This blog post is a bit different from my usual. It's more of a ramble of my thoughts and opinions rather than my usual structured and informative style.
Any sex worker will tell you that the hardest part of our job isn't actually the job itself. It's the judgement we receive from friends, families and even just random people who barely know us. A lot of workers choose to remain anonymous by blurring their face and creating a pseudonym to avoid the judgement.
Anyone who knows me from my personal life also knows I am the last person they would suspect to be a sex worker. I have always been very quiet and conservative. A high achieving student. I never went to parties. I've never been the 'slutty' type. My personal social media is very 'clean' and maybe even 'boring'. I certainly don't fit the typical sex worker stereotype. Fair to say, it shocked a lot of my friends and family who found out about my double life. I received a lot of hate, concern, shock, anger and disappointment.
Yet, I have always been a black sheep. My thought processes were always independent of everyone else's. I tend to be a person who paddles against the current rather than going with the flow. I often found it hard to fit in at school because I was never onboard the latest trends. In fact, I used to despise trends and wasn't quiet about it either. I was friends with that weird autistic kid at school that nobody talked to (I was also a weird one) because he was actually really f*cking interesting (telling me his latest philosophical theory instead of talking about how drunk he got on the weekend like most teenagers would). I lost a lot of popularity points because of this. My independent way of thinking has contributed to a lot of my controversial choices. I care less about what people think about me and more about living an interesting and fulfilling life. This has helped me in succumbing to the stigma of being a sex worker.
The human brain is wired to make quick, shallow judgements about people. This was once a survival mechanism to determine whether something is a friend or foe. For example, if we encountered a tiger and it tried to attack us, we can make a quick assumption in future that anything that bears a resemblance to a tiger (lion, jaguar, panther) will also be a threat. This information is shared around to other members of the tribe. This quick, judgmental thinking is still ingrained in our subconscious mind. It's an instinct. Rather than identifying a person as an individual, we use their characteristics and make a quick judgement on information we already know about groups who share the same characteristics. A lot of this information isn't always based on our own experience, but information from members of our 'tribe' (these days is social media, news, movies, tv shows, books). This is how stereotypes work.
Sex workers get hit with some pretty atrocious stereotypes. Drugs, gangs, violence, street work, pimps, subservience- just to name a few. I am also guilty of once associating sex workers with these things. But being a critical thinker, I like to educate myself as to why I autonomously make these judgements. It wasn't until I read a sex worker's biography (I can't remember which book) and met a few sex workers later on, that I was surprised by how normal and relatable these women are. These women were mums, students, aspiring artists, women starting out in their career or just trying to pay off their mortgage and get ahead in life. Women who I would never have suspected to be a sex worker if I had known them in their personal life. Just like me. I have written a blog about some of the other myths around sex workers which you can read here.
I once asked a woman why she does this work. She responded 'well, it's just like Tinder, but it's much safer and I get paid'. When I think about it, it does seem rather strange that the guys at work make banter around the lunch table about their latest Tinder hookup, but if I made the same comments about a client, I would probably lose my job. Why is one okay but the other isn't? Why is it acceptable within our society to hook up on apps like Tinder, but taboo as soon as there is a transaction? I suppose we live in a world where men make the rules, but I hope we can slowly change that.
Everyone is going to give their opinions on how you should live your life. From who you marry, what career you chose, how to raise your children, how you should spend your money, your choice to become a sex worker and the list goes on. Often it's the ones with the least amount of education on a topic that have the loudest opinions. Over time, I've just learned to block out the haters. If someone tries to bring me down, I don't even bother to convince them. It's best just to ignore them, since you can't argue with ignorance. If they want to waste their time and negative energy on bringing others down, then let them. I'd rather save my energy to better my own life.
I often remind myself that being a sex worker doesn't make me a bad person. I am not hurting anyone (actually quite the opposite) and this job brings me and my clients a lot of happiness. As long as you know that your decision is the right one, that's all that really matters.