Monthly Archives: September 2013

On Food Stamps

Several lifetimes ago, I lived on the brink of homelessness for about four years.

Had it not been for rent control, both in Manhattan and Cambridge, I would have ended up on the streets.

After barely escaping Manhattan, and washing up into the then People’s Republic, I found myself without money, without employment, and basically at life’s mercy.  Not a bad place to be, if you believe in mercy.  But it’s not a state of grace.

Mercy implies a severe power relation between the giver and receiver — to say I was at life’s mercy is not hyperbole, and should conjure the fear and trembling of being absolutely alone in the world, with anxiety pressing within and without at every given moment, as I possessed only the invisible thread called faith to get me through.

For two weeks, I didn’t eat.  A neighbor and I were talking, and she casually mentioned something about a food bank.  I don’t remember why, but it seemed an offhand reference.  I wasn’t sure, but I decided to follow up, on a hunch.  I had never been to a food bank.  Didn’t know what they were.  I wasn’t certain that I would be eligible.  I was a nice, educated white girl.  Food bank?

Walking in behind the urine and feces soaked schizophrenic who lived on Cambridge’s streets, I got the first food I had eaten in two weeks.

Food.  How many of us have gone hungry because of economics?

As a backstory, I suffered late onset eating disorders starting in my twenties — for nearly half of my adult life I never cycled, my body constantly suffering because of my relentless and unforgiving war against its many perceived imperfections.

But that was a self-imposed war.  I made the rules, and I could decide when and how to punish myself, with whatever tools I had at my disposal.

This was a different war: this was an economic war.  No longer was it beauty or body image or deep and unforgiving self-loathing furiously carried out against myself, with food or lack thereof being one weapon in my arsenal.  This was a multilayered economic struggle to stay off the street, keep some semblance of what still remained of my mind — which was tenuous at best — and acquire life’s basics that we usually take for granted:  toilet paper, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and food.

For four years, the divide between myself and that intolerable smelling waste soaked homeless schizophrenic grew thinner and thinner, and food deprivation  was no longer simply a handgun my arsenal of self-destructive behaviors.  Not eating for two weeks was relatively doable, when I wrote the rules.  This new game was part of a larger more consequential fight that I might not survive, and I understood that the house of cards called my life was dangerously close to collapsing.

I might be the next one soaked in urine and feces, a leper of circumstance and mental disenfranchisement.

The food bank had muffins in the front.  My eyes immediately fixated on them when I walked in.

“I haven’t eaten,” I asked, “do you mind?”  My voice was sheepish, and, I believe, nearly inaudible, the beggar’s bucket being a newly acquired handbag.

“No, of course not.  That’s why they are there.”

I must have eaten four, without breathing.  I didn’t think about my body, how many calories were in each bite, or whether or not I’d purge on a box of laxatives after the fact.  I just ate.  The sugar hit my bloodstream giving me a badly needed energy jolt, and a joyful euphoria, making my gratitude as much biological as transcendental.  The woman looked at me, and asked, “Have you thought of applying for food stamps?  You can get food stamps, you know.  Are you working?  Have you thought of unemployment?”  She asked as if the answer were obvious.  No, I wasn’t working.  No, I wasn’t getting any assistance.

“How do I do that,” I said.  I hadn’t a clue.  Weren’t food stamps for people on welfare?  Women with kids?  Blacks?  I was a single white woman, shouldn’t I be working and paying bills?

Unemployment?  I’d never done that.

That day, after waiting my turn behind the schizophrenic, I took home two bags of food: dry and canned goods, a bit of produce, drying out bread and muffins, and I ate every bite found in those bags with gratitude.

In a few days, I got the food stamps.  Eventually, I got the unemployment.

There were no EBT cards in those days.  I had to pull out the the scripts, and pay with the stamps themselves.  No mistaking the fact that the government was giving me 123 dollars to buy food.   Every so often, I could see the acrimony in the eyes of those who failed to understand why a white girl needed to use food stamps, when obviously I should be able to just go and “get a job.”

Well, no.  That was the issue.  I couldn’t.  I was barely sane, quite literally.  People joke about being crazy.  I have the papers to prove it.

