by Furry Girl
Last night, the feminist porn bubble erupted in girlie squeals of "OMG, a cute boy looked at us!" on Twitter because it has found a new celebrity hero: Justin Timberlake. In a skit on Saturday Night Live, a character Timberlake was playing made a joking reference to feminist porn, which the feminist porn scene have been quick to appropriate (inaccurately) as some sort of serious celebrity endorsement of their genre, with Tristan Taormino now using Timberlake's face with the line from the SNL joke as marketing for her latest book. An image of Timberlake's face and the quote is currently being widely retweeted, reblogged, and celebrated as a victory. (On what planet does a joke on SNL constitute a celebrity's endorsement and interest in you using their image to sell you products, anyway? Should the piss porn genre should start using Patrick Stewart's face to sell their products because he once did a skit on SNL where he played a man turned on by women urinating?)
However, implying a celebrity endorsement of your products where none exists and using their image without their permission so you can make money isn't why I take issue with Taormino and others fawning all over Timberlake. (Though those are perfectly problematic issues in themselves.)
Timberlake was one of the celebrities who appeared in advertisements for the now-defunct Demi N Ashton Foundation, an anti-sex worker organization that regurgitated the same old lies about how the average age of entering the sex industry is 12, and how a whopping 1% of the population of America are trafficked child sex slaves. If you follow sex workers' rights issues even in the most passing way, you'd remember what a big deal this celebrity-led campaign was, and how it launched the biggest-yet mainstream media coverage of the rescue industry in the form of a series of Village Voice articles debunking the Foundation's claims. Like it or not, celebrities get more attention that any normal person ever could, including most politicians, so when celebrities pick up a cause as a trendy new way of earning themselves some good PR, millions of people will hear about that cause. It's because of the instant credibility which Americans assign to celebrities that their campaigns have so much power to undermine grownup-level conversations like sex workers' rights. I'm infuriated that Tristan Taormino and the rest of the sexy feminist team are currently heroizing a man who was very recently making the rounds as an anti-sex worker campaigner. Justin Timberlake has contributed to setting the sex workers' rights movement back by popularizing the worst lies about us, and no amount of jokes about porn can right that wrong. Feminists like Taormino couldn't care less about Timberlake's anti-sex worker activism, though, apparently finding it perfectly acceptable to throw normal sex workers under the bus so they can grasp desperately at the exciting straw of a celebrity knowing their porn genre exists.
This spat with an obtuse feminist pornographer reminds me of why I hate the feminist porn genre so much. No, not the products it makes, since I think a lot of it is sexy, but the way the genre works. It adds insult to injury that so many people see feminist porn as an extension of and solution to sex workers' rights, when it's really an obstacle.
Feminist porn is the anti-sex worker sex work, and its marketing commonly slams other sex workers and their appearance. One of the first feminist porn sites was Nakkid Nerds, whose motto was "Smarter than your average porn star," and it's only gone downhill ever since. Feminist porn has an aesthetic, and that aesthetic is marketed as the definition of being "empowered," as though a woman's intelligence and value as a human being is to be judged solely by whether or not she has tattoos and thick-rimmed hipster glasses. I can't tell you how many times I have seen feminist porn marketed with insults, catty little jabs about how their company doesn't have those brain-dead bleach-blonde drugged-up bimbos you see in regular porn, it has artists and lovers and manic pixie dream girls. As someone who makes porn with a similar "not traditional beauty standards" aesthetic, I have always tried to avoid that kind of vicious marketing copy, and while I do want to differentiate myself from a mainstream porn site, I prefer to use terms like, "not another cookie-cutter porn site," rather than launch an attack on how mainstream porn performers are ugly and stupid. You don't have to insult the appearances and intelligence of other sex workers to show that you're different, but it's endemic to feminist porn.
Feminist porn excludes normal sex workers by screening out applications from anyone who dares to be motivated by money, and the genre has long been inconsistent when it comes to actually paying performers. Feminist porn sites try and avoid hiring people who are "just in it for the money," as though there's nothing more disgusting than being a sex worker. One of the largest feminist porn companies used to openly claim that you could only get paid modeling work if you did some free work, so they could deter those awful people who were in it for the money. Another famous feminist porn director is renowned for financially screwing over her performers by trying to talk them down to accepting a lower payment after they've already shown up for work, or have already performed their scene, or simply not paying them at all. Most feminist porn sites start not with some investment capital, but by asking performers to donate their labor on the vague promise that they will be paid if and when the site ever makes a profit. (And many sites fail, which leaves a lot of hurt feelings.) I've watched as this business model has lead to plenty of behind-the-scene drama over the years when models don't get paid. This is not just about one feminist porn company, it's how the genre works. This financially exploitative relationship to workers is their normal, and it only continues to work because there will always be plenty of cute college-age punks and hipsters who are motivated by the fun and rebellious aspect of the porn industry, but aren't trying to make it a reliable source of income. Many feminist porn sites also expect workers to donate unpaid labor in the form of writing blogs for the site, participating in the site's online forums and flirting with paying subscribers, responding to fan emails, and doing member chats. Those precious "social networking" and "community" features, of which the feminist porn genre is so proud, are built on the labor of unpaid workers, who are well aware that doing free work might lead to being hired for paid work again.
Feminist porn splashes the word "revolutionary" all over everything it does. This might seem like I'm nitpicking semantics here, but I take deep offense to corporations using the term "revolution" in order to sell things. After all, let's not forget that feminist porn is a business, and as a business, its goal is to make money. It's fine by me to make money, I like making money, too, but I would never insult all the peoples of the world who have engaged in lengthy and costly life-or-death struggles by touting my collection of tit pics a "revolution." Using that word to market entertainment products shows a profound ignorance of and giggly insensitivity towards countless historical and global struggles where vast numbers of oppressed people have died in horrible ways while fighting for freedoms like ending racial segregation, to buck off colonialism, or to overthrow dictators. Feminist porn sellers are not "revolutionaries" by any stretch of the imagination.
