NROP: Heros and victims of the pandemic.

Are you an essential worker?

You have probably seen plenty of memes on the Internet that highlight the fact “essential” can mean different things at different times. If you asked your boss for a raise in January, you might have been told to either stop asking or to look for a new job.

Non-essential.

Disposable.

Replaceable.

Even though in the heart of hearts we are aware that we are not irreplaceable, no one enjoys feeling less than important.

And then COVID-19 rolled around and all of a sudden, many of those “non-essential” workers became very essential. They had to show up at work at the eye of the storm, while others got to stay safe at home. Funny how things change on a dime… I hope this pandemic teaches us things that we will remember for longer than just a couple of months, albeit doubtful.

While we were all focused on our new heroes (i.e. healthcare workers), sex workers were largely overlooked. One of the first articles that I read about the impact of the coronavirus on people’s careers was one about a female escort. I have been unable to find that piece since, so I will just sum it up for you. A young woman was complaining about not being able to perform her duties and therefore not earning any money due to the virus. The reason why I was not sympathetic towards her cause is that she is a college student and only uses the money to supplement what she already gets from her parents.

It even angered me because I was fully aware of people being laid off and having to figure out ways to support their families, while this girl was complaining about not being able to buy yet another pair of shoes or other accessories. Yet another example of how “essential” can mean different things to different people. For some, a roof over their heads and some food is a must-have. Others cannot live without the newest addition to their favorite purse line.

Escorts quickly found themselves out of work when COVID-19 hit because they could no longer meet with their clients who fall into a high-risk group (i.e. elderly). Moreover, with everyone told to stay at home, it had become increasingly difficult for people to sneak out and meet with their non-partner.

Aside from escorts, we also have strippers, who had to put their jobs at the club on hold due to closures of such “non-essential” establishments. While I am aware that not every dancer earns the same amount of money, I still shook my head when I read about one of them being used to earning “anywhere from $5,000 to $26,000 in one month working five nights a week at the club.” After the place was closed due to state protocols, she had to make do with the money she was able to bring in through her YouTube channel (Christina Villegas). Not everyone is as lucky,

Thankfully, someone came up with how to help dancers earn their money during the pandemic. Cue virtual nightclubs. @OnlyFans partnered with Demon Time to create a place where women could dance and strip while men could pay for it and watch without either leaving their house.

While many who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic applied for unemployment, not everyone is able to receive what they think is owed to them. A stripper from Japan admitted that most of what she earns comes from tips, which means that she is unable to prove to the government how much she had lost due to the virus. That is what happens when some people under-report their income for tax purposes during “normal” times. They pick and choose when to say that they earn more or less.

In Australia, a woman who earns her money as a dominatrix was caught between a rock and a hard place. While what she does is legal, to be able to apply for unemployment benefits, she would have to register as a sex worker, which she prefers not to do due to the stigma associated with it.

A prostitute from Italy is complaining about the virus taking an emotional toll on her. At first, her johns wanted to see her no matter what, but she refused. Then came the video requests, which she did not agree to, either. Now, her clients opt to text or call her… to talk. The woman lives with her partner and child and prefers not to do her work around them. She does, however, answer the calls when she is able to be alone. Do you know how much money she earns for emotionally connecting with her clients? Nothing. I would assume that she is trying to provide exemplary customer service, because otherwise, she might lose her clientele forever.

Since lockdown restrictions have been slowly lifting, some strippers were able to go back to work. In Wyoming, a club (The Den) opened with a “Masks on, clothes off” party. It was what it sounds like. I can only imagine how uncomfortable it is to dance in a mask. At least you only have to do makeup for half your face. Right? While many places applied for Paycheck Protection Program, adult-oriented bars like that were unable to do so.

Apparently, money is not the only thing strippers have been missing. The lack of attention they normally get bothered many. “They are, after all, performers” – a quote from the president of the International Entertainment Adult Union. Did you know there is a union like that? I had no idea.

Now, we know that the pandemic put a financial and emotional (mental) strain on the sex workers. But what are some of the other things an average citizen does not think about that such a worker has to?

  1. When there is more supply and less demand, prices need to be adjusted (oral sex went from $60 to $30 in Seattle).
  2. Clients become more violent and coercive. (Since they are risking a COVID-19 infection, they see no point in using a condom.)

What would you recommend a sex worker do so they never fear not being able to work?

Would you put away your shame and register as a sex worker to obtain unemployment benefits?

Do you think sex workers will be able to go back to “normal” soon?

Stay golden,

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41 thoughts on “NROP: Heros and victims of the pandemic.

Add yours

  1. An interesting read. I didn’t think about it much, to be honest, save for the few posts that come across feeds, but you make some interesting points, not the least being the increase of violence and abuse.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The first thought after reading the post was “Everyone claims that money doesn’t make happiness – Here’s your chance to prove it”.

    The wisest thing would be for me to not respond to such a topic , because my conservative nature makes me sceptical towards this kind of “work”.
    I don’t want offend anyone (although calling me a “closed minded asshole is probably perfectly fine). could be a
    I still believe we could live in a world where there is someone for everyone and these professions are not needed.

    But if you really can earn that money, I do understand why people choose that career.
    It’s not like your regular office job is going to get you anywhere.

    That said, a job like that is not for me.
    It entails working closely with people and we all know what I think of people 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for giving me a reason to laugh. It’s not about the money until… it’s about the money.

      I’m right there with you on that. Sex workers can be divided into two – those who claim they have no other way to earn money and those who do it to earn a lot more than they would at a “regular” job. I believe there’s always another way but I know the world is not a perfect place.

      Well, at least you wouldn’t have to talk much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the world is too obsessed with sex.
        Yes, it’s pleasant and both physically and mentally is good for you. But do we have to be confronted with it every second of the day?!

