This was originally published on Thierry Schaffauser’s blog, I thought it was awesome. Many, many thanks to Thierry for the translation.
This is an extract from the post-face of Le Noir est une couleur from Grisélidis Réal. Réal was an anarchist whore, an artist and a poet. She was a pioneer of the sex worker movement in the 1970′s and was part of the occupation of French churches in 1975. I translated this passage because she deserves to be known outside francophone countries. (- Thierry Schaffauser)
I no longer hide. Times have changed, we revolted. In the face of the world, thousands of women coming out of the night and speaking, writing, gathering, sometimes in masks, but also openly, and shouting their truth, their lives. They were listened to, muzzled, contested. They wanted to silence them, but their voice was stronger. We had to see them, to know they exist; so they are no longer crushed like roaches in the dark.
In Paris, fourteen years ago, in a chapel in Montparnasse, I entered into revolution, with my damned sisters. Since then I’ve never left them. The revolution has taken us, and will not let us go until the last breath. It inflames the world.
Never again, will our children be stolen from us. We will not be despised, hunted, trapped, killed. Our lovers will no longer be thrown in prison. Respect will lie down in front of us as a velvet carpet on which we walk barefoot without being hurt, happy, triumphant.
Even if we still have to fight, to the death, still have to pay, always pay with our blood, our lives. This money they are taking from us is very hard to earn, and even more to sacrifice.
Freedom is priceless. We know it, which is our strength and hope.
Prowling like she-wolves, like tigress, like birds we will walk on the moon if necessary, we will gain our rightful space, we who are the balm on the wounds, offered and injured, soft, violent, women and witches, princesses of our senses and of men’s desire.
In Paris, at the Chapel of St. Bernard, in Montparnasse, at the beginning of June 1975, five hundred women were present, pale, resolute, some had no more voice after too much talking, and shouting. The priests who had received them covered with a cloth the statues of the Virgin and the saints. The fourth night, the police drove them out with batons.
We will not give in. The struggle continues, it crosses the seas; it burns paper, screens, walls. Never again, will we walk the streets like hunted animals, we will no longer be raped in cars nor anywhere.
To my too many missing friends, who died of loneliness, of too much love given, never received: In their memory, I will have to say how the everyday life has killed them, and the contempt from people. And how beautiful they were, generous, full of talent and mystery, surrounded by all those who had such need of them, who were hungry for their caresses, their tenderness, their infinite patience, their knowledge, their power.
And this is from me:
I cried the whole time I was making this; seriously, my eyelids and eyelashes are killing me. And my cats just sat glaring at me while I was putting it together as if to say, “Really? This is what you’re doing instead of cleaning out our box?? Really?”
Sigh. Stupid computer.
No, it’s not the computers fault, it’s my fault for downloading shit off of the exchange, the official sims 3 exchange I mean – downloading ‘households’ of all the shit I coulda downloaded… households are just groups of sims that people make and upload, and by people I mean goddamned idiots that upload 322 MB! households which turned my sims into unimaginable freaks. I don’t even have pics, it was that traumatizing. But no, it’s my fault, I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking just clicking away like a friggin moron and then to top it off for some reason I decided that the ‘easy’ fix would be to do a complete uninstall and reinstall of my game and all the expansion packs too. cuz i’m a fucking moron. wtf was I thinking. this is taking me hours!
Oy. So I have the (apparently) well known and widely dreaded “nvlddmkm.sys” Blue Screen Of Death error. >> http://www.google.com/search?q=%22nvlddmkm.sys+error%22&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe= << It’s an Nvidia driver issue, I’ve read that what actually happens is the nvlddmkm.sys file consistently reverts to an old version, and there is some super complicated way to fix it, but I don’t know if it stays fixed or if you have to manually replace the file everytime you update the rest of the graphics drivers…
But jeezus what a pain in the ass… lotsa people are having the ‘nvlddmkm.sys BSOD error’ while gaming, but that’s not what happens to me. My system seems ok through Simming, but if it goes into screensaver, or more specifically sleep mode, sometimes it won’t come out…. well, it comes out, comes awake, but the monitor isn’t picking up the signal because that friggin nvlddmkm.sys failed, and I just see a black screen.