People who dabble in feminist porn are regularly handed paid speaking gigs at colleges around the country to speak on sex work issues, even though they only rarely engage in sex work, and do so mostly for fun. This would be akin to having an event about labor organizing for farm workers and hiring as your speaker someone who occasionally helps with a friend's garden on summer weekends. People are drawn to sex work for all sorts of reasons, and one of them is that it's naughty and exciting, but it's deeply troublesome to have most of the public faces of sex work be feminist porn models who are motivated by an interest in transgressive fun. The vast, vast majority of sex workers are not in the business primarily for personal growth and sexual fulfillment, so it always bothers me to see such people actively seeking so much attention as sex workers. I doubt any of these feminist porn dabblers claim to represent all sex workers in their lectures, but that doesn't negate the fact that when the public is handed a token sex worker at an event, they will mentally assign to them the status of "spokesperson for sex workers." It's because of the fact that representatives are taken as representative that the onus should be on people invited to speak before large groups as a token sex workers to ask themselves, "Am I really the person who should be addressing this group? Might they be better served by someone who is a full-time sex worker, or who has more experience than I, or who is a more typical sex worker?" I have refused plenty of chances to be on TV or in the media because I felt like I was not the best spokesperson for whatever a journalist wanted to discuss, and I always referred them to people who are better suited than I. I've dabbling in pro-domming work, but I certainly wouldn't be marketing myself to universities as someone they should hire to speak to students on what it's like to be a dominatrix. Dabblers shouldn't be spokespersons, period, but the lure of fame and being able to add "college speaker" to one's resume is too irresistible to feminist porn people.
And the biggest one: feminist porn hinges on the idea that sex work is only ethical or acceptable if it's done by people who are doing it primarily for personal fulfillment. This "let them eat cake" attitude is such profound bullshit, and it's completely antithetical to the idea of sex workers' rights. The feminist porn scene trades on (and profits from) marketing copy that implies that sex work is unethical when it's done by normal sex workers, who are no doubt exploited and degraded. This is so insulting, especially when some of them obtusely throw out the argument that feminist porn is some kind of "solution" to sex workers' rights, as though the millions of sex workers around the world could sustain their incomes by traveling to San Francisco to do a couple of porn shoots a year where they may or may not ever be paid. (Feminists have deployed a similar argument about how the "solution" to large stage fees and mandatory tipouts in the strip club industry is that everyone instead works at San Francisco's small worker-run Lusty Lady punk/chubby girl strip club where everyone earns an hourly wage.)
Along with decriminalization, the goal of the global sex workers' rights movement is to gain public respect for our work and to be recognized as workers, and feminist porn is fighting for the exact opposite: that sex work is only acceptable if it's done by not-workers for not-money, and that being motivated by money to do sex work is a problem in itself. Every business needs its marketing angles and to differentiate itself from competitors, but feminist porn needn't put its own profits and feel-good image ahead of the struggles of sex workers to convince the public that selling sexual services is a legitimate job and should be respected as such. The real insult of all of this is that any advancement in sex workers' rights also benefits feminist porn performers, but feminist porn believes it can only succeed by disparaging other sex workers.
by Furry Girl
One of the things I've stridently maintained when it comes to sex work activism and debate is that the voices of current and long-term sex workers should always be privileged over those of former sex workers and occasional dabblers. It's in that vein that I feel obligated to disclose changes in my own status: after 10 years as a full time sex worker, I'm transitioning out of sex work. Well, half way, for now. It's not the sort of rapid exit process I've seen others undergo, such as getting a new boyfriend/husband and suddenly deleting their web presence. Since I have dealt with stalker problems throughout my career, I'm not going to disclose the details of what I'm doing in the new "straight" part of my life, but I'm not going to leave you totally hanging, either. I'm still one foot in, one foot out, as I work on creating a second career for myself - it's the hokey-pokey method of leaving the industry. (I've wondered if this is more normal, or the sudden exit method? Do most sex workers start a second career secretly towards the end of their stint as sex workers, and just never mention it?) The only thing I feel like saying about Career B is that it involves using science to make the world a better place. Since this has been a big decision that I didn't make lightly, I thought I'd share my reasons and some things I've been discovering.
The big question: why are you leaving sex work?
First, porn simply doesn't pay very well any more. Even though I am a sexually open person and a natural exhibitionist, I got into sex work for the money. (I can be a pervert for free any time, though.) The money's just not there any more, at least in my part of the industry. It's been a struggle to come to admitting this to myself, but the golden days of internet porn are long over, and I'm not willing to continue with the stress and responsibility of running my own business - and one that could land me in prison! - for so little pay. Though I've given it a lot of thought, I'm simply too much a scaredy-cat to be an escort or dominatrix. I've dabbled in offline pro-domming, and had totally safe experiences, but I just worry too much about drawing the short straw and going into a hotel room with a dangerous person. No amount of screening makes you invincible, and while I have friends who've never had a violent client, I have also met people who have been raped, robbed, assaulted, or otherwise harmed on the job (sometimes by police officers). It shouldn't be that way, of course. We should have decriminalization, sex workers shouldn't have to fear reporting crimes against them, and sex workers shouldn't have to fear being robbed and raped by cops, but we're not in that world yet.
The second reason I'm starting to retire is that I feel like I have done everything I could ever possibly want to do as a sex worker. There's no room for growth, other than in quantity. I've done a fucking awesome job of going from being a high school dropout to having a successful small business that allowed me to make a middle class income so that I have free time for travel, adventure, learning, and taking on all sorts of hobbies. I don't exaggerate when I say that porn has been my dream job. I wouldn't do it differently other than make some smarter business decisions when I was younger, but on the whole, I am incredibly proud of my work. I feel like I have taken off every possible color of clothing in just about every way I could, and now I'm just repeating myself.
I came, I saw, I kicked ass, and now I'm ready for something new. I don't feel challenged by my work any more, and fully realizing that helped me make my decision to find a second career.
I have no intention of deleting any of my web sites.
I've spent 10 years building a number of awesome porn sites, this blog, and SWAAY, and I'm proud of them. Further, lots of other people have also put plenty of blood, sweat, jizz, research, and time into my web sites, and I'd hate to erase their efforts, too. And even if I did want to erase my past (which I do not), deleting my work only means that I am ensuring that I will never profit from my labor, even though images and videos of me will still be floating around the internet until civilization collapses. Unlike strippers or escorts who would never do porn because it exists forever, I enjoy that the products of my labor will exist forever and continue earning me residuals, even if it's not a lot of money. Residual income is rare in the sex industry, so I'm glad that 18-year-old Furry Girl picked a career path that came with a little retirement income. (On the official social security and payroll taxes front, as a self-employed person, it's damned near impossible to claim unemployment benefits, so while I've paid significantly more in federal taxes than your average worker, I am unable to access those funds to which I should be entitled. It's one of the many insults upon injury sex workers deal with when it comes to the US government.)
