The Oldest Profession, is generally a phrase used to describe prostitution, or sex work. In all honesty, there are two oldest professions, young women (and boys) could sell their body for sex as prostitutes, and young men could sell their bodies for combat as soldiers. Those rich old bastards with the political and economic power exploited those without for whatever their bodies were most useful for.
This managed to last from the stone age into our modern times with little changes save for the specifics of the transaction, and how much danger the exploited were exposed to. I was a soldier to pay my way through school. For a few years I dated a stripper who was using that summer job to put herself through school. I served the CF, and they pimped us out to the UN. Of the two of us, one left with a body less than intact, with anger issues relating to trauma, serious issues with how we were used. The other was her.
Funny, she was the one described as selling herself, yet she is the one whose hands, and conscience were clean. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the result of good marketing. Society teaches us to accept being the product, the expendable resource for those who find us economically and politically useful.
Now we come to the modern age. Prostitution, pornography, sex work in all forms has always turned women into commodities, and a great deal of money has been made off them. Now comes first Tumblr, and then OnlyFans. These platforms allowed women to shift from being simply the product, to being the content producers.
No one was angered that pornography existed, banning pornography and prostitution has always been about making sure sex workers were properly kept in their place, persecuted and poor. This has consistently exposed them to routine abuse, and made them the natural target of everyone looking to kill human beings who won’t be missed.
No, the conservatives lost their minds, and dropped their masks when the sex workers moved from being the exploited product, to being the content creators. The women were safe, financially secure, and generating content that was no longer message controlled by an industry with a very firm idea of the message they were to market. The LGBTQ+ community flourished in these spaces. An acceptance for different body types, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations flowered. The sex positive culture weakened the traditional mass market pornography selling a body image that agreed with the diet, makeup, fashion industries unnatural body stylings.
Sex positive women, sex workers, LGBTQ+ people and those of non traditional gender expressions built the communities and the economic success of Tumblr and OnlyFans. In return, the received a safe space, community, affirmation, and economic control of their own content.
Apple gave Tumblr the choice, remove porn or lose being supported on the Apple platforms. The banks gave OnlyFans a choice, remove porn or lose banking services.
Let’s be clear. NO ONE is looking to shut down Pornohub, or the thousands of industrial pornographic producers who are still selling young women as product, where big business reaps the profit and they workers just get fucked, literally and financially. The only ones being shut down are the sites where sex workers had agency, had physical safety, had financial security, and the full choices about what they would choose to do for money.
I hear a lot of “stop child trafficking” bullshit from the right wing. I call it bullshit because they are the ones creating the shadows, and driving sex work into those shadows, that allow, empower and protect the sex traffickers and expose the sex workers to nothing but abuses and predation.
Europe has looked at sex work and decided to reduce the harm. They brought sex workers into the light, into full protection as workers. Those nations chose to accept that prostitution or sex work was never going to go away, but the drugs, the diseases, the coercion, sex trafficking, physical abuses, could be eliminated.
Can you get rid of sex trafficking of minors, of the women kidnapped into the lifestyle when all sex work is driven into the shadows? Hundreds of years of law enforcement have given us the answer; no. Can you get rid of those same abuses when you bring the sex workers into the light? Yes. Take the haystack away and needles aren’t too hard to find. Keep the needles in the haystack and no, we can’t ever find enough to matter.
Corporate conservatives are not opposed to sex work, they are opposed and actively at war, with women being economically secure sex content producers, not economically oppressed carefully marketed product. The Conservative church, conservative politicians, and conservative big businesses have always supported keeping women and vulnerable underage boys, available for their use, without any protection or choice in their use, on the streets and in the shadows where they were aware they were always and only product to be consumed. The “scandals” of the abuses of these sectors with vulnerable sex workers, frequently underage have been so common for as long as I was alive they really have to be spectacular to even make the news. They don’t want to get rid of it, they want the sex workers to remain vulnerable, without physical or economic security.
You know what? No.
We are in an age when you do not need a movie studio, a printing press, a network of film distributors to get your product to market. Musicians, authors, and content creators of all kinds have taken advantage of this freedom from the mass market limitation to get messages corporate America doesn’t wish to sell us out there. Music that would never have been given radio play are now building support bases and fan bases that make a paying career possible. Authors telling stories that were not ever going to get funding for mass printing, or big budget film are building their own following, and economic support for telling the stories about characters that were not the same crap we have been offered for the last hundred years. Heroes and heroines of every body type, every racial background, gender expression and sexual orientation. No longer were we limited to the stories the Industry wanted to sell us, now we could find stories about our own communities, stories we could see ourselves reflected in.
At the same time, sex workers were given the same chance, the chance to step outside the exploitive industry that turned them into product, while denying them any creative control, or any chance of economic survival if they dared to express limits on what they would participate in. Sex workers became the content creators. Less exploitive porn, every body type, and every gender expression and sexual orientation were able to create sex positive spaces where they could explore their own joys.
Now Corporate America has spoken, they want to end this freedom. They want sex workers back in their place as product. They want shame, they want exploitation, they want physical risk, disease, and police harassment to again be the daily lot of the sex worker. They want the sex content, they just don’t want the women to profit, they want them only as product.
I am a Heathen. I don’t get the whole Christian hatred of sex workers. I read their book, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if Jesus Christ were to walk into any of the churches I have seen during a bible thumping speech drumming up hatred against sex workers that they would have the ever loving crap slapped out of them by their dear lord. He did once tell a man who tried to body shame a woman for arousing him that if he thought sinful thoughts looking at her to rip the eye out of his head. It was his issue, not hers. That was Jesus, so where his priests get their misogyny from is an interesting question, and not my problem.
Being Heathen, we have the example of Freya, a goddess with sexual agency she wields at her will and no others in defiance of any social convention in blissful unconcern. She was equal in power to Odin and had zero concern for other peoples reactions to her sexual freedoms. What are her thoughts on Tumblr and Onlyfans sex workers? I would have to say that she would bless their embracing their sexual nature, their power, and making a strong independent life on their own terms. Choosing to make a life they can be proud of, rather than accepting the will and judgement of others as to what they could or could not do with their body.
There is something so pathetic about the drive to deplatform sex workers in Tumblr and Onlyfans. It isn’t about stopping porn. It is about stopping sex workers from ever daring to see themselves as producers, as workers deserving of dignity, physical and economic security, rather than just product to be exploited for the profit of others.