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Prostitution

From Leah

i wanted to leave a comment for this website
i was a stripper for 10 years
and in that time i was sucked into the money, the cars and the “look at me on stage” life
i was the star of the show as the lights danced on me and every mans eye was on me

and i took the money, left the impression
i cared about them and left them penniless

i danced because i used to be in a relationship of abuse by my husband and when i left him i was hurt and angry. it felt good to use “them ”
just make them feel they had a chance with me and
i went away with thousands of dollars .

but i went away alone
and empty and every night my body would ache from standing on 7” platform dance shoes in a g string, no top and
slide down that pole with precision.

it was a lie, and it almost cost me getting arrested for prostitution . Strippers may seem to work the floor with stipulations, but there will always be a “regular” customer that will offer you more money if you do other things with them.

i dont care how innocent i may look, the approaches for sex will be asked by the person you are dancing for, especially if you are on their lap 2” away from their groin area!

i danced for 10 long years
until at the age of 37 i looked in that mirror one day as i was getting ready to go on stage
and i seen an old, strung out, drunk girl that was
headed to destruction.

as i got older all the young girls took my money
you know they want the “fresh meat” 18-21
year olds, and you’re stuck waving a rose in the back seats for the attention unless you turn a trick.

i no longer dance but now my daughter is doing it!
talk about your sin seeking you out!
and i regret that i ever did it now
it took my dignity away
and even my identity

no wonder they give you a stage name😦

to all those girls that are no longer stripping
God Bless you
and if you are stripping, i know what you went through, i know how you feel
i was once there myself. all i can say is my prayers are with you, and hope someday you will find the strength to walk away

God bless
leah
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Discussion

26 thoughts on “From Leah

  1. Thanks Leah for your courage in writing your message. I know how hard it is speak out about working in the sex industry, especially about the conditions that you have to work in.
    The more the authentic voices of of women or girls who have been involved in the sex industry is heard, the more possible it will to expose constant degradation that many go through.
    Although I was a prostitution, I did work in a club, and on display for most of the evening. The club I was involved with had the gimmick of having underaged prostitutes – so if you look over 17, the manager got rid. It was strange, the manager put us in lots of make-up and looking “posh”, but we were meant to be young and innocent. I worked in shocking conditions, but I was paid to be happy. The men who went with me were all 10 or 20 years older than me. Another gimmick in this club was that it’s “girls” would be “willing” to do sadistic sex,
    These experiences have had a massive effect on my life. After I left, and had completly changed, I had to live with the trauma from it.
    If women can speak out about the realities of working in the sex industry, than I hope it can build towards a world where it can be abolished.

    Posted by Rebecca | December 10, 2007, 11:55 pm
  2. leah, glad you are out of it now. It’s not empowering when you have to remove clothes to make men “helpless”.

    Posted by MJ | December 11, 2007, 12:40 pm
  3. Hi Rebecca. I read here sometimes, and I have really been appreciating all of your comments. I think yours is an important voice, that we all need to hear. Same with Leah.

    I have a question, and I hope that this is not offensive to women working in the “sex” industries. I mean no disrespect or judgment.

    One of the things that tends to get brought up in discussions about stripping or prostitution, is the whole “some women like it! Some women choose to do it, and they like it! Who are you to tell them that it is degrading? Why can’t you just listen to what these women are saying? They don’t want to stop stripping, they just want better conditions.”

    What would you say to this? I want to listen to the voices of prostituted women, but when I hear women saying that they liked it, they liked the money they earned, they were happy doing that, I just don’t get it.

    Is it denial? Self-protection? A survival strategy? Is it that they don’t even realize that they should be treated better?

    I don’t think I’m articulating this very well, sorry!

    Posted by buggle | December 11, 2007, 4:21 pm
  4. Hey buggle, I was *there* a very long time ago.

    To me its like Andrea Dworkin’s ‘wife=whore’, or ‘marriage=prostitution’.