Moving on from sex work: the good
For the first time in a decade, most of the compliments directed at me have nothing to do with my appearance. This isn't to say that I think I've been "coasting on my looks" for a decade, especially since I know I'm not a major head-turner. People ignore all the invisible labor that goes into being a successful sex worker. If I shoot a particularly awesome set of photos, the praise I receive is invariably along the lines of, "You're so hot," not, "You're a hard-working photographer!" "Being sexy" is the smallest part of what goes into running your own porn site, but it's the only part that people acknowledge. (The same extends to other forms of sex work: the visible part of your work is always dwarfed by all the preparation.) As much as I stand by the fact that "being sexy" is a hard-earned job skill and that it takes smarts and ambition to be a successful sex worker, I have to admit that it's awesome to be praised regularly for my intellect or work ethic. (This isn't to say that there's something wrong with being a professional piece of ass: that's exactly the job we sign up for upon entering sex work. All humans are all "reduced" to one-dimensional beings by those with whom who we have only fleeting contact, but that fact has no moral component.)
I feel challenged. Sometimes too much! Ha. Seriously, it's awesome to have new things to do, even though some of them are tedious and annoying. While I've always had an array of interests, sex work and sexuality issues have been the focus of the last ten years of my life, and it's refreshing to give some of my other interests free reign and really see what I can do with them.
Just like my first career in porn, I've found a second career where I can make an interest into a paying job. I'm glad that both of my careers are the sort of things I could have written down on a typical high school "how to decide your career" quiz that asks, "If you had millions of dollars and didn't need to work, what would you do with your time?" That's not to say either porn or the new career is easy and always enjoyable, but both tap into my passions.
Moving on from sex work: the bad
Starting all over in building your resume, especially when you're almost 30. Ugh. While being smart, motivated, good with computers, and possessing an ability to learn new things are traits I bring to any job, the rest of my skill set doesn't transfer over. This also means I will not be making much money for a while, hence, staying a part-time sex worker as a financial bridge.
Waking up at a certain time of day. As someone who has been mostly waking up whenever I feel like it since I was 16, it's jarring to need to be somewhere precisely at a certain time. One of the biggest reasons many people choose sex work is the flexibility and ability to set your own schedule.
Working with other people who are not of my own choosing. I'm not the most enthusiastic team player. I can do it, but I am regularly examining my behavior to make sure I am doing it right. Running my own business from home for so many years has made me forget all the required social niceties we are supposed to engage in, like asking everyone how they're doing all the time, and them being required to say, "I'm good, and you?" no matter how they are actually feeling. It's so artificial, but it's apparently the lubricant that keeps society functioning. I've wondered, "Do I have a touch of Asperger's, or am I just kind of an antisocial weirdo?"
Not being out as a sex worker in all parts of my life any more. This one bothers me a lot. I'm used to being out out to just about everyone I interacted with, but I'm keeping that under wraps for now with Career B. It's not at all that I'm developed a sense of shame, but because I am the lowest-ranking member of a group, and because life is a competition, I don't want to do things right now that would prevent me from being given a shot at opportunities. (I'm also not out as poly, kinky, or pro-guns, so it's really about not courting controversy in any form.) I made the decision that I need to build up new "credit," and once people see that I am not a cliche sex worker stereotype of an untrustworthy drug addict who can't handle hard work or intellectual challenges, I can be open again. I'd rather demonstrate my competence and then surprise people later than start off by "making myself look bad" and then trying to fight an uphill battle of convincing people I'm capable, or not having a chance to try and convince them at all. It's not ideal, but it's not how I am going to live forever. For now, new folks know me as someone who ran a small web design company and has decided to switch careers.
Moving on from sex work: the random
I am not transitioning out of sex work for a man. Without trying to sound too judgmental, I have to say that it always bums me out when women leave sex work because they got some controlling, jealous boyfriend. I always swore that I would never do that (although that didn't spare me from dating some assholes who had problems with my job), and I'm glad I stayed true to that goal. (As a bisexual/pansexual woman, I will add that I would not have switched careers for a lady, either.) I do have an awesome dude in my life, but he's secure enough that he isn't reduced to fits of terrified panic at the idea that other men have seen me naked.
I am not transitioning out of sex work because I think I'm "too old." Without sounding vain, I think I'm aging just fine, and would have no problem continuing to work in the sex industry for years to come. Sure, I'm about 15 pounds heavier than I was 10 years ago, and I get occasional grey hairs, but I'm so far happy that I'm not one of those people who "hits the ugly wall" and suddenly ages 15 years in 6 months. (It pleases me that this category includes some of the "pretty girls" who bullied me when I was a youngster in school.) Also, unlike some cranky feminist sex workers, I haven't been exercising and eating healthy only because I am trying to cater to mainstream beauty standards to extract money from men, excitedly squealing upon quitting the industry about how I can't wait to get fat. I think people can be sexy at any size, but purposefully gaining weight (and increasing your risks of all sorts of health problems) just to say "fuck you, male gaze!" is as stupid as starving yourself to attract the male gaze. I'm hardly as athletic as I wish I were, but there are reasons to stay fit other than sex work. (Click see to two NSFW photos, one from the most recent photo update on my site, one from the very first.)
I'm not sure about my plans for SWAAY, but I'm not interested in trying to turn it into my career. The debate over whether to be agitators or paid mainstream NGO employees has long been going on in grassroots activist circles, and every scene has watched people lured away with the promise of a steady paycheck if they'll only tone down their rhetoric and get in line with the "proper" nonprofit establishment (ie, become less effective and more palatable to big donors). I know that a number of sex workers' rights activists are trying to turn (or have turned) their passion into careers as professional social workers with official tax-exempt charity statuses, but I don't want that.
I'm not quitting sex work so I can try to have a "real" writing career where I write puff pieces for HuffPo and ladyblogs about how I used to be a sex worker. Doesn't interest me.
I'm still maintaining my web sites, and will undoubtably still shoot new content sporadically, as well as continuing doing cam shows around my new schedule. I don't know when I'm going to stop doing anything new entirely, but I'm guessing in a couple of years. No sense in abandoning ship before the next ship is fully launched, and I'm giving myself a long timeline.
So what am I, a half-retired sex worker? And does this mean all sex workers are considered half-retired if they're starting a different career or going to school? (Because that's a sizable chunk of people in the industry.) I still think of myself as a current sex worker, but I feel like it's dishonest to say I'm a full-timer. I'm going to keep on being a supporter of sex workers' rights, and blogging/tweeting about these issues as Furry Girl, but the sexual politics world is definitely not my top priority any longer. It's a bit sad to think of that, but I am also excited about what's still to come. I have one final big project I want to do as "Furry Girl the sex work blogger chick," while I plan to announce soon.
by Furry Girl
"The Web sites I found, trolling through hundreds of Google hits for 'egg donor' were similar, placing heavy emphasis on the motivation of donors. They spoke of fulfillment, of 'making a difference,' of 'one of the most loving gifts one woman can give to another.' The pictures were of babies, clouds, building blocks. The site I chose was among the most thickly written, its invitation to donate dripping with hyper-feminized expressions of motherhood and generosity. It was the linguistic equivalent of a doily.
