Happy 2011 everyone!
I may have gotten a little preachy at my New Years Party about the problems inherent in shaming words like “slut,” “whore,” etc. It’s an issue I’ve talked about obliquely on my blog a lot, about how everyone should be free to express their own sense of sexuality without feeling ashamed of it or having to answer to someone else’s moral standards. But I went on a bit of rant aimed specifically at vocabulary yesterday.
See, while it’s one thing to say you support everyone’s right to express their own sexuality, it’s an awful lot harder to live it in your everyday life. When you drive past an adult video store, you might raise an eyebrow at the cars parked in the lot and wonder if you know any of the people in there…. When you see in a girl in a miniskirt, a low-cut top, and heels walking down the street, you might look down on her for dressing that way and wonder if she’s a “hooker.” Just like these socially-ingrained attitudes about sexual propriety, our vocabulary reflects how little we actually do accept of human sexuality.
Words like slut, cunt, whore, dick… these are all manifestations of a social attitude towards sex. Their usage defines how much sex is ok, how low that top can sit, how much skin the girl can show, how many women a guy can have. Whether we admit it or not, we all make judgements about people based on these behaviors, and they often aren’t pretty ones.
I won’t lie. I was that girl in high school. The one who looked down on all the girls having sex in 10th and 11th grade, the one who stole guys wallets to see if there were condoms inside (which was proof, of course, that they were terrible people who only thought about sex)… I was that girl who made snap judgements about you based on how short your dress was at homecoming and how much makeup you wore.
But I recognize now how wrong that was, how hurtful. None of those choices make a person bad, immoral, disgusting. They’re just choices, and choices that any person has the right and autonomy to make.
I have two links that I love for the way they illustrate my point in relation to people in sex work. While I know that there are people out there who are trapped in prostitution by money issues, by drug problems, but debt or fear or any number of problems, I also know that not all of them are. And moreover, regardless of their situation, sex workers are still people. They still have lives and choices to make- but like the sluts and whores of high school, they are constantly being judged, being told that they aren’t good enough for something because of what they do for money. The article, “Can Sex Workers Afford Love?” talks about this more eloquently than I ever could.
No one suggests that masseuses can’t afford to love, or acupuncturists, or therapists, and what they’re offering is intimate in nature as well, in different ways. I’m offering my skills as a Top, along with my creativity and my undivided attention. I’m offering a hand job from a girl who empathizes with wanting to get off with someone else and yet not wanting to go through the dating dance steps. I’m offering someone who will talk about sex with you, and communicate clearly and effectively, and with any luck will have rubbed some of that off on you.
Just because you cum on my hands and you pay me for it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly unable to love people.”
Sex workers are human, and that should really be more obvious than it is. For another fantastic, if lighter take on the subject, I look to the new tumblr, “Stuff Sex Workers Eat” which in addition to being amazing fodder for my culinary adventures, is a beautiful
reminder of the other 23 hours in a sex worker’s day, where they eat, bake, see friends, laugh, and live colorful, social lives.
If we could see all people in this same light- with the purity of non-judgment, with the ability to remove our own squicks about sexual behavior and morals from our views on individual people, I think the world would be better off.
((So that’s your homework while I’m in Kenya, queer kids. The girlfriend has mentioned the possibility of making a few posts while I’m away, so you might hear from her, but I’m off on an adventure. Much love and blessings for the new year!)