    Whether Madonna/Whore :

    Is it denial? Self-protection? A survival strategy? Is it that they don’t even realize that they should be treated better?

    You could say the exact same thing about a large number of married women’s lives.

    What would you say to this? I want to listen to the voices of prostituted women, but when I hear women saying that they liked it, they liked the money they earned, they were happy doing that, I just don’t get it.

    I feel the same way when I hear married women tell me about how much they love their husbands, having a man claim rights to your time, energy, attention, support, work, labour, not just sexually, but in every way imaginable, 24/7.

    Way back when for me, and for some others, the most attractive feature was the “independence”.

    Like Virginia Wolf’s “Room of One’s Own”.

    the ability to separate from patriarchy with lots of personal space and time in which to do it.

    Posted by Rain | December 11, 2007, 8:34 pm
  5. On several blogs commentors have claimed that 90% or more of sex workers would rather not be in sex work. I think that a number of straight men in the major media are so personally invested in taking advantage of sex workers that they play up the ones who come forward and claim to “love it.” And, of course, sex sells, so these media folks have a second motive. These women tend to have a book, website, or porn films to advertise and sell and, of course, accordingly want to convince the public that “no harm, no foul” is being committed against them in the course of their work. I tend to think that a lot of the commenters on blogs who claim that their sex work is “empowering” (more like impaling!) are pretenders, perhaps even male “trolls,” who jump around from blog to blog ditto-ing each others’ statements. There is precious little attention or voice in the major media given to women who work exposed to every hazard due to lack of literacy, to racism, to terrible local economies, to drug or alcohol addiction, or to other overwhelming circumstances. Come to feminist blogs to get the real story.

    Posted by Level Best | December 11, 2007, 8:52 pm
  6. This post has me crying here at my desk. (Note: MAY TRIGGER. )

    http://miz-evolution.livejournal.com/ 4722.html?view=18034#t18034

    Remove the spaces to paste into your browser.

    I know all the things we could all say about … well, everything about this, but just read the thing. Godalmighty, it is horrific, and a lot of the reason it is, is, most of us have had stuff like that said to us, done to us, even if we were never officially prostituted, I know I have, and it brings it all back up.

    Again, TRIGGERING.

    Heart. Sappy Mellow Weenie.

    Posted by womensspace | December 11, 2007, 10:25 pm
  7. This link will take you to an article published today in a national newspaper. The last paragraph is particularly relevant because this is precisely what the porners and male Johns want. Young women’s bodies being made sexually available to men of all ages 24/7.

    Sexual revolution – yes for men but women no we are going backwards. Yes I do understand why some prostituted women and women who work as strippers say they ‘love the work’ because it is a way of trying to regain control when in fact they have no control over the situation. Just as many women say marriage is wonderful when in fact it is not. It is about self-protection because facing the reality would be just too painful. Here is the link http://www.guardian