If I had been black or brown or red, there would have been a whole other series of criticisms and stereotypes in those gazes, because the judgement just would have taken a different form.  The presumption being that people on food stamps want a hand out.  So we return to one of the oldest arguments in the book, and one that currently falls on a deaf and dumb Congress and too many of its misguided supporters: people don’t want a hand out.  Given a choice, they really do enjoy thriving and excelling when given opportunity.  They sometimes need help.  All of us need hope.  The costs incurred when people don’t have food and opportunity outweighs any costs that we incur when a few people take advantage of the system.  Mind numbingly so.

The cost of giving food assistance to our fellow citizens is marginal compared to the corporate welfare handouts that we’ve seen doled out over the past decade in the name of economic stimulus. We may have needed that stimulus, but there’s an equally important stimulus: to our fellow citizens, people just like ourselves, and the promise each carries in their lives, to live, to grow, to prosper, to contribute.

Without those government handouts, I never would have survived.

Nor would I have gone onto to graduate school, graduated with a 3.91 G.P.A. earned Dean’s Honors, and be working on a book that will give many the hope they need, because they’ve been unnecessarily stigmatized for no good reason other than a few bad stories that need some editing in the collective consciousness.

Hope.  It’s not a political brand for a Presidential campaign.

Sometimes, it’s free muffins and food stamps.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Importance Of Larry Flynt, Part III

If you’re not going to offend someone, you don’t need the First Amendment.

—  Larry Flynt

On March 6, 1978, Larry Flynt was shot outside a courthouse during an obscenity trail and it left him paralyzed.

What many don’t know is that Flynt’s shooter was sniper Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer who went on rampages through the south targeting black men and whites who had sex with blacks, at least in the first part of his career.  Franklin once said that he didn’t bother with black women, because “they weren’t worth his time.”  Obsessed with white supremacy and purity, he entertained fantasies of renting a small plane, loading it with poison, flying to Chicago, and systematically spraying the south side to kill as many “darkies” as possible.

Flynt bore Franklin’s wrath because Hustler published the first interracial spread.

Unlike Hefner or Guccione who work(ed) entirely within America’s race-class system, and whose content allowed their gentlemen readers to identify with a construct of the cultured white alpha male who has unlimited access to the prettiest white pussy money can buy, Larry broke new ground.  The first inter-racial spread was consistent with Larry’s founding of Hustler: he understood himself as poor white trash, and he wanted to make porn for the working man.  He saw Hustler as breaking free from a “bullshit” class system.  No airbrushing.  No faux arts and culture articles.  Abominable low-brow humor.  He has always seen himself as an iconoclast, and takes deliberate shots at the status quo.

Hustler deserves its reputation — but there’s an interesting caveat, that I respect even if it comes from a ‘let’s shock and sell’ business model.  I come from a poor white trash background, and I empathize with Larry’s ‘fuck you’ to the status quo and its wardrobe of numbing hypocrisies.   In his mixed race spread, Larry gave his African American models humanity.  Blacks and whites were equal in this photo feature.  The original spread, if you can still find it, has none of the characteristic Hustler denigration, potty humor, go for the lowest common denominator and create controversy tenor.  Instead, Larry portrayed his African American models equal to the Caucasian models, and there’s a deliberately executed, beautiful charm to these photos, a non-exploitive eroticism, if one isn’t offended by seeing naked men and women embrace, couple, exchange pleasure.

Playboy would not have its first black centerfold until 1990, because, apparently, black women “weren’t worth their time.”  But here’s Larry, in the late 1970’s having the audacity to show one-on-one interracial couplings, without a smidgen of racist narrative, other than simply exploiting sex for its own sake.

And he took a bullet for it.

The financial cabal behind the 1978 obscenity charges again rose to the challenge when Larry famously satirized so-called Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell.  (If interested, google ‘Charles Keating savings and loan’ for more on this righteous lot.)  Supported by the financial cabal, Falwell sued Larry citing emotional distress over a cartoon that depicted Falwell’s first sexual encounter being with his mother in an outhouse.

Stunningly bad and vintage Flynt “humor.”

Eventually, the case made it’s way to the Supreme Court.  Flynt won.  The decision in favor of Flynt was unanimous, and a great milestone in First Amendment decisions.  If you read SCOTUS decisions, you glean subtitles.  In Texas v. Johnson, for example, the case which protects flag burning, there’s near acrimony in the dissent and final response, a 5-4 decision, with conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist leading the dissent.

But in Hustler v. Falwell, there’s no such tension.  Rehnquist wrote and delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court.  Near its conclusion, the decision quotes the FCC v. Pacifica (1978):

[T]he fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas.

