A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine directed me towards a reality TV series called “Hookers: Saved on the Strip.” The show revolves around someone I have heard of before: Annie Lobert. Annie runs an organization called “Hookers for Jesus” and a place called “Destiny House” where she brings hookers to Jesus and pretends that they’ve all escaped from slavery. If you go to her website, you’ll find that ‘about page’ starts out with this:

Hookers for Jesus is faith based organization that addresses the realitiesannie-lobert of human sex trafficking, sexual violence and exploitation linked to pornography and the sex industry. We are committed to reaching out to children/teens/women that need assistance/escape from sex slavery.

One problem with Hookers for Jesus and the shelter she runs, Destiny House, is that Lobert uses misleading information and ideas in order to promote her organization. Based on her website, you’ll find that she seems to assume that women in the industry are somehow slaves. Obviously, anything people think is really bad should be compared to slavery or internment camps, right? The Facts page at the Destiny House website also promotes a lot of things that aren’t even true.

12-14 – Average age of first involvement in prostitution.

I’ve debunked this before. So I’ll just quote myself to save time:

That’s a lie that has been repeated for a long time, all over the place. Someone did a study on children who were forced into prostitution and then assumed that the numbers in the study on children applied to the industry as a whole. Obviously, that’s really bad reporting. It is really bad science and it is a horribly damaging myth to spread. It is sad that it is such a widespread myth. It is one of those myths that people believe because it is scary, not because there’s a rational reason to believe in it. A quick meta analysis of the information gained from this study on women detained for prostitution, you know, an actual study that collected data on the actual group we’re talking about, the average age the participants started prostituting themselves appears to be 20. Of course, we need far more information and this study has a natural bias because the people conducting the study were after other information. However, applying that data to the question of what the average age people enter prostitution is would certainly be far more accurate than using a study that was only about children entering prostitution.

Other aspects of Lobert’s site are misleading as well. For one thing, she focuses a lot on ‘facts’ related to child sex trafficking. However, there is no evidence, anywhere that I have seen thus far, that Lobert interacts with children who have been sex trafficked. In fact, where most of the ‘facts’ are related to children, on the Destiny House website, it seems unlikely that Lobert deals with children very much at all. Because when a child is found in the sex trade, it is usually a case of child sex slavery and the case gets turned over to Child Protective Services. Unless Lobert has some sort of license that allows her to foster such a child, and a suitable location for the child (which the Destiny House does not appear to be), then she can’t do the things for those children that she lists as her services on her organization websites. In other words, Annie Lobert is lying.

Furthermore, the issues facing children forced into the sex industry are dramatically different than those facing adults in the sex industry. So making a big deal out of children she’s not helping doesn’t tell anyone much at all about what she does for the women she’s supposedly helping and spouting off information that is completely unrelated to the women in her shelter is, at best, not helpful and, at worst, deceptive. I don’t think I can stress this, enough; children are incapable of giving informed consent like these women were. Children who are forced into this industry face much bigger problems than adults in the industry. They’re more vulnerable and more prone to long-term problems because of their own situations. Lumping them together with the women is demeaning to the experiences of each group.

So, I watched the first episode of Hookers, because I felt I really needed to know what was being said about the sex industry, if anything at all. Annie kicks off the show with this little gem:

Each year, more than 100,000 women and children are sex trafficked in America. They’re bought, sold, beaten, raped and killed every day. No one hears their cries for help. For over a decade, I was one of them. I sold my body and I almost lost my soul. My name is Annie Lobert, and I’m the founder of Hookers for Jesus. The Las Vegas strip is my office and my job is to get women off the streets.

Does that statistic sound suspicious? It did to me. So, I turned to Google. On google, I found no study that stated anything like this. Yes, people are sex trafficked in America. There are such things as people being forced into slavery where they are expected to do sexual things. That is a very, very serious matter, but as far as I have seen, thus far, Annie isn’t working with sex slaves and she pretty much pulled that statistic out of her ass. Also, based on the implied definition she uses on her website of ‘sex trafficking,’ that should be a bigger number. If sex worker is the same as sex trafficked, as she implies, then she’s got a lot more counting to do if she’s to find out how many there are. The sex industry is a very large industry. It is also ethically icky to imply that you’re saving sex slaves when you’re actually helping people who voluntarily entered an industry. Shame on you, Annie Lobert!

Also, while the instance of domestic violence is higher per capita for people in the sex industry, implying that all in the sex industry experience this is misleading and saying that the solution to the problem is getting them out is kind of like saying the solution to people drowning is no longer allowing anyone to play in the water. People will, very likely, always like to play in the water and people will always be inclined to do sex work. The solution to the problem of violence against people in the sex industry is to make the sex industry safer, just like the way to prevent drowning is to teach people to swim and navigate water.

I want to reinforce something about this show, really quick, because I think it is important. Nobody featured in the first episode of Hookers: Saved on the strip was forced into the sex trade. All who are featured, including Annie, herself, describe their situations and it is clear that their entry into sex work is a choice that they made. Slaves don’t get to choose. It is evil to take advantage of real slavery and child exploitation in order to benefit Hookers For Jesus and to claim that people who were free to do something were slaves or related to those two horrific experiences. Annie Lobert was never a slave. It is sickening that she attempts to imply that she and, others who have made choices in their lives, that they decided they didn’t like, are slaves.

All that being said, I’m not against an organization that helps women leave the sex industry, if they want to. I am against treating the sex industry as if it is a ‘bad thing,’ itself and I’m against this organization using religion in order to accomplish its goals. What happens when someone wants to leave the sex trade because they just want a change and they have some other religious affiliation? Adding guilt and a natural bias against them for their choices and their lack of being a jesusphile is not going to be useful to them at all.

The first episode of Hookers focuses, partly, on a girl named Regina. Regina has a few good points to make in the show, even though they try to make her story side with Lobert’s point of view. For one, Regina has stripped before and says, multiple times, that she doesn’t think stripping is the same as selling sex. She’s right! Lobert seems to assume that, because she met her pimp while she was stripping, that selling sex and stripping go hand in hand. She actually claims that stripping is a gateway to prostitution. This is misleading. Some strippers might sell sex, but many do not. In fact, some of the highest paid strippers that I know of don’t sell sex because if you sell sex, then the guy cums and he goes home and stops paying you. Selling sex, for strippers, is bad for business. Most strippers are also aware of the dangers of selling sex and so they object to it based on a variety of other reasons, such as they don’t want to go to jail or they don’t want a disease or they’re loyal to their spouse or boyfriend. In fact, other than the potential to go to jail and not wanting to lose money, the reasons for not selling sex for strippers pretty much mirrors why most other people might not have sex with a random person. Strippers, as it turns out, are quite capable of making appropriate sexual decisions for themselves.

bio_page_regina_400An interesting element of this episode is that Regina and Annie share the screen time devoted to telling Regina’s story. I’m not sure entirely why, because there doesn’t seem to be a problem with Regina telling her own story. To further make this element of the show odd, to say the least, the story told by Regina about herself and the story told by Annie about Regina don’t seem to be entirely congruent. Annie assumes that Regina was kicked out of her home situation and, while Regina doesn’t completely contradict that, the way the story is cut up for film, Regina makes comments about calling her dad to tell him she entered the Navy and it doesn’t seem to flow with the story about a kid being kicked out. I could be wrong about this, but the story seems to be broken, here, at a critical point in the story. Regina met her pimp in the Navy, but saying she was kicked out of her house makes her story more dramatic, I guess.