    .co.uk/g2/story/0,,222456,00.html

    Posted by jennifer drew | December 11, 2007, 11:21 pm
  8. I will try and say why I think some women say that they are “happy” in working in the sex trade. It is a personal opinion.
    Many women or girls who are draw to work in the sex industry, often have very little self-esteem. Working in the sex trade can make them think they needed, that they are beautiful. Usually, this is a false belief. In my opinion, women and girls are brainwashed to believe it is their “choice” to work in the sex industry, when they are often controlled by a pimp or “manager”.
    When working in the sex trade, it can very damaging to see the realilty of the conditions of the work, When I was prostitute, I believed I choose that lifestyle. But what real choice did I have. I had been abused since I was six by my stepdad. I had been shown hard-core porn from a young age. I had started to be a runaway from around. I was draw to Soho and King’s Cross in London. Often I felt safer in those red-light districts than at home. My stepdad would give money and presents after sex. When I try to tell my mum, she said I was a whore. Looking back, I believe that becoming a prostitute was inevitable.
    I think when women say they freely choose to be a prostitute, that can only be true if there no other factors that could of driven to work in the sex trade. If there has been no abuse, battery or rape. If they not doing the work because of poverty. If they did enter the sex trade because they felt that is all they are worth. If they did think it would be glamourous. If a “boyfriend” did tell them to do it to prove that they love him. There many complex reasons that women and girls work in the sex trade. But few are free choices.
    Many women and girls went working in the sex industry cannot see or feel the abuses they have to put up with. Most will deadened their emotions. After all, often in the sex trade you are expected to look “happy”, and that you love sex. Often you cannot feel the abuse for there no time, for there is always another man wanting his turn.
    For me, prostitition was being raped over and over, but having to smile and massage the egos of the abusers. I learnt to be safe, by learning how fake all my emotions. I would of said I was happy for it was all I knew.
    Many women who have left the sex trade, are shocked by the abuse they lived through. Most want to bury it. Trauma and memory only could when you are in a safe enough space to see and feel it.
    If I had felt my life when I was a prostitute, I would of given and kill myself. I survived by not seeing myself. Now, I do, and it is very hard.

    Posted by Rebecca | December 11, 2007, 11:39 pm
  9. Heart:

    Thanks for the kind words. It was a most shitty experience and fortunately in my case, a first. I took a couple days off, chilled, so on, and am feeling much better now. I am not here to debate the sex industry, choice, reasons or any of that other stuff with you are your readers, just wanted you to know I was surprised by your comment and I appreciate it.

    Posted by Renegade Evolution | December 12, 2007, 3:25 am
  10. “or” your readers even…gods i need sleep.

    Posted by Renegade Evolution | December 12, 2007, 3:28 am
  11. Leah, I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, and am so glad that you got out. Best wishes x

    Posted by Laurelin | December 12, 2007, 10:16 am
  12. RE- I am sorry also that that happened to you. That sounds so fucking awful I can’t imagine.

    Posted by Laurelin | December 12, 2007, 10:18 am
  13. Rebecca: For me, prostitition was being raped over and over, but having to smile and massage the egos of the abusers. I learnt to be safe, by learning how fake all my emotions. I would of said I was happy for it was all I knew.
    Many women who have left the sex trade, are shocked by the abuse they lived through. Most want to bury it. Trauma and memory only could when you are in a safe enough space to see and feel it.

    If I had felt my life when I was a prostitute, I would of given and kill myself. I survived by not seeing myself. Now, I do, and it is very hard.

    Rebecca, I wish I could say more to you and to all women and girls who have gone through what you have gone through than “I’m sorry.” It seems so pathetic next to the horrors you have gone through in your life. Thank you for talking about that here, thank you for surviving it and being willing to speak up about it.

    Jennifer, your comment was reminding me of all the women who watch porn with their boyfriends/husbands with this same idea, as though they are taking control so they do not have to feel humiliated by their partner’s porn use. I am convinced that a lot of this, “my wife/girlfriend uses porn!”, a ‘”lot” of women use it”! is really this right here, women convincing themselves they want to use porn too rather than living through abuse, which is what male partners watching/using porn is, a form of abuse.

    Posted by womensspace | December 12, 2007, 1:38 pm
  14. Thanks so much. “I’m sorry” means so much, it helps get space to grieve. My past is tipping me up at the moment. I am feeling a lot of the pain that I close down for too long. But, I will not close down no more, because I want a future where all parts of myself can heal. Thanks everyone for letting me express myself.

    Posted by Rebecca | December 12, 2007, 6:51 pm
  15. Leah, I’m so sorry for everything you’ve been through. Thank you so much for sharing your story; it’s powerful and will help other women.

    Rebecca, thank you, too, for speaking out so openly here… I appreciate it so much. I wish you strength and healing.

    Renegade Evolution, I just read your story, too – I’m SO sorry. That’s so awful and scary. You are in my thoughts.