Larry Flynt, white trash smut monger who gets zero respect from the feminists, the morality police, the article reading, status conscious white men who fancy themselves lovers of women and better than Hustler’s depravity, takes on the status quo, gets his case heard before the SCOTUS, and wins a unanimous decision written by the court’s conservative Chief Justice, protecting and ensuring the rights of all of the aforementioned holier than Flynts.

As “poor white trash” Flynt recognizes the inherent dehumanization and hypocrisy of the class system (“I exploit women like McDonald’s exploits hamburgers”), he doesn’t bury this truth, and he takes keen shots at it while being a knowing participant in it.  He makes no apologies — rather, he makes iconoclastic inroads.

The depravity isn’t in the porn, the depravity is an economic system whose entire structure relies on exploitation.  Being the class conscious outsider, of all the porn peddlers, Larry is the only one who seems to recognize the depth and breadth of the system’s game.

You don’t have to like what he does.  I respect that his smut mongering is executed with greater cognizance than those who are socialized into the system, but without a clue as to its economic underpinnings.  I therefore return to the laborious background I offered in Part I —  as a pretenseless smut peddler, Larry sees the system more clearly than the educated elite who ignore women’s studies in deference to his-story, female Harvard undergraduates who unwittingly fail to defend powerless women, or any of the well educated, highly regarded social leaders who cathartically punish (or worse, underpay) their sex workers because they haven’t a clue as to how to deal with their closeted demons.

Larry’s First Amendment win further guaranteed  those of us concerned with social inequality and the system’s inclusive evolution the right to use image and language in the most colorful ways that our imaginations can bring to bear on discourse, impolitely exposing our cultural hypocrisies one insult at a time.

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Shattering Stereotypes

“I have an I.Q. of 140,” a fellow phone worker told me last week. “I hate it when the default setting guys bring to me is ‘dumb,’ and I usually have at least 10-20 points on them.”

“Jane” started in sex work as a stripper.  That was two decades ago.  Now she does phone work, because she has health issues and has moved to an area sans local strip clubs, her skills and confidence now shaky.  She knows the arsenal of feminist lingo, and immediately identified herself as a “sex-positive” woman; she has no conflict about her life choices.  Jane doesn’t think that the problem is her work, but those who judge her work — similarly, she believes that sex workers provide a vital and necessary social service.  Her biggest complaint expressed during our talk wasn’t the men or the work, but the stereotype of sex workers as being “dumb” and “lazy.”

Given our conversation, I don’t doubt that Jane’s I.Q. was 140.  Though I doubt the validity of I.Q. tests, Jane convinced me that she could easily and adroitly pass one with an admirable score.

I recently posted an article on my FB page written by an academic who was also a prostitute, “Why I’d Rather Be A Whore Than An Academic,” and, though written in 1999, it takes to task many of the unexamined myths and over-generalities that we still live in:

“This condemnation of whores ultimately boils down to the fear and hatred of sex. Our Judeo-Christian society is so ashamed of sex that it has to lock it behind closed doors and swear it to secrecy under the vows of marriage. A woman who transgresses these bounds is frequently called a ‘whore,’ even if she’s not a prostitute. Being a ‘whore’ — either literally or figuratively — is unacceptable in polite society.

But it’s no coincidence that whoredom also poses a serious threat to our society’s limitations of women’s power. Many people want to see whores as victims, because they don’t want us to own our power and embody this threat. Historically the whore has always represented a danger to the patriarchy, because she does not have to depend on any one man for financial support. She makes her living off of many men. This gave her financial freedom in times when women were forbidden to work to support themselves and the wife was her husband’s possession. Dependent on no one man, the whore was no man’s property.”

(Entire article:  http://bad.eserver.org/issues/1999/46/anonymous.html )

We’ve accepted the metaphor of “whore” as being one of the worst labels possible.  How many will denigrate a politician with the label “whore?”

Such labels are an insult to workers with I.Q.’s of 140 and above, who serve the most intimate needs of the wantonly needy, seriously damaged, and egregiously selfish, while seeing through the narratives that have brought the client to a particular transaction in its many complexities, frequently with more intuition and acumen than a therapist.

Whore is a term too noble for nearly all politicians, and tells of a courage and inner strength that few will possess, given the delusional narcotic dependency on other people’s stories that dictates much of our lives.

