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"It's Not Selling Your Body, It's More Like Controlled-Access Rental"

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Filed: Country: Philippines
Timeline

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— By Titania Kumeh

Asked if he's ever felt exploited as a sex worker, Will Rockwell—the 24-year-old editor-in-chief of the sex worker-operated magazine $pread—replies, "Yes, by the media. Every interview we do is twisted for the purposes of sensationalistic propaganda, whether it's the conservative New York Post jerking itself off over the Spitzer scandal or Ms. Magazine fantasizing about female victimhood and applying it in broad strokes to people they never really cared to know, and certainly never offered a helping hand free of judgment and surveillance." He says the sensationalist and often stereotype-ridden depictions of sex workers—prostitutes, exotic dancers, dominatrices, phone-sex operators, and people who engage in informal forms of transactional sex—by media outlets sparked the 2005 creation of $pread, the country's only magazine developed by and for sex workers.

With a circulation of about 3,000 ("Each copy is passed between 4 or 5 people on average, according to a readers' survey," Rockwell asserts), the quarterly magazine includes anything from "product reviews (from false eyelashes to ####### lube), to personal essays about weird clients, to news reports on international public policy and events affecting sex worker communities around the globe," according to its website. $pread's current "Aging" issue, which is sold online and available in a few independent bookstores, grapples with maturity in a profession seemingly absorbed with youthful appearance ("Strippers in their 40s are hardly uncommon," Kristen Casey writes in one article).

Rockwell, a male sex worker who's serviced men for almost a decade, has been the head honcho at the New York-based publication for more than a year; he's volunteered for the magazine for three years. "I took the [unpaid] job because the first article I read in $pread was in Issue 2.4, named 'I killed a client in self-defense,'" Rockwell told Mother Jones via email. "It is an entirely matter-of-fact story about a woman working an outcall who was stabbed by her client before she took the knife from him and killed him in self-defense. When the police arrived, they arrested her for the murder of a married military officer, but she was later proven innocent. I was impressed that she described her experience without one iota of judgment for sex work in general—in other words, it wasn't the job that was wrong, but the world that surrounds it."

Rockwell answered more questions from Mother Jones about $pread, whether feminists should favor or fight the decriminalization of prostitution, and what he thinks about the Craigslist scandal.

MJ: What are some common misconceptions that people have about sex workers?

WR: That we are all jet-setting call girls. That we are all crack fiends. In truth, we are everyone you can imagine: loving mothers, daughters, husbands, friends, neighbors, drug users, lawyers, tax-paying citizens, and human beings. That we are all in this career and no other—many, many people use sex work once a month to supplement their rent or another expense. That sex workers spend their whole lives either on the street or in the best porn studios—this is a highly mobile profession, and many people change venues and income brackets very quickly.

MJ: How does $pread tackle these myths?

WR: $pread publishes a range of experiences in the sex industry. For some people it's all a field of roses; for some of us, it was our best option among limited options, and others experienced violence at the hands of the police and a stigmatizing culture. In all cases, $pread provides a forum for sex workers to speak for themselves.

MJ: Why is it important that sex workers have a media outlet?

WR: We are talked about everywhere, in newspapers publishing our death notices, at lawsuits in court, but nowhere will people listen.

MJ: Has $pread ever gotten flak from conservative or religious organizations?

WR: Always, but mostly "feminist" ones, surprisingly. Apparently it's hard for some people to believe that women, let alone those of us men working, are able to choose sex work over other types of work under post-industrial capitalism. Despite the fact that the sex industry is the only one in which women get paid more than men, and they want to take that away from them!

MJ: How do you respond to feminists who say they could never imagine any person willingly selling their body for money?

WR: "It's not selling your body, it's more like controlled-access rental."

MJ: Does your own narrative dispel or confirm myths surrounding sex work?

WR: I've long since stopped trying to reconcile the disparate narratives people think about when it comes to sex workers. Victim, #######, whatever, it's all about circumstance. Until you provide living wage alternatives and affordable housing for everyone in the sex industry, don't even dare claim you know what's good for us.

MJ: How do staff members at $pread handle accusations that the magazine is encouraging folks to join the sex worker industry?

WR: We just respond that we don't invent the fact [that sex work exists], we simply provide a venue for sex workers to be heard. Our articles come from the mouths of sex workers here in the United States who volunteer their stories to the community, as well as sex workers around the world who write in—Taiwan, India, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, and more.

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Canada
Timeline

Pretty much. :thumbs:


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The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil
Timeline

i think steven's considering a new career

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* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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Filed: Timeline

MJ: Has $pread ever gotten flak from conservative or religious organizations?

WR: Always, but mostly "feminist" ones, surprisingly. Apparently it's hard for some people to believe that women, let alone those of us men working, are able to choose sex work over other types of work under post-industrial capitalism.

Careful, She-who-knows-best is going to prove this wrong by asserting it's rubbish.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Brazil
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Careful, She-who-knows-best is going to prove this wrong by asserting it's rubbish.

:rofl:


* ~ * Charles * ~ *
 

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

 

USE THE REPORT BUTTON INSTEAD OF MESSAGING A MODERATOR!

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