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Monday, August 16, 2010

Language Barriers


We are not using professional writers in the publishing of this book. This is because we felt the only way to tell our story was to tell it in our own words. Sometimes the language is rough, but it is told in the language that best portrays it.

We are not using professional writers in the publishing of this book.. This is because we felt the only way to tell our story was to tell it in our own words. Sometimes the language is rough, but it is told in the language that best portrays it.

In fact, the writing of this book did pose many language problems you should be aware of. Our deepest desire was to avoid the typical sexism that accompanies many projects associated with the sex industry which seem to ignore the fact that men, and children, are as involved in the sex industry as adult women are.
Many men have not only been prostitutes, but know the pain of child abuse, rape, emotional abuse, and of sexual dysfunction related to prostitution, etc. Even worse is that men know what its like to seek help for these problems and to be turned away, simply because they are a man. A lot of information about the sex industry seems to portray men as always being the perpetrators and women as always being the victims.
We know that in a more realistic view, women and men have abused their children, women have raped (we have male and female members who have been raped by women), women have pimped, and women have also been perpetrators as well as victims. So we try to think in terms of simply, and only, as perpetrator and victim, rather than attaching any gender to these terms.

We want to actively let men know they are just as welcome as women to find help in Prostitutes Anonymous. We have attempted to remove all sexism, or reverse sexism, from this book by the avoidance, as much as possible, of pronouns like her or him. Therefore, we try to refer to ourselves as "members", "prostitutes", or in non-gender specific ways whenever possible. We also try to use the word prostitute in order to more accurately reflect our common ground. The common bond between an escort, a pimp and a porn star, is that we all are "prostitutes" at our core.

The one issue that we had to address is the concept of God as it relates to the Steps and Traditions that are the foundation of the Prostitutes Anonymous program. Some of us have suffered blows at the end of a stick called God. Some call their Higher Power by a name other than God, and some choose not to have any concept of a God, or Higher Power, at all in their program. This book and its writings are in no way to be construed as an endorsement of any one religion, spiritual belief system, type of God, or Higher Power. This is a topic that should be worked out by the individual and not dictated by this book.

The English language posed a problem for us though. We could not write literature with the phrase "God, Higher Power, or whatever your belief system is" peppered throughout it, so we have simply used the word God wherever necessary.

The editors of this book request that if this offends you to please understand we cant please everyone and to try to do so would be impossible. Also keep in mind your recovery will be ever changing. Just as a newborn can't eat steak, but first must be nursed on milk before being able to tolerate any solid food, you may find your belief and relationship with God will change over time as well. Just go at the pace that works for you.
The issue of chemical abuse is bound to come up as well. We wish to emphatically point out that nor all sex workers are coming to us out of a bottom caused by, or contributed to by, chemicals. While some of us may have quit from such a bottom, not all have. In fact, many of us in this fellowship have never touched chemicals (drugs and/or alcohol), of any kind. In order to avoid this subject clouding the real issues we are hoping to deal with, we will be taking out any references to their use in our literature except in the personal stories where we felt it was integral to the message.

Then there was the problem of addressing the different areas and levels of the sex industry. But each of us, whether we used to be hookers, call-girls, call-boys, streetwalkers, nude dancers, strippers, phone sex workers, hustlers, players, mistresses, porno actor/actresses, porno producers, pimps, madams, massage parlor owners, and others, have in common is that we are all here for the same reason.

In our disease. we find a million ways to make ourselves "different" from everyone else, to make ourselves feel "no one understands us because they haven't been in my shoes", or to push people away from us so we can isolate by telling ourselves "they are different" or convince ourselves we are "superior" to others in the industry because of the type of work we did. There is no difference between a street junkie shooting up heroin from the housewife taking too many prescription pain killers when it comes to the fact both share the same disease of addiction.

Where a lot of people have the most trouble with the first step is not recognizing that the word "We" is actually the first word of the first step. Our disease separates us from reality in order to convince us of what it wants us to believe in order to separate us from God's will. Despite the fact the step is worded clearly that "We admitted we were powerless over our disease and that our lives had become unmanageable", many people are walking around recovery rooms convinced the Step reads "I admitted I was powerless over my disease and that my life was unmanageable". You will find these are the same people having trouble getting past the first Step in their recovery.

The first step is clear that our disease is more powerful than us. This means it can take over control of our mind, body and spirit. That includes what we see, think, feel, and believe. So if we seem to be really demanding about the words we use in this program - it's because these words are the difference literally between life and death for us.

Some of you reading this may not understand how one's mind can be divided against itself in such a way as to say the disease can be truly more powerful then us. One of the best ways to illustrate this is to tell you about an experiment done by hypnotists into how the mind actually works. In this particular study, the hypnotist puts the subject "under". He then informs the subject there is a chair in the middle of the room when in fact there is no chair there at all. The subject is then woken up and asked to walk across the room. To our surprise, the subject actually walks "around" the invisible chair believing they see it there. This experiment proves our minds are very capable of "deceiving" us.

One of the first steps we can take towards our recovery is by really looking at the words of the first step and recognizing it all starts with the word "we" and not "I". Why? Because we can not recover alone. Take our "chair experiment" for example: if instead of asking the subject to walk across the room by themselves so they would make the mistake of going around the chair that isn't there we instead ask them to take the hand of someone else and walk across the room. There would come a point in the room crossing where the other person would see there is no chair there and walk right through it - taking the other person with them straight to the other side.

Our disease knows that with the help of another person it can not deceive us so easily so it has to invent all kinds of creative ways to separate you from the other members you need to survive. If we give in to it trying to separate us from each other - it survives and maintains control of us. By dropping all the differences and focusing on the "we" of this program - we recover. 

We attempted to cover as much sex work as possible in this book so that no matter what you did you know you are welcome here. But in order to maintain identification with each other which is essential to our program of recovery - we always refer to our members as prostitutes and not by job title. This reflects our policy that the sex industry itself is not the true problem we came here for. We come here for ourselves.
We are here to change ourselves - not the sex industry.

1 comment:

  1. What book project are you referring to? Apologies, but I couldn't make it out.

    Bill Cohen
    Harrington Park Press