Speaking for myself, the great gift of being a self-employed whore is that suddenly the myths ceased being true and experienced as real.  Seeing through the myths came easily, and with this clarity, the Universe handed me a singularly remarkable gift, while softly whispering in my soul, “now go, and tell a better story.”

When I began working independently many years ago, I chose the name “Julia” because I thought it was noble.   It was an homage to Julius Caesar’s daughter, Julia Cesaris, who was known for her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Given that I never lived with my father, and possessed little but curiosity and personal ambition, a not so subtle slip of a lifetime.

One advertisement at a time.  One call at a time.  I chose just one name, and decided to do the business my way, earn my own money, and attract the kind of client that I wanted.

Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar.  To my imagination’s unconscious associations, the most powerful woman in Rome, answering to no one but her father.  For myself, that meant my “higher power,” an inner knowing whose controlling ideas were in constant expansion and revision from those given to me in my youth.

Choosing a name indicative of power, autonomy, and possessing one of history’s most culturally influential fathers almost predictably appealed to a fatherless sex worker busting her backside to avoid living on Cambridge’s streets, while striving to earn entrance into graduate school, among the presumed brightest and best in the world.

Frequently, men have called me and been “pleasantly surprised” by their conversation with “Julia,” a deliberate construct framed on power and autonomy.  No matter how much reality might prove otherwise, there is the stereotype that sex work is for women who are dumb, lazy, greedy, or victims; rarely are sex workers cast as intelligent and self-determined.  Whatever pejorative label justifying the cognitive bias proves comforting, because the dumb sex worker gives society a means to distance itself from its repressed sexuality.  If the sex worker is stupid, then she’s disposable, incapable of true humanity, or some other vague self-justification, enmeshed in cultural mythology.  The sex worker’s presumed lack of intelligence allows the Madonna – Whore schism to go unchecked, because if they’re stupid like dogs [no insult to dogs], then they’re no better then animals caged in kennels: by keeping her stupid in the stereotype, she becomes dispensable in  the real world.

But it’s not that a stripper with a 140 I.Q., a Ph.D. turning tricks on the side, or a young woman who strategized her way out of four years near homelessness and into an Ivy League graduate program while being a self-employed phone whore are stupid.  Rather, our stories have created comfort zones and habits and beliefs, and if we rethink too many, we disrupt our world view and its massive neural network of associations that we accept as true and real.

Ninety-nine percent of our comforting stories are not true or real.  They’re simply other people’s stories that we have accepted without questioning.

Shattering stereotypes, one story at a time.

 

 

(“The Importance Of Larry Flynt, Part III” will be posted, soon.)

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September 12, 2013 · 8:19 pm

The Importance of Larry Flynt, Pt. II

Moses freed the Jews.  Lincoln freed the slaves.  I freed the neurotics.  

—  Larry Flynt

In Part I, I described my experiences while attending two “Women’s Studies” courses at Harvard, with a total of two men in both classes.  Only one man was actually registered, and he was an older student who had already left a successful law career and was working on a book.

I attempted to illustrate that women’s studies offers little to no cultural or professional currency for those who are career fast-tracking, also known as the “ghettoization” of women’s studies.

I then described the philosophical position of female  students — primarily undergraduates — who argued for a hand’s off approach to female genital mutilation out of deference to cultural difference, or some such intellectual good.  Their position was best understood as being the consequence of”socialization,” but their lack of empathy was disconcerting at best.

In conclusion, through dramatic if strained anecdotal leaps, I posited that most of our so-called sexual morality is actually economic, rooted in externalized authority, i.e., the status quo, that rarely sees through its own shortcomings, as it’s habituated and unconscious.   To this end, I concluded:

“Correlation may not be causation, but socialization usually hides behind truth’s intellectual respectability.  For this reason, the moral awareness diplomat argues against intervention for the lives and bodies of other women, because society’s truths keep her safe.  Her father, meanwhile, confesses to his phone whore his need to humiliate several types of women, mitigating the pain of his safe guarded domestic life.  The systemic violence lurks, in the father’s fantasy, in the daughter’s diplomacy.

If you will indulge the strained analogy, privileged father and surrogate daughter suggest the wholesale socialization of men and women, in a comprehensive system that is economic, not moral.”

Now to Larry, and why he is important.