Most often though, like 90% of the time it happens to me on restarting, and what’s most maddening is that all goes as it should, I can see the mobo splash screen, the other whatsits flashing by, then I can see the little windows 7 spots of color come dancing forward to make the windows logo… but then *blip* it goes black just before the password entry screen comes up… usually the blip to black is accompanied by the sound of the pw entry screen opening… it’s bittersweet, 2 parts bitter of course…
I got to the point where i’d just have to listen for the sound of the password screen, put in my password without seeing anything on the screen and then once the next sound occurred I knew it was started… then I’d shut it down by hitting the ‘Start’ key, then the right arrow once, then enter… which would restart it… and I’d restart too, fucking with the BIOS, or fucking around in safe mode. Well, went to all that trouble because if I just kept powering off manually it was sending me through the start up repair service too often, which takes for-fucking-ever…
anyway… yah… and apparently this nvlddmkm.sys error has been happening for years, it happened to me when I was using XP, but I skipped Vista and landed on 7, hell I went to Windows 7 hoping it would solve that problem, but that’s where it’s happening again… and of course tons of Vista users have had the problem too.
Microsoft and Nvidia are each pretty certain it’s ‘the other guys fault.’ I dunno, I suspect the Intel chipset… cuz NOBODY suspects the Intel chipset…
And oh great, I go to post this, and the modem is flashing at me… wtf!? Argh!!!!!!!!!1 At least I know to blame the cable company for that… omg it’s back yay! Omg it’s flashing again. back on! Off… on!
My head is gonna explode.
I’m sure it’s not as bad as it looks.
I’m afraid to click any of the results.
I’m going to play the sims instead. I made a pretty house. I’ll take pictures and share! :)
The narrator says the male is dominant and exercises mating “privileges” over two groups of females. One male’s privilege is another male’s burden is what I say, because clearly this male is a servant at best, literally providing stud service to the pride of females.
Look at him, he’s all used up!
Me: Did you hear what I was saying?
Me: So what was I saying then?
Feller: …. you were saying some sorta feminist mumbo jumbo stuff…
Feller: Told ya I was listening.
“Tom Delay was just on a fucking reality competition show for christ sake. It’s going to take all of feminism to fight that…”
It’s been a wild 10 years, personally speaking, and there was a lot of bad – a LOT of bad, but all that bad stuff ended up letting me see some really good stuff.
“I’m not a whore. I’m not a tramp. I’m not an escort. I’m not stupid or a bimbo. I’m very strong. I will survive this. At the same time, I’m vulnerable. I’m not here to make myself into a victim, but I want people to remember I’m human-there’s a whole other side to me. I’m caring and generous and the type of person you’d want to be friends with. People have to give me a chance.”
—- Rachel Uchitel, Official Brazen Hussy
Via take your goddamned pick
Oh honey, just stop trying, you’re a whore, tramp, escort, stupid, bimbo and you’ll probably be a lot of other things before this is over, don’t waste your energy on denials.
Whoretrampescortstupidbimbos are always strong.
And apparently the View folks were taken to task about calling Uchitel a hooker or something.
I love the word hooker, it cracks me up. I don’t really know why though. Ugh. “should the view have had to apologized for hooker joke”, says some tabloid – I don’t care, I guess, or maybe not, or no way, or absolutely, or are you kidding me? this is news? you dirty dirty media pigs, i’m onto you with your machine of distraction, used to keep us from looking at news that really matters.
When I quit high school, my father was understandably upset. He told me I was so smart, if only I would knuckle down and do the homework and show up to class, I could do anything I set my mind to. He told me, “I know you think this is the easier way, but it won’t be easier, it’s going to make life so much harder than it needs to be” – that’s probably not the exact quote, but it’s very very close.
Female Sexual Slavery, by Kathleen Barry, originally published in 1979.
I read this book when I was 12. The title was too hard to resist, I was afraid the cashier wouldn’t sell it to me, so I stole it.
The only 2 reviews on Amazon: (wheeeee! look, I learned that tables copy right over in visual mode – I’s so smart~)
I can’t decide what to write about… but I have been motivated to ramble on endlessly at other people’s blogs, and in an attempt to disguise my blogging procrastination I offer them for you here:
On Jem’s Lair I read an interesting post on Sex as negotiable action, with this bit:
“I don’t think I could do sex work myself, I’ve never felt the curiosity to try, nor have I ever had the need (thankfully). Not because I think it’s icky – it’s sex and it’s no different than any other sexual relation in that regard – but because I dislike the idea of engaging in sex for someone else’s sake rather than my own. That’s purely my own feelings, though, and I respect and understand that people are different and that others won’t mind this like I do”
which got me rambling:
I have a video tape of myself from 20+ years ago (omg), when I was 18 where I said almost this very same thing. Almost verbatim – I really need to find that tape again and get it onto my computer….
Anyway, here’s the thing….
