From humid and high-tempered kitchens to hot and steamy dates and cinema.

http://www.viktoriavaar.com/single-post/2018/05/09/From-humid-and-high-tempered-kitchens-to-hot-and-steamy-dates-and-cinema

 

From humid and high-tempered kitchens to hot and steamy dates and cinema.

May 9, 2018

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Viktoria Vaar

Thoughts on working conditions in and outside the sex industry.

 

When judging an industry the perspective matters. What does quality mean to you? What can make you open your wallet or support a product?

You can judge an industry solely on the product: Is it well-designed, tasty, value for money, long-lasting, pleasing, covering your necessities?

Then you can also take other relations into account. How was the product produced? Under sustainable conditions, for the workers, the environment, and the society?

 

For most of the things we consume, services we contract, our judgment is based on the end product, we gladly fill our homes and dress our bodies with products created by people working in conditions similar to slavery in less wealthy countries than our own.

In our privileged bubble people in the workforce are hurting too, we don't raise an eyebrow when we see people working their life away, everyday people are sacrificing their mental and physical health in their jobs.

We gladly support companies who by-pass our tax systems and pollute our nature, companies who send out products that are meaningless or even destructive to our society.

 

But when it comes to the sex industry we are measured harsh in every single category. Not only measured, it is assumed that we are victims of sad backgrounds, cause why would we else end up in an industry that is inherently thought of as destructive. In the fight for acceptance, it's upon us to constantly disprove these assumptions. On the question of victimhood, we are guilty until otherwise is proven.

Proving otherwise is not simple, the negative prejudices about the nature of our jobs are so intense that its extremely difficult to set the record straight, your five good experiences will be forgotten the day you have a difficult one, cause that is the one that matches the prejudice and will be given more importance and remembered easily. A sex worker must always have a positive relation to one's job, doing it must be pleasureful and more a choice of passion than one of money, preferably it should never be about money. The sex worker must often defend oneself by assuring the surroundings that the job has no negative effects to one's private life, private as in very private: You are regularly expected to explain how this intertwines with your sex, love and family life.

 

When I started to perform in adult cinema I felt the constant presence of responsibility to fight the stigma as well. Here we did our best to fight those negative assumptions about our victimhood and working conditions. We filmed interviews, broadcasted live behind the scenes, took photos and wrote testimonies. We made sure to put emphasis on our enjoyment doing this work, the pleasure, and fun but also the ambitions behind it. The good ambitions about sending products out there were not only produced under good conditions for everybody on the team but also with qualitative content, and not only as in good looking but also responsible, diverse, politically correct and often products meant to make the world a better place.

 

Back when I was working under rough and stressful conditions in the restaurant industry I never had to justify why I was suffering for my career. It was simple and acceptable: The industry worked in a certain way, sacrifices had to be made in the hope of one day earning better working conditions and income. The road would involve abusive bosses, periods of working all your waken hours, never sleeping enough and shifts without time for bathroom or lunch breaks.

And for what is this suffering for? The restaurant industry is infamous for being cruel but that's okay because we are more occupied with getting delicious food on our plates. The industry here is almost only measured by the quality of the product. The key is that it is legal, when it comes to workers rights then suffering is not a problem as long as it is a legalized, institutionalized and morally accepted kind of suffering.

 

Contrary to the restaurant industry, the porn industry is not only measured on the product but also by working conditions and how socially responsible or authentic it is. Is the sex realistic? Is the chemistry real, like as in no acting at all? What kind of body image are the performers reflecting? How are the women portrayed? Dignified? Why choose to film without condoms when people should learn to wear them?

Meanwhile many worships, entertainment from Hollywood advocating a hurtful body image and gender structures, racism, sexism, colonialism, and violence,. And this entertainment product is even coming from an industry with many publicly denounced acts of abuse and sexual harassment.

 

I support the need for transparency in the porn industry, I think its healthy and beneficial for both the industry and the viewers. The backstage footage and consent interviews are both a way to fight the stigma and educate the viewers.

(Yesterday I even saw a well-known British porn producer publicly reply a query on Twitter regarding whether she paid her performers equally in between genders on Twitter: The answer was yes - how often do you see well-established and publicly accepted companies have this kind of transparency and responsibility?)

I am proud of the work we did with the crew and producers that I've worked with in adult cinema because we did it in a responsible manner, both regarding our working conditions and regarding the end product, we truly want to put out content that has a good influence on the world.

 

Concerning my escort career, then I actively exercise transparency too, being out of the closet is a daily exercise of activism trying to be accepted and not misunderstood by the society.

But the common idea of sex workers being victims in an evil sex industry is destructive for us. The society must learn to look at our industry with more nuance, there have to be narratives in between the happy hooker and the victim, the good and the bad porn.

We need to be able to share the bad things and hard days without fearing that it immediately erases recollection of all the good things and therefore our right to existence.

We also need to be able to be in this industry motivated by money, survival or other parameters which are not pure passion. If that is the case it doesn't make us victims or our jobs more exploitative than any other jobs. I am in this industry as a mix of it all, of economic, practical, idealistic and passionate reasons. Mostly I am viewed as a victim, but I am thinking that in capitalism we are all slaves.

You should all be less concerned with pointing fingers at the sex industry and instead point them at the capitalistic system, demanding an end to poverty and thereby general worker exploitation.

 

And to the double morale of it all: My personal working conditions became so much better when I switched out my respected career in restaurants with sex work.

Today I am fighting for having my industry decriminalized and accepted as a real job, while I'm aware, that one of the reasons why my working conditions have bettered, is exactly the fact that my industry isn't accepted and therefore not institutionalized. The stigma is tearing, devastating at times, and my point is by no means that we should keep the sex industry in the shadows. But with the shadows comes autonomy, when your career and job has no real legal existence then you get to create it yourself. That independence has allowed me to frame my profession, according to my personal needs. Which ultimately have made me more stable and healthy. I found solidarity in between workers and stronger support systems in the sex industry that I know from any big union. The irony is that I am fighting to be accepted as a part of the system while I know that it is not a coincidence that I am attracted to things outside that same system. Cause the system is screwed and I would prefer not being a part of it.

~Viktoria Vaar