Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she was until recently employed as a stripper but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry (and she’s currently an excellent columnist on this very website). Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
Ever since I decided to be a sex worker, people have been telling me that I’m ‘too good’ for this profession. It started when I came out to a friend, it intensified when my mother figured out I was a sex worker, and it continued when I chose to briefly retire from the industry. When I returned, first to stripping and then to light fetish work, the protests, mostly from my family and commenters on my last few columns, only got louder.
I am somewhat anomalous in that I’ve been almost entirely open with my family about what it is that I do. While my parents are, for the most part, extremely supportive, they do not offer their support with total approval. My father calls my work ‘unskillful’ and my mother says it’s degrading.
The main arguments people make against my various forays into harlotry is that I am ‘too smart for that,’ ‘a remarkable young woman,’ and ‘better than things like that.’ This is all delivered in a disdainful tone, as if I were little more than a garbage picker or sewage worker (all due respect to garbage pickers and sewage workers, I could never do their jobs and admire them for it) the implication of all of such arguments is that sex work is degrading and degrading work is for people who are somehow less awesome than I. It’s flattering, and I understand that when people encourage me to quit the industry it comes from a good place, but it’s completely untrue that I’m somehow better than my chosen work.
I am not better than sex work, not even a little bit.