When I started this blog and said “it won’t have a constant stream of sex worker’s rights stuff”, apparently I lied. Sorry ’bout that.
To tell you the truth, I don’t even really think of it as sex-worker’s rights stuff, I think of it as general human rights stuff. It’s similar to when I would rail against the drug war; that wasn’t because I wanted to do drugs, it was because I’d seen so many people’s lives ruined by the attempted legislation of morality and I wanted it to stop. It wasn’t about the dope smokers and line snorters who got thrown in jail either, it was mostly about mandatory minimums being applied to drug offenses, which resulted in violent criminals being released, and the forfieture laws that violate the right to presumption of innocence and cost truly innocent people their homes, land and savings. I had been sentenced under mandatory minimum guidelines, and not too long after I’d been released a cop was shot and killed by a violent repeat offender named Robert “Mudman” Simon who’d been granted early parole:
In May 1995, Robert “Mudman” Simon, a motorcycle gang member, shot and killed a New Jersey police officer during a routine traffic stop. 4 Mudman had been paroled from a Pennsylvania prison only months before the attack. (source)
between 1970 and 1982, “Mudman” Simon was convicted nine times for crimes that included things such as murder; robbery, rape, weapons charges, receiving stolen property, larceny, issuing worthless checks, forgery, and many other things. [...]Even though he was at one time charged with murdering an inmate, on February 18, 1995, he was released from the State Correctional Institute at Graterford, and on May 6, 1995, just several months later, he shot a policeofficer on a routine traffic stop. (source p264)
When the Mudman story broke I felt compelled to write my first-ever letter to the editor of my local paper. I ranted about the mandadory minimums on drug offenses that had sent prison population skyrocketing up to 130%~ capacity and resulted in violent offenders - who were not covered under mandatory minimum laws – being released far, far too soon and with horrific results. They printed it, I was happy, and I still have a copy of it stashed away somewhere on a shelf in a box of memories.
Tom Ridge was the Governor of Pennsylvania at the time: ”He was elected in 1993 on a campaign stressing fighting crime. He sought and won new anti-crime laws early on, though some were ruled unconstitutional. During his two terms, Ridge pursued a get-tough agenda using all the police-related branches of state government. He’s had little patience for critics, from death penalty opponents to civil libertarians.” Of course, mandatory minimums are a federal sentencing guideline, so the governor had no power to override them, Ridge served as Pa.’s tough on crime governor right up until Bush appointed him director of Homeland Security - and we all know how well that worked out.
Now, when I read about the anti-trafficking organizations targeting the commercial sex industry I have the same worries; that a lot of truly innocent people are being put in far worse situations than they need to be. It seems so simple that decriminalization, or legalization and regulation of sex work is the only way to truly help the people who have been trafficked against their will. It’s the illicite nature of the sex industry as it is now that makes autonomous sex-workers as well as those who have been forced into servitude extremely vulnerable.
It hurt, and afterwards I cried. It felt like what I wanted didn’t matter; like some stranger had decided what mattered for me.
Of course, I’m talking about the first time I was told I had privilege.
It was 1990, I was 19 and I was in jail. A GED prep course was offered with the exam given at the end. I attended all the classes, and applied myself to learning the material that would be covered, foregoing card games in favor of algebra.
The day of the test they announced that those who were scheduled to take it should assemble near the main door. I hot-footed myself on down there and stood in the sort-of line waiting for them to come to me and check my name against the list. When I was finally asked for my name, the CO scanned up and down the list two or three times and said, “I don’t see you on here. Are you sure you’re supposed to be going?”
“Yeah. I went to all the classes, I’m pretty sure I should be scheduled.” I told her. She said she’d have to check on what happened, which was no comfort because the girls going for the test had already gone and I wasn’t with them. I walked back to my cell and shed a few tears in my frustration.
A few friends stopped by and leaned against the door, “Aren’t you taking the test? Everybody left already!” “No, they said my name wasn’t on the list.” “That’s fucked up. How come?” “I dunno, life hates me?”
A few hours later the counselor called me into his office. Now, the “counselor” was a rare sight on the cell block, he was only called in as a liason if you had some sort of dire emergency – for example if your child is injured or very sick and dying the counselor lets you be able to contact family and helps arrange transport for you to see whoever the hurt/dying person is.
The power of the counselor was legendary because the only real phone on the cell block was in his office and he was the only one with the keys to unlock the door, unlock the box the phone was in, and open the lock on the actual keypad on phone. I dunno why the phone was locked up so tight, but it was, and he had the key. I’d only seen him once in the 3 months I’d been there, seen as in visually perceived him, not as in spoke with him – so it was a big deal that he wanted to talk to me.
