Ever since I was a kid I knew I would be one of those women. The kind who would do whatever she had to do to be independent. At twelve I was baking brownies from dollar store brownie mix and selling it to other kids for an inflated price. I never intended to be broke so sex work came naturally to me. No, I don’t have the “ideal body” whatever that is. I was never really into makeup or long nails or heels. I was simply tired of working for someone else and on their terms. At the time I quit my waitressing job I was clocking $3.15 an hour plus tips. People grudgingly left me crumpled ones on their dirty tables and I stressed about making my rent on time.
My mother didn’t raise three girls and bust her ass through shitty jobs and college to see me living paycheck to paycheck. And how could I give my sisters advice about being independent and strong women when I didn’t have the courage to quit a job I hated? So I walked out one day. Handed over my apron for 6″ plastic heels and I haven’t looked back. Eva Rivera is a fantasy that I created, tailored to sell. She works on her own terms, her own hours and is her own boss. She doesn’t come home empty handed, and doesn’t accept crumpled ones (she prefers them folded vertically, thanks).
I want to be clear about the type of sex work I do so that I don’t speak for anyone else’s experience. I am an exotic dancer (on hiatus right now), a web cam girl, and independent pornography actress. All legal forms of sex work. I am also often tagged as white. I am a cis woman. I am able bodied. I understand that my privilege has given me a different lens to process my experiences through. Because of this I will write carefully and do my best to cover topics that are vital to understanding sex work even if they are not my own experiences.
I will write about sex work from my perspective as a working class, lesbian, Chicana. I’ll be focusing on the intersections of sex work and feminism. How the survival of a movement to demand equality has a huge stake in the lives of sex workers. As a community, we cannot continue to fail sex workers again and again. I will keep my posts up to date with the current political conditions that directly affect us which in turn directly affect you and your community.
Sex work one of the oldest occupations, the least respected and marginalized even in circles in which it should be considered a rich resource of ideas, information, and stories. Instead, sex workers are victimized, criminalized and sensationalized. Even when our work is legally protected we are seen as moral drains on society. Were we should be comforted, we are harassed. Were we should feel welcomed, we are turned away. Were we should teach, we are told what is best for us. I am writing in hopes of reclaiming our place in a struggle that can’t succeed without us.
Editors Note: Eva will be posting every Thursday on Womanist Musings. Please join me in welcoming here to our space.