The application also asked, 'What is the least amount of compensation you will consider accepting for an egg donation?' Elsewhere, the agency stated that it would not accept requests of more than $10,000. So I typed in: $10,000.
When I suggested later that the egg-for-dollars swap is hardly a donation, [the doctor] looked genuinely confused and changed the subject to my egg-producing potential.
The mainstreaming of fertility treatments contributes to a larger concern among cultural conservatives, who worry egg donation is a step on the way to the much-feared designer baby. 'Do you really want to pick a kid the way you shop for a car?' Reader's Digest asked in 2001. Feminists, too, find the mixture of capitalistic enterprise and female bodies disturbing. The Nation's Katha Pollitt has called surrogacy 'reproductive prostitution.' Sexual anxieties make for strange bedfellows: In 2004 National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote a column slamming egg donation, approvingly quoting Pollitt.
While egg prices range from a few thousand dollars to $30,000 or more, ASRM guidelines recommend donors receive a maximum of $10,000, above which compensation is deemed 'inappropriate.' Paradoxically, such guidelines are sold as being in the interest of the donor, usually portrayed as cash-strapped and naive. In the words of the President's Council on Bioethics, such women tend to be from 'financially vulnerable populations,' which implies they need protection from the temptation of incurring bodily risk for profit."
-- Kerry Howley in Ova for Sale on reason.com
I support the consensual selling of organs, bodily fluids, tissue, and eggs/sperm, as well as women renting out their uteruses for surrogacy, or people being paid participants in medical research. The same arguments hurled at sex workers are also deployed against other "weird" or "possibly dangerous" uses of one's body for income. (Though very few people will apply that condemnation of occupations with physical injury risk to sports, agriculture, construction, the military, manual labor, or any number of blue collar jobs.)
Also: the euphemisms and bullshit parade that accompany egg-selling remind me of the prostitutes who put on airs about how they are "erotic journey facilitators," "tantric healers," and "sacred goddess practitioners."
by Furry Girl
It being tax season, I realized it would be appropriate to post a financial summary for SWAAY. Here's a copy of what's now on swaay.org/about.html:
Are donations to SWAAY tax deductible? Where does the money go?
SWAAY is not a federally-registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and your donations are not tax deductible. Becoming an official nonprofit costs a lot of time and money, and requires having a board of directors that disclose their legal identities. This is an additional barrier to sex worker organizing, because most sex workers do not want to publicize our legal names.
As of April 2012, SWAAY is currently $2297.32 in debt for what has been spent to establish the project. During our first year of operation, 2011, expenses broke down as follows: 65% for printing shirts, stickers, and buttons; 14% of for office supplies and shipping; 12% for web site related costs and advertising; 8% for bank fees and credit card interest; and 1% for miscellaneous expenses.
SWAAY is a genuine volunteer-based grassroots project without a paid staff. No one who has worked on SWAAY has received payment other than stickers and/or a complimentary SWAAY shirt.
I've had detractors (who've never even met me or been involved in activism themselves) accuse me of using SWAAY as a personal profit-making project, as though there must be untold riches to be made selling sex workers' rights shirts. Nope, I've never paid myself a penny, and I have no plans to draw a salary. My goal as an activist is always to just break even with what I spend, and I would feel weird drawing a salary for my "volunteering" endeavors. I think it's a good thing for nonprofit and activist projects to disclose whether their organizer(s) makes their living from running the project. (That doesn't mean they're bad people or the project is corrupt, but I favor transparency.)
So, as I said, SWAAY is about $2300 in the hole. (It has its own credit card which I used to start the project, and am now working on paying off.) If you'd like to donate or buy some awesome merchandise, it's appreciated. I would love to do more public outreach projects like the sex worker billboard, but all those things take money, and I'm not willing to rack up any more credit card debt at this time.
by Furry Girl
Something I often hear from my blog and Twitter readers is that they love my writing, the news links I share, or my perspectives in general, but that they're not into porn, or their wife won't let them buy porn, or that the kind of porn I make just isn't their taste. (I'm not offended. I know that armpit hair, blood, strapons aren't exactly the most popular niches of erotic material.) Or maybe the $20 price tag is too high for them in the recession, or they're scared of using their credit card to make adult purchases. There are all sorts of reason that someone might want to tip me in some way, but they're just not keen on what I'm selling or how I'm selling it. This kind of thing is even more problematic for sex workers who aren't pitching anything online, such as strippers with a Twitter fanbase mostly outside their own city, or escorts who don't connect their "internet blogging persona" with their work persona, and stand to gain nothing financially from their writing. (Not to mention all the former sex workers who still have a strong online presence as such.)
Sex workers do a lot to amuse the world for free through our blogs, Twitter accounts, and other writing outlets, but most of us don't seem to be getting much out of it, on a bottom-line compensation level. Sure, some sex workers get occasional pieces published on large mainstream web sites that pay a pittance, and others are able to parlay their popularity into books, but for the most part, we spend plenty of time as free entertainers in our "off time" when we're not entertaining people for money at work.
What I've been curious about this week is how other online sex workers prefer to get tips, how well those avenues work, and how much time people put into trying to drive their readers to these "tip jars." After asking about it on Twitter, it seems like the most popular thing by far is having an Amazon wishlist. I thought I'd make a list of ways that blogging/tweeting sex workers can pull in some extra money, in hopes that more of us can get a little something tangible for our awesomeness.
Of the methods I use, my Amazon wishlist is the best for my blog and Twitter worlds, and I generally get a couple of books a month. (Which I would be buying anyway, so it saves me money.) I get maybe $5 a month from linking to books I recommend via my Amazon affiliate account. I make $50-100 a month linking to porn affiliates from my porn sites. It's not a lot, but I put zero effort into promoting my affiliate links, nor do I push my wishlist heavily, so I'm happy with my returns. There are definitely sex workers who get a lot more out of their wishlists than I do, and bloggers who make a part-time income on promoting sex toy and porn affiliate programs, so the potential is there.
If you have a suggestion or addendum, post it in the comments.
- Setup, privacy, and hassles: You do need to disclose a mailing address in order for things to be shipped to you. Your full mailing address is not revealed to the public, just the mail-to name and your city/state.
