Rape With No Cock
Rape is four letter word, powerful or meaningless and is applied across a spectrum of occurrences. They called the Japanese sacking of Nanking “The Rape of Nanking”. There was literal rape, in the thousands upon thousands, murder in thousands, tens of thousands. The brutal penetration of the military might of an Empire staking it’s claim during the global upheaval that was the Second World War can only be described as rape. It is a fitting name. Colloquially, one can be “arse-raped” by wily salesmen, or the Vogonism rampant in public and private sectors, designed to confuse and entrap.
As an accusation, it can be career destroying or soul destroying, dependent on if the raped or the rapist is saddled with blame. Rape is not just theft, taking something by force can be done without penetration. Rape is the powerful invading the powerless and taking from inside what should be the sacred thing that houses our life forces (or souls, dependent on your outlook)
Last weekend, a newspaper printed a feature article about sex workers in South Australia in the wake of legislation drafted by the Hon. Steph Key that if passed would decriminalise the sex industry and its workers in this state. The workers that gave the journalists access did so because when the media comes along to do a piece on these perceived oddities of people that do this work, it is a spectacle for the straight and narrow to rubber neck at “oooooooh! A real live whore! OMG! Look at it!?” Sadly, it is rarely the fourth estate doing its job. Even when attempting to be inoffensive, I am offended.i I As bad as I know these articles can be, and as much as I know that a by-line doesn’t mean the sub-editor didn’t chop up the words like George Martin chopping up reels of merry-go round music for Mr Kite off Sgt Pepper ii Sir Martin however, hacking at magnetic tape, collaborated to create one of the most famous albums ever recorded (no denying, regardless of taste) The editorial and journalistic work that daily, offends me, last weekend led me to tears. The potential of a three page feature and what those…journalists… birthed out of the heaving beast that is the trade they ply and have to sleep at night with, made me see fucking red. The worse part is, there is a possibility they thought they were helping us poor, poor hookers. You know, the helpless hookers who are weird and exotic and must be a little simple or else why use sex to make money?iii
Perspective is a curious thing. I read the piece and I tried to see the positives. Then I noticed that the photos that were chosen, knowing some of the individuals in the pictures, were (call me cynical) purposefully unflattering. Upon re-reading the individual write ups of the “types” of sex workers I let my anger rise up at the headings and the inherent implications and judgements therein. Hearing echoes of sentiments expressed to me personally in what I can safely say is a contortion of what was actually said during the interviews, boiled my blood and made me glad that every time I have ummed and aahed about it, it has never come to pass that I am the subject when the media decides to play with this particular groups lives. My life by extension of the bond, sorority and fraternity that exists between me and my colleagues and peers. (Being marginalised, up against the wall most of the time by all the bloody opinions, laws and bullshit does make you either buddy up, or go it alone) Being glad makes me sad, because these workers that were put in the paper stood up to be the voice, in an attempt to prevent a worker perhaps being paid, coerced or manipulated into an exploitative spectacle due to the vulnerable nature of workers in a criminalised setting. I wish I were I that brave. Kudos to all of the workers, regardless of how the picture got painted.
As a review, this is scant on detail for a few reasons; those engaged in the issue will have seen it, it was in the paper for all to read and I don’t want to repeat too much of what was printed. I am sure the individuals involved in journalism never set out to betray people and need to do their jobs, just like everyone else, but there are lows in that profession that I think could, would or should cause more sleepless nights than sucking actual cock for coin. I’ll take real cock for coin over Satan’s cock* for accolades and egoism any day of the week.
Where do I put anger like this? Where do I store this frustration? Perspective and misrepresentation are themes that snake their way into every facet of our daily lives, marginalised workers used for intrigue and sales figures is a symptom of how the world turns. If I stamp my feet too loud, they’ll call me witch too! Was it that bad? Perspective. I have my opinions, it could have been so much worse. However, if the creators of that feature think they have done a service, the scales in my view tip toward fail.
In the same edition, the story in the main body of the paper that outlined the proposed legislation and when it is due to be voted on etc, street workers were referred to more than once,(as well as online in the comments quagmire of brain farts of anyone with an internet connection), as street walkers. In that one simple change, to something phonetically similar, a trade becomes a judgement and a job is instead a social ill. An adjective suddenly conjures images of the reanimated dead, rather than of someone hard at work. A walker, not a worker. A problem, instead of problem solved.
Kink, BDSM, vanilla, street, whatever the flavour; it’s just like ice cream. There are many to choose from and no particular flavour is right or wrong. Childhood fights over chocolate versus strawberry (strawberry! Of course!) belong with childlike minds. This debate, and this attempted representation of it by the mass media is as nourishing to humanities soul as cholera is to the human body. And, like cholera, the debate about sex work spreads infectious shit rapidly.
