Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rant # 1,467...

Who am I kidding? The number is much higher than that. I just don't want to come off as the utter curmudgeon that I am. Wait- yes I do.

Okay. So, I go to some sex worker events where published people get up and read their stories.

I'm standing there at an event, talking to a relatively well-known blogger who recently had some stories published, and she is pissed out of her mind. She asks me how my business is going, and I say it's pretty feast or famine right now, as all business seems to be. I tell her, no, I'm not a dungeon Domme, I'm an independent with my own place. Suddenly, her ears perk up, and I get her card and an, "Oh, we need to hang out some time!" Yeah, right. She used to be a Domme, and she liked it, but then she did some porn and won some award, and now she is a darling of the sex worker writing scene. She wants to get back into Domming. It was so much fun!

Hmmm...

She got up to read and fumbled through her story- a giggly little, "tee hee, I did an infantalist scene! wasn't it funny and quirky, yet poignant and sad at the same time?" kind of piece. No one was laughing. She slurred through in an oblivious, cutesie sort of way anyway, revealing that she was actually a phone sex Domme, not a real one. A scattered round of applause followed.

Whenever I go to these events, I see a lot of people I am acquainted with, and we chat (but have nothing to talk about). I buy their comic book, their book of short stories, or their video (I want to show my support), but ultimately always leave thinking that I've just been to a big schmooze-a-thon, where everyone is desperately trying to become the next Tracy Quan. The events are usually quite crowded, which is great. There is a certain amount of solidarity.

But. I can't shake the feeling that many of these people "dabbled" in sex work in order to have something interesting to write about. Or to focus their "art" around. This blogger woman, at least while she was drunk, was so transparent about her reasons for wanting to Domme (hint: cha-ching). I have no problem with people wanting to make money- there is a market of clients out there for everyone. However, I do have a problem with people taking what I consider to be my chosen profession, and packaging it in such a way as to gain notoriety for their bad writing. Many of these people went to ivy league schools (or close), and use that as a way to legitimize their perspective on their little "stint" as a sex worker. Oooh, you went to Yale, majored in performance art, and can't pay back your loans, so you decided to give hand jobs for three months... So what???

There are, however, a few people who show up who completely blow me away. One woman, who was a stripper in the 80's, was basically like, "Hey, when I was a 'sex worker', that term didn't even exist, everyone was a junkie- myself included. No one was saving to go to college, and most of us who are still alive are surprised we made it this far." She told a story about a fifteen year old girl who worked at her club and couldn't dance, because she had been shooting heroin between her toes so much she couldn't wear her platforms anymore. That basically shut everyone the fuck up. It seems like a stereotype that everyone is trying very desperately nowadays to shake off. Which I understand. And can get behind. But stereotypes exist for a reason.

Sex worker fiction contains subject matter that the majority of the public finds scandalous- but that alone does not make you a good writer. Granted, most people are probably going to look twice in order to be titillated (which sells books), but it pisses me off that these floozies are getting signed essentially for exploiting the very same "scene" to which they claim to be a dedicated member.

Ah, but who said life was fair, right? I'm probably just jealous, anyway. Maybe in exchange for Domming experience, the blogger chick will give me a few lessons on being a shameless self-promoter.


xoxo.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

You truly rock...I often daydream of being on the receving end of your biting wit...and hand.

roch said...

Wit, perceptive..you are a fine observer.....

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Yes, feed my ego! Fantastic.

roch said...

for those that are so inclined....Gifting Ms Veronica is too fun....anytime i visit amazon i get goosebumps...chris

advochasty said...

I love that you don't give a rat's ass about impressing people who someone in your shoes might want to impress.

Though I don't really know you, your take no prisoners honesty is so refreshing.

But sometimes, life can be fair and sometimes it's not just the bullshit artists who get recognized and rewarded.

Louie Monkey-Pest said...

There are a ton of sex industry tell-all books out there. A literal glut, in my opinion. My guess it comes from two directions. The first is the artsy writer wanna-be type who has spent her life reading Chaucer. Its a boring life so, do a little strip tease or dominatition and write a book. You get the classical "good girl turns into down and dirty stripper" story.

The other source are the discontent sex workers. Sure the pay beats what you can make at some "legal" job but being a social outcast is a real downer. If you write a book about it, you are an author not a sex worker. Hello prestige!

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Advo- So true. Really. I know life can be fair, but sometimes it doesn't seem that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how you feel about Diablo Cody and her fame and books. Do you feel the same way about her?

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Anon,

I don't know Diablo Cody, although I know OF her. I know certain activists think she takes a very simplistic and naive approach toward sex work in it's broader context.

nycjewboysub said...

Excellent commentary. Look forward to your next post.....and to saturday. :)

DSC said...

It's easy to judge from an outside perspective.. I mean I see a large difference between an "Independent Domme with her own place" and the jaundiced overweight toothless drug addicted street walker I happen to have as a step mother. And so it makes it seem a little disengenuious to hear you complain that "sex worker books aren't real enough" when I read this blog and see someone who actually made "sex work" a career rather then a survival necessity. But I don't know.. so I can't say for sure. But neither can you, so you shouldn't worry whether these people are belittling your chosen profession. You chose it.. thats all that matters I guess.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

DSC,

You seem to be contradicting yourself with this statement. Since I am not an outsider, I can't have an opinion?

Also- I did not say that all these people were belittling my profession, but rather, that there are some who obviously dabble in it opportunistically.

Please read the blog completely before commenting.

DSC said...

I meant that you couldn't truly understand their point of view without having been where they have and vice versa. Making it mildly unfair to say they "dabbled" as I imagine even a few nights of sex work would indeed change your perspective fundamentally.
But I do wonder, why do anything if not for the experience? (even if you cash in on it) It's a bit self absorbed to think because you do it as a career that the knowledge is forbidden to anyone right?..

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

I don't feel like I am privileged in any way because I take my profession seriously. However, "dabbling" in something does not give you the perspective that someone who is a dedicated practitioner would have. Where are the books by these people? Because having a "hook", like the juxtaposition of being from Yale but also being a prostitute sells books. Being a teenaged dominatrix sells books. Being a one-armed dwarf that escaped from the circus and sells blowjobs to seahorses sells books.

These people are representing my profession from a completely amateur, "tee-hee isn't that weird?" position. It's an outsider looking in. It's superficial and it's bogus. But that's what the bulk of material on the subject of BDSM and sex work in general consists of. Voyeurism. Pure and simple. Where is the substance in that? How much closer does that get my profession to being better understood?

And on top of that, most of this "literature" does not even manage to entertain! It's boring!

I say fuck that. I also say fuck those people who use it for "life experience", like some backpacking trip to Europe. Upper-class twits.

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