Think about how often you've heard people throw around jokes about dead hookers. Now imagine hearing that as a teenager who's just found out Mom is one (uh, one of the latter, not the former).
KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock It doesn't help teenage anxiety when there's a mile-long list of stories telling you your parent will be killed.
"Yes, my friends have made derogatory jokes or comments about sex workers," Felicia says. "I never really confronted them, and would instead just kinda go quiet and disengage from the conversation ... At times, I would challenge their assumptions, like if they were saying that all sex workers were drug addicts or were somehow immoral because of their jobs."
It's all but impossible for Felicia to sit down and take in a stupid rom-com without being reminded of what the world thinks of her mother. "The job is either treated as a joke or the worst thing in the world," she says. "If a prostitute is ever a main character, like in Pretty Women, then it is always in spite of their job. They are able to rise above their occupation to still be a good person, as if the job automatically defines someone as immoral and a bad person. Crime shows are also a minefield, as all detective shows, from CSI to Bones, have multiple episodes where a prostitute is killed, and everyone is shocked as she was 'such a nice girl,' as if her job changes that fact." To be fair to the crime shows, she says, "the prevalence of prostitutes as murder victims may just be art imitating life, rather than an easy target for an interesting story."
miriam-doerr/iStock It doesn't help that reality has just as disposable a view of sex workers as pop culture.
"I don't think many people would really notice how often they are mentioned in passing in everyday life," Felicia says. But she does, because to this day, "it can leave me feeling off and uncomfortable for the next few hours."
Even a group outing to see Deadpool turned out to be a shitty time: "Basically, the love interest of the main character is a prostitute, and although she is not treated too badly because of it, there were a few slightly disparaging comments made ... Although it's a good movie, I can't bring myself to rewatch it." Quite possibly the saddest part of this entire story.
Manna tweets, maybe.
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