        In electrical terms, the plug is called a “male” input and a socket a “female” input. You can only imagine why.
        And while you’re there, also imagine how often this reference when I was teaching a class about electricity.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            FINALLYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
            So exciteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!
            Thanks for pointing it out. It kept inching closer and closer. At one point I gave up (~1800) then, when it got to 1990s, I kept gaining and then losing. So annoying.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. There’s something about round numbers.
              Another obsession of humans.

              I have now given several social media a chance. Instagram and Twitter are nearly impossible to get followers on.
              Pinterest and WP is much easier.

              This is just my experience and has nothing to do with the value of followers. But it’s an interesting observation

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Good to know. I’ve been thinking about Instagram for a while but have not made the commitment just yet. And then Pinterest… it really is starting to sound interesting (especially from what you’ve said but I’m not sure yet). It all requires time and effort and I don’t feel I can do it right now.

                Like

                    1. You just had my had blown.
                      I didn’t think you could. I mean, I just looked at referrers in the stats section. (That showed how many people from outside of WP’s reader clicked on my content.)

                      But not that you’ve mentioned it, I search for something more accurate and I found it. Do you know about your admin dashboard? basically after your blog’s address type”/wp-admin” Once there, go to site stats and then scroll to the bottom to totals, followers, and shares. Open the shares tab. It doesn’t say when your stuff was shared but it tells you which post and on which platform. Apparently, my stuff has been shared over 300 times. WHAT?

                      I don’t know how I feel about that. Is it good that people are sharing my stuff? Or are they sharing it and then there are conversations going on behind my back (Facebook), etc. Why is no one clicking through?

                      Like

  3. The only thing a sex worker can do to lessen the fear of not working is to have a “9 to 5” job also. Sex work (Clubs and whatnot) should have the most flexible hours to manage two jobs. You cant put your money in the same hat if you don’t want to be called a “sex worker.”

    Some are proud of what they do. A troller sent a nude online model a message: what would your mother think if she knew…She sent a video response back introducing her mother to her audience and stating “she knows what I do and supports me.”

    Johns looking for raw sex are nuts. Breathing in close contact could put you at risk for Covid-19. Unprotected stranger sex could put you at risk of STDs. No female sex worker wants to be impregnated by a John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re talking about hedging your bets. It’s the safe route to go and I totally agree. A sensible option. But, some people just focus on the net $$$ they earn right here and now. Tomorrow is a future they don’t want to think about. Some people like to have insurance via their employer, while others prefer the extra bucks,

      Like

  4. That’s very interesting. I do think that this whole essential/non-essential thing is really damaging. We’re literally telling people that there is no worth in what they do, and then if you do have an “essential job” it can give you a massive ego trip. Remember when that essential person put his knee in the non-essential persons neck and choked him to death? Sure, the guy sitting on top killed him, but he wasn’t the only one who made the determination that he was a useless individual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t see it from that perspective. Thanks for pointing it out.
      To me, it’s upsetting to see how we promote certain workers based on specific emergencies. There’s a mass shooting? First responders become gods. Now, we are calling health care workers heroes (i.e. “Heroes work here”). If we appreciated people for who they are every single day, things would be so different. The global approach translates down to our microenvironment. Does your boss value you every day or only when they are in hot water and you save their day…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Very provocative!!! Well I live in a country where sex work is illegal and immoral?
    The legislation was changed recently such that one is only arrested for solicitation when they are caught red-handed because prior to that one could be arrested for loitering with intent to prostitute, and it was a very blurry distinction to make which you can guess led to lot of violation of rights…
    Anyway moving on the law has changed somewhat and red light districts still exist though it’s crazy how people pretend at nothing going on.

    I saw a news clip from a civic group who were interviewing sex workers who were complaining on how lockdown restrictions might as well as have been a death sentence, and how they should legalizise the industry otherwise it will just continue beneath the surface, dangerous and unregulated..

    I think I got distracted from what I was supposed to be answering but I guess a lot of the world will not be getting back to normal at least not anytime soon

    ~B

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What an interesting perspective! Do you suppose there are some that have also chosen to 1) leave the profession and 2) cause people to stop seeking out sex outside of marriage?
    Will they go back into the system after the pandemic passes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally. I think it applies to everyone. Here, in the US, many claim they live paycheck-to-paycheck. What do they do in situations like that? You HAVE TO figure out a way to have some emergency money because things DO happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent article on an actually serious matter, at least when it comes down to prostitutes living in the wild with no protection from others or from the virus itself. I can only imagine their struggle. Makes you wonder if decriminalizing these activities would have helped those who need help. But that part about oral sex prices going down made me giggle hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What would you recommend a sex worker do so they never fear not being able to work?
    I don’t think there is an answer for that, no matter what you do for a living.

    Would you put away your shame and register as a sex worker to obtain unemployment benefits?
    Assuming I had shame in the first place. I, generally, don’t find being a sex worker to be shameful. Also, many of the examples you highlighted are uncommon. Many “legitimate” sex workers sock money away to weather financial setbacks, or to get out of the trade “some day.” Those workers who use their bodies to feed and house their families may very well make much less per year than you or me and would need unemployment to make ends meet, but many states do not legitimize sex workers at all in order for that to be a possibility. Like any other person applying for unemployment benefits, I would hope that sex workers would be required to adhere to the same criteria, regardless of their “profession.”

    Do you think sex workers will be able to go back to “normal” soon?
    Define soon…and normal. I think some people (both sex workers and their clientele) may have already gotten back to normal, while others are lagging behind, and still others may never attain normalcy again. We’re just getting started on the “recovery” phase, so a lot still remains to be seen.

    Liked by 1 person

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