delve a little deeper....
At the end of the month a documentary airs on TLC channel called 'Jodie Marsh... On The Game'.
The premise being Marsh gets to do work experience as a prostitute and meets some of the women who are on the game in Amsterdam, Germany, London and Manchester. She was plugging an article she has in The Sun about it on Twitter earlier so I decided to investigate further. Obviously not reading The Sun and I didn't have to because it's been syndicated and reported all over the place.
One of the things that pisses me off about sex work on TV is that it always shows the criminal, depressing side of the business. I'm not about to deny that this side doesn't exist, but why are there never positive programmes about the industry, why do they pick people who seem to have preconceived notions about sex work and why is the language always offensive. The Sun's headline was 'Filming Show About Hookers Has Put me Off Sex For Life'
You don't need to read any further to gather that it wasn't a whole lot of fun for Jodie and that she probably didn't come away with anything very positive. In fact the one quote which has been repeated all over the online media was, ‘Mostly the thing they had in common was they’d all been forced into it by a man. And their lives were shit'.
The obligitary "they were just all off their heads on drugs." angle was covered too. *deep sigh*
So, definitely not a slanted biased piece of telly then, no stereotyping there?
To be fair to Jodie, maybe that is what she found. I'm not denying that some women are unhappy and are in this position, but there are many that are not and if the producers couldn't find any then they clearly weren't looking very hard or had already decided the tone and agenda for this documentary.
I thought, based on the above quote it was fair enough to tweet Jodie and ask,
It's a pity you didn't spend any time with one of the thousands of happy, non-coerced, independent sex workers.
'erm excuse me, I did actually and they're in the show. You really shouldn't speak without knowing facts x'
She's right, I haven't seen the programme, but based on the above quote about all the women being forced into it by a man and that their lives are all shit quotes, which I assume is correct seeing as she was promoting The Sun piece, I'm not convinced she did actually meet any happy sex workers.
However, one woman seemed to enjoy herself: "While we were filming there were quite a few shocking moments for me. One girl — who had a gang bang in Germany where 15 men had sex with her one after the other — said she loved it".
Jodie then goes on to say that it put her, and her entire film crew off ever having sex again! I would have thought as an unbiased documentary maker it wasn't the done thing to chip in with your own opinions. I know lots of women who enjoy a gang bang (me included) and whilst I am very aware it's not for everyone, comments and attitudes like this just perpetuate the myth that there is only one way for people to enjoy sex and anything beyond the 'norm' is disgusting. Of course I am only ranting now and maybe the bit about putting everyone off sex was a nice line to get people to watch. She is after all, only doing her job and promoting the programme with some tasty soundbites.
Marsh also went to Amsterdam and spent some time sitting in a window. She says of this:
‘Loads of blokes were looking at me like I was a piece of meat. These were men you’d never ever consider having sex with in a million years. It was gross but it was easy for me to sit there because I had that safety net and I wasn’t going to let anyone in.’
No offence Jodie, but from someone who made her name wearing very few clothes as a glamour model, has worked as a dancer in Stringfellows, appeared on Big Brother and has bared an awful lot of flesh being judged as a body builder I find it hard to believe she was genuinely shocked at being looked at by a piece of meat. I'm not critisising any of her career choices but surely her name has been made on how she looks and her fortune made marketing her sexuality? Does she think those men who drooled over her in FHM were getting off on her brains or opinions?
Interestingly, a couple of weeks ago Jodie made several passionate tweets about the Co-Op's decision to ban lads mags. She had some great views regarding how hypocritical it was that these magazines were targeted despite the fact they celebrate a woman's body, especially in comparison to those such as Heat who like to highlight how fat or thin a woman is, point out cellulite and critisise what they wear. She went on to talk about how high end fashion magazines often used nude and topless women and how these shoots are deemed 'art'. She made a great point about much of the anti lads mags and page three campaigning was about snobbery.
She said: "Being a real modern day feminist means CELEBRATING women & encouraging them. Not trying to cover them up & hide them & stop them being paid"
There was much twitter cheering from many women including sex workers who generally feel that much of the problem with those who are opposed to sex work is based on personal preferences and an inability to comprehend that women in sex work enjoy what they do. Both glamour models and sex workers are often independent, happy and making good money and do not feel exploited. In many ways we should be natural allies.
I only wish Jodie was able to have made a documentary about sex workers with this attitude. To find women in all areas who were happy and to promote a positive message would have been great.
Maybe we will see some of that (well those who can get TLC channel) in this programme, but the publicity ahead of it doesn't look that way.