- Pros: People are very familiar with using Amazon wishlists, and there's high customer trust that their purchase is secure. The checkout is easy, and most people already have accounts with Amazon. Pretty much everything is for sale on Amazon, from butt plugs to cat litter to gourmet food.
- Cons: You need a post office box or other mail service. You can also use initials or another fake name to protect your sex work identity from the mail box company. (Let's say you are known as Tammy Tittyfuck. Get a mail box for Tammy's Telephones, and having Amazon send things to "Tammy" or "TT.")
- This method seems to work the best: I think that guys most like sending women "sexy" things, like clothing and shoes. My own wishlist is pretty much all books so they don't have a choice, but I've seen others have success with getting their fans to buy their work outfits. Try a mix of items and see what works best for you.
- Setup, privacy, and hassles: Depends on the business. Lots of stores do online gift certificates, so you only have to disclose an email address.
- Pros: No mail box required. Also, let's say you like Amazon, but don't want frilly panties and sexy things, and instead want to buy food and tampons and boring stuff. This allows you to use tips more like cash. You could also resell these, but the eBay resale value on gift certificates is usually less than 50% of face value.
- Cons: People can feel like it's less personal, and may prefer to get you an exact item that you'll be using in your life.
- This method seems to work the best: (I'm not sure! Any tips on making the most out of gift cards?)
Sex toy and porn affiliate links
- Setup, privacy, and hassles: You need to disclose a legal name (or business name) and mailing address and/or bank routing information to receive your payouts. They have to put something on the checks/wire transfers, and unless you're incorporated as such, you can't cash a check made out to "Tammy Tittyfuck."
- Pros: Cash money. Some sex toy stores give out free products in exchange for coverage of them on your blog, so if you don't have enough sex toys, here's your chance. Weekly or monthly payouts, depending on the affiliate programs.
- Cons: May be taxable income, consult your accountant. How much you make really depends on how well an affiliate works with your own traffic and readership. Try a bunch of different things, but without filling your blog with too many ads and alienating readers. Affiliate links have minimum payouts, such as CCBill's $25. It could take you a while to reach the minimum payout required.
- This method seems to work the best: For people who want to pitch sex toys, porn movies, and such on their blogs as reviews. Make sure you're sending traffic to an affiliate program that is appropriate with your audience. Check your stats, and jettison affiliate programs that aren't making you much money, and try something else.
Amazon affiliate accounts
- Setup, privacy, and hassles: You need a legal name or business name to receive payments, just like other affiliate programs.
- Pros: Amazon sells everything, and they have a low minimum payout. (I think it's $10, and payouts are once a month.) You can link to a book you like, and hope your fans will go buy it through your link to Amazon. You can also ask people to do their normal shopping on Amazon after clicking your affiliate link, so you can make money on products that you don't even promote on your site.
- Cons: The payout percentage is very low, starting at just 4%. May be taxable income.
- This method seems to work the best: If you recommend books or other items, or if you pester your readers to do normal Amazon shopping after going through your link. If you're already mentioning books, albums, or basically anything on your blog, why not use an affiliate link?
- Huh..? Flattr is a new-ish micropayment system. The point is to get enough of your readers to "flattr" you by giving you a tiny monetary tip, and having it all add up at the end of the month. It's a great concept, but it hasn't hit serious popularity yet. I've received only one tip in months of having a Flattr link on my blog.
- Setup, privacy, and hassles: Easy signup, but since I haven't withdrawn money yet, I don't know what I have to disclose for a withdrawal.
- Pros: Possibly the wave of the future?
- Cons: You need to have collected at least 10 Euros to be able to withdraw your tips from your account. At this stage in Flattr's life, that will probably take a very long time.
- This method seems to work the best: (No idea. Any suggestions from those who get decent returns via Flattr?)
Team ho: what's been your experience? Which "tip jars" work best for you, and how do you get the most out of them? If you're in the fan/reader camp, which methods do you prefer for tipping your favorite sex work writers and bloggers, and why?
by Furry Girl
I've been a part-time cam ho since 2005, and in that time, I have been a worker bee for a network called iFriends. iFriends used to be the big dog on the block with web cams, but these days, that has been eclipsed by Streamate (aka CamModels.com). I'd been hesitant to jump ship on iFriends to try Streamate because of the much heftier cut of sales taken by the latter network. I decided to finally give it a go, and here's what I've learned after three months on Streamate. Your results may vary, of course, but here's my rundown of my pros and cons in an effort to help others who may be considering an iFriends/Streamate switch, or just curious about branching out into camming altogether.
For those of you not familiar with how web cam stuff works, here's the nutshell version: after submitting a model release, contract, and two forms of ID, you can log into the network at any time and make yourself available for clients. Most networks let you set your own per-minute rate. Generally, there is some kind of free/guest chat area where you hustle for clients and chat with them about what you do in private/paid shows. Different networks and settings option let you pick totally exclusive shows, or for multiple paying clients to watch you at the same time. Earnings can be erratic, so you might make $20 one night while making $200 another night, and you have to roll with the slow times and not assume a big payout every time you log in. The cam network is the one that brings in all or most of your clients, as well as running the streaming video platform and handling billing and customer service, and for this, they take a big cut of your sales. You're generally paid once a week via check, wire, or other options, and this is considered taxable, reported income.
I've liked web cam work because it's like working in a peep show or strip club, but from the lazy comfort of home, and where no one can try to jam a finger in me on the sly. I set my own hours, and if I'm not with a paying client, I can watch a movie, read blogs, write, or do anything else that still keeps me visible and in front of my computer. I do most of my movie and TV watching on cam. (Camming often feels like a way to justify watching TV shows.) So, I'm not just sitting there in a sad lonely peep show box, I'm doing something else in the background. I tend to not do serious work, however, because I need to be able to drop whatever I'm doing and instantly perk up and entertain someone when someone starts paying. (I also don't watch "emotional" things on TV that might give me sadface. I recently welled up with tears while watching a documentary on John Nash when he finally wins a Nobel Prize. Cam whoring and PBS programs go hand in hand.)
For my iFriends-versus-Streamate experiment, I decided to log two or three months on Streamate and see how that sample compares to past earnings on iFriends. I did not use my most recent iFriends time, since that's covering the holidays, during which it has been slow during previous years. I don't feel like it's the most accurate comparison, so I decided to make the iFriends comparison all of 2011, just so I feel like I'm getting a proper sample. (I keep records of my cam earnings. Spreadsheets and cam whoring also go hand in hand.)