Larry has said, “I exploit women like McDonald’s exploits hamburger,” (I think he means cows) and this assertion is the unvarnished, honest truth.  He doesn’t speak about how the world ought to be, or hide behind the ‘crinolines of respectability’ (Toni Morrison, Nobel lecture) where wholesale violence goes unchecked, invisibly under the radar, in social norms and comforting if empty language.  Unlike the female Harvard undergraduate that I portrayed, or her symbolic father who must cathartically humiliate and torture during paid sex to release the tensions caused by his unexamined status quo driven life, Larry shows us what this culture is made of, and it’s violent and it’s ugly and he lays it bare with brutal honesty.

I like Larry, for many reasons, his raw honesty being one.  He’s not socialized into what needs to be said to gain cultural capital.  He doesn’t give a damn, and has created an empire by not caring what anyone thinks: he takes our many hypocrisies to task with attention grabbing flamboyance and great business acumen, and doesn’t pretend to be doing anything other than what he does, i.e., capitalist exploitation of a consumer commodity, women.  Consequently, in the most base terms, he lays out what this culture is made of.  Unlike other mainstream sex for sale enterprises, Beyoncé, J-Lo, just about everything else bought and sold, or Hefner’s polished cultural posturing, Larry doesn’t pretty up his exploitation narrative with anesthetizing bull-shit about “the articles,” if you will indulge my own predilection for honest language.

He knows precisely what he does, and he owns it outright.

Larry has also said, “I love women, as do our readers, all of our readers.”

Of course, he means “men.”

Men who buy his magazine, in which women are exploited, because, according to him, sex has always been exploited, and will always be exploited.

He’s right.

Larry’s (or Hustler’s) biggest challenge these days is finding women who are still au naturel, because in the past decades, despite all the feminist dialogue about our right to be ourselves, women are going barer and barer, and it’s always been Hustler’s policy to have them be bushy and beautiful.  So while many of our well intentioned feminists ignore the rights of sex workers in their dialogue, trashing sex work as demeaning and horrible and oh the men who consume this stuff are just rotten to the core, they are more than happy to go on crusades against Larry, who has a hard time finding unshaved women to exploit, because feminism has been so effective in one of its presumed goals, having us not be made in man’s image, which is now defined by the Brazilian wax.

Gotta love irony.

Back to Larry.

Larry freely admits, yes, I exploit women.  Using one of the most egregious metaphors possible if one wants to be an effective agent provocateur and marketing master for a publication empire:  compare women to hamburgers.

Then he goes onto to say:  “I love women. [Hustler] readers love women.”

Exactly.  And I believe he does.

He loves them and he exploits them.  It’s called cognitive dissonance, a.k.a.,  neurosis.

This is the insanity of the world that we live in.

We’re living in cultural neurosis twenty-four seven, and buried under so many inconsequential narratives about crap that doesn’t matter, meaningless narrative piled upon meaningless narrative, most of us fail to recognize the depth and breadth of our personal neuroses, let alone the fabric of the neurotic meta-narratives governing our lives.

Stripped of pretense, Larry lays that neurosis bare, cuts straight to the heart of at least one aspect of our cultural cognitive dissonance.

Of course, knowing that you’re neurotic and actually fixing it are two different beasts.  But recognizing neurosis is the first step to freedom.

However, until we understand our own sexuality and its many complex layers, sex work and sex for sale will be with us, and we are simply arguing ideal worlds and caught in false dichotemies of right and wrong, good and bad, what might be versus grappling with what is, impeding our personal progress, and progress as a species.

More important, we’re ignoring the sex worker’s sacred and vital function, as it has been deeply buried under meaningless morality narratives about dignity, many of which are built on inglorious concepts of shame, vaguely comforting ideas about what is wholesome and good that issue from religion, cultural mores, or the violation of individuals who will not be consoled.

We’re also ignoring life’s most precious lesson, that to live is to be interdependent.  If left unchecked, that interdependence becomes exploitation, but exploitation can only take hold when the dignity of that work is stripped away under a sanitized notion of “the greater good.”  To deny the sex worker her or his dignity and needed role in society is itself a form of exploitation — it’s a way of buttressing a grossly self-righteous view of the world underneath the ‘crinolines of respectability’ that serve those who have, almost always at the expense of the have nots.

We possess dignity, not because of our religious beliefs, our moral position, our status, our livelihood, what we do or don’t do with our genitals, whether other people respect us or not, whether or not life has graced us with people and circumstances that treat us well: we possess dignity because we live, breathe, and occupy the planet with our one precious life.   It’s not the onus of the sex worker to garner their dignity through getting new work and creating a new life, it’s the onus of society to recognize the sex worker’s inherent human dignity through legal and economic rights.

