My friend and I chatted about this over lunch at a café. I was eating a surprisingly flavorful vegan burrito (I figured it would taste like cardboard, but it tasted like tomato flavored cardboard instead), and telling her how sick I am of people asking me if I feel “empowered” by my job. Why do I need to be empowered? Should I go up to the barista behind the counter and ask her if she feels empowered by her job making coffee and burritos?
My friend insists that sex workers should be empowered though, “because of the stigma.”
No, friend, sex workers don’t need to feel empowered any more than any other laborers need to feel empowered. Sex workers need human, civil, and labor rights first. Sex workers need to stop being arrested, murdered, and raped. Perhaps then we can discuss “empowerment” (what does that even mean!?)
It sounds like something silly that feminists insisted that we need (feminists tend to know our own bodies better than we do). So, we’re supposed to be empowered happy hookers, right? What if we aren’t happy? What if our job sucks? What if we’re miserable due to a lack of labor rights? And even worse…what if we show it? Feminism will turn right back around and remind us that the reason we’re miserable is because we are being oppressed. We are tools of patriarchy. We were suffering from false consciousness, but now we are finally seeing the light!
According to feminism, we are either empowered happy hookers (and we are crushing the patriarchy in our own way!) or we are oppressed victims (damn you, patriarchy! You’re holding us down!) so hurry up and pick one. But wait…what if you’re not a “happy hooker” OR a “victim?” Now what? Well, I’m neither of those, so I’m not sure where I fit in.
- me: did it hurt?
- you: what
- me: when i fell from heaven and landed on you. i'm as beautiful as an angel.
I just spent half an hour wrestling a twenty-year-old Yankees teddy bear out of a box at the back of my closet and I don’t understand my life I don’t even like the Yankees.