Critical Slut Theory

As I’ve been thinking heavily about what I want to write my dissertation on (thinking of a solid topic is the first part of the grueling dissertation process) and I’ve been given tons of the obvious tips; write about something not discussed in the field, write about something you can’t stop thinking about, write about a question you never seem to get answered. I am so much better at explaining my thoughts by presenting situations I’ve been in, and my research interests have always directly tied to what I’ve experienced and who I am. Storytelling is central to most of the research I enjoy looking at, and storytelling is what I do best (I did start out as a creative writing major, afterall). I’ve been thinking of a theory that might explain some of the experiences that I, as well as other sex workers, have been through. I want to share it because I want sex worker’s’ thoughts on this – I believe the best research is sparked by conversation.

Someone, a masc-presenting lesbian, decided to doxx me online (I made a boundary and she didn’t like it – but the specifics don’t matter), specifically @ing and sharing my information with people who didn’t like me because of incients involving my sex work and sex worker identity  (as well as some of those people just being plain old mean, making fun of my weight, my hair, ect). This masc presenting dyke, who we’ll call Daisy, knew that I was a sex worker when she decided to doxx me and knew that many of the people she’d given/shared my information with disliked me based on my identity as a sex worker. And I say that to say Daisy purposely doxxed a sex worker to whorephobic people, saying it was justified because I was “weaponizing my femininity” against her and other masc-presenting people. This is important to note.

 

I,as well as my friends and family, began to get sexually harassed with sexually-lewd photos of me, specifically ones from the sex work I’ve done online from an ‘anonymous’ source. Because they had my legal name, they were able to find my Facebook profile, and even found my dead grandfather’s profile which is ran by my mother. I doubt they knew he was dead, but they sent him some really graphic images that I’m sure would’ve killed him when he was alive (I want everyone to know and remember Papa Richard). Some of these photos proclaimed that my family should get ready to plan my funeral – I thought one that was badly photo-shopped (I was in a casket lmfao) was pretty funny but my mother didn’t see the humor and was scared shitless. Honestly, this isn’t the first time my mother has received nude pictures of me so I was kinda immune to whatever shame I was supposed to feel – also, I love my big titties and fat ass and my mother knows the blessings my body is filled with. But I was still moderately miffed.

This went on for about 2 weeks, and other than Daisy contacting someone she knew raped me, things died down a bit. During that time there were tons of late-twenty (and some were even as elderly as 32) year-old lesbians on Twitter, laughing at this situation. Some were laughing and making fun of my mental illness, some were just old, loud Twitter dykes who don’t have much to their name other than a group that finds them funny on the internet, and some were just being mean and targeting my appearance (but, of course – they would never randomly insult someone they don’t know and just don’t get people who target others for no reason and proudly tweet about being kind to other’s on weeks like Suicide Awareness Week). I was unable to tweet – another “anonymous” source had reported, like, 10 of my tweets with the word “nigger” in them and I was on a week-long suspension. I was silenced, quite literally, unable to speak on my behalf. I was still allowed to DM, and so I found myself talking to other sex workers about what legal action you can take when you’ve been doxxed.

One day, though, things sparked back up. My 13-year old brother called me on the phone one day, sounding a little scared. “Rayven,” he’d said. “I just came home from summer school and I opened up some mail and there’s pictures of you with…with no clothes on.”

My brother, who was and still is a minor, was now being affected by this. I immediately called my mother to tell her, and she didn’t even know what to say, other than, “Tell Isaac not to throw them away. We’re going to find who sent them.”

Long story short, there’s tons of ways to send mail anonymously and we didn’t find the person who did this. I’m not one for working with police because I don’t trust police, but my auntie (a former state trooper) said it’d be helped to at least have this documented by the department in case things escalated. I obliged.

At first, they seemed really sympathetic – and though they couldn’t technically say this person was attempting to sexually harass a minor because the pictures weren’t addressed to my little brother, they were appalled at the fact that they reached his hands. But, I soon realized, that sympathy was only for my little brother. I can’t exactly explain it, not even in words, but I think the officers were disgusted with me for even having these pictures at all – almost as if a, How dare you have nudes, you little Black bitch stance was being taken. I know the look of old men who are disgusted with young, sexually empowered women and me being a Black college student did nothing to buffer the look. I left once I picked up on that energy.