On iFriends, I charge $4 a minute. iFriends takes 50%, so my take-home pay is $2 a minute for time spent with a paying client. In 2011, I averaged about $17 for every hour I spent logged into iFriends. It was a surprising sting to tally that up, because a few years ago, I could count on making at least $25 an hour for time spent logged in.
With Streamate, I charge $3.99 per minute for basic shows, and $4.99 for exclusive shows. Streamate takes 65%, leaving me with $1.40 or $1.75 per minute. So far, I have averaged $28 for every hour I spent logged into Streamate, a big jump up from iFriends. (This could be artificially high as the site's members "try out the new girl," so we'll see if the level stays the same over time.)
The hustle and the clientele
Of course, hourly averages are not the only things to compare. I find Streamate's members, in general, much more pushy and entitled than iFriends' members. The guys are less likely to even type "hi" at the start of a show, and might just type "pussy," "SPREAD ASSHOLE," or "hurry up!" I've politely stated "calm down and enjoy the show," or "relax, I'm just warming up," only to have people log off in a huff or tell me to go fuck myself because I'm ugly anyway. This would not be a good network for sex workers who have yet to develop a thick skin. Most of my shows are 2-5 minutes, instead of maybe 10-15 minutes on iFriends, but there are more customers who want these quickie naked shows. The guys generally expect to do the "get to know each other" chat for free in guest chat, and then only pay you for the "sex part" of the show. To me, whether I'm amusing you with my brain or my pussy, I want to be paid. (It's the analog to escort clients who can't understand why they should pay you to eat dinner with them, assuming that a stopwatch starts only when you get naked.) There's more of an expectation on Streamate of you spending a lot of time hustling and woo-ing and enticing. I hate hustling and woo-ing and enticing. You've seen my photos, you see the list of what sorts of things I'm into, and you are either interested in me or you're not. I'm not going to beg.
The technology and interface
Streamate cons: My biggest gripe is that the network freezes a lot for me, and I've heard from other cam hosts that they've had the same problem. Streamate's tech people went through some basic trouble-shooting with me, but ultimately had no solution. It's annoying because this has cost me clients and money, and there's nothing I can do to fix it. It's important to note that Streamate gives people the first 30 seconds of paid chat for free, so don't do anything but talk in that first 30 seconds. Streamate also does to-the-second billing, so if a client spends 3 minutes and 48 seconds with you, you will not be paid for 4 minutes. This to-the-second billing is better for clients, but it makes me feel like a cell phone plan, where guys are trying harder to maximize every single second. (I think this is part of why most don't even bother saying "hello" at the beginning. If typing "hello" takes you five seconds, that's 33 cents you "wasted" on being polite.)
Streamate pros: I love that the interface allows you to save common replies/statements, like "Would you like to see it all in a paid chat?" or "I'm sorry my video feed has frozen. I need to refresh and I'll be back in about 30 seconds." 90% of my free/guest area interactions on Streamate are me clicking a button to fire off an auto-reply to the questions I get asked constantly. It's a great feature and saves me the bother of explaining the same thing hundreds of times a night. The site overall is much more attractive than iFriends' cluttered design.
iFriends cons: Horrible tech support, many of my support tickets over the years have simply gone unanswered. Although the site has gone through design updates, they all are still stuck in the 1997 school of design. It's so confusing that some people honestly can't even figure out how to join or spend money on a private show - I've heard that from plenty of my site members as they got frustrated with trying to get a cam show with me. iFriends using cheesy language, like referring to cam performers as "stars," and tries to have this atmosphere of celebrity that's all the more laughable because the site is comprised mostly of broken English speakers from Eastern Europe and semi-literate American housewives. iFriends also blatantly lies in their advertising in an attempt to lure people into joining the site, and it's always embarrassed me to have my image used to sell these lies. My profile page promises readers that if they sign up, they'll get access to "my sizzling photos, steamy video clips, secret diary and so much more." While cam hosts do have the ability to upload all sorts of free stuff for members of our "fan clubs," a lot of us don't upload anything. To make it look like I am personally promise people that they will find "steamy video clips" and my "secret diary" is a shady business practice and one I've always been uncomfortable with. I also know that their blocking system doesn't work, or has bugs in it, because there's a at least one guy that I've blocked several times who keeps showing up using the same screen name.
iFriends pros: Doesn't freeze nearly as often as Streamate, and the latest redesign of my interface lets you refresh just the video feed, so I don't lose a customer and have to restart my entire browser in order to get it going again. I like that when a chatter appears in my room, the system tells me where they are from (based on their IP), just so I can to to be more personalized and ask something like, "How's the weather in New Zealand?" or something. I like the ability to refuse to let unregistered surfers see my video feed for free. I want to give as little as humanly possible to people who are unlikely to ever buy anything. I also like how iFriends displays, right under the cam window, how much money someone has spent so far. This lets me easily have mental rules like "I don't start toy shows until I've netted $10." (On Streamate, you can click and open a new window to see your payment stats, but it's not live and in real-time, and it requires clicking and being distracted. I want a little ticker right there under the chat window telling me how much I've made on the show.)
I've decided that I will only be working on Streamate now. There are more rude people and my cut is less, but I'm overall making more money. I'll now refer you to a strip club comparison post from Calico Lane which contains an infographic that explains it all.
by Furry Girl
Firstly, I apologize for the lack of uppity pro-ho materials on my blog lately. I haven't been as motivated to explain the same things over and over, as I have been defending porn and sex work for almost a decade now. (Fuck, I am so old now.) The thing is, there's no such thing as a new argument against sex work, although there are more and more studies suggesting things like the benefits of porn consumption, or that "secondary effects" of adult businesses are a myth, or that it's just not true that millions of underage sex workers are trafficked little girls being exploited and controlled by pimps. It's like debating the Bible - there will never be any new arguments in favor of creationism, but there's always more evidence in favor of evolution - once you know how to rebut all their arguments, all you can do is repeat yourself, which can get boring.
Now, moving onto my annoyance of the season: the left's current love affair with the utopian notion of "free" college for everyone. Perhaps the most commonly articulated concrete demand from Occupy protests has been for "free" college for everyone. (The most common vague demand is "end corruption" but since that's an abstract concept with no definition or proposed solution, I can't really be expected to discuss it seriously.)
How on earth could anyone be against "free" college? If I'm against "free" college for everyone, it must mean I hate learning and knowledge and poor people, right? Lefty people recoil in horror like I'm some kind of hard-right Tea Partier, but above fiscal conservatism, my beliefs about education are actually due to my deep and flagrant disregard for the presumed authority and superiority of academia.