When the CO came by and told me he was waiting, I thought, “oh shit, my mom’s dead and that’s why I wasn’t on the list but they didn’t want to tell me earlier, they waited for this guy to tell me.” I was expecting the absolute worst as I walked to his little office. He gestured for me to have a seat and started talking as I sat down. “You were wondering why you weren’t on the list for the test today?” “Yeah…”
“Well, that was because Cheryl S. called me yesterday and said she had wanted to take the test, and there are only so many slots available, so I made the decision to take you off the list, and put her on in your place.”
“Umm, why? She didn’t even go to any of the classes, I went to every single one and actually studied on my own time.”
“Because it’s more likely you’ll have a chance to take it once you get out, and she doesn’t have that privilege.”
His use of the word privilege in that context was quite foreign to me. I understood it to mean the opposite of a “right” – I didn’t get it – it wasn’t as if she wasn’t allowed to take the GED after she got out. She might not WANT to, but that’s damn sure not the same as not being “granted the privilege” to take it.
I was pissed, and I was certain that I was justified in being pissed. But the counselor kept talking, … “Your release permissions say you’re going to be moving to your moms in QuaintNearbyTown, and there are 4 locations that offer the test during the year relatively near there, and you’re going to be living with a licensed driver …. ” He trailed off as he shuffled through the set of papers on his desk, “And Cheryl, let me see… she has 3 kids, all under 12 and is going to have to depend on the bus to get to the 1 location close enough to her that offers the test, and well, the only thing that would stop her from having her GED is the opportunity to take it, she’ll be able to pass without studying so thats not a problem… and well….”
He set down the pages and looked over at me “I know you aren’t happy about this but I do feel I made the right choice. I am sorry, though, that I didn’t get here before you were lined up at the door expecting to go, another situation took precedence and this was as soon as I could get down here.” I could tell he was finished, and I was already getting to my feet, “So, if you don’t have any other questio—…”
“No, I don’t have any questions.” I stood up, yanked the door open and walked out, still feeling indignant. You’d think that knowing my mom wasn’t dead would have kept me from feeling anything other than relief.
No, I was mad. Oh sure, I understood his reasoning, but I thought that his reasoning discriminated against me. It didn’t take me long though to realize what he really meant, and to realize that he was right.
Back in my cell, I started writing a letter, describing the terrible injustice that I had just suffered, and with every sentence I felt less and less justified about being so pissed, and I couldn’t deny that what he said was true, unless I wanted to lie to myself. But I sure did try to convince myself … boy oh boy did my letter make it obvious…
I was writing: “He says I’ll have a mom who drives. How does he know? My mom could be an alchoholic who might kill me if I get in the car with her.” But I knew she didn’t drink and would drive me anywhere I needed to go.
“He says she’ll pass it no problem without studying, like I’m so stupid the fact that I studied won’t help me.” But I knew that wasn’t at all what he said, and that I also could have passed it without studying.
“He says that ’cause she has 3 kids, she’s more important, it’s not my fault she got knocked up 3 times, if I pop out some babies will I get special treatment too?” But I knew that he never said she was more important than me, and I knew that she wasn’t getting special treatment, that the only thing special about it was that somebody decided to give her just 1 extra chance, and I knew that there wasn’t anything particularly “extra” about it to begin with.
I knew that on the jail scale of who’s gotten how many chances, I was off the chart. I knew that on the not-in-jail scale I was pretty darn high – and I would still be pretty darn high even though I’d been in jail.
I knew that I had heard “we’ve decided to give you one more chance” so often that I expected it. I didn’t even have to ask for second chances, I would merely hope, and they were given to me.
For me, there was a lot of “Phew, I’m glad they didn’t make me ask for this second chance or explain why I thought I deserved it,” and never any “Phew, I’m glad they gave me that second chance I asked for,” Because I NEVER EVEN HAD TO ASK. Having to ask was my worst case scenario, I couldn’t even comprehend asking and being denied.
In the years since then, I’ve told this story every so often when privileged people are complaining about thier hard luck. It’s usually a friend of a friend complaining about how affirmative action is reverse racism or some such wounded ego wimpery, and I pipe-up excited that I get a chance to tell my story of the time I was edged out of an opportunity based only on where I came from, and not at all on how hard I had worked.
They love it so much, they lap it up and they say …. “see – this sort of stuff does happen!” and their words make it obvious that mine is the only first hand story they’ve heard of anything like this happening and they think it’s wonderful proof to change the lies they tell into the truth they wish it to be. I know they think they found a bona fide “I do personally know someone who got screwed over by that Affirmative Action bullshit” story to use for purposes of further marginalizing others.
