Here is what Australian pornstar Madison Missina goota say …
Sex work should not be confused with sexual slavery. The difference is consent, as sex worker Madison Missina explains.
To me, Pretty Woman is love story, about a woman who meets a man and they fall in love and after just enough drama, they live happily ever after. Beautiful.
However just recently this beautiful story has been tarnished by accounts of sex trafficking, in Laila Mickelwait’s article The tragic reality behind the inspiration of ‘Pretty Woman’.
Mickelwait appears to have a created a life where she advocates and helps the victims of sex trafficking which is wonderful. Yet, in her article, Mickelwait has confused sex trafficking with sex work and has touched a raw nerve of the sex work community. In response, our community created the hashtag #FacesOfProstitution in protest.
|Via Twitter #FacesofProstitution|
You see, as a sex worker, it is offensive to be told that I’m a victim and that I need to be saved from an occupation that I freely choose and that I love.
“Maria is a victim of sex trafficking. Julia’s role was indeed a fantasy. The reality isn’t pretty. Don’t believe the myth.”
It is incorrect to make this connection. Pretty Woman is the story of a sex worker, not the story of a victim of sex trafficking. Linking the two is like saying nearly every romantic comedy is a myth because arranged marriages still occur, or domestic violence still occurs so we shouldn’t believe the myth of romantic love.
While it is difficult for some people to grasp, there are people in society who actively choose sex work. When you listen to our voices, we are saying that we are empowered, we largely love our professions and we are still fighting for our rights and to end the stigma of sex work.
And, yes, some of us dream as little girls to grow up to become sex workers. I know this is true because I was one, and I am not unique.
Basically we end up with people with good intentions rallying to take away the rights of sex workers to prevent and help the victims of sex trafficking – without realising that they are two separate things. This means we are wasting time and resources trying to rescue those that do not need nor want rescuing, whilst perhaps not understanding how or who to actually help.
In Australia, sex work is largely decriminalised and legalised. In my career as a sex worker, I’ve never heard of an account of sex trafficking in Australia. I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist, but that in my substantial experience, I’ve never heard an account of it, despite what the media would like to portray.
Let’s just look at demand. If you were going to purchase a sexual service would you prefer your sex worker to be bruised, crying and appear unwilling and disgusted; or pampered, preened and ready to knock your socks off? The overwhelming answer is the later. We have forums set up where punters (clients of sex workers) review us and discuss how likable, how into it we were. There simply doesn’t appear to be a demand for forced sex workers in our country. Now returning to the question of the article: does Pretty Woman glamourize the sex industry? Well yes and no.
Was Pretty Woman one of the deciding factors that led me to become a sex worker? I’m not really sure. But I do know that I spent many years as a child buried in history books learning about the first movement in female empowerment being the courtesans of Venice and the geishas of Japan. What I learned was that sex workers were the first women in history to be able live independently of men, to learn to read, to be the only women for quite some time to be allowed in libraries. That was my picture and I loved that.
Over my career as a sex worker, my experience has been just that, empowered and independent. Sex work is my dream and I love my life. But that is also my story. This is why the #FacesOfProstitution hash tag is so beautiful; it shows sex workers of different parts of the industry, who have different experiences. A collective who love sex work so much they are willing to stand up and put their face to an industry that is still so stigmatized.
It’s work that has been chosen. It’s no different from those who chose nursing or reception work. Anyone who identifies as a sex worker is saying they choose and consent to sex work.
We are not victims, we don’t want to be rescued, we want rights and the ability to operate our businesses and complete our work in a safe and unstigmatised society.
And really who doesn’t want a Pretty Woman moment where a handsome man feigns snapping our fingers as he gives us a diamond necklace? In reality, I would accept the necklace, love the man and then return to the occupation that I have dreamed of since I was a little girl.
I am proud to be a sex worker, I personally even love using the term Prostitute. I love my life, I love my clients and I love my industry. And lets face it, not all women want nor have the option to give up employment once they fall in love. And there’s nothing wrong with that either.