The lives of 19th century women are known to us today mainly through their letters and writing, but also through the then new (black-and-white) portrait photography, and the vivid paintings, pastels and watercolours of impressionist artists.
Personally, I don’t get offended by genuine curiosity, even if the question is annoying or cliché. However, when someone asks me, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done?” my response is usually a pretty dramatic and dismissive eye roll.
Sex work as a sociopolitical issue is used as a scapegoat to avoid addressing larger issues like poverty and violence against femmes. Sex work is not the problem and trying to make it disappear makes the problems worse.