Over the next stretch of time, one thing I hope to do is to share with you some blogs that I find especially interesting, thought-provoking, or whatever. You’ve read me rave about Liza a gazillion times – if, by now, you haven’t been to her blog (or to the other blogs I think of as being in the family of “hot writing and pictures about sex”), then what the fuck is wrong with you?
But today, I plan to write just a bit about “The Honest Courtesan.” I only discovered her blog recently, and can’t say how I did, who linked to it, or what trail brought me there. But it’s fucking awesome.
“Maggie McNeill” – the nom de plume of the author – is a retired prostitute who’s damned smart, articulate, and thoughtful. She writes, more than anything, about the humanity of sex workers, and the intellectual laziness, and worse, of those who would control our associations with prostitution. As an aside, I recently wrote about Paying for It by Chester Brown, and among other things, wrote that one thing I really liked about the book was the way in which it humanizes prostitutes – in part, by portraying them as heterogeneous, but also, by portraying them as human, as people with feelings, desires, sexuality, and lives, not all of which are defined by the work they do any more than you or I are defined by the work we do. Maggie McNeill does all this and so much more.
She single-handedly takes on the Nick Kristofs of the world, who would have us believe that “human trafficking” is a horrific, devastating worldwide problem. For years, I’ve grown weary, and worse, of Nick Kristof’s articles on human trafficking. They rubbed me the wrong way in an amorphous way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Well, Maggie McNeill has helped me figure it out: while trafficking may well be a problem, the focus on it by people like Kristof is about something different. It’s about controlling women’s sexuality, stigmatizing sex work, and limiting all of our sexual freedom.
She writes almost exclusively about prostitution – the social construction of sexuality, the history of prostitution in life and in the arts, the way we regulate sex, the impact regulation of it has on all of us (but, in particular, on prostitutes). She’s an absolutist, and capable of a monomania in her focus on prostitution and “human trafficking.” But she writes really well, and every single word I’ve read of hers I’ve found interesting.
She’s one of the few people whose every blog post I read, and whom I’m excited to see has posted something new.
Check her out. She’s the real deal.