Screening and safety is serious business. Knowing it has differential impacts and sight lines, depending on our positions of power and privilege in this industry (which can fluctuate alot even in one life)... and, more, acknowledging that we do perform a certain drag of acceptability to be considered professional or in the know; that those problems are themselves sights of meaningful intervention, (social class, racial consciousness),
I think of a few things.
Consumerism, respectability politics affects us in the ways we relate about safety, especially in spaces where we know our patrons see what we’re saying. Social justice takes precedence over optics, always. Each bleeding through the cracks and crevices and self-consciousness of it all.
Very few of us would be able to effectively run our businesses in the ways described above. But it does signal to an idea of exclusivity that can bolster our images while playing into a void where practices that stand outside of that are people who are imagined as inviting violence upon themselves. Infantilizing and, in the least, portraying people as not doing enough. We don’t have to say it directly. It just becomes invisible, inferred... the issues of power, those imbalances and that legal violence which remain.
practical strategies, varied approaches, sharing community resources and wisdom take us outside of ourselves.
What we desire and what is happening are not one in the same. In this way, when we do interviews that attempt to represent not only our business practices but also broader understandings of workers and clients it’s good to make sure we know what we mean when we say this or that is essential. That is, especially in a racist settler culture where GFE and or companion work often involves swallowing other peoples’ anxieties about being caught seeing a companion while being pert and sweet, all the while trying to keep ourselves in a good way. There’s a coded ness to those relations that permeate between and beyond rigid client/worker identities. I sure as hell hope so. I see that humanity every day. How do we activate it?
How do we to find ways to communicate across the strictures of entertainment, pleasure and encourage deeper truth telling?
Is it ok to say that part of safety is also speaking truth for what it means to do this really meaningful work (my assertion) while taking the greatest hits as it pertains to surveillance, isolation and comforting people who themselves actively benefit from our restrained conditions of work? What is the consequence of appearing well adjusted to such notions of gentility to maintain composure? How much if that is the healer is us working with what we have?... seeing through the fluff to run our game in the face of challenges. Seeing our fullness and receiving that of others should not mean omitting some of these troubles of mutual recognition.
How can I stop colluding with power to allow a way of thinking through what it means to be safer?
I can become unwittingly complicit in those fascinations because those power relations have currency and we need currency/value to exist in relationships.
I do not say this to over center myself or to attack either you Lydia or Emily. It’s not about individuals. It’s more a drop in the pond of dialogue to encourage community responsiveness (making Lyla receptive to a range of experiences and street smarts) and making sure we are centering efforts rooted in community when we are talking about pressing issues of how to keep ourselves safer. Screening and even after the screening. Empathy for what it looks like on the ground.
I struggle through the myopia of these problems and am encouraged by community constantly. They are civic issues as much as they are couched as professional ones.
Being raped, robbed, assaulted are things all of us share concern in. Many who would give their full name and have references enact violence against us on regular basis (overstepping boundaries, micro aggressions, stalking). Just as much of concern.
I wonder, how, we on Lyla could help encourage topical interviews that do this centering work? Rooted in collaborative/justice oriented views of safety.
Without this I fear we will confuse personal celebrity culture (rugged individualism) with justice and equity. The only way MFs are going to stop raping, robbing or otherwise messing with us is if we can mobilize strength of insight to know the difference.