Is Prostitute/Whore the new 'Marxist' version of Virign/Whore ? was Re: Academics as Whores

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Mon Aug 26 15:08:37 MDT 2002




When I have genuinely tried to participate in the conversations about
gender and class my remarks have been (generally speaking, some exceptions)
completely ignored. Sometimes a few days later someone else (generally a
man) has made the exact same point and they have been engaged with. This is
beyond insulting.

When I have pointed out sexist or homophobic comments that have made me
(and others I'm sure) feel uncomfortable I have been ignored (by Lou most
notably), or ridiculed.

When I took a big risk and "came out" on this list as a sex worker in order
to bring my insights as a Marxist and worker in this field to the list's
discussion I was immediately accused of 'using' my experiences as a tool to
win an argument - the only person to point out the utter misogyny of this
was, not incidentally, Peter Frase, who also just happens to be a close
friend of mine.

Response (Jim C): Welcome to the club. We all post stuff to which we get no
response. Sometimes it is because there is general agreement and no need to
elaborate; sometimes it is because people are actually out making revolution
and not just sitting at a computer musing about it; sometimes it is because
the author has given some kind of signal that response would be futile and
just adding to piling-on/meaningless prose; sometimes it is because other
issues jump-in and attention is distracted; sometimes it is because people
don't care/know about particulars being discussed; there are a variety of
reasons. But most of us don't get all torqued-up and start whining when our
issues do not get the attention/discourse we think are deserved.

We had this discussion years ago from another self-described "sex worker"
and also academic from Australia. The discussion degenerated into
potentional list implosion. This person also, on a Marxist list, gave
basically the same rationale for the "nobility" and worker-equivalence of
the sex trade employing one of the basic premises/tautologies of
neoclassical bourgeois economics: "all exchanges are mutually beneficial
otherwise they would not have occurred." This neat little tautology is
designed to abstract-out/cover-up concepts of unconscionability, duress,
differential strata/effects of sex-work etc and there are some of these
self-described "sex workers" who aid in the cover-up to rationalize their
own situations and choices. Yes of course there are prostitutes who do not
fit the usual profile (poor, of color, sexually abused in childhood, coerced
by pimps, uneducated, heavy alcohol/drug use etc) but they are rare among
the totality of those females and males trading sex for money or other forms
of advantage.

I just came back from Blackfoot Country where AIDS rates are rising among
teenage boys/girls as well as among adult--mostly females--who are in
nothing like the position of the "Happy Hooker": white, middle-class,
educated, "call-girl", able to select/reject potentially high-paying johns,
able to discriminate types of sex acts etc; they are desperate, highly
exploited and none of the many with whom I have spoken want to stay in the
trade and none regard the business as "just another job." Unlike some of the
white "educated" prostitutes, in some cases they were not even
semi-"willing" prostitutes; they have been coerced sex slaves just like the
"Comfort Women" horribly characterized as "prostitutes" in the literature.
Many I know would almost kill to be able to turn the types of tricks
academics routinely turn in academia rather than the types of tricks they
have had to turn--with deadly personal and social consequences unlike the
usual consequences of turning the usual kinds of tricks in academia.

Get over yourself--really.

Jim Craven

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