I am against "free" college because most people don't need college
While everyone would prefer to have a high-paying job and be a millionaire astronaut rock star brain surgeon, there will always be a huge demand for less-skilled labor, even as we lose some of those jobs to overseas factories and technology. According to the list of the largest employment sectors from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only one in the top ten (nursing) requires college education. The others - retail sales, cashiers, office clerks, food service, waiting tables, customer service, janitors, laborers, and secretaries aren't exactly careers that require a lot of advanced training. Saying that everyone should have a degree so everyone can have a high paying job is like saying everyone should be rich - it sounds fun, but in reality, it's an untenable concept. Not everyone can have a job that pays $50+ an hour, and even if we did pay that to janitors and sales clerks, the market would adjust and make everything that much more expensive, negating the value of that higher pay. Everyone likes to believe that they are special and gifted and brilliant and deserve college, but in actuality, most people are average (that's why it's called "average"), plenty of people are below-average, and all those people still need jobs.
And after all, if everyone has a degree, no one has a degree.
I am against "free" college because college degrees has been devalued by the very people who insist on the importance of "free" college
Thanks to the expansion of liberal arts education and the efforts of largely left-leaning academia, degrees don't mean much now. College degrees in my dad's era meant you must have some serious training in objectively useful stuff like science, engineering, medicine, or business, but now, anyone with a student loan or trust fund can fritter away their time earning a degree in knitting or feminism or contemplating what it means to exist. The British have an awesome phrase for this: a "Mickey Mouse degree," meaning a degree in some silly subject that has no use in the real world.
The other day, I was curious what it takes to get a degree in women's studies or feminism, since such people largely seem to be nitwits with no comprehension of things like statistics or biology. Look at this list of fluff required for bachelor's degree program at the University of Washington. Anyone who has at least a C-average can be a women's studies graduate, no pesky math classes required beyond the single "Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning" class required of all UW graduates, in which they only need to earn a grade of .7, which is a D-. And that's not even a math requirement - it can be met by taking astronomy. So remember, when you see someone with a feminism/gender studies degree from UW (and presumably other colleges), you're looking at someone whose most strenuous degree requirement was getting a D- in a freshman-level science class. And then they wonder why they can't find high-paying jobs. (It must be The Patriarchy purposefully oppressing them, right?)
I am against "free" college because I don't support the idea that college is the only or best way to learn about every topic
I find it strange that the left, which in the past has embraced "unschooling," free schools, and learning skills on a peer-to-peer basis, in recent years has decided the only and best way to learn about anything is at college. By rallying for "free" college, the left's argument hinges on the idea that college is the only road to success and knowledge, which is just plain false. Most of my friends are not college graduates, and that includes the number of people I know in the non-ho world who make over $100k a year. The thing I've seen, across almost every single field, is that you don't need a degree if you're a smart and reasonably tenacious person. To me, the only reason to pay for an official education is if you want to go into a field which requires a degree, like medicine or engineering.
I am someone who has managed to teach myself - a school dropout - how to do everything I need to do to run a small business. (And yes, there's a lot more to what I do than just taking off my clothes.) I don't think the ability to learn things on your own is so difficult that plenty of other people couldn't tap into if they tried. I know so many other self-starters who have built successful careers and small businesses on their own, without needing degrees, as well as many who regret wasting money on college because they think their degree was largely useless. I'm a believer in skill-sharing and learning directly from each other in a cooperative and hands-on environment, which I consider a much more "radical" perspective than the current left's mindless brainboner for all things academia. (In this vein, I am happy to back Kio Stark's new book on Kickstarter, Don't Go Back to School: A handbook for learning anything. A Yale dropout and teacher at NYU, go check out what Kio has to say in case you're wary of my "bias" as a non-college person. I don't know her personally, but her partner and geek entrepreneur Bre Petis is awesome, so I'm guessing Kio's awesome, too.)
College seems like "special ed" for people who lack the initiative and follow-through to learn how to do things in the real world. For people not getting medical/science/useful degrees, I can't fathom why they will gladly spend tens of thousands of dollars to read books in groups when they could read those same books at home for free. It would be a pain in the ass to build a home chemistry lab with a ventilated fume hood and safe disposal for hazardous waste, so I understand taking chemistry lab at college, but fucking literature? Art? Philosophy? Gender theory? The pro-college people are such babies that they can't figure out how to read a book without it being spoonfed to them on a schedule and being explicitly told which parts of the text were the important bits. And on top of that, they're supposed to be intellectually superior to me, the drop-out? I've easily read and written more about feminism, human sexuality, sexual politics, and gender than your average women's studies graduate, but I ultimately win because I didn't flush $50,000+ down the toilet to do so. (In fact, I've come out financially ahead.) I guess that's kind of my ultimate fuck-you to the "educated" feminists.
I am against "free" college because it isn't actually free
What people on the left have a very hard time understanding is that "free stuff from the government" isn't actually free or from the government, it just means the cost is diffused over time and to all taxpayers. "Free" simply means that your neighbors are footing your bills.
I am against "free" college because it's not my responsibility to fund other people's hobbies
On Bill Maher's show a couple of weeks ago, he noted that in 2009, about 37,000 people graduated college in computer science and engineering, and about 89,000 in visual and performing arts. To use his perfect phrase: "A lot of people are going to college and doing bullshit." A blog post I read about one man's genuine quest to understand Occupy Wallstreet noted that he couldn't find a single person in Zuccotti park who had a science degree, but found tons of unemployed actors and artists. Americans going to college these days seem to do so largely to study things of personal interest to them, regardless of whether that degree will help them find gainful employment, which, phrased another way, is called going to college to learn amusing new hobbies.
I love books, I love crafts, I love non-pretentious art, I love discussions about sexuality and gender, I genuinely enjoy all sorts of the stuff liberal arts colleges teach, but I don't believe that I should be forced by the state to pay for other people to read books and navel-gaze and contemplate the "true" meaning of feminism. When you argue that something should be taxpayer-funded, your argument is that your beliefs should be forced onto other people through the government and under threat of imprisonment and fines if people do not comply. That's a pretty strong position to take, and while you can say that of all taxes, I'm more in favor of forcing everyone to pay for the maintenance of roads than I am of forcing people to pay for someone to take up fun new craft projects and read classic novels.
Unlike many others who are interested in women's studies and art and philosophy, I have the ability to separate my personal interests and hobbies from things which I believe the government should force others to fund.
