Against stigma of sex workers and adult performers

In my latest for The Daily Beast, I look at the case of camgirl and adult performer Eden Alexander – who had a fundraiser for important medical bills cut off because… sex work is icky?

The site that processes payments for the fundraiser, WePay, asserted that Alexander had violated their ToS, which strictly prohibits funds being donated in exchange for sexy activities. Except, as you’ll see, that’s not what happened: She retweeted notifications from porn sites that offered “perks”, in return for donating. That was not at Alexander’s doing and it’s bizarre that she should be held accountable for the actions of others – who were finding ways to get, you know, medicine for her. This aside from the dismissal of sex work as work.

It’s a hodgepodge mix of reactionary nonsense and sex worker stigma, which shows in a tangible way what arbitrary prejudice can do (and, no, I’m not claiming WePay “sent” her to the hospital – since, after all, the company is doing what they can to repair a mistake they never should’ve made in the first place). We shouldn’t stand for such mistreatment of innocent people, who are only viewed as “bad” because their work involves something R-Rated.

I hate that companies are ruled by policies that seem catered toward the most conservative moral viewpoint. Especially when they can lead to unnecessary harm.

What can we consensually do with another adult?

In response to an essay on extreme hardcore pornography (bondage, public nudity and humiliation, etc., all done with the performer’s consent), Rod Dreher writes about why he is concerned.

I have to live in a world in which utopians are working very hard to tear down the structures of thought and practice that harnessed humankind’s sexual instincts and directed them in socially upbuilding ways. I have to raise my kids in a world that says when it comes to sex, there is no right and no wrong, except as defined by consent.

The problem is consent is a difficult topic, by itself. Dreher’s response does stem from his opposition to the goals of people called “utopians”, who are trying to direct sexual instincts toward “socially unbuilding [sic] ways”. A lot of his response is disgust mutating into rushed reasoning, that reads a little too much like Helen Lovejoy. [Read more...]