Want to Know Why We Blog?

Apparently it’s for the money…

…according to a poster defending Melissa Farley’s honor (and academic credentials) over at The Rebel Yell.

I loved the Yell piece because Farley tried to shut them up about reporting on us. What, can her research not withstand a little scrutiny? Where’s the insecurity coming from? And then an unnamed poster jumped in to castigate the Bound, not Gagged writers. They wonder “Could it be that they have financial rather than academic motivations?”

I wonder too. I thought this was a voluntary blog unsupported by advertising (except for a t-shirt). I guess that shirt’s raking in more bucks than suspected and I want my piece of it. So far, none of the elite inner circle of bloggers here have offered me any money and I’m feeling slighted. Since I’m currently completely unsupported by the pimp/prostitution/trafficking/stripper/porn lobby (the most powerful lobby in the US), it hurts me more than words can express to know that my colleagues here at BnG have decided to cut me out of all the dough they get by speaking up and sharing their views.

Damn!

22 Responses

  1. “financial rather than academic”

    Um, those are the options? Funny, I thought the motivations were rather -personal-; as in, “hi there, we’re talking about our own lives and perspectives here.” g figure.

  2. Oh God. One time someone on another blog posted that pimp magazines like Spread were raking in thousands of dollars in advertising. Thousands of dollars! Why isn’t Hearst Publications, who publish Marie Claire, jumping all over that???

    I never got one freakin dollar from ANY source besides my job (which was, shall we say politely, non-academic) when I was doing conferences. Not one dollar. Nobody ever even bought me a plane ticket to a conference. Maybe I was even a little foolish about not trying to get subsidized in any way, but at the time it seemed important to me to be absolutely clear that I was NOT working when I was presenting, but was speaking from my heart and my life.

    Perhaps I wouldn’t make those same financial decisions now, if I were to go back to activism (which I don’t see myself doing), because I’ve realized that non-profits CAN be big business and I don’t see why I should suffer the kind of financial deprivation I did then, to do things that other people get paid decently, if not handsomely, to do. But when I was an involved activist, I had zero dollars of funding.

  3. The “are blogs journalism?” question is a bit of a red herring here, isn’t it? What really prompted the creation of Bound, Not Gagged was that as sex workers, we very rarely have access to the mainstream media in the way that non-sex worker advocates like Farley do. Our stories are filtered through “experts,” and our own expertise is questioned turn after turn (as Farley herself is doing now).

    When Farley & her camp claim we slander her by questioning her academic standards and practice, a more forthright response might be to respond to our questions and back up her methods. Instead, they rely on the trope of pitting “journalistic accuracy” (because we all know the media functions transparently and fairly and in the interest of the public good) vs. “slanderous bloggers.”

    Bloggers are as dangerous, apparently, as empowered sex workers.

    The “self-publishing trumps over traditional media!” story I want told is how someone — Farley — who put her book out only through Lulu.com got three favorable New York Times editorial columns written about her work. As it is a partially Federally funded study, one would hope there would be a way to access it beyond Paypal-ing Farley.

  4. Belledamme,

    I have no idea where they pulled the “financial” aspect from. Although BnG bloggers discuss money, obviously this blog is not about producing income. Apparently, the fact that money is even discusssed (along with sex and politics) blows a circuit in the mind.

    Jo,

    In my other life, I am trying to run a small nonprofit that I founded (non sex-related) and have been AMAZED at how big a business the nonprofit industry is. But it seems sex work activism is a labor of love (like you noted). Guess people aren’t aware of that because nonprofits, generally-speaking, are a big business.

    Melissa,

    Apparently Farley and her supporters haven’t been keeping up with the modern world. You and I both know that bloggers are becoming major news sources becuase mainstream media doesn’t cut it anymore. Maybe you could send her some Internet and Blogging 101 info?😉

    I’m thinking you could really write a good post on this. It’s obvious that BnG has evolved well beyond it’s original stated purpose. The varied voices here are perfectly accurate speaking from their own experiences, perspectives and opinions.

    Farley IS a major self-publishing success story and using LuLu too! Strange though — haven’t seen any attention devoted to her in any of the self-pub groups I belong to.

