Josephine

Josephine has been stripping and writing in Detroit for over ten years. She is the author of the now defunct blog, The Stripper Hates You. She tumbls here and tweets here. Email her: thestripperhatesyou at gmail dot com.


I’ve been workshopping an excuse to write an Insane Clown Posse post for a couple years now, but could never find a plausible reason to do it. But you know what? It’s 2017 now. Nothing makes sense anyway; a reality TV star is President, knitted pussycat hats are considered revolutionary, and McDonald’s sells guacamole. Anything goes! So gather around, children—I have a story to tell you. A story of two magical wizards from the annals of Southwest Detroit, men who forged their mark on our cultural schism with a palette of face paint and a lot of Faygo two-liters.

For some perspective: On September 17, Detroit’s whitest, Confederate flag waving-est rapper, Kid Rock, will be performing his third in a series of SIX no doubt sold-out concerts in the city’s brand new, tax-payer-subsidized hockey arena. Kid Rock is handily Detroit’s most obnoxious musician, and yet he was asked to christen the shiny new venue. On the same day, Detroit’s original white rappers, the Insane Clown Posse (whoop whoop), will be performing for free in Washington D.C. as part of their Jugallo March on Washington. So while Kid Rock is gaslighting us with his fake-but-maybe-not-fake Senate run, ICP has organized direct political action. Why? Because the FBI labeled their dedicated fan base a gang. (The FBI get zero whoops, thank-you-very-much.)

A pro-Trump rally is also scheduled for that day, at nearly the same location. Which … will be interesting. Because if you explore ICP’s body of work, you’ll see that they don’t have much patience for rich people (“richies” in Juggalo-ease) or racists. For the past decade, ICP have garnered some pretty condescending and embarrassing coverage. But now that the liberal media has nominated Juggalos as the first line of defense against the alt-right, people have started examining ICP and their movement more closely. Turns out they’re not idiots, nor are their fans.

Just for funsies—and so I’d actually have a sex work peg for this post—I asked Tits and Sass contributor Kitty Stryker of the Struggalo Circus to speculate if ICP would support the decriminalization of sex work. She told me their record on slut-shaming isn’t great (but what male musician’s is?), but that they would, because ultimately, “They care about individual freedom without the influence of government.” Seems fair. So maybe the ICP are allies? At least we can determine they aren’t enemies, which we could never say about the FBI.

Anyway. Are you working this week? Delight your client or your tip rail with this colorful, anti-racist, and oddly politicized ICP playlist. Support the Juggalos. Because they’re being targeted too, and they might inadvertently fuck some Nazis up for us.  [READ MORE]

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Image via Sebastian Wiertz (flickr user wiertz)

Because the barriers preventing sex workers from being heard are already high enough.

Writers have professional training in one arena, sex workers have professional training in another arena. Sex workers aren’t always equipped with the skillset to pitch to traditional editors. TAS functions as the middle ground, bridging that gap.

Traditional publications interested in publishing sex workers have frequently leaned towards the salacious (and only quite recently has that started to shift). TAS is a space for covering the everyday minutiae of our work.

Because sex workers are also often members of other marginalized communities that are also systematically denied agency and disbelieved as common practice.

Victims of rape, victims of police violence, positive workers,  the working poor, intravenous and street drug users, trans identities, street workers, black bodies, and “no human involved”s are all members of the greater sex worker community.

Because, until recently, the smell test hasn’t failed us.

We regularly reject pitches from contributors that sound fishy. The outing of “faux ho” Alexa DiCarlo is an example of what a sex worker that doesn’t pass the test looks like. Lily Fury was able to embed herself because 99% of her life added up. She was indeed a street worker, an escort, and a heroin user, just as she wrote, with a sex worker community pedigree going back to the Suicide Girls. She has bylines in a variety of publications and, until then, she had verifiably positive rapport with many sex working activists and writers.  She worked hard on her digital blackface. By the time we first interacted with her invented personas, they too had many sex workers who vouched for them. We, until recently, had a positive working relationship with her and no reason not to trust her.

Because we don’t want to be the gatekeeper of who is or isn’t allowed into sex worker spaces.

That’s why we don’t ask for “reciepts,” a video chat, or verification from a second party. That kind of monitoring could create a slippery slope in which those with the most social capital oversee who can access our spaces.

