Hello, readers! If you’re the sort of person who’s interested in these things, Tits and Sass has a panel proposal up at the South by Southwest PanelPicker. We’d greatly appreciate your support. If you enjoy reading us chat about Mad Men and Magic Mike, along with our discussions of why it’s not cool for pop culture figures to joke about how sex workers were abused as children, you’ll want to see this panel happen. Please go vote for us and help spread the word.
I try not to let the positions of the sun, moon, and other planetary objects dictate how I go about my daily life. That being said, there are two things I really try to avoid when there is a full moon: using public transportation and working at the strip club. People get weird. Hipster girls on lesbianic friend dates find their way into the club, act like assholes, and then blog about it.
I’ve never been to Pumps myself, but I can visualize a strip club with the lights on and the music off, the bartender counting out the till, the bouncer placing stools on the bar, and the dancers getting dressed. On a busy Friday night, this might be the first time they’ve all been in the same place at the same time. They can finally ask each other “what was up with those really drunk bitches?” and “did you see when they got kicked out and one of them screamed that she left her scarf and that we’re mean? It was amazing.” And then someone will note that maybe the supermoon brought out such bad behavior from a pair of women who didn’t look like they would be jerks. Some of them would give the two the benefit of the doubt and agree that they are probably nicer people when they’re not doing shots underneath a 14% bigger, 30% brighter moon.
Friend of the blog Visitor Design sent this to us via Twitter on Friday night. Get it? It means that Wódka is the kind of vodka that’s here to pay off its student loans and has its own well-designed website, but it costs the same as the kind of cheap hooch hustling the corner for enough cash for another night at the motel. It’s a smooth marketing take on the commonly assumption that sex workers are doing one of two things: either ho-ing from sheer desperation or enjoying a pampered, rarefied existence thanks to the largesse of generous men. Because you know the language: escorts are expensive and hookers are cheap. While there are certainly sex workers who charge a lot and sex workers who don’t charge so much, I can’t imagine this ad saying something like “Model Quality, Girl Next Door Pricing.” Oh, wait. This is a liquor ad. That could totally happen.
But: There’s a sheep in that ad. In this context, the image of the sheep leads us to a darker place, one where, when desperate men think of the relative pricing and availability of prostitutes, may ponder the free option. Wódka, what are you going to do to that lamb? A willingness to associate your product with bestiality is truly a maverick move.
2 Broke Girls is, in its first season, a breakout hit for the bawdy CBS network. The traditional, filmed-before-a-live-studio-audience sitcom follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of young women waitressing at a diner while they save up to launch a cupcake business. Occasionally there are jokes that use Coldplay and the Arcade Fire as punchlines, and it takes place in Williamsburg, so it’s sometimes called a hipster comedy.
It’s a show that we love to hatewatch. 2 Broke Girls has shocked us (I know!) at times with its throwback racism and heavy use of rape jokes, not to mention its willingness to toss off lines about cumshots, anal, and 85 variations on “that’s what she said.” From the very first episode, we wondered, “Why don’t they just strip?” and patiently waited for the idea of doing sex work to occur to them. Finally, the episode “The Upstairs Neighbor” addressed sex work. Sort of. Bubbles, Charlotte, and Kat gathered on Skype to watch and comment on how 2 Broke Girls handled the idea of hooking.
It’s supposed to be common knowledge that I ended up in my job as an escort because, as a child, I suffered some serious emotional damage. But from the inside looking out, it’s clear to me that non-sex workers have plenty of issues all their own. Last week, one of them kept jumping out at me: civilian women’s cavalier clichés about sex workers’ pasts.
I know plenty of men believe that every sex worker has had a screwed up childhood. For me, though, accusations of familial damage cut a lot deeper when they’re thrown around by women, particularly women with otherwise feminist chops (*coughcough* Tina Fey.) We all suffer from slut/whore/man-hater sexism—meaning we’re all vulnerable to the stigma against a woman expressing sexuality in any “deviant” way—so shouldn’t we all reject that misogyny? It’s obvious that the abused sex worker myth is a symptom of our culture’s need to pathologize sexual women, and it should be obvious why the “some adult must have screwed you up when you were little” jab is a mean-spirited, ignorant, and completely trite accusation—but apparently it isn’t. For women like Mary Elizabeth Williams, let me break down the myriad ways it sucks.