Harlotry: How Sex Work Led Me To Abandon Feminism

Mar 17, 2014
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“I’m not into the idea that I’m somehow a traitor to all women, just because of the form of labor I choose to do. I’m incredibly uncomfortable with the concept that I, an adult woman, am not competent to choose my own work.”

I have a confession to make, guys: I’m not a feminist. Most people seem to assume I am, after all I’m a very, very proud sex worker who firmly believes that a woman’s body is hers to do with what she likes. To quote the immortal words of Salt ‘N’ Pepa, “If she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend, it’s none of your business.” I also firmly believe that the construct of femininity is ridiculous and everybody should have the same rights, and all that good stuff. However, I cannot in good conscience call myself a feminist.

This wasn’t always true. Back when I started working, I had firmly parked myself in the third wave of feminists. I hunted down a copy of Whores and Other Feminists. Not long after that, my bookshelf was full of books by sex- and sex work-positive lady writers. This was real feminism! This was what it’s all about!

And then I got a little bit older and I started to notice that while there were plenty of little pockets of feminism that accepted me and my ability to freely choose sex work, the movement as a whole was deeply, deeply unfriendly toward me, a woman, doing what seemed on the surface to be a very feminist thing: using my body to provide a livelihood for myself, and to hell with anyone who judged me for it.

I don’t want to be part of a club that’s full of people who support a system that endangers me by criminalizing my clients or think that ending demand for the services I provide is a positive thing. And I definitely don’t want to be part of a club that’s full of people who don’t think I deserve to choose what I do with my body–especially when one of the club’s supposed goals is giving me that exact freedom.

abandon feminism

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Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene
9 years ago

This is all absolutely logical and irrefutable. And it demonstrates something observed long ago by the godmother of modern feminism, Betty Friedan. No fan of either porn or sex work, nevertheless she argued to the very end that the movement had harmed itself ineradicably by what she termed “its morbid obsession with pornography.” She rightly predicted that focusing on such marginal issues would alienate huge numbers of women who had nothing to do with sex work and didn’t see how feminism would either. But what would she know? All she did was write the book that launched the modern feminist… Read more »

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