The Rogue Slut

Co-founder of SlutWalk Toronto.
Madame of The Keyhole Sessions.
Advocate of sex positivity.

Tweets, tumbles and opinions are solely my own.

Women have sex and enjoy it. Get the fuck over it.

Melissa Petro. Madison Young. And now Sasha Grey. These are women who did or do work in the sex industry, and for it, they are unapologetic. But for those who have a stick up their ass when it comes to sex and are unfortunately in positions of power, these women have been ridiculed for their work, both in and outside the bedroom {or studio or hotel room, or wherever they’ve performed the deed}.

Melissa Petro is a teacher that paid her way through school by working as a Craigslist prostitute. When she admitted by way of a Huffington Post article that her past included sex work, and when she did not deride that work, she was humiliated, criticized and finally let go of her job teaching at a school in New York, despite her reputation as “inspiring”.

Madison Young is a porn entrepreneur who not only performs sex on screen, but also owns a feminist art gallery in San Francisco that shows work from various media, and it’s not {shock!} all porn. When she promoted an exhibition with a photo of her dressed like a matronly Marilyn Monroe, complete with her new baby at her breast, there was a twitter scandal, where another sex worker accused her of pedophilia. How dare she pose with her daughter? It essentially came down to her daring to be a real person, including a new mother.

The latest sex-related scandal is this week’s furor that former porn star Sasha Grey ignited when she read in front of Grade 1 and 3 students for her part in the Read Across America program in Compton. Once parents discovered that this former sex worker had the audacity to read a book to promote literacy, all hell broke loose

Apparently sex workers — former or not — aren’t entitled to experience everyday activities, or be contributing members of society.

In a country where the education rating has fallen to “average”, where public schools have poor funding and not enough good teachers, where culture and arts are hit with budget cuts, it’s these very people who are fighting against the tide. Despite performing consensual acts, these women aren’t only fighting to be part of society, but also to better it. And just like everyone else, they pay taxes, take their children to school, donate to charities. Yet many people would rather rally behind sports heroes who keep dangerous secrets.

These women can be added to the list that include Kendra Holliday, who lost her job and was close to losing custody of her daughter for being outed as a sex-blogger; as well as Girl With a One Track Mind author, Zoe Margolis, and to some extent, Dr. Brooke Magnanti, author of Diary of a London Call Girl, who both wrote about their sexual exploits, yet were ridiculed for expressing themselves as human beings. Whether you’re up front about who you are, or try to fly under the radar, your experiences as a woman in touch with her sexual self will be eventually held up for all to see and used as the yardstick in which to compare the rest of your life.

These women need to be commended for not only doing what they had or wanted to do, but for fighting back against the stigma. Melissa Petro has since written about her firing; Madison Young commented on the accusation against her and Sasha Grey issued a statement about her work with Read Across America. Good on all of them.

You don’t find this kind of hard work, ingenuity and determination in too many people, especially when that work is to help others. Critics need to step off, and let those with creativity and a desire to make a difference do their jobs.

  1. therogueslut posted this