Another element of Regina’s story that is worth considering are her comments about money.

The last paycheck I got, I could have made that in an hour.

That comment leads to another scene where Lobert says, “The money is definitely what keeps girls in the business.”

That’s only partly true. Money is a great motivator, I have no doubt about that, and Regina is wise to miss that money. Money gets you food and shelter and Internet access and Darth Tater, the Mr. Potatohead version of Darth Vader. Money is a nice thing to have and when it comes to making decisions based on if you have spare cash for a spudly Sith Lord or you can barely afford Ramen Noodles, many people will opt for the option to fork out the dough for Master Tater. That being said, there are other reasons why the adult industry is an appealing place to be. For example, a job based on pleasure is a hell of a lot better than a job based on removing grease from a fast food service grill. Also, being able to have control over your schedule, not having an actual boss to report to and having the freedom to say and do things that you want to and get paid for it, is a really awesome work situation to have.

I will soon watch the second episode of Hookers, and if I deem it necessary, I may write a response to it, as well. For now, I’d like to see Annie’s take on her spreading misleading information around and offering such biased services through her organization.

Note: It was really difficult to not make fun of Annie for mistaking the Squirrel’s penis for an umbilical cord. And the one thing that made the whole show worth watching was hearing the lady at the stable say, “we’re going to learn some things with these horses and shre what they have to offer. The outside of a horse is what’s good for the inside of a woman!” Hilarious!

In a world where sexual topics are frequently shunned in most formal contexts, where walking into certain buildings requires us to attempt to leave our vaginae and penises behind, it is not surprising that conflicts will exist between sex industry workers and the rest of the working world. Sadly, a crossing over of the sex industry into other elements of American culture can have tragic results and adding to those matters the tendency for humans to be self-righteous and self-serving (not that all do this, but many do) and one sex worker coming out to the rest of the world can result in the biggest social explosion he or she will ever see.

That’s what happened to Lisa D. Chávez. Her story is actually pretty complex. The major players in the events that transpired each have their own agendas and have to deal with their own set of battles due to what happened with Chávez. I don’t want to assume that any single person is an evil individual, in this matter. Instead, I think there are some serious flaws in people’s thinking that builds upon this issue and creates a complete social mess that can ruin lives.

Does that sound overly dramatic? Well, it isn’t. People in the sex industry are constantly fighting against some extreme social stigmas that can affect the kind of future we might have. This isn’t because people in the sex industry have automatically done something wrong, instead, it is because society often assumes people in the sex industry are bad people, with questionable moral values and lacking skills. Furthermore, people often want to avoid being associated with those in the sex industry because they don’t want to deal with others questioning their judgment.

The Chávez case includes more problems than that, though, so I’m going to sift through the information that I have and see what we find. My first impression of this issue started here, when ScienceGoddess sent me the link. From there, I read the article David Kroll linked to, here. A quick Google search generates links that all lead back to the article in the Chronicle, but additional google-fu did get me to the site Chávez worked for*.

According to the Chronicle, Ms. Chávez took the phone sex job as a natural response to being stuck in a sucky economic situation. This isn’t an uncommon motivation for entering the sex industry, which has a high turnover rate because it seems like an easy way to make fast cash and, as our society becomes more sexually progressive, it seems like a more acceptable thing to do. That is, unless you’ve got some significant social standing, like being a professor. This kind of job, though, isn’t easy and people frequently leave the industry as fast as they entered, for a variety of reasons.

The self-described, pro-sex feminist, Ms. Chávez had heard about being a phone sex dominatrix through her students, she discussed the empowerment that such a job can give an individual and how this job could give the students good life experiences and improve their writing. I can tell you, based on my experience and the experiences that my peers have shared with me, those things are very true. Sex work can be very empowering and can give a person experiences in life that they can’t find anywhere else. The catch is, you still have to deal with the rest of society.

Back in 2008, it really bothered me how others reacted to the sex industry and how the people I knew within the industry didn’t really reflect the image that society seemed to create of them. As a result, I conducted a series of very informal interviews, asking my peers questions about how they saw themselves and about how they thought others saw them. One of the most disturbing things I noticed was that my peers seemed to indicate that the worst part of their job was not the work itself or how their clients treated them. Instead, it was how the people outside the industry treated them. There was a running theme that seemed to indicate that the thing that made working in the sex industry the hardest were the social rules that told each worker that they were bad for what they did; it was the people who discriminated against the sex workers who made life for the sex worker suck. The job was often power; general society were robbers of it. Sadly, it didn’t take much time for the empowered Chávez to experience this and part of the reason was due to a few mistakes she made.**

Chávex’ story, if her side is really what happened, doesn’t really show malicious intent. The errors that Chávez made appear to be that she might have influenced a student’s choices and she had her picture taken with another.

When I first started stripping, the experience was absolutely amazing. One of my friends was also a stripper and one night, we were sharing our experiences and talked about how our job made us feel. In that conversation, she said to me something like, “you know, when I see a girl in a sucky job, like bagging groceries, and I think about how pretty she is and how nice, I often wonder why it is that if I were to tell her she should try my job out, it feels like I’m selling crack. If I had any other job, though, it would be like I was handing her a life-saving tether.” My friend was right. My friend was right. Our jobs are looked at so negatively by society, telling a person that they should apply at McDonald’s ranks higher than telling them that they should be a stripper, even if the latter was more likely to meet all of her needs. There’s no way to know how the conversation played out when Chávez talked about the sex industry or her job with students, but even if we did know how the conversation went, the odds are high that her peers would have been just as critical. One of her students could have been starving and Chávez was likely to face criticism when her opinion on phone sex influenced a choice. In fact, the story of the student Chávez posed with, Liz Derrington, had a sad story of her own to tell, having gone through a divorce and apparently landing a job at the same place Chávez worked on her own, but people didn’t look at the events that transpired as someone trying to claw their way out of a pot of boiling water. The other student mentioned was also not seen with a very objective light on her story. Even the Chronicle hints at a concern that Chávez indirectly influenced her decision, but it ignores that this person is an adult that made her decision on her own and Chávez didn’t force the girl into it. Instead, they saw it as Chávez potentially abusing her position and harming the learning environment.