    I wonder…is there any way to get a hold of her tax report for this year? Is she accountable to someone in some way for the money earned on the book since its research had Federal backing? I would like to know if she has to do more than file a 1040. How would we find that out? And how can we ask if her motivations for publishing the book were disconnected from any financial desires she had?

    XX

  5. In all seriousness, I doubt Farley is making much money off the the publication of an academic book, especially given the cost of self-publishing. (Though much of this may have been paid for through her State Department grant.)

    What Farley and other abolitionists and radfems are getting out of this does not seem to be about wealth, but rather about political power – the power to make laws and stifle voices for other legal approaches.

  6. Also, speaking of the Farley camp and their attacks on critics, check out the discussion from the last several days over on Wikipedia at Talk:Melissa Farley.

  7. Even though, clearly, in this case, the motivations are NOT financial, I love how the question is framed as an either/or thing. As if “financial” and “personal” (or even “academic”) are mutually exclusive. Is everyone supposed to feel bad about making a little money?

  8. “Is everyone supposed to feel bad about making a little money?”

    No! LOL that’s why I wouldn’t do it that way again if I resumed activism. Not to mention that not only was I not making money, I could barely afford the money (and time away from work) it was costing me.

  9. “What Farley and other abolitionists and radfems are getting out of this does not seem to be about wealth, but rather about political power – the power to make laws and stifle voices for other legal approaches.”

    Well, we all want recognition. One of the reasons I felt passionate about speaking was that I couldn’t believe anybody was interested in what I had to say. It was surreal to me. I thought people would just say, “If you’re not a victim, you’re a meaningless slut,” thing, and I knew that I wasn’t meaningless, even if I wasn’t particularly special. I also had guilt that I shouldn’t complain about anything since I hadn’t been tied to a bed and beaten, but wanted to talk about how I had been discriminated against and had had my ability to negotiate with my boss weakened by being perceived as a criminal (or borderline criminal, when stripping), and I couldn’t believe anybody was willing to listen to me talk about how the sex industry needed to be more fair without saying, “So just leave, then.”

    I think that there ARE people in the abolitionist camp who want what they say they want. But I don’t think those people go around calling everyone who questions them in any way a pimp-bully-uncletom-corporatelackey-deludedliar. I think the name-calling and more-feminist-than-thou ranting comes from the will to power, and the questions and theories about what harms might be occurring come from a more honest place. Because really, they could have just ignored us, otherwise. They could have gone off on rescue missions while we worked on cleaner bathrooms, safe childcare, fair working conditions, and access to housing. Instead, the crazy ones got crazier every time one of us said, “I just don’t feel that angry and damaged. Maybe my situation is different than the ones you usually see.”

    As long as their response to any sex worker saying she isn’t being raped is, “You don’t understand what’s happening to you, we have already decided that you are traumatized” or, “Then you’re lying, you’re not a sex worker,” they’re tainting their research.

  10. […] Want to Know Why We Blog? « Bound, Not Gagged Apparently BNG is only “for the money” according to dismissive pseudo-critics. Even though, um, they’re not making any money. (tags: journalism newmedia media sexwork assholes blogging) […]

  11. So have any of you actually read the book yet? The one you keep bashing without even knowing what’s in it?

  12. I’m blogging for my freedom.
    I don’t want to be in the same place 10 or 20 years from now.

    The poverty pimps are making big money off pimping our poverty.

    I have copies of Norma Hotalings filings with the IRS.
    It looks like she received 1 million from Diane Feinstein, the senator, another war monger, sex negative shame based poverty pimp.
    I don’t think I can upload pdf to this site.

    And Jo, it looks as though you are still an activist to me.

    I’d love to attend a conference with other erotic labors to discuss the economy that matters to us and to get an action plan together. I’d much rather spend time with my own kind to identify our common ground and how the different laws effect all aspects of the industry. Why can’t we get anyone of our supporting c 3’s to do something useful like that for us?

    Check out this research.
    crihttp://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200709/primarysources
    It looks like it was executed by Norway researchers on criminalized U.S. workers and our clients. Why don’t they have their own workers and customers in their country? They go so far as to call the clients ‘johns’. Very disrespectful. That slang is as bad as calling black people nigger.

    So my question is how much money did the researchers get paid to do this survey?
    Or how much does it cost to do research?
    I can think of some questions Id like answered.

  13. There’s lots of 501c3 groups formed to try and help sex workers. You should take a breather from bashing Farley and take a look around. Try taking some of that energy and put it into helping sex workers instead of bashing researchers. Norma got a grant – but spent it helping prostitutes. How much money or time has anyone on here spent trying to get behind any of the good existing groups that provide services to help prostitutes? You guys can quote writings that Melissa did years ago word for word – can you name even 3 organizations that help prostitutes that you support right now with time and/or money?

  14. Jody:

    HIPS
    SWOP East
    Project SAFE
    UBUNTU

    Actually, I have a list of such organizations posted over at my place, and several of the women blogging here are neck deep in real life prostitution outreach.

    Nice try.

    People can object to Farley and help real prostitutes At The Same Time! Amazing, isn’t it?

    Amanda:

    As I said when accused of that whole marketing front thing…”If I am getting paid, I’d sure as hell like to see my check!”

  15. Add to Ren’s list

    Maggie’s
    Sex Workers Project
    St. James Infirmary
    Network of Sex Work Projects
    FROST’D
    Positive Health Project

  16. Jody,

    Please read what has been said before you post. When you overlook points we’ve made and make accusatory comments that tell us you haven’t actually read the discussion, it’s very difficult for me to take you seriously.

  17. Ren,

    Exactly!

    Jody,

    I don’t think we’re bashing Farley here — she wasn’t the one who posted on The Rebel Yell, although attempting to repress news reporting was not a good move on her part. I think the conversation here is a general bashing of stupid ideas.

    And asking questions, even hard questions, is not bashing. I question and doubt my own motivations all the time. (Is that self-bashing?)

    XX

  18. I question and analyze everything. Asking too many questions often gets me into trouble; a lot of people can’t deal with being questioned.

  19. “So have any of you actually read the book yet?”

    Those who have not read the book have ACKNOWLEDGED that point. Farley doesn’t even acknowledge that she ignores a huge (majority) sector of the sex industry because it doesn’t fit her agenda. The book was read and reviewed by Barb Brents and her review is posted here.

    Responses have mainly been focused on media coverage of promotion of her book- public material that more of the public will see than the actual book. Every media piece done by Farley in NV earlier this month bashed sex workers. We have a right to respond to these public statements and we don’t have to read her book to be totally offended and alarmed about the sweeping statements that she makes about us in the media.

    As far as money goes: we haven’t actually sold any of the shirts, and even if we had, we don’t make much off of them. The blog expenses are covered by a couple of individuals out of their personal finances. The Desiree Alliance is an all-volunteer organization, nobody has been paid, all funds raised go to expenses and scholarships for assisting disadvantaged workers to participate in events.

    SOME non-profits are big money, but I haven’t encountered any sex worker-led (yes, as in actual sex workers run the organization, not just an organization where ‘advocates’ provide services) organizations that are profitable and sustainable without volunteers reaching into their own pockets to make ends meet on projects.

  20. If anyone new is reading BnG, my comment about the t-shirt was not to be taken seriously. I mentioned it only because it’s the only potentially income-producing item on this blog.

    Stacey and Jo have offered a real look into the potential income opportunties offered by sex work activism.

    XX

  21. In response to the question Jody asked about groups we’re supporting that help prostitutes, I think groups which seek to end the prohibitionist policies that harm prostitutes and promote respect for sex workers as people making a living are helping prostitutes. Examples of such groups not already mentioned include:
    Desiree Alliance
    SWOP (all chapters)
    Scarlet Alliance
    Erotic Service Providers Union
    New Zealand Prostitutes Collective

  22. I’m so glad you mentioned this statement below:

    “the pimp/prostitution/trafficking/stripper/porn lobby (the most powerful lobby in the US)”

    It’s a shame how many billions of dollars are flowing upward and secretly exchanging hands amongst the dignitaries and major corporation heads. Yet silently they sit back and collect their billions while publicly advocating against the very institutions that has made them rich. Yes… they are secretly supporting the Farley’s of the world and I’m starting to wonder how many are secretly bending over for a slice of the billion dollar industry they’ve working so hard to bring down.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: