Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Living Your Beliefs and the Practicality of Surviving

If this were you on the internet, you could be fired.

We’re facing some pretty high vet bills for a beloved kitty who is 14 and, as with many elderly cats, a free cat becomes suddenly very expensive.  And we’re already budgeted pretty tight.  I posted a plea on Facebook for people to order baked goods from my husband, or to suggest other means of raising money.  A friend jokingly suggested I start a porn site, and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t considering it.  I spend a lot of time arguing with others about the fact that no woman should be shamed for any sex work she engages in, whether of her own free will, or whether she finds herself forced into it by circumstance or by the act of another human being.

But it’s hard to walk the walk when you’re the sole support of your family, and so many people most definitely hold people’s (especially women’s) histories as sex workers against them, even when they only do things as innocuous as writing “racy” novels (I feel compelled to mention that the school district actually did not fire her, and voiced support for her) or even just blogging about sex.   Forget it if you’ve ever actually posed in pornography or acted in a movie.

Now, I’m sure more than a few of you are sitting there thinking, “Well, teachers have to display a moral compass to our youth,” or some such bullshit.

I would like to point out that not a single one of these people broke any laws.  They kept their past or personal lives as disconnected from their day jobs as possible, and the ones who were fired, were all fired for something that isn’t at all legally actionable.

They were fired because sex makes people uncomfortable.

The friend who suggested the porn site idea to me, private messaged me later to tell me that he was only kidding, and he didn’t mean anything by it.  I know he didn’t.  But more and more employers are Googling their employees, current and future.  And on one hand, I understand and it’s not a bad idea.  On the other hand, I don’t like the idea that something a woman did in desperation to pay for rent and food for her children will come back to haunt her, and force her back into poverty.  Or a man.  I don’t want anyone’s life ruined because a friend posted a drunken bachelor/bachelorette party photo of them with a stripper and tagged them on Facebook.

I mean, one of those teachers was fired because of a photo of her in a swimsuit legal to wear on public beaches, as far as I can tell.

I have friends in the field of sex work, in many different areas:  photographers, models, dominatrices, strippers.  And yes, I’ve known a few call girls and one or two men and women who hooked for a living, one to put herself through college, and one to survive on the streets after his folks threw him out for being gay.  And the thing that sucks, is even though neither one has a record if anyone they work for or with ever found out, they’d probably be fired.  They’d be fired for not starving to death, or for pursuing a higher education, or paying rent.

It’d be nice if we could afford all sex workers the same rights and protections afforded to most other workers.  It would also be nice if being a sex worker were no more noteworthy on a resume that having spent time working as a cashier at 7-11 or fast food joint.  If we legalized it, it would be a lot easier to put the pimps, traffickers and people who abuse sex workers in jail, as they’d be more likely to report if they didn’t have to worry about being arrested because of how they support themselves.  We cannot expect sex workers to believe that we really want to help them, if we allow the system to victimize them, if we continue hurting people who are trying to make a living, or who are already being victimized by traffickers or pimps.

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This entry was posted on September 13, 2011 by in Featured Articles, Feminism, Misogyny, Morality, Sexism.

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