It takes a certain kind of person to do this work, and I’m proud of my skills, as should all workers be who do what they do. We need money, that is the way the people who came before us built this world The minute we stop using money and start thinking like the bipeds with intricate cognitive processes and opposable thumbs that we are, the minute we can stop judging people for what they do for money (there you go journos, I threw you a bone because writer is as writer does, and as writer needs to eat.) The point is, I know. And if you haven’t done it, you don’t. Ask all the questions in the world and research and over research this small percentage of the population for the social phenomenon of it, or the perceived perversion, or run in and try and save the slaves, you won’t ever know. If more people had any clue of the truth, more people would laugh at my jokes, and the market would probably be flooded with shoddy, cheap impersonations of the real thing.
To conclude, mass media = bad? Online community = good? If something is not what you thought it would be, you can cry rape? Nothing is that black and white. I started talking about rape without a cock. The idea comes from castrating sex offenders as a solution to sexual crime. I agree it is a just reaction to sex crime, but disagree with it as a solution. Penetration can occur without a penis. Rape can occur without a cock. I’ve been raped by strangers, lovers and friends. It is a serious allegation, and I am not saying an article I didn’t like, in a rag I don’t read, is akin to the genocide and pillage of the former capital of the Republic of China by Japanese Imperial forces in a time of war. That would be disrespectful and a massive overreaction (though the name Ranting Strumpet obviously stems from a pathological need to get in a huff). It was a perhaps lazy attempt at asking anyone who reads this to, if they haven’t already, to consider or reconsider what is being taken from someone, when a label is fixed on them, a lie is told and some careerist fuck thinks they did a good job. Slaves are made in these ways, and victims and dead bodies. That was Eichmann’s excuse when Mossad finally caught him in the 60s.iv (Eichmann ran in 1945 to escape the noose for his part in the Third Reich and complicity in the murder of millions of people. He was caught in Argentina, dragged to Israel, imprisoned, tried and hanged.)
Thank you to the workers who agreed to be photographed and interviewed in an attempt to educate and myth bust. To the haters, the bad journos, the do-gooders, the judges (self-appointed moral judges, not necessarily actual judges) I simply wish you to listen to track 8 of the 2009 Lilly Allen album “It’s not me, it’s you”.
To the good journos with bad editors or evil sub-editors, all I can say is, ego trippers pass words are easy to hack. Take back your words! Stand up for your work! Fuck the threat of being fired! Soon money won’t change hands the same way for the written word anyway. Stand for something. Be good at writing, be erudite and read more than you write. Think of John Pilger for integrity and John Birmingham for brilliant and entertaining persuasion, even if Satan’s emissary on earth keeps the power running to your lap-top and the fridge full of food. Just, you know, try to be good and don’t sell out too much. Rich words coming from someone who sucks cock for coin. (But in context, it’s conditional on it being clean, wrapped tight in latex and no one touches the back of my head or sweet little Juliette turns into agro-smash ranting nasty strumpet! Obey the rules and I flick straight back to sweet. Of course, in a perfect world, all sex workers would always, everywhere, have that power. In the end, that is the whole point of this rant.)
Stand for something, and know that perception isn’t just about red faces. Daily realities and people’s lives hang in the balance.
For me I just think about this little injustice on top of a world of massive fucking injustice, in the words of a wonderful singer, often named crack whore who sang for her coin, “What kind of fuckery is this?”
I apologise for the overuse of commas, triadic sentences or clumsy metaphors, grammatical errors, etc etc. I’m tired, typing in the dark, attempting to edit before someone busts the secret strumpet mid rant! Ha, a caveat for poorly edited and somewhat scatter-brained “work”. Ah, blogging, you saucy little minx with low standards! Just how I like em 😉
i Recent German doco on SBS about “prostitution”. Translated of narration into English from German that BBC style female voice saying something like “Whore, harlot, hooker, all are offensive terms for prostitution” (not a direct quote. I can’t even find what it was called. Late. Sorry, will attempt to find and put as a comment) BUT FOR FUCKS SAKE! PROSTITUTE IS A DEROGATORY TERM FOR SEX WORKERS! GAR! Perhaps something got lost in translation?
ii (if that metaphor doesn’t make sense, see Sir Martin’s book on the making of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Interesting in his unceasing faith that they were all good boys that might have experimented, and fascinating for the techniques pioneered, the subtlety of the music in an over-the-top theme album.. I could go on. Excellent book.”Summer of Love; The Making of Sargent Pepper” George Martin and William Pearson authors, unsure of publisher and is apparently only available second hand on Amazon. Oh how sad face. It’s a truly great book. Collective sad face for the printed word, eh? Or perhaps I don’t drive the interwebs properly?)
iii I think I must be a taking crazy pills. Why would you? Why WOULDN”T you, is the question. Did you all miss the part where we explained how we get paid to fuck? PAID! To fuck. Or be fucked? Or suck or be sucked? If we choose it, it means we have power. If we have no choice, it’s because we have NO equal rights or someone is denying us our human rights. Sex worker rights are, after all, human rights.
*Yo, Bill’s line, I know!
iv Please read Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil” Penguin, 1961 for more details on Eichmann.