Misconceptions about Sex Work – My Perspective
The thing I have discovered over the years is the range of misconceptions people have about sex work. People outside the industry get their ideas about this job from the media, movies they see, televisions shows, even from the books they read. I can understand if you don’t have much interaction with the industry you can derive ideas of sex workers and the people who participate in it, but a lot of them are not applicable to every person in the industry.
The commons ones I hear from people are –
- That all sex workers are drug users.
- That sex workers have no other job options
- That sex workers are uneducated or have limited education options
- That all sex workers have pimps or are trafficked
- That all sex workers have mental health issues
- That they must have been in an abusive relationship or were abused as children
The list could go on for quite some time. Now to address these misconceptions. Yes, some sex workers may be drug users, some may not have many employment options, Some may not have much education, Some are trafficked, Some have mental health issues and some may have been abused. But these above things only apply to some sex workers, it doesn’t apply to every sex worker.
The lady at Woolworths working at the check out counter could be a drug user or not have many job options for whatever reason, she may even have mental health issues. But you don’t have society trying to “Rescue” or save her, or try to make her job illegal, or trying to take away her rights for a safe work environment, or telling her that her job is wrong or bad.
I cant talk for every sex worker out there in the world as I don’t know every sex worker out there, I don’t know their stories. I don’t know about their lives. So I cant talk about their experiences. But I can talk about mine. I can talk about my experiences of working in Australia, in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. I can talk about the fact that the only drugs I take are things like advil or mersyndol or pain relief for my bodys aches and pains. I have a range of job options based on years of experience in employment outside of sex work. I can say I have an extensive education including TAFE & University education as well as life lived experiences, I am not trafficked and I don’t have a pimp. I do have mental health issues, but these stem from the life I have lived since I was 17. And I have access to the help I need to keep it in check. And lastly I have never been abused either as a child or in a relationship – Just to address the points I made.
Applying misconceptions to a large group of people within this industry when it is so diverse, made up of diverse people, from different backgrounds, cultures, lived experiences are more often then not incorrect if you wanted to apply them to everyone. Its time to understand that like those who work at Woolworths, Those who are doctors, Accountants, Those who are teachers or nurses, we choose to enter this industry for so many reasons. And the types of people that enter this industry are as varied as those in any other industry. The misconceptions made about us do not always apply. I want the stigma to be reduced, I want people in this industry to be able to work safely, to be treated well, to have the same rights to a safe work environment, To be able to not feel like they have to hide in the shadows for fear of being criminalised.
I know a lot of people in this industry who are smart, intelligent, independent, strong, and wonderful people. They are friends. I am not friends with every sex worker out there for various reasons, but they are still in this industry and I have respect for them. Because it takes a strong person to be able to handle this job. And because they fight every day to try and improve conditions for all those who enter this industry. So please from this post all I ask is that you understand that we are individual, independent people who do not always fit the mould you expect. Throw away your misconceptions and remember that individuality and uniqueness that makes up this industry.
I choose this industry because it suits my lifestyle. It suits my needs. It is something that works for me, it is my choice. I could go on for days but ultimately its because it fits around the things I enjoy doing in my life and gives me a sense of freedom to explore new experiences and meet a range of interesting people I would not have contact with otherwise.
Some further reading that you might find interesting
I’m a sex worker in a legal brothel: here are the 5 biggest misconceptions about what I do – Sarah Greenmore (15/10/2015) Independent.co.uk
Sex Talk Realness: What It’s Really Like to Be a Sex Worker – cosmopolitan.com – (1/12/2014) – Rachel Hills
True Story – I’m a Sex Worker – Yes and Yes – (10/10/2011)
Student to Sex Worker: My life as an escort – Feminspire – (13/09/2012) – By Anonymous
Scarlet Blue Guest Blog – Various Writters
11 Secrets of a Sex Worker – Ditch the Label
Celine Bisette: The real life of a sex worker – National Post – Celine Bisette – (28/04/2014)
Why I’m happy I became a sex worker – Charlotte Shane – The Good Men Project – AlterNet – (17/03/2015)
Sex worker & mother: ‘Yes, I AM empowered by my job.’ – Mamamia – Eva Sless – (23/11/2012)
So you’ve met a hooker… – Because I’m a Whore blog – (28/01/2012)