Pictures are the inarticulate mouthpiece of the sex industry. people say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if that is true, pictures can be horribly deceptive bastards. People give pictures far more credit than they’ve ever deserved. I don’t want to say that pictures are horrible and all wrong, but pictures tell a very limited story which usually lacks context. So it was that when Chávez posed for a picture with her student, the picture spoke for them, but it didn’t really say much at all and, to some people, it said the wrong thing, entirely.

Chávez and Derrington were at work, at a job unrelated to Chávez’ position as a professor and Derrington’s role as a student when suggestive pictures of them were taken for the people they were working for. In other words, they were doing a different job. Yet, these pictures were a major player in Chávez’ becoming a target of her peers. The objection to Chávez’ alternate job could easily have cost her the position she had as a professor. Yet, most other alternate jobs that a professor might take wouldn’t have been a big deal, no matter if she was working alongside a student as an equal or not. So, is it an abuse of authority if Chávez poses next to a student, who happens to be a co-worker, in that context, for erotic purposes? Not anymore than if they worked alongside each other at a fast food joint because, in that context, Chávez wasn’t in an authoritative position over her student.

But that’s not all that fueled the controversy around Chávez. Chávez taught creative writing and her students complained to other professors about sexually charged conversations in class. This brings up some other interesting questions. When is it appropriate to talk about sexuality in a college classroom? If the person teaching Gender Studies classes can talk about porn, why can’t a Math teacher? It seems to me, the difference is in context. Is talking about sexuality relevant to the class or somehow important to the student’s experience in that class? If so, then discussion about sexuality should be open, honest and frank as long as nobody’s safety is compromised. Skill in writing is not an easy thing to gain. Unlike other subjects, where going from a problem to a solution is easy, where 2+2 will always equal 4 and knowing what the Fibonacci sequence is can unpack a number of useful applications for you, neatly, being successful at writing is complicated. Writing is barely formulaic and being able to write articulately about things requires knowledge and experiences to draw upon that aren’t mathematically constant. Furthermore, a good creative writer can write about all aspects of life. Sex, one of our most innate drives, is one of those aspects. So, does sex have a place in a class on creative writing? I am quite certain that it does, but society probably disagrees with me. I just don’t think they have a rational basis for their disagreement. So, for the students who complained about the sexually-charged conversations in Chávez’ class, unless they weren’t learning anything and/or someone was getting hurt, the problem in their class was with them.

The fact that people sought to harm Chávez by showing her pictures from her other job to her superiors is a horrible statement about the type of people they are. To me, it seems just as unethical as when people tried to get PZ Myers fired over unprovoked harm to a cracker. I know, having erotic pictures taken of you is not the same as violence to a cracker, but the similarity is in people being unable to keep in-work behavior separate from away-from-work behavior.

There is part of this controversy that is so sticky and confusing that I’m going to refrain from saying anything authoritative on it at all. In regards to a student, Carrie Cutler, there is a lot of he-said-she-said involved. There’s not really a way to gather information on what happened between them mostly because all that is related to them in this issue is from personal testimonies from people which appear to vary. It also seems as if there is some missing conflict that isn’t talked about, even in the article from the Chronicle. Basically, the conflict doesn’t make sense and appears to be something that should be disregarded when examining Chávez’ work as a telephone dominatrix. If either the student’s accusations that Chávez spoke inappropriately about her or Chávex’ claim that the Cutler was trying to harm her were true, those are matters that should be dealt with on their own. Chávez is responsible for her actions as a professor and students are also responsible for their own conduct. If the student and Chávez were moonlighting as waitresses, we wouldn’t consider drama carrying over from their waitress jobs to be questionable, just because it caused drama at the school. Instead, it would just be the conduct that took place at school, related only to the dramatic incident, that would be a concern for Chávez’ employers.

Yet another issue lurks in the murky water of this controversy, as well. When we look to an educator to help teach us a subject, we hold them to a kind of odd standard. Instead of measuring each professor based on what they can teach us, we set up other standards that go beyond that one thing. The classroom and general feel of a lesson is all the burden of a professor to carry. We call this, ‘the learning environment.’ Ms. Chávez was investigated for possibly creating a bad learning environment for her students. These accusations were not based on information gained from all of Chávez’s students. Instead, it was, again, the accounts of a few who may not have had all the information. Furthermore, this kind of investigation appears to make Chávez responsible for the educational environment when others could be influencing it. I’m glad that the investigation resulted in the conclusion that Chávez was not guilty of creating a hostile learning environment or of sexual harassment because it appears to be the case that it is the aversion that her peers had that was the driving force behind it, and not something Chávez did to actually harm someone. Chávez’ peers were then asked to reach some sort of peaceful settlement.

It didn’t help. The teachers are still objecting to Chávez staying with the school.

Enter another complicatedly tangled web: racism and sexism. Given the sparseness of evidence related to these issues, I’m only tossing them out there because they relate to the story. The hows and whys of their relevance have not been clearly revealed and so are not really worth commenting on other than to mention that they are there. Sadly, racism and sexism are a serious problem when it comes to issues related to the sex industry. That’s pretty much all I can say to shed light on that aspect of the story. Again, if these accusations are true, they should be treated as another matter, and not be used to influence decisions about Chávez’ work in the sex industry. For similar reasons, I have to skip over many of the accusations found in the Chronicle, such as faculty calling Chávez a prostitute. It is silly, but not uncommon for people to exaggerate the role an individual has in the sex industry. I get accused of being a prostitute, as well, and most of my work is done at home, while I’m completely alone (it is impossible to have sex with someone for money when there’s not a someone there with you). I think these accusations come from a desire for those objecting to the industry to demonize individuals as much as possible and it is a elementary school playground tactic. The biggest difference seems to be that, as adults, those involved in this scandal get to let their lawyers do the name-calling for them.

The saddest aspect of this whole debate seems to be that a whole department in a school has been affected by, not Chávez’ actions, alone, but by the reaction that her peers had to her work as a performer. Her work, which should not have mattered, has such a stigma attached to it that her peers were incapable of dealing with it as adults. Their tantrums over how they feel has created chaos that the rest of the school has to deal with. I’m not going to paint Chávez as a lone victim, but I really don’t think she’s as guilty of creating a poor learning environment for her students as her peers appear to have been.

David Kroll, from PLoS suggests that Chávez resign:

Not knowing anything more about the case than the article in The Chronicle, the simplest resolution would seem to be that the faculty member in question resign.

