Would you ever go to a restaurant and, when the waiter/ress brings you the bill, refuse to pay and ask them out for a coffee instead?

It sounds very stupid, doesn’t it? This is the annoying reality strippers have to face with many of their customers, who don’t want to understand that we are working and no, we are not there for finding a new boyfriend to drink coffee with in town.

Sex work is work: a slogan we will never be tired of shouting.

Sex workers face a lot of prejudice, in the first place that what we do is not real work. Specifically for strippers, evidence for this is the fact that many guys enter a strip club for the wrong reasons. What a good customer should look for is some fun, entertainment with some sexy sparkle. Because this is what strippers are there to sell. Not a girlfriend. Not a new friend. Not a victim to be saved. Nonetheless, we have to waste our time dealing with guys who disrespect us asking us for the wrong things, and then getting offended or feeling manipulated when they realize they spent money and didn’t get what they wanted.

If sex work is not considered as real work, what follows is that sex work money is easy money. It is not uncommon that friends ask us how much money we made on the previous night, frowning, probably finding it unfair, expecting us to pay for their beer. One remark: sex work money is fast money, but not easy money. Not all sex workers earn a lot and make bank every day– this is a myth that is told just in the best slutty fairytales. Nonetheless, let’s consider the highest paid sex workers. The amount of money earned equals the emotional labour and becomes a compensation for all the prejudice and disadvantages sex workers have to face in our society.

First: sex workers cannot write about what they do in their c.v., neither the several skill acquired (selling skills, marketing skills, psychological skills, human understanding, performance skills…) This becomes a problem whenever we want to apply for a new job or university, since our c.v. would look empty, as if we had done nothing for our whole life.

Second: sex workers have to fight against stigma in a society that considers what they we as something wrong. We often have to hide and lie to our families, feel ashamed, drain our energies for answering the same questions all over: Why do you do this? Wouldn’t you rather work as a secretary?

Third: the stigma is not only on an emotional level, but it also results in practical difficulties. Many banks are allergic to sex work money and will refuse to grant loans or sometimes even shut down sex workers’ bank accounts if they find out. Pay Pal, Facebook and Instagram will shut down our accounts too. Travelling will be restricted in some countries. Did you know that there is a high chance that sew workers won’t be allowed in when they travel to countries like the U.S. or Australia?

Fourth: whenever a sex worker faces injustice at work, we (often) have to just accept it. There is nobody we can ask for help because authorities don’t take us seriously. The law doesn’t protect sex workers with real rights.

Therefore yes, sex workers do deserve their money!

By Edie

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