    Posted by Eeni B Bella | December 13, 2007, 8:06 pm
  16. Heart –

    “I am convinced that a lot of this, “my wife/girlfriend uses porn!”, a ‘”lot” of women use it”! is really this right here, women convincing themselves they want to use porn too rather than living through abuse, which is what male partners watching/using porn is, a form of abuse.”

    YES. And a perfect example of how this is reinforced – in the advice column in a recent issue of Oprah’s magazine, a woman who was uncomfortable with her boyfriend/husband’s porn use was encouraged to “get over her ‘pornophobia'” and watch it with him! I don’t remember the exact words, but it was completely celebrating porn. The advice columnist was trying to convince the reader, basically, to not be such a prude and explore the fun world of porn. Appalling.
    (Maybe that was already discussed in your blog elsewhere? If so, I missed it!)

    Posted by Eeni B Bella | December 13, 2007, 8:12 pm
  17. Thanks for all the personal stories.

    This porn epidemic is exactly that. You wouldn’t believe the things that are happening to young girls, and it all appears so ordinary.

    Just a week or so ago, I attended a Christmas party for a business group. To my great surprise, a young girl and her mother were also at the party, and they were somehow personal friends of the host.

    At one point, the girl was going to sing a few Christmas songs for everyone, karaokay style. So far so good. The first song was lovely and heartfelt, and then she did a rendition of “Santa Baby’– a song I have always detested. She played up this routine with all the older men in the group, and it was just shocking. No one seemed to mind this performance by a young girl, so I had a private talk with the mother later.

    The mother was shocked that I even had this kind of analysis, and I think she was a little bit offended, but I pointed out that the men in that room could be potential rapists or harassers, and that she really needed to protect her daughter more at the age of 14 than less. I think this message hit home!

    It was my fear for her daughter’s safety that I think got through, plus some help from what I learned lately here.

    This issue of pornography is so horrifying to me, because it is so engrained in Los Angeles. Even the gay male community degrades young men, and puts them at risk for the sake of filmed versions of unsafe sex. To watch gay men degrade other men and boys shows how deeply rooted all of this is. Whether it is male or female, men will degrade through porn and in the culture of sexualizing young boys and girls.
    **
    Since I rarely see children at all at events I attend, this was a real shocker. “Santa Baby” took on an even more ominous tone that evening! I think I might not have been able to do anything were it not for this blog.

    Women, we are really in a dangerous world right now, and I think daughters are at more risk today than when I was 14.

    There are so many things we can do, but we have to have courage.

    It was scary for me to speak up to the mother, but it had to be done. Even a Christmas party can get dangerous these days!

    Posted by Satsuma | December 14, 2007, 7:17 pm
  18. Rowing the spam boat up the Mississippi —

    Posted by Satsuma | December 14, 2007, 7:19 pm
  19. This is something:

    http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/den/415707529.html

    Horrifying, hilariously funny, brilliantly insightful, disgusting, sad. It’s great. It’s from Craig’s List, written by a prostituted woman. It was linked on Pandagon.

    WARNING MAY TRIGGER. This is extremely graphic.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 15, 2007, 6:33 am
  20. Satsuma your post really points out how the pornification of society has seeped into everyone’s mind to make us blind to its presence. “Objectification” used to be a dirty word, now it’s an invisible word, a dinosaur of the 70’s. Just look at a gazillion myspace’s–people pose to be objectified. Women in their 40’s+ have some kind of epiphany about their sexuality and that’s how it’s expressed.. flaunt it etc.. Teenage girls don’t need that epiphany, they are steeped in it and that’s now the norm for them, express yourself sexually in a way that objectifies you. I’ve been kind of bewildered at how (seemingly) quickly the culture has mainstreamed porn.