While I understand his reasoning, the student experience is a very important thing to consider, I don’t really think that is the right answer. If this issue really is being fueled by the offended peers of Chávez, then her career is lost due to their callous, bully hands. Her actions as a phone dominatrix were not harmful and were not an example of an abuse of power. Regardless of if they looked like coercion, they shouldn’t be treated as if they are because we know, based on the information given in the Chronicle, that they weren’t. Allowing her picture to be taken was a mistake by Chávez, but only because of how society reacts to these things, not because she actually was doing something wrong. Should she be forced to resign over the picture, then it is more of a testament to the power of bigotry against someone who worked in the sex industry than an actual, rational response to the situation.

As for the other accusations that exist in the comments and in the article, there’s no way for bystanders like myself and Kroll can’t really get enough information on them to take any objective stance, so we should really be responding to the whole thing with that in mind, and addressing only those issues which the Chronicle gives us sufficient evidence for.

*As a side note from someone who has been around in the industry for a while, the site Chávez worked for is an atypical contract arrangement. It doesn’t encourage the same safety standards that most other contracts do that allow people in the sex industry to keep their identities hidden. Further, in order to begin working for them, People Exchanging Power requires applicants to first pay for an information packet and then you can start working for them and, if you stick around for six weeks, you might get your money back. None of what is said to be in the information packet is something that couldn’t be put online someplace for performers. While it may not be the intention of PEP to do so, this stinks of a way to take advantage of people looking for this kind of work.

There is also a little deception in how they present your potential earnings on the site. While the website says that an individual makes $35-$50 per every hour of talk time, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be talking the whole time that you’re logged in to work for them. most companies have a range of per minute earning potential, but the catch is that you’re only going to make money when you’re talking and if there are large gaps of time between the calls you take, you are unlikely to make the kind of money they’re trying to imply.

**While I think my interviews with people are relevant and important to this article, I am aware that they cannot be considered something that was done with scientific rigor. While I do my best to preserve the scientific process as I go about my study of sex and the sex industry, I am only one person and my peers are not even close to including the diversity I would encounter were I ever able to have the exciting opportunity of doing a cross-sectional study.

September 10, 2010 – Eastern Washington Sex Worker’s Outreach Group (EW-SWOP) is a new organization that wishes to help sex workers gain and maintain rights that they are often denied. Issues from legalizing prostitution to decreasing domestic violence within the industry are addressed by the group. Alongside these goals, the group helps to fight for equal rights for the LGBT community.

The group serves another purpose, though. The outreach group also serves as an alliance that allows sex workers to connect with others within the industry. The taboo nature of the sex industry often leaves workers feeling isolated and unable to discuss important matters with people who don’t understand life in the industry. EW-SWOP hopes to help those workers by giving them someone to turn to.

EW-SWOP is already planning on events related to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17th, International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3rd, and joining in activities related to local Gay Pride events. The group plans to meet one or two times a month.  Web utilities or phone trees will be options for those who cannot travel or who lack internet access.

Introducing the Eastern Washington Sex Worker’s Outreach Project (EW-SWOP).

This is an organization devoted to unifying people in the sex industry to offer social support and to fight for the rights of sex workers around the globe. You can join us so you can feel less alone in the industry and you can help us fight to change the attitude that the world has regarding the sex industry. If you’re interested in joining our local chapter, please contact me at SophieHirschfeld [at] sexandscience [dot] org. I would be more than happy to hear from you. You can also reach me on twitter here and on facebook here.

In order to read more about SWOP, check out this website.

I will be writing several articles, soon, to discuss and elaborate on topics important to SWOP, so pay attention to this category on my website. I will be using it to keep everyone updated on local activities as well, and to encourage discussion amongst my peers.

Again, if you are in the Inland Northwest, especially if you’re in Eastern Washington, and you’re in the sex industry, we invite you to come and join us to help make our world a better place. Anyone in the industry from phone sex workers to strippers to escorts are welcome to join.

This morning, my attention has been drawn to this. A well-meaning feminist who thinks Jay Leno has hurt women, most of whom he has never met, by using two words. “Victims” of prostitution will now forever remain victims because of Jay Leno. At least, that’s what she appears to be claiming. I’m pretty sure this is not the case, so I took it upon myself to examine everything she said in order to see what is valid, what isn’t and what may or may not make sense. All the quotes to follow are from her, until I state otherwise:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
3000 W. Alameda Avenue
Burbank, CA 91523

I’m glad she put the address there so I can write a letter of my own.

Dear Jay:
I watched your show for years but I can no longer do so. Why? Because words matter, Jay. Without fail, several times a week, you refer to women in the sex industry as “whores” or “hookers.”

Of course words matter. If words didn’t matter to us, we would not be the ja-y-offend1species that we are. We’d be something else; something else that does not use words. Just ask a zombie!

It is true that the words ‘hooker’ and ‘whore’ gets used a lot on some tv programs. I can’t really comment on the frequency with which they appear on the Tonight Show because I don’t watch it often enough. I have seen the show, though, and I am sure I’ve heard him use those terms. I don’t think, though, him using those terms would be a great reason for someone to stop watching his show. Jay Leno is an entertainer. It is his duty to keep people’s attention. Sometimes, he has to do this using words that are attention-grabbing. Most talented entertainers will do that.

Furthermore, words matter, but so does your reaction to them. Language changes rapidly as a result of people’s reaction to them. Feminists have whorechanged the meaning of the word ‘bitch’ and it is pretty likely that if Whore Magazine is a success, it will change the meaning of its name as well. We don’t need to throw a tantrum at Jay Leno to make this happen. We can do this ourselves.

Jay, did you know that most women, especially in lesser-developed nations, are sold into the sex industry, often by their own relatives?

Unless you have a seriously distorted idea of what the word ‘most’ means, that statement is wrong. Some women do get sold into slavery, sometimes into a situation where they are forced to become sex workers, but it certainly isn’t a majority and it isn’t necessarily the most common way for women to end up in the sex industry.

Did you know that right now, in India and probably many other counties, children as young as three are gang raped for profit and infected with HIV?

How could you possibly link Jay Leno’s use of two words to children being raped in India? Children being sexually abused, in any fashion, is a serious matter and I don’t want to downplay that or to pretend that it doesn’t happen. I do doubt that it happens on a regular basis. I doubt it is some sort of afternoon ritual. But, I know it can and probably does happen. It makes me sad and makes me feel like I’m not doing enough in this world. Of course, tugging at that emotional string is precisely what this sentence was for. Child abuse is a a pretty big deal and it is something that every country should be working to prevent. When you so carelessly swing the issue about, like this, as if it is a club against someone totally unrelated to the problem, that’s completely inexcusable. Shame on you, whoever you are, for using it that way! The children who do get abused in such a horrific manner deserve something much better than someone pinning the blame of their nightmare onto an innocent who couldn’t possibly be connected to it.

