Once upon a time, advertising as an escort was easy. You’d whack an ad in the local paper, make sure your phone could receive calls, and off you’d go.
Even when escort advertising migrated to the internet, it was straight forward. There were a few directories and classified sites. You would submit your photos and a short bio, and again, off you’d go.
Now, sex workers spend countless hours tweeting, retweeting, responding to tweets, checking DMs, figuring out who to follow, designing Twitter headers, posting Instagram stories and trying to figure out which hashtags will help us to gain traction without getting shadowbanned.
Clients are no longer happy with a handful of photos and a few lines of text with a basic physical description.
Oh, no. Clients want more, more, MORE.
Clients want to know that you are a person, a REAL person. You need to post selfies. ALL the selfies. Go on, prove that you are REAL. One selfie isn’t enough. You must post multiple, each day. And not just selfies. What else do you do? Do you have another job? A pet? Are you studying? What makes you interesting other than your body? Surely you have a personality too? SHOW IT TO ME.
No part of a sex worker’s life is off-limits. Sex workers are expected to share EVERYTHING about their lives, while also maintaining sex appeal and the guise that they adore everything that men have to say.
How did we get to this place where so much effort is expected, before we have even received any cash? And is the effort worth it?
I used to tweet furiously. I’d tweet my availability, sexy selfies, tag my sex worker friends in photos when we went out to brunch, and let everyone know what I did on the weekend.
And then one day I stopped.
Like many of my friends, I just got sick of it. I got sick of providing a never-ending stream of entertainment to men on Twitter who WEREN’T EVEN PAYING ME. Why was I posting all this content, for free? How did it benefit ME? I was done.
And so, I deleted my Twitter, and I waited. I waited for my business to come crashing down and to never get a booking again.
But nothing happened.
Enquiries still flowed into my inbox, through my website and advertising directories. And while a couple of regular clients (lightly) complained that they missed my updates, they kept booking me.
Withdrawing from Twitter had absolutely zero impact on my business in the way that truly matters: my income stayed exactly the same. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. Let’s do a little exercise.
When it comes down to it, you are (presumably) using Twitter as a business tool. If Twitter is NOT benefiting your business (i.e., by increasing your income), then why are you using it? How can you measure to see whether Twitter actually changes your bottom line?
I think we, as sex workers, have created our own Frankenstein. We have created an expectation that we will provide free entertainment, content and information about ourselves before any money has changed hands.
I refuse to continue to conform to this expectation.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself.
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