Pretty sure that’s no one, right? I’ve been getting a lot of shit lately from pro-porn people for supposedly speaking on behalf of all women in porn, but I wonder who appointed them the spokespeople for everyone involved. I might be guilty of making some blanket statements (though I avoid the words “all” and “none” when I can), but I try to be cognizant of the fact that there are women for whom my statements aren’t true. There are, I know, women who choose to do every kind of sex work that exists. I’d have to be a complete fool to be unaware of that fact, because I’m bombarded every day with messages from pro-sex work bloggers who want to tell the world how stoked they are about what they do. But are these women more qualified to speak on behalf of ALL sex workers than anyone else? I don’t think so, and the fact that they do so and then give me shit for purportedly doing so is kind of funny. (I won’t even discuss the men who call themselves “pro-porn activists,” because the paternalism and glaringly obvious self-interest that drip off of their protestations make it unnecessary.)
The thing is, I don’t claim to be qualified to speak on behalf of anybody. I forcefully state my opinions and recount the observations from which they derive, but I’m not anyone’s spokesperson. Asshole men speak for women. I’ve probably made some gross generalizations in the past, but I’d like anyone to find a quote in any of my posts in the last year that makes any kind of claim that I speak on behalf of anyone.
But what about people who don’t get to have their voices heard? Who is going to speak for them? There are an awful lot of women in the sex industry without the wherewithal (computers, Internet access, writing skills, self-confidence, leisure time, etc.) to speak on their own behalf and whose opinions might differ from those who have chosen not only to do sex work, but to argue on behalf of the industry for their own gain (and who do have computers, Internet access, writing skills, self-confidence, leisure time, etc.). Am I allowed to speak on behalf of the women who e-mail me and tell me they used to strip, do porn, etc. and tell you that there are at least a former few sex workers who think there’s something wrong with the sex industry? Or should I forward their e-mails to porn producers and pimps and let them decide?
We know what pro-porn and pro-sex industry people think. The world is inundated with the views of those who profit from the porn industry and the people who think that anti-woman propaganda and women’s sexual servitude are liberating and awesome. But what about those who disagree? What about the sex workers who, given the choice, wouldn’t be sex workers?
So, to those of you who tell me I have no place speaking for all sex workers (which I don’t disagree with at all), I won’t. But if you’re going to do so, how about we get a little more accurate portrayal?
Or is kicking the truth about sex workers’ lives not what this is really about? Is accusing me of “speaking for” women in porn just a derailing tactic designed to distract people from the point (that porn and the sex industry on balance are a detriment to women’s lives) by calling me a bad feminist or claiming that I’m dehumanizing women in porn just as much as the men who get off on seeing them degraded are? Lunchtime. A red herring burrito awaits me.