“If you don’t love me at my tweeting about sex workers’ rights, you don’t deserve me at my nudes.”
If you don’t love me at my posting about sex workers’ rights, you don’t deserve me at my nudes.
— Rikochan! (@Rikochanpstar) April 12, 2018
I’m interrupting my normal sexy chat to talk a little bit about sex workers’ rights, sex workers’ safety, and the right to post and consume porn online–all of which are at risk right now, thanks to the terrible new FOSTA/SESTA law. So, yes, enjoy this second set of pictures of me having an amazing time playing with Slutty Nic. But also read the post and think about what you’re willing to do to protect your right to actually see enjoy my porn. Are you willing to stand up for sex workers’ rights? Because that’s what it will take to keep sex workers safe, and to keep sites like Rikochanpornstar online.
Who Is a Sex Worker?
The fact that that is one of my most popular tweets–even more than most of my nudest of nudes–makes me happy and a tiny bit proud, because sex workers’ rights are incredibly important. I’m a sex worker, and I’m standing up for myself and all the people who do the kinds of things I do, whether it’s full service sex work/escorting, stripping, wrestling/sessioning that crosses over in sex work (not all of it does), web-camming, fin-domming, domination, sugar-babying, old-school feature-film porn, or just plain clips and pics porn, like I make.
In fact, even burlesque dancers figure into this, as far as I am concerned, although some of them don’t consider themselves sex workers. Still, given the number of laws there are regulating what they can’t and can’t do with their bodies and what the can’ and can’t show of their bodies on stage tells me that, in terms of rights, at least, they count.
I’m a Sex Worker
I consider myself a sex worker. I make money from being (hopefully) sexy in front of cameras and video cameras. I have sex (by myself and with other people) on camera, and I sell the clips, at least, for money. I’m a sex worker, and I work for myself, and I enjoy it, and I’m proud of the work that I do and I’m proud of the pleasure and enjoyment it brings to my small but dedicated (and awesome!) group of fans and friends.
To be clear, I’m a sex worker, but I’m not a *full-service* sex worker. No one pays me to have sex with them. I don’t do any in-person services, but that’s not because I look down on that part of sex work or the people who do it. Far from it: I think that is an amazing profession that I’m sure provides true help, relief and human connection to a lot of people and satisfies and entertains many more. Some of the people that I’m proudest to call my friend do this kind of work. I’m only clarifying here because I don’t want to be claiming authority I don’t deserve.
Me, I’m too shy to do it. Part of it is my English, which doesn’t sound nearly as good in person, without someone to correct my grammar (yes, I have a couple people who help me fix all the mistakes in most of what I write). Mostly, though, I’m so shy and awkward in person, I haven’t even been able to do camming yet, although I do have an account on MusclegirlzLive.
But I’ve written about all that before. The point here, and the point that is new (and bad) is that there are laws out there now that are attacking sex workers under the pretense of stopping human trafficking. Look, I agree that trafficking is bad, but the idea that all sex workers are trafficked is just ridiculous, and the idea that laws like SESTA/FOSTA help trafficked people is just plain stupid. FOSTA/SESTA hurts sex workers.
Shutting Down Backpage Hurts Sex Workers
All these laws do is make life far, far worse for sex workers, by forcing the closure of *sites like Backpage that make sex workers safer*. That’s right: the internet made life safer for sex workers by making it easier for them to contact, advertise, and screen for clients without an intermediary (that is, a pimp). For sex workers with access to the internet, at least, backpage and other services like bad client lists and so on, make sex workers safer.
Backpage and sites like it helped sex workers work without pimps, helped them avoid dangerous clients, and helped them do their jobs without needing to walk the streets. I’m not saying that it made everything great, or that everyone had the resources to use it, or even that everyone who used it escaped all the bad aspects of sex work. But bringing sex work online was a huge harm reduction, and that’s a good thing. FOSTA/SESTA jeopardizes all online sex work.
What about trafficking? Well, for one thing, despite all the headlines, Backpage’s founders weren’t hit with any federal trafficking charges. Instead, their federal charges and pleas all have to do with prostitution–sex work. And sex work and trafficking are not at all the same thing, as much as the rescue industry would like to pretend they are. These new laws are erasing all the progress that the internet brought to sex work, which was their goal all along. While many tragically duped people may actually believe that these laws are “rescuing” people, that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The people who really pushed these laws did so for two reasons.
Who’s Really Behind the Anti-Trafficking Movement?
The first group are the Moral Majority types who want to criminalize all sex work (and not just the full-service kind). These are the fundamentalists and the people who want to control sexuality–and especially women’s sexuality. These are the religious zealots and the subset of feminists who think that anyone who does sex work is a victim. Note: it’s a subset of radical feminists who are against sex work–there are many who think women are fully human being who ought to be able to choose for themselves what they do with their bodies.
The second group are in some way even more disgusting: the people (even including some most supposedly liberal politicians, like Bernie Sanders Kamala Harris), who do it for the soundbites, to advance their careers, despite the fact that sex workers have begged, literally begged them not to pass these laws.
Why Should YOU Care About Sex Workers’ Rights?
If you’re a patron of full service sex work, the answer is obvious. Your provider will be harder to reach, may have to charge more to make up for lost income and time, and may, in fact, be killed in the new climate.
Even if you’re not a patron of full-service sex work, however, you ought to be very, very worried. You, as a consumer of porn (I’m making the leap that everyone who visits my site regularly is *mostly* here for the porn, even if they also enjoy my writing), ought to be terrified. The same weird coalition of religious zealots and radfems are already pushing to use the same strategy, with the same dupes leading the charge for them, against all sorts of pornography.
We’re already seeing the same arguments that women in porn are exploited and trafficked, and all it takes is a little bit of panic and the hint of legal action to get the wheels rolling and to get scared companies to start shutting down sites and stop processing cards and deleting porn from social networks like Tumblr and Twitter. It really wouldn’t take much for a waves of shutdowns to completely change the face of online porn. My site, and all the pictures on it and the sites that host my clips–all of that could disappear overnight if the people who pushed FOSTA/SESTA get their way.
What Can You Do to Help Sex Workers and Protect Porn?
So if you want to keep watching porn and you live in the US, please, please, please contact your congresspeople and tell them you are against censorship, and that you think FOSTA/SESTA is a bad bill and should be repealed. Beg them to stand up for free speech and not to be duped by the trafficking argument, please? Speak up when people say stupid things about porn, sex work, strippers, and so on.
The other thing you can do no matter where you live is to educate yourself and help educate others about the truths surrounding sex work. It’s not all fun and games, but then no job is. And, once you separate the panic from the reality, that’s what it is: a job. It can some times be amazing and rewarding, and sometimes be shitty and oppressive, like any job. For the most part, though, it’s the ignorance, panic, and shaming of the “rescue” crowd that makes sex work worse than it has to be, and that misinforms the mainstream, most of whom probably honestly believe that they’re helping when they support the banning of sites like Backpage.
Three excellent books about the realities of sex work and trafficking are Sex, Lies, & Statistics, the truth about sex work the mainstream press, politicians, and Julie Bindel don’t want you to know, by Dr. Brooke Magnanti; Sex at the Margins, Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry, by Dr. Laura Agustin; and Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, by Lola Davina. I’ve read all three, and they’re amazing, informed works by women who’ve actually done the research and listened to sex workers (in some cases also actually doing the work themselves) and have a useful perspective on the subject.
To be clear, I’m not and expert on this subject, these incredible women are. I’m learning from them, and you can too.