That in the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is reportedly 13?

That’s a lie that has been repeated for a long time, all over the place. Someone did a study on children who were forced into prostitution and then assumed that the numbers in the study on children applied to the industry as a whole. Obviously, that’s really bad reporting. It is really bad science and it is a horribly damaging myth to spread. It is sad that it is such a widespread myth. It is one of those myths that people believe because it is scary, not because there’s a rational reason to believe in it. A quick meta analysis of the information gained from this study on women detained for prostitution, you know, an actual study that collected data on the actual group we’re talking about, the average age the participants started prostituting themselves appears to be 20. Of course, we need far more information and this study has a natural bias because the people conducting the study were after other information. However, applying that data to the question of what the average age people enter prostitution is would certainly be far more accurate than using a study that was only about children entering prostitution.

That one study in Colorado found that prostitutes die at a crude mortality rate of 391 per 100,000 in comparison with non-sex workers, where the standardized mortality for the general population during this same time frame was 1.9 per 100,000?

You must mean this study. Again, this doesn’t really have anything at all to do with Jay Leno’s use of the terms you’re upset about, but some important observations need to be made, here. Firstly, if you read the study, you’ll find that it shows that the cause of death for most of these women wasn’t because they were prostitutes. Correlation is not causation and in increased death rate for prostitutes may not be caused by the fact that they’re prostitutes. According to the study, the most common causes of death were violence and drug use. These are two issues that could more easily be addressed if prostitution were legalized and we could get people help more easily if they are on drugs AND we prostitutes who are victims of domestic violence can turn to the police without fear of being arrested because they did something illegal. A pretty decent argument could be made for the legalization of prostitution, based on this information.

That every prostitute is someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother or mother?

So is every serial killer, florist, asshole and lawyer, but that doesn’t stop us from making edgy jokes about any of them. Well, except maybe the florist. They have to deal with enough trouble in their lives, there’s no need to make jokes about them or invent crass terms to identify them with, those stamen fiddlers!

Jay, using words like “hooker” and “whore” further desensitizes people who barely care when prostitutes die locked up in cages, are tortured, thrown from cars or are left dead near a river.

There is absolutely no evidence that this is true. not a single shred of evidence. Again, we’ve approached a very serious matter and here is the author, flinging horrific events that can and sometimes do happen as if it is some sort of club that should hit anyone who happens to offend her. The abuse of sex workers is a very real and serious problem. Sex workers need to have safer environments and they need protection and they need to live in a safer world. Pretending that just saying a couple words on TV causes these problems belittles women in this situation. It devalues their experience and that can desensitize people to their troubles.

Getting a cheap laugh at the expense of these victims, and yes, they are victims, is pathetic. I really hope you are better than that.

Prostitutes, in general, are not victims because they are prostitutes. Some prostitutes are victims because people are careless. Some prostitutes are victims because they have no protection. Some prostitutes are victims because it is illegal for them just to do their job. Not all prostitutes are victims, though, and trying to make them all into victims is unappreciated and doesn’t help them.

Please take time to educate yourself on the reality of the sex industry. If you took a few hours out of your life to learn the realities of the sex industry in this country and many others, I almost guarantee you would stop throwing those terms around. There is enough pain and suffering in the world without you casually contributing to it with your callous disregard for these victims.

Jay Leno’s use of the word ‘hooker’ and ‘whore’ does far less of a disservice to prostitutes than your rant toward him does. That being said, I do hope that Jay Leno becomes informed about the sex industry. I don’t think it will change his vocabulary, much, but sex workers of all types could use more advocates. People in the sex industry face a great number of issues that tend to get ignored due to bigotry toward the sex industry. It isn’t the bigotry that leads to Jay Leno tossing terms around as an entertainer. Instead, the bigotry that hurts sex workers is the kind that claims they’re all victims, that they’re all drug addicts, that there are no other life options for them and that they’re all horrible people. It is the bigotry that makes excuses for the laws against the industry and for rants against the wrong people that creates the most problems.

I’m not going to leave this post here, though. I’m responding to a letter that was addressed to Jay Leno and posted online, encouraging people to join this person (who remains anonymous) in a writing campaign. I’m going to write my own letter. The following quote is what I will send to Jay Leno.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
3000 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA 91523-0001Dear Mr. Leno,

I understand that a writing campaign against you has begun. As far as I know, it at least involves one person, but could involve many. I would like to offer a counter-campaign that could involve just me, or could involve many.

The campaign against you is a complaint against you using the words “whore” and “hooker.” I would like to encourage you to, instead, use these words more. I don’t think you need to increase your random use of the terms, though. Instead, I want you to do just one of the things that the woman who is against you asked. I want you to learn about the sex industry.

The person who has complained about your word use seems to think that if you learned about the sex industry, you would use those terms less. it seems to me, though, that it would be wiser to use what you learn and use the terms more. It would be a tremendous help to those in the sex industry if you discussed how hookers face an incredibly high rate of domestic violence and that because their work is illegal, they can’t easily seek protection from the law. A story like that might require the use of the word ‘hooker’ several times! Likewise, discussing the tendency of the villainization of whores within the media and how it relates to stigmas that people in the sex industry face would allow you to use the word ‘whore’ a lot. I would also like to see you use the word in a more liberal way. Not only do I want to see you refer to hookers as whores, I want to see you refer to everyone in the sex industry as whores. Then, I want you to discuss how the fight against pornography hurts whores because it is literally a fight against society to take jobs away from whores. Whores need jobs, too.

Besides, if local whores are no longer doing the job, we may have to outsource and, as we all know based on our experience with call centers, heavy accents and poorly paid employees make for shitty customer service.

Sincerely,

Sophie Hirschfeld

P. S. Here is where you can find a copy of my response, online, to the campaign against you:

http://sexandscience.org/blog/?p=350

sophiefawkesIf you so desire, you can write to Jay Leno as well. However, please make your letter to him as productive as possible. Popular television shows get a tremendous amount of mail and it is possible that this campaign against Jay Leno could get overwhelming enough without them having some redundant counter-campaign going to them as well. If you do write back, it would be super-awesome if you included a reference to this post, just because I like to have credit for my evil deeds. Also, offer helpful suggestions for the show, don’t just gush over it. I like the idea of any campaign being productive, even though most of them aren’t.

girlstogether

I found interracial bunny porn on the internet.

