• Thu, Aug 11 2011

The Woman The Post Deemed “Hooker Teacher” Responds To The Post‘s Hooker Headline

The NY Post revealed its disturbing fixation with sex workers yet again this week. With so many sex workers on staff, you’d think their clever references would be a little more, well, clever. Ashley Dupre, Sheila McClear and probably dozens (if not hundreds) more women and men who have made a living in the sex industry are currently employed by Rupert Murdoch (not counting his wife).

Working for the NY Post—now THAT’S what I call a sleazy job!

Having been personally targeted by the trashy tabloid’s meanness, perhaps I may be the wrong (or right) person to ask: what’s the harm in a little hooker joke? Oh, I don’t know. Think of a hooker joke, and then replace the word “hooker” with the word “nigger,” or “faggot” or—here’s one— your sister’s name.

In a story published last December on Salon, Tracy Clark Flory asked: why do serial killers target prostitutes? It’s a question so simple to answer, it almost seems silly to ask. Not silly is the question’s necessity: the article was published around the same time that bodies were turning up on Long Island beaches, presumably belonging to women suspected to be sex workers. The article reveals that sex workers are 18 times more likely than “normal” women to be murdered. The fact that there are sex workers, and then there are “normal” women, sort of says it all.

“One of the reasons sex workers become politicized is to make ourselves visible as real people to decrease our chances of being easy victims of violent crimes in a society where we are considered lesser members,” wrote Bubbles Barbujas on Titsandsass.com. The blog is dedicated to turning a critical lens on the way sex workers are portrayed in the media while granting sex workers an opportunity to represent themselves. Also dedicated to this cause is an organization called Red Umbrella who sponsors a yearly training to involve sex workers in media activism, and who created the “I am a sex worker” campaign.

I broke my own anonymity for the first time online in an article published June 2010 on the TheRumpus.net. Since then, my worst fears about people’s perceptions of sex workers, as expressed in that article, were all but confirmed. After publishing an article on the Huffington Post in which I spoke openly about my past as a prostitute, I swiftly lost my job. I was endangered by the attention it caused and ridiculed in the press.

Even so, about coming forward to defend the rights and dignity of sex workers, I have no regrets. I owe my life to women and men who came out before me, courageously— who let me know my experiences were not a joke— and so I urge others to do the same, starting with the hardworking staff behind the hateful headlines of the NY Post.

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  • Jeff

    You’re a sex worker. That actually does make you not a normal person. In fact it basically makes you an object. If you’d been trafficked into it then there would be sympathy, but you did so willingly. You took the easy way to get the most money for the least effort. You didn’t just sell a skill, you sold the most intimate part of your person. You sold something no one should sell. In doing so you made yourself a commodity instead of a person. Congratulations. Rationalize your actions all you want, you have that right. Maybe if you keep doing it you’ll actually start to believe what you’re saying. But, you see, that just takes you one more step from being normal. Either way, you knew how prostitutes are perceived and chose to become one regardless. You made the bed, now stop throwing a fit because you have to sleep in it.