Am I the only one who cringes when reading even positive articles about sex work and sex workers written by journalists? I always have the impression that when they write about sex workers, even positively, they do so with their noses slightly screwed up, as though there was a bad smell floating just under their delicate noses. Airing prejudices with phrases such as “even if we dislike their choice to do so,” or, “we have to accept that some women-and men- willingly sell sex, even if we don’t like that choice,” and other similar wording makes me shudder. It infuriates me because it reinforces that stigma, that gut churning distaste that society feels obliged to express over the choices of women-and men- who sell, you know, that ichy dirty thing called sex.
The journalists of course are simply reflecting the views of a society raised on idealism about sex. Sex after all they, all of us, have been taught is about attraction, about falling in love for ever and having children and roses growing over the porch. NO?…what do you mean NO?…Well yes I agree sex is not really like that and journalists and the world and its grandmother also know that that particular idealism is a fairytale and has little reference to real life. Knowing the truth however is not the same as accepting the truth. Sex workers know the truth. The truth is that sex is very complicated, love is very complicated and the two rarely walk hand in hand, and very rarely for ever and ever.
So journalists when writing about sex workers and about sex work please remember that the sex industry is a service industry that serves the needs of our society, which is very diverse in its needs and requirements. Also journalists please also remember that your job is to report the truth and not simply to reflect popular prejudices. Reporting the truth means researching your subject, asking probing questions, especially about statistics and anecdotal evidence. This is especially important when interviewing government ministers and those opposed to sex work (or anything else). Too often I have seen sex workers interrogated while antis produce evidence which is accepted and published as though it were the word of God handed down from on hight, and that is never the case.
I am not anti journalists, journalists please note. Sex workers need as many friends as they can muster, and we will always be kind, even if you write with that smell of urghh sex drifting under your delicate noses. But I do ask that you please remember that sex workers are people, people who may have made different choices from yours, but never the less people who do a job and who deserve respect for doing that job. Let the antis and the government deal in assigning prejudice and stigma, you , as good journalist, have a duty to report facts and to report the truth.
Little rant over.