If religion teaches us anything, it’s the redemptive power of love, and the only vital morality in religion’s pages is the dictate of love.

Love.  That’s it.

Or as Cornel West writes, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”

Of course, it’s getting to love that’s the big issue for most of us, one interaction at a time, one social reform movement at a time.

I’m going to invoke a flawed analogy.

As a human who has rarely eaten other animals since she was eleven years old, I consider myself a much better pro-life advocate than many of those I hear moralizing about the unborn child’s right to life.

I love animals.  I don’t eat them.

Similarly, because I embrace life, and actually do not consider that the being a woman carries in her body is simply a cluster of cells, but a potential human with a world of experiences that may be lived, the idea of abortion disturbs me.  If confronted with a healthy pregnancy, I doubt that I could deny life to another.  The unborn feels pain as early as two months into gestation, the heart beats, the nervous system feels the mother’s moods and feelings in an extraordinary symbiosis, and who that person will be already carries a spark deep inside, connected by a beautiful cord of cells and membranes and veins to a woman’s body.  “I need you” is the place we all start from, it’s our first life lesson, right there, between mother and her unborn.

When we sever the “I need you” life lesson and bury it under the socially respectable language of science and objectivity, we’ve lost something important in our world view, we’ve replaced the experience of vital connection with a scientifically skewed idea that too easily distances us from our first and perhaps most important life lesson — interdependency.

Fetus?  Not in my mind, nor for my understanding.

But that’s my choice, my world view.  It’s also not for me to shame those who must make a different choice, because their reasons are valid and true for them and their life circumstances.  Shame and blame aren’t my place or prerogative.

Because I choose a world where we all need each other for survival, and I respect difference.

At this juncture, I presumably still live in a democracy, and in the conundrum between the life that has already been realized, and the one which is still forming, the rights go to the woman carrying the unborn.

What I can do is support democracy, then make my voice heard,  and learn in the process.

My respect of interdependency and difference holds for the lives of nonhumans.

I can try to explain that I believe nonhuman animals have souls, they think, they feel, they learn, they protect, they fear, they make decisions, and they have a right to live without being exploited for something as frivolous as human consumption.

Larry’s easy use of the hamburger analogy speaks to yet another cultural malaise, our easy and unchecked exploitation of gentle creatures with a life to live.  Certainly, no animal deserves the kind of treatment that most of us are aware of by now.

We love animals, but we exploit them.

Cognitive dissonance.

A nonhuman life and a potential human life carry meaning for me and my world view.  But the world we live in is not ideal, it’s a world we’re working towards  A world in which animals are free to live without pain and suffering, and universal access to healthy reproductive choices exists unfettered, is taken advantage of, and every child grows up wanted, loved, cared for, free from war and poverty.

A world in which sex is no longer written in Madonna-Whore narratives, where economics welded to morality doesn’t dictate that swaths of women will be cared for, and others will be treated as human trash, working for slave wages.  Or pitied as victims.

Or whatever other narrative assumes that sex work is fundamentally “dirty” and therefore we have some neat little cognitive box to stick it into, because cultural neurosis keeps us hypnotized.

I would love a world in which all intimate relationships were written in love and understanding, and we could all find the partner of our dreams, a place where our egos had already gone through the necessary lessons needed during this lifetime, and we enjoyed complete and fulfilling intimacy with the partner(s) of our choice, because there was no mucking around in the complexities of life.

What we can do, until then, is learn the simple lesson of dignity, and have it be written deeply in our behaviors.

And law.  And public policy.

Of the three, a world where animals remain free from human selfishness, a world where babies are born into love and caring, and humans will give and get the intimacy that they need, it’s the last that I believe will be the final frontier of change.

Too many men and women benefit from the Madonna  –  Whore schism, and, unfortunately, many women who rabidly support women’s issues are smitten with an idea of dignity that belies how removed they are from the lives of those who are simply trying to support themselves.  To this writer, ideologues fail to understand that Larry Flynt does indeed love women, people love animals while chowing down their McDonald’s hamburger, all life is a precious gift that we need to affirm with a deep and circumspect reverence if we’re to embrace sustainable interdependence, and sex work is an economic issue waiting for its workers to be treated with legal dignity and respect, simply because they are humans, it’s their right.

No other reason needed.

 

More ruminations, and more on Larry’s importance, in Part III.

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