I have been sitting on this article, in half-written form, for ages. I think I announced to people that I would write it … um, two months ago-ish? The problem is this topic is a tough one to tackle. Even though I’m surrounded by the problem, it is a huge, complicated problem and trying to decide what’s relevant and what isn’t and what should be mentioned and what shouldn’t and how I can use it to benefit the reader is like extracting wax from your ear canal through your anus. It is hard. BUT it NEEDS TO BE DONE! So, for the two-dozenth-or-more time, I’m re-working this article for you, to fill you up with information and hope that it saves the motherfucking planet with all its motherfucking insights.

One of the big problems with writing about racism is that people have trouble even understanding racism. Racism is a sensitive subject because our history of racist thinking is horrific and we still see crappy racist things happen all the time. I was raised in an environment where racist thinking was the norm. I was taught that blacks and whites shouldn’t marry and that Mexican men were prone to violence (and Mexican women were prone to victimization). The Chinese made good servants, according to grandma, but were oppressed because they chose to be and the Indians (from India) were all taking our jobs and the Indians (from the U. S.) were all taking our jobs and drunken, whiney people who the government shouldn’t be responsible for. Did it matter we were part Lakota Sioux? Apparently not. I wasn’t taught to be violent as a result of the racism, but I was taught to be bigoted and I had to de-program that part of my upbringing along with all the other nonsense I was taught.

Few people ever want to think that those who loved them and raised them were wrong or bad or evil. It is tough to wrestle with the idea that you might have been taught wrongly by those who should have given you your foundation for your life. But I had to deal with that. I concluded that it wasn’t that my parents were necessarily evil. I think they were wrong and that their ways of thinking were bad and evil. My dad taught me to be charitable and kind to everyone, regardless of status, race or religion. But being kind and charitable doesn’t eliminate the racism. Apparently, what we do and what we are happen to be two different things, my friend, who I will refer to here as ‘Red Zorah,’ posted this today on her facebook:

What we do and what we are extends beyond that, though. When my dad forbade me to date a black guy, that was bad. When my father provided transportation to the needy and stopped to change a tire for a stranger who had a flat, that was good. So was my father a good person or a bad person? I think that when he was charitable, he was good; when he was racist, he was bad.

This is not supposed to be about my family life about racism, though, that’s just there to give you a background to my experience. Instead, this is about racism within my work. I think we need some definitions here so that this whole debate can be both simultaneously more clear and more confusing at the same time. For my definitions, I’m turning to a sociology book* for a guideline, because credible sources are the cream in my coffee. My definitions are a little paraphrased, though.

Racism (racial prejudice): A set of judgments as hard-set as an iron ass and usually as hostile as a diarrhea outbreak about a race based on their ancestral (who their mamas and papas are related to) history and that usually doesn’t change when shown how stupid the idea is or when a few dozen swirlies are administered by the Hulk.

Outgroup: A bunch of people that peeps in an ingroup disassociate themselves with; feel they can’t be groupies with; don’t invite to their circle-jerks; are opposed to and hate for what usually amounts to dickish reasons.

Ingroup: A group of peeps who identify with each other; hang out together with, and find common ground with, often based on who they hate or don’t want to send their chain letters to.

Stereotypes: Generalizations about members of an outgroupflatearthturtle that are overstated more than a male porn star’s penis size and often as inaccurate as Flat Earth Theory.

More important big words to help us get by, paraphrased from the same book, who took them from Robert K. Merton:

Discrimination: Treating a peep or peeps differently, either on purpose or accidentally, for reasons not related to how awesometacular they’ve demonstrated themselves to be or not to be.

Nonprejudiced nondiscriminators: Non-haters who believe that we’re all deserving of equal treatment and who act like we’re all equal in our equalness.

Unprejudiced discriminators: People who think like non-haters but who act like haters. These people believe we should have equal opportunities, but do prejudicially-driven bleeding-crotch-ulcer type things, either because it helps them or because they don’t know they’re being douchy.

Prejudiced nondiscriminators: These people don’t think we’re all deserving of equal treatment, but they avoid being crotch-kickers because they don’t like people to hate them, send them to jail or beat them up for being a douche.

Prejudiced discriminators: These festering anal fistulas think that people don’t deserve to be treated equally and that they are free to discriminate or should discriminate any time their genital crabs are biting them.

All of these things being considered, I think that the most important element of examining racist/prejudiced thinking and behavior is to measure the harm that may be done by it. So, while the prejudiced nondiscriminator may be a dumbass, he’s not as big of a problem for our society as the nonprejudiced discriminator is. The same is true for things that are race-related in the sex industry.

In the sex industry, racism is everywhere. When I asked people what they thought should be addressed in an article about racism in the sex industry, many mentioned things like the clear lack of people from certain ancestral backgrounds and the use of racist comments in porn. Other suggestions included the tendency for the industry to count interracial sex amongst its ‘taboo’ genres and for the industry to reinforce stereotypes about penis size and ethnic backgrounds. Some of these things can be a pretty big problem for people to deal with.

everything-is-not-relative

Note: This is not about the scientific theory of Relativism. It is about Moral Relativism. Relativism is a valid scientific theory and Moral Relativism is an excuse for people to to be dicks.

Penile relativism. About a year ago, I made a comic that caused a little accidental controversy. The comic was supposed to show how moral relativism was something I considered to be a bad idea using the example of penis sizes. Because I wanted to make the penis in the last panel stand out, I went for a high-contrast and made it brown. Some of my readers at the time took this as me trying to reinforce the stereotype that black men have big dicks. That hadn’t been my intention, but it was too late to really explain myself to the people who had already decided I was a racist bitch. This was an example of unprejudiced discrimination and I had to leave the experience learning something new about color sensitivity.

I think unprejudiced discrimination is probably the most common race-related form of discrimination in the sex industry. When people reinforce the idea that black men have a big dick, they don’t usually stop to consider that the black guy who has a normal penis size may feel inadequate because of this stereotype or that the white guy who sees this may feel like it presents him as less manly (something that is common in porn featuring the ‘big black dick’ stereotype).

Cashing in on bigotry. Since porn is created and sold based on what appeals to the consumer the most, the industry has been quite skilled at releasing porn with other racist elements as well. Presenting porn in which women refer to the men they’re having sex with as “nigger” and making comments about slavery and some distorted view of history has become a common feature of interracial porn, where the practice is more the product of prejudiced discrimination. The lines are somewhat blurred in cases where the porn attempts to make fun of racism by making jokes about racist tendencies or parodying famous incidents of racist acts or crimes or stereotypes.

