Whenever my job is mentioned in newspapers, blogs, or magazines, the same tropes tend to pop up: moral panic, drug abuse, violence. Journalists quote us selectively, so that it sounds as if we’re living out the sex-negative, whorephobic stereotypes the public are used to consuming.
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.
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.