They might still use my story, though they probably omit the part at the end where I say it was the right thing to do, and that I’m not angry at all, and that it taught me an invaluable lesson about how unimaginably privileged I am, and that even learning the lesson when I did, where I did, was in itself more privilege, and that I’m only telling it to people who complain and whine and make it obvious they haven’t yet learned the lesson.
Yeah, they probably don’t tell that part, so if you hear this story from someone else, and they leave off the end, be sure to tack it on and set the record straight.
The fat acceptance community knows something that other people Do Not Know. The FA community know how it feels to be dismissed and discounted by those who Do Not Know. I read along as people hurl the weightiest of insults at fat people on blogs and forums. They tell us we are self-indulgent, lazy, ignorant burdens to society who are dangers to ourselves. Read more…
Let me start with what I’m not.
I’m not someone who started exploring sex work for research. I didn’t do it in order to have something to write articles about, I didn’t do it in order to explore my feminist assumptions. I didn’t do it to put myself through college. I’m not from a broken home, and I’m not a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
So, what sort of whore am I?
This is the hard part, because it opens me up to judgement, and it makes it easy for people to dismiss what I say if they are so inclined. There were, and are, things in my life that people might want to attach causal links to, things that for some people will reinforce negative stereotypes about sex workers. I’ve got monkeys on my back, and chips on my shoulder and my fear is that these things will be used to invalidate what I say.
I feel quite desperate about it sometimes, desperate to be heard on these issues – because I, and more than a few women before me – have learned something that we believe is imperative to feminism. It’s a desperation because the way that we learn these things – through commercial sex work – almost always serves as the reason for dismissing what we have learned.
So these are the things about me that can be used to marginalized and invalidate my observations:
I grew up chubby, and was picked on by my classmates.
I had sex when I was 13, because I wanted to get my virginity out of the way. Virginity, to me, was a door to be opened. How could I see what was beyond the door without opening it first?
I dropped out of high school – I hated it, I was an outcast, I was still chubby, and I would cut gym class and go read in the library and listen to “Dark Side of The Moon” on my walkman. If the book was good, I would decide to just skip the next couple classes too.The school system, which hadn’t cared and didn’t bother to notice me during all the years I was teased or bullied suddenly decided to pay attention to me when I started cutting classes. My assistant principal asked me what was going on… I’d always been a decent student, he said, with somewhat decent grades, no behavior problems, and had tested with an above average IQ, so what could be going on? He asked me if I was using drugs, and he didn’t believe me when I said it wasn’t. Well, I’m a people-pleaser, and I could tell he wanted me to be on drugs, so I told him I was. He called my parents in for a conference. My parents, bless them, believed me afterwords when I told them that I wasn’t really on drugs. I told them how he had been so determined to believe it that he wasn’t taking “no” for an answer. (rape-culture alert!!) It wasn’t long after then that my parents pulled me out of school. During all of this, I had an after-school job at a restaurant and once I quit school I started working full-time.
Not long after quitting school I tried smoking pot for the first time. Like most things I’ve done, I made the choice to try it – after all, I’d been warned so often about the risk that I had to find out the truth. Of course, I discovered most of the warnings turned out to be lies, so I explored many things, LSD, cocaine, crack, meth, heroin. Yes, I’ve done all those drugs. No I didn’t shoot heroin, I snorted it. Most of those drugs I don’t do anymore. Crack was hard to kick, but I made up my mind that I was done with it, and even though I did dream about it for a few months after giving it up, I was done with it.
Shortly before I turned 19 I sold pot to an undercover cop. I was given the option to set up my dealer. I declined. I was sentenced to 4 to 24 months incarceration, I served a little over 4 months. My mother, in reaction to this arrest, decided to smoke pot for the first time in her life. I called her collect from the cell-block phone on the night I had been sentenced. “I’m high.” she said, “I told (a friend) that I wanted to see what this stuff was all about since they locked my daughter up for it…” I asked, “So what do you think of it?” – “Well, I think it’s a bunch of bullshit. I’m even angrier now, I can’t believe you’re in jail for selling this stuff. Beer is more dangerous. And I’m hungry.”
Before, during, and after I made the decision to be a prostitute, I had a gambling habit. I lost a lot of money at the casino, and I won a lot of money at the casino. It’s still one of my favorite things, topped only by reading and learning.
So, there you go. Those are my monkeys and chips. I hope you’ll still listen to what I have to say.