    I frequent a lot of forums which are dominated by early 20’s (my interests are fandom based). 10 years ago there was always one out there poster who was very graphic about sex or who was in the sex industry and got a lot of attention from folk who were curious and kind of gaga about their posts. Now every one of these forums has a sex section where it’s almost a competition among posters as to who has objectified themselves the most, who has had the most meaningless sex, who will post the most graphically. I am overwhelmed by the pornification of this generation. On forums frequented by mainly women the same thing occurs–the simplest photo is responded to with sexually laden comment about the poster’s “hottness”. I don’t think people are even thinking about it, it’s just the lingua franca of the age. And that’s where it is so insidious.

    Posted by Arietty | December 16, 2007, 11:37 pm
  21. Sorry, but I don’t think Ren Ev’s posts bleong here. She bitches about radfems every chance she gets, then comes scurrying to them every chance she need us. She never offers anything in return except for the occasional non-porn glorifying post. I can’t say I know how to feel about this, but I do feel used. I think she’d run over us with a truck if she got the chance—and it’s not lke she’s been shy about expressing this before. She wants us when she need us, and when she doesn’t, she’s hostile. I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough for me. She makes life worse for other women, and I don’t thik when she ages out she’s going to think about changing her ways. I’m sorry she had a bad day, but horrible numbers or women have bad days, and Ren chooses to dismiss them. What is i I’m supposed to say here? Kiss ass for somebdy who’s stabbed other women in the back? No thank you.

    Posted by ginmar | December 20, 2007, 6:07 am
  22. Ginmar, I hear you and appreciate your weighing in. I think Ren Ev does want us when she needs us and when she doesn’t, she’s hostile; then again, I think that is true of most of the women in the world. All of the fundie women “want” us when we are talking about what concerns them — their husbands’ oppressiveness and violence and pornography issues and meanness. All of the mainstream women “want” us when we manage to inspire them and get them thinking about what the world would look like if women were in charge. All of the poor women “want” us when we are talking about addressing poverty issues, and old women “want” us when we condemn ageism, and so on. But when we quit to preachin’ and start to meddlin’ in some way, like when we start suggesting it’s a bad idea to hook up with men in the first place, or whatever it is, then these same women who wanted us a minute ago also get hostile.

    So, that’s our state as radical feminists! Ren Ev just has her own brand of swinging wildly from needing us to hating us, it’s not so different for the rest of the women in the world. What we say is hard to hear because it makes a lot of sense in a world that does not make any sense so far as women’s well-being. What Ren Ev says, of course, is more of an issue on our blogs because of the bullshit the crowd Ren Ev hangs out with online is given to and the way most of that crowd, the males especially are in fact, part of the problem, are they ever.

    In any event, thanks again for weighing in, I respect your opinion and perspective and understand why you disagree with my decision to approve Ren Ev’s comment or to link to what she has said. I don’t completely agree with myself, actually, but that’s the way it is for me a lot of the time. Perfect or even really good decisions aren’t always possible. There’s always a down side no matter what.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 20, 2007, 1:37 pm
  23. dear leah,

    thank you so much for your story and for your courage in telling it. peace to you & God be with you as you pursue your dreams and find healing.

    i want to share with you this powerful 20-min film by the European Women’s Lobby, entitled “not for sale”. nearly all of the women in this piece are former strippers, or women in prostitution, or sex trafficking victims. i hope it is encouraging to you.

    peace,

    laura
    http://www.womenlobby.org/site/video_en.asp

    Posted by oakies | December 22, 2007, 2:09 pm
  24. hi leah & all,

    on the topic of pornograpy, i recently saw the Sundance Film Festival-celebrated documentary “Traffic Control,” which presents an incredibly fascinating look at the industry and psychology behind pornography, as well as a businessman/advocate’s work to make internet porn access-points truly “child safe.”

    have you all seen it? what do you think of it?

    http://www.trafficcontrolthemovie.com/

    peace,

    laura

    Posted by oakies | December 22, 2007, 2:11 pm
  25. heart, publish this if you want, don’t if you want…it’s your house, you are the house music.

    but here’s the deal.

