Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker and has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
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.
When I first started to realize that feminism wasn’t one big happy sisterhood, I picked a totally different path. Sad to say, I did actually identify as an antifeminist for quite a while.