When I first identified “The Stormy Daniels Effect” here at Tits and Sass, my theory about the power of sex worker class-consciousness, the Stormy Daniels media cyclone was just beginning to brew. This week, after her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, it briefly became a full on news cycle shit storm. Commentary on Daniels ranged from sex worker-penned think pieces praising her as a “hero of the opposition” to the never-ending parade of trolls calling her a “whore,” “slut,” and “ho” on Twitter. There was also a slew of pedestrian commentary on mainstream media sites, including tired retorts to Daniels’s press coverage that claimed her sex work is evidence of moral and intellectual shortcomings. My favorite came from an anonymous troll who goes by the name mason B: “awwwwwww the HO’S [sic] have a national voice now isn’t that nice?”
While trolls are not the barometer for our country’s political and social health, the dichotomous identities slung onto Daniels most certainly are. Even Nate Lerner, grassroots director for Build The Wave and creator of the “Boycott Trump” app, recently tweeted, “It’s disconcerting when a porn star is more articulate than our president.”
That Daniels is considered a dumb whore on the one hand and a savior on the other is pretty telling—in our culture, we want our sex workers to occupy uncomplicated little boxes. Leftists and right-wingers alike want sex workers to fit into one of two wildly different narratives. More to the point, it is not lost on most sex workers that while some Democrats and progressives praise Daniels, it was, nevertheless, Democrats and progressives who just fucking passed FOSTA.
For these reasons and more, I must amend The Stormy Daniels Effect to account for two overlapping issues. First, sex workers are clearly flattened when we are painted as a homogenous group, as right-wing trolls often depict us. But perhaps more importantly, we are also flattened when our complex identities are dichotomized into two manageable and static boxes and we are reduced still further when the box into which we fit is determined by race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, ability, etc. And let’s not forget that Republican and Democrat congress members alike procure the services of sex workers. In fact, there’s a handy Google doc going around lately for sex workers who would like to anonymously expose the hypocrisy of members of Congress.
With the passing of FOSTA and the heralding of Kamala Harris as the darling of the left, it is clear that it’s going to take a lot more than sex worker class-consciousness to ruin powerful men. It’s going to take more than the eradication of white male supremacy. In fact, it’s going to take the eradication of left entirely. Yes, really. We must completely eradicate the left and build a new movement in its ashes. Dare I say it—Fuck Democrats. Fuck Democrats, fuck Republicans, and fuck Libertarians. Yeah, and fuck progressives. Cause you know what? They’re fucking us … for free.
Fuck Democrats. Fuck Democrats, fuck Republicans, and fuck Libertarians. Yeah, and fuck progressives. Cause you know what? They’re fucking us … for free.
Progressives, dems, and libertarians are not any different from anonymous trolls like mason B—all of these groups consider themselves the gatekeepers of cultural narratives, of who gets a voice. And all of these groups believe that who gets a voice is entirely dependent upon the speaker’s social capital. For right-wing trolls, a whore is a whore is a whore. For so-called progressives and others, an upper-class white woman in the sex industry is a hero but a sex worker with any kind of complex, intersecting identity is collateral damage. For so-called progressives and the like, any sex worker who exists outside of racist and classist constructions of cis heteronormativity is undeserving of both a voice and, quite literally, a life.
There is a reason why our country honed in on a conventionally attractive, white, upper-class sex worker rather than addressing the immediate needs of sex workers who have already lost housing, income, and screening capabilities since the passing of FOSTA. That reason is because contrary to public political discourse, the two political parties in our country are more similar than not. For sex workers who service powerful men (and women), including members of Congress, that statement comes as no surprise.
For so-called progressives and others, an upper-class white woman in the sex industry is a hero but a sex worker with any kind of complex, intersecting identity is collateral damage.
The Stormy Daniels Effect is not about sex workers from all walks of life coming together to ruin powerful policy makers. It is, as I understand it now, about ripping the mic away from privileged sex workers and returning it to the rightful hands of those who built this movement. It is about creating solidarity with our colleagues who’ve been unable to get out of bed since FOSTA passed. It is about leaving behind any allegiance to the political parties in power and supporting the trans, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor, drug-using sex workers who have always been fighting for a new way.
This is not a takedown of Stormy Daniels. That’s the entire fucking point—it’s larger than just one person. This is call to action, a takedown of the immensely powerful social systems that venerate sex workers who wager nothing in the aftermath of FOSTA while these same systems, sold to us as two distinct political parties, vilify, dehumanize, and literally murder sex workers who have everything to lose.