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Jezebel Blogger Saves Unwitting Women from Accidentally Prostituting Themselves “in Fucking Thailand or Some Shit”

The MissTravel mascot thinks it's all fun and games, but she's going to have to suck cock inside each and every one of those monuments.

A friend of mine has been telling me for a while how much she hates Jezebel, but I’ll admit I usually like them. I don’t read the site religiously, but when I do, it’s rare that I find something totally off-base or stupid. But it happened yesterday, when I came across this piece by Lindy West on the newest sugar daddy site.

MissTravel.com is brought to us by the same guy (namely Brandon Wade) who brought us SeekingArrangement.com, SeekingMillionaire.com, and WhatsYourPrice.com. With MissTravel, Wade has tapped into yet another corner of the sugar daddy/baby market: Women who hope specifically for for the elegant vacations they imagine the modern courtesan taking.

“MissTravel.com is a travel dating website that matches generous travelers with attractive travel girls (or guys). If you are a frequent traveler you can easily search, find or meet a hot travel companion, sexy travel mate or beautiful travel buddy. And if you are an attractive travel lover who lacks the financial resources, we’ll match you with a traveling sponsor or help you earn frequent flyer miles you may redeem for free travel, free airline tickets and free hotel rooms. Best of all our website is 100% free for attractive men and women.”

The Week in Links: June 29

With the release of Magic Mike, the new Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum film that draws from Tatum’s real-life former sex industry career, articles on male strippers have become the next big thing this week. Here, five male strippers review the film, and here, male strippers in Vegas discuss their hopes that the film will help revive their industry.

If you haven’t heard enough about Channing Tatum, click here to see what he has to say about penis pumps.

Also inspired by Magic Mike‘s release, the Toronto Sun published a list of the eight most memorable stripper movies, and the L.A. Times listed their ten favorites (the Times’ list is more entertaining, FYI). Oh wait—there’s another one.

New York magazine published a tourist report on male strip club attire.

Here’s a short list of some other celebrities who used to strip, and a list of porn performers who have had successful mainstream acting careers.

The Worst Sex Work Headlines of 2014

image via Library of Congress

From Belle Knox to working the World Cup, the headline writers of the world’s publications had cause to write many headlines about sex work. In chronological order, we bring you the worst ten of the bunch, each gross, reductive, and hateful in its own special way.

I Begged For Change To Stay Out Of The Sex Industry,” XOJane, Feb. 6 2014

XOJane’s “It Happened To Me” feature is generally offensive (“It Happened To Me: I Had First World Problems”) but this edition might take the cake. A lot of bad things happened to this woman while she was impoverished, but her equivocation over whether or not to become a high end escort after watching Secret Diary Of A Call Girl wasn’t one of them.

Welcome Home, Daddy, I’m A Porn Star!” The Daily Mail, Mar. 10 2014

We know the Daily Fail isn’t exactly known for its rigorous journalism, and they are in the business of aggregation, so it’s not surprising that they had the single worst headline about Belle Knox.

Sex Workers Are Excited For The World Cup Because They Think It Will Make Them Rich,” The Atlantic, Apr. 15 2014

Sex workers are realists, and painting Brazilian workers as naive dreamers with Pretty Woman fantasies featuring dollar wielding American white knight clients does them a grave disservice.

Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?” The Nation, Apr. 21 2014

It’s news to us that SO MANY leftists want that, but it would seem that wanting rights for all workers should be a part of any decent politics. Katha Pollitt really goes in on the “the sex workers we hear from are all too privileged to be credible!” theme here, not realizing that her example of a New Inquiry-contributing, grad-school attending sex worker has a story that doesn’t back up her thesis.

Tech-Savvy Prostitutes Trade Pimps for Web Pages,” NBCNews.com, Jul. 11 2014

It’s a story straight out of 2007: Sex workers use the internet to advertise!

I’m Katha Pollitt’s “Highly Educated” Leftist—And A Sex Trafficking Victim

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If you can read this, you’re too fancy to matter. (image courtesy of The New Inquiry)

Earlier this year, The New Inquiry published this quiz, “Are You Being Sex Trafficked?” which appeared in an earlier form here on Tits and Sass. Katha Pollitt hinged part of her “Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?” essay on the imagined qualities of TNI’s writers and audience:

Of course, if you are reading the New Inquiry, chances are you’re not being sex trafficked; if you’re a sex worker, chances are you’re a grad student or a writer or maybe an activist—a highly educated woman who has other options and prefers this one. And that is where things get tricky. Because in what other area of labor would leftists look to the elite craftsman to speak for the rank and file? You might as well ask a pastry chef what it’s like to ladle out mashed potatoes in a school cafeteria. In the discourse of sex work, it seems, the subaltern does not get to speak.

The problem is not that the subaltern was not getting to speak, but that Pollitt was unable to listen because of her own ideas about how trafficking victims should present. We asked Tara, the author of the quiz, to respond.

On April 2nd I was at the Freedom Network’s Human Trafficking Conference in San Francisco speaking to a group of law enforcement and service providers about how to do outreach to people who are trafficked in to the commercial sex trade. I was there as part of a federal program designed to offer the experience and expertise of sex trafficking victims like myself with the goal of improving services to other sex trafficking victims. The other survivor presenting and I both had extensive experience as youth involved in the sex trade, as adult sex workers, and as social service providers. We spoke of our experiences with law enforcement and service providers and made recommendations to those present about how they could best provide outreach to sex trafficking victims.

At the end, the facilitator flipped through our feedback forms and laughingly told us that one person thought that our presentation hadn’t been about sex trafficking at all. Apparently there are rules for being a good victim: 1. Victims should cry 2. They should talk about horrible things done to them by criminals, but not by the police 3. They should not have opinions, and 4. If they do have opinions, they should present themselves as traumatized enough so that those opinions are easily discountable. If victims don’t behave this way, their status as victims can be called into question.

A “Whore” of Many Colors

I just want to know what these people want from us. They argue over which term to use like we are animals, where using the wrong genus actually matters. It is not difficult to figure out. We are sex workers because we use our sexuality to make money, period. All of us: strippers, escorts, dominas, whatever. It is an umbrella term because we can all fit under it. Why is that so hard? Why do they need everybody to be ultra specific before they can tuck themselves in at night?

I know why: this isn’t really about trying to figure out what to call us. This is the kind of classification you use so you know how to react to someone, you know what I mean? They want to know which kind of sex work we do so they can know how to treat us, because “sex work” doesn’t have the same hateful baggage as “whore” or “stripper” does for some people, and it is hard to throw at someone. “This is one sex worker with chutzpah” just doesn’t have the same sting; it sounds like something you say to an equal, not something you say to classify another group of women as less worth respect than you are. I’m looking at you, Andrea Peyser.