    I appreciated your words, which you offered, in MY space. I thanked you for them.

    I never said I needed you, or Gin, or any of the rest of you. I don’t want “your help”. Yes, you’ve used them for your own agenda, but that does not surprise me in the least…that doesn’t make me doubt your honest intent behind them. I’ve never asked for your help, or Gin’s, or a great many other radical feminists, so the statement that I have is completely false. And Gin can talk all she wants about how mean and nasty I am, but well, I can read, and she needs to eat some of that crow before she starts serving it. I never asked for either of you to comment on my entry about my bad night, yet you chose to do so. That is your choice, and I did not attack either of you for it.

    I took your words as I assume you meant them, and wanted to thank you for them.

    Nothing More, Nothing Less.

    Posted by Renegade Evolution | December 23, 2007, 3:38 am
  26. Yeah, Ren Ev, whats’ the matter? Isn’t the fawning from your little friends enough for you? Or didn’t you get any cookies when you turned from writing about porn, porn, porn, porn, your plastic tits, and porn to write once or twice about rape or something or other? I especially liked the part where you claimed Nobody wrote about the ‘theft of services rape.’ What a liar you are. It’d be disturbing if you weren’t so bloody obvious about it.

    God, you’re disingenuous; it’s practically gotten to the point of lying. You show up on feminist blogs when you want to justify your tits or your pretenses or your job, then you bash us on your little blog to your little bunch of sex pox friends. If you don’t want anything from us, then go off and jerk off with your little friends. Why do you want validation and attention from radfems? You’re always bitching and whining.

    I’ll never apologize to you and I’ll never eat crow. I stand by everything I ever said. I’m glad I said I everything I ever said. I just wish I’d said more. I don’t regret anything I ever said to you, and that’s because you’ve always been wrong. Your job hurts other women. Men treat you like shit and you take it out on radfems. Go whine to your radfem-hating friends. How about another death threat? How about more posts justifying porn? You aren’t owed anything by the fact that you and I share a gender. You glorify the exploitation of other women and make it easier for men to treat women the way you were treated. Thats’ your life’s work. Other people may be stupid enough to kiss your ass, but I never will, and I’ll enjoy not being fooled.

    Hearrt, I’m disappointed in you if you think that women using women is a common thing, except for the sex poxes, who are the biggest users in the world. I’ve had almost no bad experiences with women, except for those selfish assholes, and other women are a strenth and a comfort to me. Sure, some women might expect validation just because they’re women, but nowhere does it say they’re owed that. Some women can be enemies—to beat the sex poxes, you really have to look to Ann Coulter, who put into words the male fantasies that the sex poxes cater to—–but I question whether there was any pretense about that at all. Beverly LaHaye? Phyllis Schlafly? Katie Roiphe? CAmille Paglia? They’re all enemies, just like the sex poxes are. There’s no need for pretense. All those women work with men to screw over other women so they can get a bigger slice of the pie. All of them sell out other women because nothing turns a guy on faster than a woman who says what he no longer can—at least openly.

    Katie Roiphe said date rape couldn’t be common because if her friends were being raped, wouldn’t she know? (Never mind that she was about as sensitive as a tin can.) Phyllis Schlafly used feminist gains to go to school and campaign against womens’ rights while someone watched her children so rich upper class womens’ privileges would be maintained. Camille Paglia was angry that radfems got more attention than she did, so she wrote a book glorifying male testoserone and rape and basked in the male attention—and the revenge on feminists. Beverly LaHaye travelled all over the country for her conservative organization while someone else took care of her kids, too, telling other women to shut up and go back to the kitchen. Privileged college girls take up stripping because they have options denied other women, and then they seek to drown out anything that shows their field for what it is—a hateful, woman-using mulit-billion dollar business built on using women up. No feminist owes them anything, at least not while they’re activiely working to undermine and hurt other women, and enable men.

    Posted by ginmar | December 25, 2007, 8:19 pm

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