I realised that their lived experiences were often silenced by anti sex work NGOs and activists wanting to present all sex workers as trafficked sex slaves. And I have been reading Glasgow Sex Worker’s blog since before I started my own, and in it she does express a lot of frustration at this. But I didn’t realise how bad it makes you feel until tonight. Well, I guess I’m a real sex worker now – once you’ve had your story taken out from under you, all your vivid, precious experiences (good or bad) dismissed as denial, as future therapy fodder, sexual slavery, a short-term happiness that will later turn to regret – and (apparently) all for a deal that isn’t a good deal anyway because I’ll get £4k for virginity but other sex workers make £4k in a night – (not that I’ve ever spent the night with Roland or performed a sexual service lasting more than 20 mins, so getting £1,000 each time for a few hours of spanking and 20 minutes of oral seems good to me). And not that I was trying for the best deal (for reasons described in my posts ‘Kalika’s Q and A’ and ‘Selling Virginity: 25 tips’.)

I don’t see myself as a sex slave and even if I did in the future, it doesn’t make me feel good that people call me a sex slave now. Wait till I see myself as a slave before telling me that. When people put words in others’ mouths, they are attacking their personalities, lives and memories – not just the stories. It would be unthinkable to tell an unhappy drug addicted sex worker that they are really happy and enjoy sex work; that their unhappiness and desire to leave the industry is an illusion. You wouldn’t tell a rape victim they weren’t raped. Yet it’s totally normal and accepted for people to tell happy or neutral sex workers that they are really in a bad situation, that they’re victims, not happy or neutral at all.

I heard the other sex workers getting upset and raging over this but I didn’t know it feels so bad, worse than anything, than the professionals’ lies, than being bullied at school. Ironically, sex work made me happy – well, I’m always happy, so maybe it had a neutral effect – but it is their comments that make me feel sad. I felt fine and proud of it until they said their stuff, casting doubt on my emotions, that I’m not really proud, just in a bad place. That later on I’ll regret it and won’t be proud. Which isn’t true, as other ex-call girls don’t regret it, including two of my “favourites” who provide fascinating information – Maggie MacNeill and Dr Magnanti herself. They quit decades and years ago respectively, but they don’t regret it. And lots of other ex- sex workers on the web and Twitter don’t regret it either.

And there are lots of things to regret in life, anyway. Marrying the person you’re divorcing. That one night stand with the fat guy who now won’t stop following you around. Having an abortion or not having an abortion. Dumping your boyfriend. Cheating. And lots of other non-sex related things.

I do feel really bad for those who started streetwalking when underage, or who were pimped out by relatives as young children (it happens very occassionally in America) or do it to feed their drug habit, and all the other situations. But that doesn’t mean all sex workers have the same sad story. Some stories are happy, some sad, most neutral. The same sex worker can have good, bad and neutral experiences. The story of a 15 year old junkie streetwalker isn’t going to be the same as the story of a career woman who does sex work on the side from her house, or a student who works with an agency, or a graduate in a massage parlour. The happy hooker isn’t representative, but the sex slave is not representative either.

Where’s the blue WKD and chocolate when you need it??

Why is the world so complex anyway, and why does it happen? They blamed Brooke for telling her story – for ‘glorifying’ sex work, but all she was doing was telling her story. Freedom of speech. Then she was offered a book deal. And suddenly that was bad. It wasn’t just a book or a blog made into a book, it was an enemy of women. Where’s the line? If I’m just deluding myself, but she’s glorifying sex work, is it because my blog is obscure but her book was a bestseller? Is it how successful your writing is that determines if you’re a gender traitor or merely a sad sex slave?

And when a story about bad sex work experiences is told, it’s ‘raising awareness’ and ‘dispelling myths’. But if it’s a happy or neutral experience, it’s ‘playing the happy hooker’, ‘being a Belle de Jour’ or, in my case, being in the honeymoon phase of my descent into trauma and drug addiction.

I need chocolate. Chocolate makes everything go away. I think if Roland were here right now, he’d write ‘sex slave’ on my chest. I’ve been so horny all day, all the days since two weeks ago. I was going to check out kinky dating sites today. Sometimes I feel like banging my head against the wall out of sexual frustration. I wonder if it’s as bad for boys.

Ok, I’m going to stop now. Diary time! The next installment coming up now…

 

 

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Torture

“Right now?” I said, lying over his knee.

“Right now,” he grinned.

My arm was still twisted up my back.

“You have to torture me first.”

“I think you’ve been tortured enough for one night,” he chuckled, and I felt his fat fingertip on my bum, “So I get you to give me answers and only ifI get the answers you’ll do it.”

“Yep.”

“So how many do I have to get?” he asked, rubbing my bottom.

“Five.”

“So I have to get all five?”

“Yep. And I can lie.”

He rearranged me on his lap and said “I want you to tell me your favourite colour, and what age you were the first time – or have you – had an orgasm.”

He spanked hard and fast, and I moved and closed my eyes, resting my face on my arms. It hurt a lot. Not like the gentle spanking he’d started off with, and I’d asked him stuff like:

Where do millionaires buy their socks? A: They let their wives buy their socks

Why don’t you live in a mansion like a proper millionaire? A: anything that could be called a ‘mansion’ in Scotland would be a million [He only has nearly 3 million and most of that’s in the company, so I guess he can’t afford it. Weird how rich people can’t afford things, just like the rest of us!], and I don’t need one for just two people

Do you have, like, a private jet you keep at the [Edinburgh International] airport?/probably phrased as “so you don’t have, like, a private jet?” in a disappointed voice. A: No, because they cost hundreds of millions. In the 1920’s being a millionaire meant having a lot more than today.

I suppose he’s right and a million isn’t really a lot; after all, half a million is only 500,000 which is a lot but it’s not that much; enough for 4 or 5 houses, I guess. And a quarter is just 250k.

He spanked my thighs too, which I’d thought I would dislike, but I actually enjoyed it.

 

Anyway, right now he was spanking really hard and I was moaning and whimpering a bit. “Are you ready to tell me?” he asked. “No,” I said, burying my face in the sofa arm. He spanked even harder, the noise of each slap really loud. I put my hand down to try and hold the burning skin, but he grabbed my arm and easily twisted it behind my back. As if to punish me, he slowed down a bit but made each smack come down really hard and each time he spanked me I moved. “It’s too hard!” I whined, and he stopped. “Well then, what is your favourite colour?” I shook my head and he continued, pressing down firmly with each smack. It was very painful and I realised that I’d underestimated his strength – or my resilience – and would never be able to keep from revealing the five things. He had all night to spank me. I could, I thought, quickly reveal four things and make him work for the fifth, but that wouldn’t help me. I needed to stall him.

So I said, “I need the bathroom.”

He stopped, and let me up.

In the bathroom I put cold water on my bum but I knew it wouldn’t really help me withstand it, and I had to stall him more. When I came out Roland made us coffee again, and I guessed he must’ve known I was trying to stall him and was letting me do it. By this time it was around 10-11pm.

 

 

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