Jacque Melody over at I Hold These Truths has this response to the New York Post.
Before I go on to write in an eloquent, well-thought-out fashion I just want to say that the NY Post is a despicable publication and Cathy Burke is a douchebag for writing this article: http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222008/news/regionalnews/hookers_laid_bare_on_show_107500.htm” about the woman who was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on 20/20 about Prostitution in America.
First of all, “hooker” is a derogatory term. It would be completely unacceptable for a reporter to write a story about a certain race, culture, or group of people using a parallel term (i.e. “fags” in an article about gay men). Why should we, the society that reads these publications and enforces these values daily, allow this? Unless you are a hardcore hater of sex workers (in which your opinion is invalid to rational discussion as the opinion of homophobes warrant no basis in the LGBT movement) you should be angry about this. You don’t have to agree with the idea of sex work, you don’t even have to have an opinion either way (Americans seem to love wallowing in apathy), but it’s very important that you pay attention. Pay attention to what is being fed to you. Think for a second, would you want to be portrayed in the media in such a harsh, black and white context without even being given the dignity of proper terms appropriated to your job/culture/race/gender/etc.? In this article the word “hooker” is used to describe Debauchette (the name she uses to identify herself on her public blog) four times. It alternates throughout the story with “blogger” and “she”. The correct term would be escort if she was specific about the work that she does, otherwise “sex worker” would suffice.
For those unfamiliar, the story broke out when Debauchette blogged, in her personal public blog, that she was in fact the woman in the Diane Sawyer interview. That even though she was hidden in shadow with her profile and voice manipulated, her mother recognized her.
Okay. Take a moment and think about this, why is this news? Why is the mainstream media even printing articles about this? America’s obsession with “scandal” is ridiculous. The culture appears to feed off of it, therefore the media dishes it out as fast as possible and completely disregards the notion of truth or the act of discretion. Certainly one could argue that Debauchette put it out there in a public medium. Well, that’s just it. She broke the story in her own words in her own space. Beyond that, what goes on between her and her mother is private and why should anyone even care to know the “juicy” details?
Because people want to know about sex workers. Because people are fascinated by the subversive. Because people get a thrill out of living vicariously through those who live outside of the system. Because people like to know when others will or will not be accepted, especially when they aren’t quite sure themselves what is and is not acceptable.
Finally, regardless people’s salacious “need to know” mentality or our society’s fucked up viewpoints, this was just a downright shoddy piece of journalism. Not only did they reinforce a derogatory term, they made assumptions about the content posted in the blog. By publishing those assumptions they turned them into false facts. The article quotes; “The unfortunate revelation didn’t quell her passion for the job, however.
‘Later in the day, I saw Gabriel . . . He told me to take my clothes off, and this made me smile . . . While we undressed, I thought about how good this is,’ she blogged.”
She never stated that Gabriel was a client, they assumed this. In a later post she clarifies this point and expresses that he is not. Perhaps Cathy Burke and the NY Post didn’t even consider that a sex worker would have intimate relations outside of their job. They also completely skewed the content, perhaps because “pro-slut” isn’t appropriate for a public paper. The exact quote is; “And later in the day, I saw Gabriel, another blissfully pro-slut individual. He told me to take my clothes off, and this made me smile, which made him smile. While we undressed, I thought about how good this is, even if I have to battle my urge to shut down.” I’m curious as to why they took out “which made him smile”. Perhaps I am incredibly cynical, but I think it’s because they wanted to continue to show her as this one-dimensional self-obsessed sex-obsessed hooker (she doesn’t even deserve to be considered a woman).
So great job Cathy Burke for furthering the puritanical judgmental asinine culture that America is wrapped up in. I hope you enjoy your work and life as much as Debauchette enjoys hers, even if she may have to fight some battles and deal with some hardships that you couldn’t even begin to imagine.