Whenever I post one of my blogs about the nitty gritty of sex work - on deposits, or screening procedures, or etiquette in general - I tend to get a lot of responses on Twitter. I like this! Engagement! Dialogue! But there's one aspect of it that I am not too keen on: clients inferring that I need to include things from their perspective. Warning: this blog may make you feel personally attacked, clients.
I am not a client. Whilst I have paid my peers for their services before, I am, first and foremost, a sex worker. I come at everything from this side of the equation, and I simply can't write from a client's perspective, because I am not one. The messages my friends have gotten from people whom they follow but I don't, always start with, "Please tell Sienna that her post was great, but she should include..." Many comments on my blogs or replies on my Twitter look a lot like, "This is great and all, but from my perspective..."
Please understand that I'm not ignoring your perspective, I'm just writing from mine. Remember as well that this isn't a punter's world, it's our world; we run the show, we set the standards, we control the game. It is not necessary for every Tom, Dick, and Harry Punter to chime in with their personal experiences of select workers; in fact, it's pretty arrogant. Once again, I'm going to compare this to a "conventional" job, in order to make it more relatable: say a lawyer makes a post on clients complaining about giving retainers. They go into detail in order to reassure clients of what their retainer is doing, why they collect one, and they reinforce the idea that clients need to make sure their lawyer is a legitimate one, even describing the things a legitimate lawyer should have.
In the comments:
"Hey, great post! I just wish you included what it's like to give that retainer. It's so worrying when I don't know where it goes! You should know that there are so many clients who will just want free advice and won't pay a retainer, if you don't know this, you probably shouldn't be in the industry. It's really hard for me as a client to make sure that I turn up on time after clearing my schedule just for you, with the correct money already on my card, and all the documents that are necessary with me. This one time, a lawyer ripped me off! Can you imagine! I didn't read his policy on retainers, but he kept it after I cancelled! What do you think about this?"
I don't think I really need to go into all the problems with this comment. Explaining a lawyer's job to her is the height of rudeness when you are not a lawyer, and merely a client; it's incredibly arrogant to assume you know anything of an industry simply because you employ their services. You'll also notice that lots of this commenter's problems were already addressed in the lawyer's post, but for some reason, they want the same thing only from their perspective. And the last big thing is the irrelevant anecdote that seems to try and rail against the whole idea of retainers because people could rip you off. How helpful.
This is what I deal with every single time I write a post on the industry. Fellow workers offer constructive criticism and support, and I often run my posts by a few of them first anyway. Sometimes I even run them by clients! But every single one of my posts comes with the following obvious set of disclaimers, which I did not think I would have to point out:
- I am a sex worker in Australia, and thus all of my posts will be dealing with experiences in that culture.
- I am financially comfortable enough to afford things like professional photos, so all my posts are coming from a place of reasonable financial privilege.
- I am a sex worker, and not a client; all my posts will deal with that perspective, with limited input on the client side of things.
- I do not speak to every experience or for every sex worker.
- My policies are not the same as other worker's policies. It is up to the client to do their own research. Don't be lazy.
- Your one anecdote does not always line up with the rest of the data field, neither does mine.
This post was motivated by my deposits post from yesterday, but applies to basically every single one of my industry related blogs. This is not to say that I can't take criticism for my writing or that I hate hearing client opinions - that's not the case at all, but some consideration and reflection on your own motivations for replies is really needed. Do you need to explain my job to me? Is your one extremely specific experience actually relevant? Do you actually know as much about the industry as you think? Did I already answer your concern in my post but you didn't read it all the way through? This is a blog, not a science journal; try to remember that.