I am against "free" college because it will probably cost more
I'm not an economist, so I don't know how to run the numbers on this, but I can only imagine that taxpayer-funded college would cost more. If tuition is $10,000 a year, how much more is it going to cost on top of that in additional taxation infrastructure and enforcement and school welfare disbursements? It seems like creating an HMO for schools, which just adds a lot of unnecessary bureaucratic costs to the service of education. (It would create jobs, on the sole plus side, but if we're going to give people jobs just for the sake of giving jobs, I'd rather we spend that money to employ people to update and modernize the country's crumbling infrastructure.) So, ultimately, when you're calling for "free" school, you're calling for school to cost more. If the goal is that everyone goes to college, then not only is everyone still going to be paying for college through higher taxes over the course of their lifetime, but they're wasting money by paying for more red tape around that college degree.
The solution to our current bullshit- and fluff-filled world of expensive college degrees is not to have everyone get an expensive degree in bullshit and fluff, but to point out that the emperor has no clothes in the first place.
Let's move on, let's take the initiative to teach and learn from each other, and let's stop embracing the idea that college has a monopoly on learning. College is indeed necessary for some people, and offers skills that would be difficult to learn on your own (like my chemistry lab example), but it's not the be-all end-all of success or knowledge. And stop demanding that your neighbors foot the bill for your hobbies, unless you want me to come back at you and force you to pay for me to take up new hobbies of my own.
My debates with the pro-"free" college crowd generally go like this: They insist that they need a degree in order to get the high-paying job they believe they deserve; I tell them if so, they should stop wasting their money on their non-useful art/philosophy degrees and get a degree that will actually be a good financial investment; they tell me that they don't care about the money, and they are enlightened and believe in learning for learning's sake; then I ask them why they needed to get an official degree to prove that they believe in learning purely for learning's sake, and why do they say they don't care about money when a minute ago they said that they want a higher paying job; at which point their logic folds in on itself and they stop replying.
Update, argument two: The art college fetishists insist that everyone is entitled to go to college and that they believe oh-so-passionately that useless degrees are a human right. Then I ask them why they don't channel that passion into spending their own money on footing the bill for others' liberal arts college tuition, and they balk and come up with an excuse as to why they shouldn't have to fund their beliefs, but that I should be forced by the government to fund their beliefs. Seriously, kids, this is why we have these things called charities. Anyone can spend their own money supporting the "worthy cause" of their choice, but you do not have a right to force all Americans to financially back your pet issue.
I've turned off comments on this post because I'm tired of having to read pointless bullshit from pretentious morons.
by Furry Girl
"Over the past half century, women have steadily gained on—and are in some ways surpassing—men in education and employment. From 1970 (seven years after the Equal Pay Act was passed) to 2007, women’s earnings grew by 44 percent, compared with 6 percent for men. In 2008, women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollar—but that figure doesn’t account for the difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like nursing or education. A 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that the women actually earned 8 percent more than the men. Women are also more likely than men to go to college: in 2010, 55 percent of all college graduates ages 25 to 29 were female...
As Hanna Rosin laid out in these pages last year (The End of Men, July/August 2010), men have been rapidly declining—in income, in educational attainment, and in future employment prospects—relative to women. As of last year, women held 51.4 percent of all managerial and professional positions, up from 26 percent in 1980. Today women outnumber men not only in college but in graduate school; they earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded in 2010, and men are now more likely than women to hold only a high-school diploma.
No one has been hurt more by the arrival of the post-industrial economy than the stubbornly large pool of men without higher education. An analysis by Michael Greenstone, an economist at MIT, reveals that, after accounting for inflation, male median wages have fallen by 32 percent since their peak in 1973, once you account for the men who have stopped working altogether. The Great Recession accelerated this imbalance. Nearly three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost in the depths of the recession were lost by men, making 2010 the first time in American history that women made up the majority of the workforce. Men have since then regained a small portion of the positions they’d lost—but they remain in a deep hole, and most of the jobs that are least likely ever to come back are in traditionally male-dominated sectors, like manufacturing and construction."
-- Kate Bolick, in All the Single Ladies on theatlantic.com
The point of this piece wasn't feminist-bashing, but I love seeing factual information like this in a source as widely-read by lefties as the Atlantic. It doesn't mesh with the feminist fantasy that they are constantly oppressed in all areas of life, and I'm sure they'll still keep harping on their lie of a vast income disparity.
Feminist propaganda claims that women "earn 70-something cents for every dollar that a man does," which makes it sound like there's some kind of payscale drawn up by The Patriarchy that dictates salaries for people of different sexes doing the same job. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reasons that men have been earning more money than women is not because of sexism, but because men work longer hours at more dangerous jobs which require more education. In other words: men make more because they deserve it.
by Furry Girl
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the only agency that keeps track of how many children the legal system rescues from pimps nationwide. The count, which began in June 2003, now exceeds 1,600 as of April of this year, according to the FBI’s Innocence Lost website — an average of about 200 each year.
Through interviews and analysis of public records, Village Voice Media has found that the federal government spends about $20 million a year on public awareness, victims’ services, and police work related to domestic human trafficking, with a considerable focus on combating the pimping of children. An additional $50 million-plus is spent annually on youth homeless shelters, and since 1996, taxpayers have contributed a total of $186 million to fund a separate program that provides street outreach to kids who might be at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.
That’s at least $80 million doled out annually for law enforcement and social services that combine to rescue approximately 200 child prostitutes every year.
These agencies might improve upon their $400,000-per-rescued-child average if they joined in the effort to develop a clearer picture of the population they aim to aid. But there’s no incentive for them to do so when they stand to rake in even more public money simply by staying the course."
-- Kristen Hinman, in Lost Boys on villagevoice.com
If you haven't read this new installment in the Village Voice's series exposing the myths around sex trafficking, I suggest you do so.
by Furry Girl
"Why then would anyone become a pornographer in this day and age? What exactly is the point? I’d argue that some have not quite caught on to current state of things. Many still believe there are fortunes to be made. But for most who find themselves fucking for a living, the financial incentive is no more than a rocky path towards middle-class existence; one without job security, benefits, or a retirement plan.
Porn is the new punk because it has shifted backwards. The golden era of its success is over. Internet piracy and over-saturation have countered the scales so that the risks of porn may now outweigh the benefits. Of course there is still money to be made in the adult industry. But it’s of a more modest sort than perhaps ever seen before.
For the new generation of pornographer, there is inevitably a fight to be had. No longer is there an option for passive stance."
-- Danny Wylde, in Porn is the New Punk on smittenkittenonline.com/blog
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
More of me online
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Kat's Stories
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sex Worker Pie Charts
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Whore Madonna