The consumers of this type of porn seems to vary considerably from men who want to see their mate have sex with someone from a specific ethnic background to people from those backgrounds wanting to fantasize that they’re the one being treated that way. In my work as a performer, I often get to see my clients and when I talk with them about their fantasies, I can often see where they have been influenced by the reinforcement of interracial porn as a taboo subject. I have talked to clients who not only were into cuckolding, but who also liked the guy their girlfriend had sex with to be black, specifically, and to have a cock above a certain size. I also have talked to black men who, like many men from nearly every background, liked to imagine their penis to be much larger and who added conversation about their ethnic background simply because they associated it with their penis size based on common stereotypes. Some of these men even would use words often considered offensive, like the word ‘nigger’, as a part of their sexual identity within their fantasy, telling me that they wanted me to fuck their ‘big, black, nigger, cock.’ When working for a contract that I had about two years ago, approximately one in four of the men who claimed to be black would ask me to use the word ‘nigger’ (based on my notes and data from October 2008).

I wrote in the margins of my notes one day:

I’m having trouble using the word ‘nigger’. I’ve mastered the use of profanities of many types very rapidly and easily over the last few years, but I still hesitate when clients request that I say that one word. It makes me feel bad, even when I don’t see a way that it could be damaging my clients.

Apparently, my own reconditioning of my behavior in an attempt to reduce the amount of prejudice in my life worked so well that I had a tough time doing my job.

America’s history with the African slave trade is not the only part of history that has an influence on porn, though. Many of the patterns that are found in modern American porn has roots in our history. From porn featuring Asian women (and ignoring many Asian men) to the under representation of Native American, Indian and Middle Eastern men. This form of discrimination in employment in the industry is also mostly due to unprejudiced discrimination, but the consequences seem to be far-reaching. Men from the under-represented groups who are looking for porn with characters that they can identify with have a smaller selection of things to choose from. People who are already in minority groups are sometimes even more marginalized when their group is downplayed in the erotic entertainment that they seek out.

Within the sex industry, as well as with many other aspects of life, doing things that are considered ‘taboo’ can carry its own reinforcing quality. As a result, the sex industry tends to continue to promote taboo ideas that might make their products sell better. Putting race-thinking into their products and suggesting that it is taboo helps those products sell. Out of all the taboos found in porn, interracial porn is one of the easiest to create. It requires few props and no specific type of location.

To make the problem even more complicated, many porn actors and actresses will avoid doing porn themed around race or will refuse to do anything interracial. Sometimes this is because of their own biases and sometimes this is because they simply want to avoid association with racist ideas. Regardless, most actors and actresses that do this are noticed by consumers and are sometimes labeled as racist, no matter if the label is justified or not. Then, every once in a while, (some consider this a part of the porn-graduation system that I will explain on another day), an actress that previously didn’t do interracial porn will finally agree to do so and the product will be marketed not only as her first inter-racial, but her previous aversion will be highlighted in order to make bigger sales.

Ultimately, the conflicts that exist over racism in porn should be addressed from the viewpoint of what harm is done. Some racism in porn is more about allowing a consumer to identify with the characters they see, while some of it is based on a history of bigotry and reinforces problematic behaviors in society and even individuals. Trying to alter society’s issues with racism is difficult enough, but changing sexual preferences and ideas related to race appears to be an even bigger challenge.

from cum shot monster dot com (I didn't want to link to them, but wanted to give a source for the picture)

from cum shot monster dot com (I didn't want to link to them, but wanted to give a source for the picture)

*I minored in Sociology, Anthropology, History and Health Education. I have a ton of books on Sociology, most are supposed to be much more advanced than Joan Ferrante’s introductory book. However, it covered the topic of prejudice far better than any other sociology book I own.

Just the other day, Bubbles Burbujas gave excellent advice over on The Frisky. Sadly, many people didn’t happily take it and, instead, gave the same complaints, in the comments section, about strippers (and others in this industry) that I’ve heard for years. I have heard them when I was stripping, camming, doing phone sex and even showing people my pictures. I think we should talk about a few of them (I paraphrased comments made from Bubbles’ articles, they aren’t direct quotes):

1) “My boyfriend still can’t go to strip clubs!”/”My boyfriend doesn’t need it!”/”I give my boyfriend all he needs.”

I think the moment a person assumes that they are the only thing someone else needs, they need an ego check. People aren’t puzzle pieces and we can’t fill every void left behind in others’ lives by their experiences and biology. It is no secret of nature that men have tremendous sex drives and that women can’t always provide what they want. That being said, it should ultimately be his decision if he wants to go to a club or watch porn or play with a shower head every once in a while. His sexuality is still his to own, no matter who you are! It is also much better to acknowledge this and be open about the possibility of him seeking erotic entertainment than forcing him into a position where he has to hide a part of his sexuality just because he’s afraid of losing you, the one he loves. He knows, like nearly all other men do, that his sexuality is not going to be hinged only on you and what you have to offer. It would help him tremendously if you acknowledged this.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t take it personally. Your sexuality doesn’t hinge on him, either. Your sexuality is as much for you to own as his is for him to own. As a result, if you’re not in the mood, why put yourself in a position where you are obligated to meet his needs?

All that being said, there is room for you and your boyfriend to make agreements on what is OK and what is not. If you two reach an agreement over what is acceptable, that’s an reasonable thing to do as long as one of you isn’t forcing your own idea of what is appropriate onto the other.

P. S. In the wake of announcing that you don’t own another person’s sexuality, I also want to point out that you don’t own his wallet, either.

2) “Complaints? But you’re a stripper!”/”You’re not real so you shouldn’t complain!”

It is a sad reality of the world of anyone in the sex industry that other people in our society seem to think we are on some other rung of the social ladder. As a result, they seem to think that the issues we get to face are acceptable and that we should simply accept them and suck it up. Interestingly, similar arguments were used before the 1920s, when women, housewives, were seen more as property. If their husband beat them, they were sometimes told that they should expect that. Afterall, they were housewives! How can the same argument appear out of such different contexts? Because, it is based on bigotry and a lack of consideration for another human being.

It doesn’t matter what job I have, Entertainer or not. I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if I’m clothed or naked, I still deserve my basic human rights. It doesn’t matter if people give me money to show them my nipples, I STILL deserve my basic human rights! I have the right to tell you that I don’t want you to touch me; I have the right to tell you where you can touch and I have the right to tell you to “fuck off” when you’re being a complete festering anal cyst.

The kind of bigotry that tries to teach an underclass that they deserve to be mistreated is the same kind of bigotry that fuels what hurts us. This bigotry is what lets our abusers get away with beating us; it lets the police overlook crimes against us and it allows us our peers to feel ok about discriminating against us. Our world isn’t innately hellish and our work is not, itself, bad for us. It is when we are thrown into a society in which people exist who think we deserve whatever we find in life because of our jobs that is bad for us and that forces us into a world where more suffering exists than really has to. My work is a great place to get lost in for a while, but the bigots can sometimes make it hell.

