Sex Work Twitter

I honestly don’t think I’d be here today without Twitter.

I’m not being dramatic or saying it saved my life, but I certainly wouldn’t have made some of the Big Decisions in my recent life without it; the friends I’ve made, the inspiration they -and complete strangers – have given me, and the resources I’ve found within it’s free flowing timeline.

A few years ago, it was just another social media tool to dick around on with my friends, I used it to advertise and as a way to tell people about appointments I had free (when timewasters booked without turning up, and I was all dressed up with no where to go) and just a general way to chat. Now, it’s become something a lot more important.

I use it as a way to talk to people who have seen the shows, get feedback, and stay in contact with the many people I’ve met on the comedy road without having to nervously ask them for their email.

But in the last few weeks, I’ve also seen the major collaborative effort and work that goes into ‘Sex Work Twitter’ – a loose collection of even looser women (and men) who have worked in or support Sex-Work in many various forms. I feel ashamed at having come so late to the party. Weirdly, I never really thought about SW rights until I stopped being a sex-worker. Now I look around and see all the people who are making money on the backs of people in Sex Work, whilst also misrepresenting us, putting us in danger, and – frankly – it’s pissing me off. I know more people who have made money writing the classic ‘She was forced to take drugs and sell her body!’ with a black and white picture of a crying female of indiscernible age (or maybe just a teddy bear, with one eye. And a heroine needle in it’s arm. You know the type.) than I’ve ever known pimps/madams/agents or people who worked for them.

See, what Twitter does is it allows us to have a right to reply instantly. It means we can contact and immediately communicate with those who would seek to put an end to our profession, or misrepresent us in harmful and dangerous ways. We can talk directly to them/their followers/members directly and say ‘Hey! We’re here! That person is wrong, so here’s some stuff you SHOULD look at/think about/talk about.’ All with just the click of a button, and 140 well organised characters.

Back in the day if someone had written something you didn’t agree with, it would be a case of sending an email (or a letter), and hoping they didn’t just junk it. And you’d feel alone, wondering if you’re the only person who thought that way. Now, I can watch a whole ‘twitterstorm’ rumble around, and marvel at how they can express the noises/grunt/headdesking I’m feeling into such eloquent words and quotes.

Not only that, but we can instantly see who is willing to listen, who will talk, and who will just block us instantly and remain in their own bubble of ignorance.

I think the easiest way to explain is with an example. Sorry in advance if I’m hashing up old issues – it’s not my intention, it’s just an example I’m using to demonstrate.

A few weeks ago, a feminist conference was organised in a town about 2 hours from London. Some members of the Sex -Worker Open University had previously written to them with many wonderful reasons as to why they should attend. After all, plenty of people were going there to discuss them and their job, so why not let them in? And it’s a feminist conference, for women. So, you would have thought, all women could go, no?

They weren’t let it.

They weren’t really acknowledged in any way, shape or form. They spent the day in the car park, freely discussing and talking to people who were genuinely interested in what they had to say and were equally bemused at why they weren’t let in.

Now, like I said, I’m using this as an example so I shan’t get into the ins/outs/wrongs/rights of the situation. All it basically comes down to is three women left in a car park, exposed and – I imagine – humiliated whilst their very profession is being slammed and misrepresented a few yards away from them.

Man, I was aaaaaaangry!

I wanted to go up and support them – at least bring cake and a pat on the back, but I had an Indulge to do that night, and there was no way I could drive there and back in time. Plus not everyone is in my position. Not every Sex Worker is ‘out’, we don’t all want to descend on conferences and debates with a big neon sign saying what we do. So I and others took to Twitter. We could send messages of support, send out pleas to people in the area, or who were at the conference. We could keep up to date with what was going on and be a virtual crowd of support. God knows that if I had been sat in a grisly car park with two other people, I would have needed it.

And I like to think we helped make a change. There was a statement sent out by the organisers, and the hashtag was quickly overrun by Sex Work Twitter pointing out how wrong this whole situation was. Obviously, we can’t take the credit. The heroes of the day were definitely The Ladies themselves (the NCP3, as I like to call them), who weren’t dissuaded from their cause, who made the best of a bad situation, and ploughed on in the face of extreme prejudice. But it certainly opened my mind – and my Twitter feed – to what we can do, and what we need to do in order to…well…make some goddamn changes and open a few minds.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while as I think it would be really beneficial for anyone stumbling onto this blog through my show to see who else is out there, who is so eloquently shaping sex-worker rights and standing up for our right to – basically – mind our own business. Also I’ve seen requests for people looking for writers and speakers etc, so I thought a ‘Who’s Who’ might be handy. Now, this will be updated and amended as time goes on. Also, I may get some details wrong as there are quite a few ‘collectives’ and sometimes I get confused as to who belongs where, so forgive me if it’s a bit wonky, just let me know.

A small introduction first, just in case you’ve stumbled here, there’s me, who you can follow on @bbwmelody. Sex-worker turned stand-up. Basically happy to stand up and talk about anything, with a bit of wit and laughter. Currently organising a tour for ‘Coin-Operated Girl’ – a comedy show where I talk about my 7 years as a sex worker (everyone’s bored of hearing this, but it got 5 star reviews in Edinburgh. *buffs nails*)

Now I need the proper activists. So if you, or anyone you know, would be up for getting into the big wide world and discussing what we do, let me know. Cos god knows it has to be better than some of the people who are out there doing it right now. Just leave me a comment, or drop me an email – Yup, the ol’e email still works!


5 Responses to “Sex Work Twitter”

  1. Farleycatrix (@fornicatrix) Says:

    This is ACE! Thanks so much for the kind words too. Much Love (@Fornicatrix)

  2. jemima2013 Says:

    tried to email but it wont recognise the addy, anyway, add Everyday whorephobia to the list

  3. Quote of the Week Says:

    […] Melody with a song of praise for the sex worker twittersphere in her blog, The Coin-Operated […]

  4. Sex Work Twitter | Sex Worker Blogs Says:

    […] By Miss M […]

  5. Sex Work Twitter | Sexworker Blogs Says:

    […] Sex Work Twitter […]

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