I felt torn, because I wanted to tell them this was targeted harassment based on my profession – but me telling them that would inevitably incriminate myself. I attempted to tell the University Daisy and I attended about what was going on, more so to just get a no-contact order, but the same rules applied – I wasn’t able to tell them about my status as a sex worker, and other than finding out Daisy had a strike against her for physically assaulting her roommate, I left the meeting feeling helpless. Even worse, I didn’t feel justified talking to any of my friends about it – my best friend had just lost her mother, one friend was going through a rough-ish break up and ‘Dyke Twitter’ (a group of Black lesbians who find happiness in each other on the internet because their actual lives can, admittedly, be bleak) convinced me I deserved all of this. I was a mentally-ill, fat, bad-wig wearing Black whore. Whatever happened, it was my fault and I was deserving of all of this. I deserved so sympathy and got none.

My mother got sent another set of photos of me and said, fuck it, me and my son are moving. It wasn’t very hard, and my little brother didn’t have to transfer schools. I can sense my mother feels more safe in her new location, but it made me angry that she had to do that.

I didn’t think too much about this situation, I’ll be honest – I chalked it up to just the sad reality of the slut lifestyle. I just assumed this comes with being a sex worker. And though this was a masc-presenting person doing this, my fatness, Blackness and Black whoreness (Black whoreness is different from regular whoreness) overwhelmed any of the masculinity hatred that would’ve normally ensued in the situation. My whoreness disallowed for me to tell institutions of power about the abuse I was receiving, my literal silencing online made have to speak to other sex workers in a non-visible, underground way, and the way my Black whore ass was being spoken about made me believe all of it was justified. Accordingly to Daisy, my femininity should’ve made me be seen as more human than her – but it seemed as though my femininity, which is directly tied to my identity as a Black sex worker, was more detrimental to me than anything. It could be just this specific situation…or it could be a universal experience of Black sex workers. I’m not sure, and I want to find out.

But as I began to think about the ramifications about being a sex worker, Bell’s Critical Race Theory began to pop up in my head – is a woman’s perceived proximity to whoreness (in this case, Black sex workers are the epitome of whoreness) detrimental to her life systematically (in my opinion, yes) the same way that one’s proximity to Blackness is detrimental to them systematically? I am in no way an expert in CRT – and I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to begin to understand it better. But I think I’m on to something. 

I want the realities of sex workers, a reality like the situation that happened to me, to be centered in this developing theory. I want to hear from sex workers why it’s right, why it’s wrong, and I want it to be collaborative. What are y’all’s thoughts? Am I reading too deep into this one situation? Is it bullshit? Am I thinking of things that have not been thought before? And more importantly, are their other sex workers who have written about this?

4 thoughts on “Critical Slut Theory

  1. Nancy says:

    I am a young femdom/ dominatrix who is relatively new to sex work. Your story completely moved me! As well as brought out some fears of mine. Although I have plenty support from my friends, fans, slaves and my brother; I wouldn’t know what I would do in your situation nor have I been in one similar to this point. Growing up in Mexican culture that is drowned in machismo, sexual liberation is frowned upon. So if my parents found out about my content, I would be disowned. Nonetheless, it is completely disheartening to hear that your family had to move due to this harassment. It should have never gone to that point but sadly, there is nothing that protects sex workers from being “exposed” and sexual harassment/assault. However, I wonder if the police process of this would be similar to cyber bullying/stalking despite the profession. Yet, even those processes require evidence over a period of time. Idk, I am just thinking out loud of what could be done to protect you and sex workers in the same situation. Hope that my comment wasn’t helpful! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • N. Amour says:

      I fear that the police and other legal avenues will never, ever, see SW as vulnerable or victim of anything…there’s always this notion of us deserving harm that comes our way, and I kinda wish I could destroy the police institution and government and make new rules to protect us!

      Like

    • N. Amour says:

      Please tell me more if you wish!! I think people forget that there’s safety precautions to take with SW- it’s ok to personally dislike someone but jeopardizing their safety or family’s safety bc you’re mad isn’t good or ok, at all.

      Like

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