Because we don’t want to know your legal or professional identity.

As it states in our General Submission Guidelines, we actively encourage our writers to use a pseudonym. Sex workers mask their identities for a variety of reasons—mainly that the social penalties for being outed are high.

We, of course, will protect the privacy of our writer’s identities as best we can, but the less we know about your legal or professional personas, the less information we will have to submit should we be subpoenaed or audited.

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Netflix didn’t give us permission to use this picture but we think it’s fair use.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On producer Rashida Jones reflected on the mistakes that were made with the original documentary: “I think that many people within the industry felt like the movie marginalized and further stigmatized sex work, which was not our intention at all.” It’s perplexing to reckon her revelation with the litany of pushback the current iteration of Hot Girls Wanted has received.

Released not even two weeks ago, the latest installment of the Hot Girls Wanted brand is already suffering some harsh criticism and accusations from within the sex industry. Some sex workers have alleged that their content was used without their consent and that they weren’t fully informed of Rashida Jones’ involvement. The Free Speech Coalition even issued a formal denouncement. I reached out to the producers, the film’s media contact, and Herzog & Company for clarification and (by the time of this post, 10AM EST) I still have not heard back.

But they weren’t afraid to talk to Variety! In an interview yesterday, it seems the other two producers may have dialed back their sympathy for marginalized sex workers. “Criticism of the series, she [producer Ronna Gradus] said, is likely fueled by sensitivity over how the industry is often portrayed in mainstream media—and that performers who have spoken out against the show may be doing so because they feel they have to. ‘The industry is very defensive about people coming in and shining a light on the industry and doing stories about it,’ she said, adding, ‘The allegations that have come out are probably the result of pressure they are feeling to stand in solidarity with the industry.’”

Gia Paige is one of the performers featured in the series. Her legal identity was exposed in the series and she alleges that the producers used her footage without her permission after she backed out. She was kind enough to respond to my queries via email. [READ MORE]

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vote-strippersI don’t want to alarm anyone, but tomorrow is election day.  Are you registered to vote? Good. Do you know your polling location? Excellent. Got a handle on the candidates’ platforms? Fantastic! Sounds like you’re ready to vote.

Voting for president as a sex worker for most feels somewhere between futile and downright alienating. It’s not like a new president is going to make sex work any less criminalized, or anti-trafficking hysteria any less rabid. But you can still head to the polls and vote in your local elections, which are ten times more important and actually will directly affect your day-to-day life. Speaking of local elections: If you’re in California, you need to vote NO on Proposition 60, the measure that would make condom usage mandatory for porn workers.

A common refrain I hear in progressive circles is that “your vote doesn’t matter anyway,” that voting is a sham, that the electoral college has rendered our democracy a joke. I can’t argue against those sentiments, but maybe keep them to yourself on election day? Smugly quipping “lol ur vote doesn’t matter  lolzz” is a pretty dismissive slap to a friend of yours who may be more marginalized than you, or to the person who patiently navigated through a system of voter suppression to get their ballot counted.

Sorry about all that! Nobody likes it when their favorite neighborhood sex worker blog condescends to them about what they should do on Tuesday. Moving on!

What I’m going to be doing on Tuesday (besides voting) is stripping and the thing that sucks the most about working on election day is that every customer wants to ask you who you voted for and then tell you why your vote is wrong. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing, also it’s impolite to ask strippers who they voted for,” Socrates once said. Not one strip club customer listened. [READ MORE]

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drakememe

Tits and Sass is a Rihanna blog. This is a sound editorial decision Caty and I made a long, long time ago, and so far it has served us well. Tits and Sass has never been a Drake blog. Which isn’t to say we’re anti-Drake, we’re just not explicitly pro-Drake the same we are, say, pro-Rihanna. Recently, it came to our attention that Drake loves Rihanna, and we love Rihanna, so, therefore, we reluctantly give space to Drake. In any event, this is the internet, and you can’t just ignore something on the internet, because the internet will not allow it, the internet will force you to talk about it. So, here is the post in which we feebly acknowledge that Drake is opening a strip club. That’s right, you heard it here first, folks (actually, you probably didn’t).  Drake is opening a strip club. This is our post about it. [READ MORE]

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