For the last few months, Amber went through a process of self discovery where she made the decision to do some boudoir-like amateur modeling for her Instagram page. It used to be a channel for Amber to show her family back in Germany how life is like in Canada, but after her sister criticized an erotic photo on my own IG account I posted, Amber decided to put her foot down. She decided that once and for all, people can be more than one thing, and people should respect the lifestyle choices of others especially when those choices do no harm to others. Following a myriad of other unrelated things, Amber started to post up erotic pictures of herself since mid April 2022.
A mutual friend told us that she had to unfollow Amber because she doesn’t want to get into trouble looking at Instagram while at work. She also doesn’t want to expose sexual material to young children around her. Another mutual friend recently told me he had to unfollow Amber for the same reasons. To be clear, I wasn’t angry by their decisions, but I was disappointed because their reasons are contradictory to them saying they are supportive of sex work. While both of my friends are decent people, ultimately, while most likely not fully aware of their actions, they are unfortunately perpetuating sex negative attitudes.
Here is an awesome short article about how people in the Netherlands view sex, versus how most people in North America view sex: “Why is the red light district in Amsterdam legal, when children go there?” Here’s an excerpt from that post:
You see, the Netherlands has a healthy view towards sex and sex education. Sex isn’t stigmatized or regarded as sinful or dirty. Hiding it and pretending it doesn’t exist only makes it more stigmatized and shameful.
In the Netherlands, sex education is mandatory and begins at age 4. Obviously, it’s age appropriate and introduced in stages as the child grows up, but by their teenage years, their sex education has progressed to focus on having positive relationships, negotiating with partners, and using contraception.
A proper sex education leads to better understanding, general acceptance, and positive attitudes towards sex workers and sex in general. It all starts at home and on a personal level. You want to support sex worker rights to exist? Then stop fearing the association with sex workers when you’re around others who don’t support sex work.
So when my two friends told me they had to unfollow Amber on Instagram, I wondered where they draw the line. What if they go out for lunch with Amber one day while she’s wearing a “Yes Daddy” t-shirt, when their young nieces bump into them? Will my two friends stop seeing Amber? How about they invite Amber over to a summer BBQ, and Amber arrives wearing a bikini top and a long skirt. What if one of their family members disapprove of Amber’s big breasts in a bikini top? Will my two friends stop inviting Amber, because her tits overflow out of her bikini top, or worst, tell Amber to cover herself up? So when they say they support sex work, exactly what do they mean? From where I am standing, it seems like they only support sex work in conversation, but doesn’t actually practice what they preach. They rather cater to a prudish sex negative society, than truly show support.
I too have young nieces and nephews in their toddler years and young teenage years. I do not fear that they might see girls in bikinis and high heels, that show cleavage. Are these IG girls shoving dildos in their pussies? Are these IG girls sucking five guys at once? No right? So what’s the problem? I am not deliberately showing them these IG models. In the less than 1% of the time, they MIGHT see these girls on my phone, so what?!
I also work in an environment where sometimes I meet with clients from the medical, financial, and government fields. However, I will guarantee you that I will not shy away from showing sex positivity and my support for sex work, just because people I work with have prejudices against anything sexual. That’s their problem, if they feel uncomfortable around sexual concepts. It’s not my job to hide myself from sex negative view points in the privacy of my own phone. If my boss comes around and tells me it’s inappropriate to have sexual content at work, then instead of unfollowing my friend I said I am supporting, I would simply not look at Instagram at work!
So of course it’s disappointing when my friends show a major lack of support in the things they say they support. To them, it’s more important to appease the comfort levels of sex negative attitudes, than to actually truly support the things they say they do. To them, there is always a “but…”