If you think that a person being there for you gives you special rights or that the fantasy involved with my work means you can cross boundaries, you’re wrong. That’s just you making excuses. Do you go to Disneyland and grope Cinderella, too? How about the Pirates of the Carribean? After all, they’re entertainers, giving you a fantasy! Obviously, you probably don’t (unless you really are a disrespectful schmuck). They’re people and you recognize that. If you think that way, the chances are your desire to alter the rules for people in strip clubs is not really because we’re entertainers and getting naked, it is because you want an excuse to misbehave because you know that if you don’t have that excuse then there’s something wrong with you.

Thus, if your excuse for society’s behavior–for people’s misbehavior in a strip club (or anywhere else they encounter a sex worker)–is that I’m a stripper or a camgirl or a phone sex actress, Fuck off, you festering anal cyst.*

3) “I don’t see the point of strip clubs!”

That’s nice, I don’t see the point of turtle races, but I don’t make it a point to tell everyone about it. I just don’t go. Clearly, turtle racing wasn’t meant for people like me just as strip clubs weren’t meant for people like you. It seems a little silly to make a big deal out of how pointless you seem to think it is, though.

4) “Strippers are expensive, ergo, they’re bad!”

Cars, houses, phones, utilities and food are expensive, too, and we still pay for them. In fact, most strippers have some of those things to pay for. We are here to entertain you, that’s our job. If stripping didn’t pay, we wouldn’t be here. I may have talent and I may have an ass that some people like to see, but I won’t do it for free for a bunch of random strangers when I need to spend the time on a way to pay my bills. Stripping is expensive work to do. A stripper is typically expected to pay a stage fee, plus tip the bouncer and the DJ (both of whom don’t get to work the floor and get tips-their income relies on us). We’re not bad or evil just because we ask you to pay for our services. We’re just doing our job. The men who are so grateful for what we do that they simply pay up are our favorite people, too. Afterall, it is nice to be appreciated for a job well done, don’t you think?

5) “You don’t deserve respect because you take off your clothes for money.”/”Get a “real” job.”

Firstly, stripping is not just about getting naked. It is a hell of a lot of work. Not only does a stripper have to always look damn good, but strippers spend the better part of an 8+ hour shift just dancing. How many people do you know of are able to do that? In reality, though, how I spend my energy in order to earn my money shouldn’t matter. If you have some hang up over nudity, that’s your problem, not mine. Taking off my clothes for money is a far better job than working as a clerk at Wal-Mart or mopping the floors at McDonald’s. My work as an erotic entertainer involves me being told, all day, that I’m beautiful, smart, funny and awesome. It is esteem-building. Does yours do that for you?

Stripping is a real job. Just because it involves elements that your work doesn’t or just because you disapprove of it doesn’t make it not a real job.

Typically, the person who looks down on people in the sex industry does so for one (or more) of four main reasons: Resentment, jealousy, social conditioning or offense. Pick one and work on it, examine it. Figure out what is threatening or scary about it and then make yourself better, because those feelings shouldn’t be blamed on another person, they are yours to own. Such judgements are unwanted, unnecessary and promote hatred.

*I really just wanted to call someone a “festering anal cyst.” Ad hominems are not valid arguments but for the type of person described, it is certainly an accurate description, don’t you think?

I’ve had two instances of people directing me to debates over porn (and the erotic industry). I will link to the two debates at the end of this article. Because it would take so much effort just to respond to all the issues people have brought up in just those two debates, I have created a new section for Sex and Science just for this topic. I will add more as I go.

Myth A: Porn actresses don’t consent.
Myth B: Amateur porn is better because of less faking, more likely consent and/or fewer chances for abuse.

Facts:

For paid porn, there are usually things called tax forms, contracts, consent forms and Age Verification forms that performers have to have filled out and available to the producer before they can perform. Without the Age Verification form, it is illegal for the producer to sell the porn. Without the tax forms, the IRS will burn them all in hell before Satan does. The contracts are the basis of whatever is being done with that performer in their role in porn. The value of these contracts varies from company to company. Since performers are able to communicate to each other better now about what companies are less noble, the industry has begun to evolve and form better policies than they’ve ever had before.

Few people who aren’t consenting to being filmed while having sex would go through all that paperwork that says they’re consenting to have sex on film. I understand that many think that since there is a monetary motivator then a person can’t give resonable consent. But that’s like saying that you can’t consent to working as a garbage man because of monetary motivations. If you can’t apply the same argument to every other job, then it doesn’t apply to this one either. If porn actresses can’t consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor then nobody on this planet can consent to their jobs because money is a motivating factor. If there is disagreement with the idea that nobody can consent to their own jobs, then perhaps there is a damned good reason to reconsider the claim about porn actors/actresses.

The debate over if one should prefer ‘amateur porn’ over mass production porn is fascinating for many reasons, but the ones that are of particular interest here are that people often claim to prefer amateur porn due to the supposed increased chance that the participants have consented. This idea appears to pretty much have been pulled out from being wedged firmly between someone’s pelvic floor muscles on the rectal side of their business. There does not appear to be evidence that this is true. In fact, evidence seems to suggest that the opposite is true. Amateur performers without contracts seem to be abused more frequently than those with full contracts and paperwork. I suspect that this is due to the amount of protection one gets from having the aforementioned paperwork. while there is a stigma attached to the industry that occasionally prevents people in the industry from seeking help when someone has violated them, when a contract is involved there is a new layer of law to consider that can be used as protection instead. when a performer goes on camera just stating, informally, that they don’t want anal, but then they are forced on camera to have anal, there is little evidence to be presented in court to prove that something went wrong, especially if they are playing along for the camera. However, if there is a contract in which it is specified that a performer will not do anal they have evidence to show a courtroom regardless of what went on for the camera. This evidence is not just evidence for anal rape, it is also evidence that there was a breach of contract, giving the performer, in some states, at least two courses of action. Producers know this. Furthermore, true amateur porn means there is less likely to be age verification, increasing the chances that people may end up watching underaged porn and no IRS forms means that performers who wanted to be paid may more easily be used and chucked out without pay.

It is important, at this point, to mention that there is more than one type of “amateur porn.” There is staged amateur porn and there is real amateur porn. Basically, producers caught on to the popularity of amateur porn and started professionally producing amateur porn. Professionally produced amateur porn usually falls into the same categories as regular porn does. The same contracts and consent forms are signed, the same Age Verification forms are involved and the company still gives each performer a 1099 and notifies the IRS. All that means is that many people are duped into watching ‘amateur porn’ that isn’t really amateur.

The two debates that inspired this section: from the forums of the James Randi Educational Foundation & from Heidi Anderson. These debates have become so extensive that there are many, many things that need addressing, so I do intend to return to the topic again. (I just don’t have enough superhuman skills to address everything in one day.)

© 2014 Sex and Science Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha