Comment: Feminist Review Post on The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal

Below I’ve included a comment I threw together on the Feminist Review‘s post on The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal, a newly released translation of Réal’s work log and interviews with journalist Jean-Luc Hennig, translated by Ariana Reines. I would suggest reading FR’s “review.”

The Little Black Book is just what the title says: a compendium of Réal’s experiences with her clients. What Réal accomplished in choosing to compile her work log before her death (I know the word “choice” in this case disturbs you) is to showcase the “humanist science” she practiced. The Little Black Book, thankfully without the typically tedious frills and diatribes of political ideology, is a testament to Réal’s immense capability, her meticulous and inspiring attention, the lonely commitment of our profession: “We know them like the back of our hand. As soon as they get in the door, it’s like we’d made them ourselves.”

Your review bemoans the lack of “arguments about prostitution,” but have you considered that Réal’s whole life was an argument? That every client was a case in point? Or that she was tired of fighting so-called feminists demanding a rebuttal? You say “who cares about the client wanting a finger up his ass,” but who cares about your silly, uninformed, and uncomplicated judgments? As if you can simply allude to the complexities of the sex industry, voice your amorphous “support for sex workers,” and call it a day. Réal took notes on her clients in order to document their incredible and secret idiosyncrasies, to become a better and more skilled worker, to keep a record for her own safety, and to provide a unique and lasting testament to the intricacies, and even mundanities, of working in the sex trade. In the future, please consider asking a sex worker to review a book documenting their profession. With that choice, the Review (which is generally a wonderful resource and publication), would avoid mistakes like this in the future.

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