Why Aren’t the Anti-Porn Folks Standing Up For Tera Myers?

The other night, I was watching a cop drama. The story centered on a murder case (as they often do) and the cops uncovered information that the victim had been blackmailed for hiring a sex worker. So they tracked the escort down, thinking that she’d been behind the scheme. But as it turned out, she not only didn’t know about it, she was really worried when she heard about it. Rather than following the usual “sex workers lure men into these schemes to ruin them” plot, the writers decided to change it up a bit. The escort explains that she has dreams and plans of her own and having it be known that she’s working as a sex worker would destroy them just as much as it would have affected the murder victim.

This has been on my mind lately, since a St. Louis high school teacher has resigned after a student discovered that she’d been a porn performer. Apparently, Tera Myers had also lost a job in 2006 for the same reason, and I can’t help but think that she resigned this time rather than waiting for the axe to fall.

Separate from the question of why people might think that a former porn performer might be unsuitable as a teacher, I can’t help but wonder where all of the anti-sex work and anti-porn folks who vociferously proclaim that they want to help women leave the industry are. (They don’t ever seem to notice that plenty of men are also sex workers, btw.) After all, if they genuinely want to support women and make it possible for them to change what they do for a living, don’t they have a responsibility to advocate for them when former sex workers face these kinds of barriers? Do they not see that it’s harder to quit being a porn performer or a sex worker when it’s pretty clear that there’s no support  if their past is discovered? And in this era of tube porn sites, pirated movies, and such, the odds of being able to stay in the closet gets smaller all the time.

This isn’t the first time someone has lost a job for having been a sex worker without the anti-sex work folks making a sound. And I think it really highlights how they don’t really want to help women leave the industry. If they truly did, they’d be standing up for Ms Myers and making sure that people had job options and protection when they stop making porn or seeing clients.

Just sayin’.

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6 Responses so far.

  1. beth says:

    Great post!

    And I totally agree – when anti-sex work people don’t continue to advocate for those they claim to care about, the argument that they ever cared about or sought to protect sex workers in the first place is reduced to a convenient and emotionally manipulative excuse, only invoked as a means to control whatever sex or sexuality that they don’t personally like.

  2. maymay says:

    This is the kind of story that makes me so sad and to which it is far, far too easy to point at highlighting the absolutely vile hatred of anti-porn activists.

    Look at Tera. Listen to her. The silence of the anti-porn crew is a thunderingly loud testimony to their disgusting immorality.

  3. Jennifer Krase says:

    Got so inspired by this I tweeted… and blogged, thanks to the kind folks at The F Word: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/03/on_tera_myers_a

  4. The silence of the anti-porn feminists on this is about what I’d expect from these people. A better question I’m left wondering is what we as sex-positive advocates can do to better support Tera Myers. We blog and tweet about her, of course, but our reach only goes so far. Is there any way of lobbying the larger public in her community to help create the support that she needs?

  5. CatGunHome says:

    The headline for this lady’s exposure should probably have been something like the following:

    High school student surfing for porn exposes ex porn-star teacher: School administrators who masturbated to her porn in the 1990s terminate her service in 2011

  6. […] One option is to seek defamation convictions. This will be difficult because plaintiffs will have to prove that the information revealed about them is both untrue and causes financial hardship. I’m guessing this will be easiest, although unlikely, if performers who are no longer in the industry lose their jobs because they have been outed, which is a very real possibility. (See, for instance, what happened to Tera Myers, and how unsurprisingly hypocritical the anti-sex contingent’s response to this was.) […]

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