Escorts - breaking down stereotypes
I cannot blame the general public for their sometimes misguided views about the sex industry. Knowledge and previous experience are crucial to understanding anything in life, and our viewpoints are shaped - even if not consciously - by our own personal experiences, what we have been taught, and the way that we understand the world. How often in life have you thought of something in the distance in one particular way, only to find that you were completely wrong once you got up close and personal with the subject matter.
So when it comes to sex work and the escort industry, it is only natural that people on the outside with no previous interaction or experience with escorts would see things in a way that does not necessarily reflect the reality of life. There are certain stereotypes, preconceptions and judgements made… some of them conscious, many of them subconscious.
This stems from the fact that the person in questions has never had a true, up close and personal encounter with the being that is the escort.
It is true that sex workers, escorts, courtesans and intimate companions come from all walks of life. Their lives, backgrounds, the way that they conduct their business, their reasons for choosing their job as well as well as their clients are as diverse as those who attend the church. Every escort is an individual, unique and with her own interesting story.
An escort could be anybody around you. When you meet one, you will most likely not know, and probably never find out. Unlike the typical stereotype that are depicted in hollywood movies, or in negative documentaries and carefully selected images of journalists trying to push a particular agenda, sex workers are just normal people – surprisingly normal. They dress the same way as you, many have husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends. A large number of sex workers are parents, and balance their career with their family.
Many escorts are students, who have future plans in mainstream careers. Other escorts are working in other industries part or full time, and use sex work to supplement their income, and provide another exciting (and often secretive) dimension to their lives. And some escorts embark on their sex work career as a full time pursuit. Businesswomen who enjoy what they do, who choose this industry of their own free will because it is the career that best suits their needs.
On almost all occasions, you would never pick an escort out in a crowd. Many private escorts dress more conservatively in public than their non-escort counterparts, they are elegant, well spoken and knowledgable. An escort will have life experience that cannot be described or imagined.
Their close interaction with clients from all sectors of society has given them a different perspective and understanding of the world that we live in, and the people within it.
Many escorts are very private, some choosing never to reveal their identity. They very carefully disguise their features by blurring, cropping or artistically hiding their faces – the reasons for this are many. Some escorts choose not to reveal their occupation to family or friends due to privacy issues. There is much stigma that surrounds the oldest profession, and for some ladies their best option is to keep this part of their life private, separate from the mainstream and what is deemed acceptable by many clusters of society.
That being said, there is an overwhelming number of escorts who are very proud of their achievements, and their profession. They may not show their faces publicly, but they express themselves in other ways such as writing blogs, making art or using social media as an outlet.
My personal experience in this industry has allowed me the unique perspective to see both sides. Many of the people in my life did not know my occupation … only a select few, who I made a decision to invite in.
Those I confided in were only told as much as I decided, and discretion was always a must.
As for the rest, well I will leave it to their imagination.
Image credit: Lena Vasiljeva