Truth Will Out

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard about the Feds raiding the gay escort advertising site Rentboy. Despite previous similar raids on sites such as MyRedBook, and the adult services sections of Craigslist and Backpage, this one garnered outrage. Why this is has been discussed by many sex worker rights activists. Two of the best articles include the one written by Lily Burana for NY Mag’s The Cut section, “Big Bad Rent Boys, Sad Little Call Girls, and the Language of Sex Work.”; and one written by Melissa Gira Grant for RH Reality Check, “How Sex Workers’ Rights Made the Mainstream.”

There’s a rather twisted sense of vindication with this whole Rentboy fallout: the general public is FINALLY starting to see the sexism inherent in so much anti-sex trafficking/rescue industry/prohibitionist propaganda. In fact, their screeds are also finally being recognized as propaganda by the general public who don’t have any “skin in the game”, so to speak. Those of us in the industry and especially anyone who has been even briefly involved with activism have been seeing this for decades. Hell, older activists have been seeing this exact same sexist language emanating from the mouths of “concerned feminists” and other ersatz “rescuers” longer than my 34 years of life.

“It’s Different For Boys” is an essay by Julian Marlowe in the anthology Whores and Other Feminists and my goddess is it ever so apt right now. Anti-sex work feminists are going to be forced like never before to make one of the following choices:

  1. Admit that women are inherently weaker in mind, body, and spirit, and that we’d be better off going back to days of sanctioned chaperones, not working outside the home (for the middle classes), and not having a say in any part of our lives…including the political process; or
  2. Admit that it’s the sex part of sex work that pisses you off and makes you feel icky and since you feel icky everyone else should be legally obliged to feel icky too; or
  3. Admit that your brand of feminism is nothing more than a modern Marian cult desperately trying to invent yourselves as modern-day Marys and woe betide the Magdalenes and Jezebels who get in the way.

In any event, this summer has been an interesting one for sex workers’ rights and hopefully, a positive trajectory.

Posted in Essentially Claudia, Ethical Practices, Society, The Demimonde | Tagged , , ,

Relax. Relate. Release.

*peaceful exhale*

There has been so much frustration and sorrow in the news lately, the most prominent for me being the massacre/terrorist attack in Charleston.

In my personal life, a godmother of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. A dear friend and colleague (she knows who she is) has been dealing with difficult family situations. My personal life plans have been rearranged a bit, but going forward (but still frustrated by the need to rearrange the plans). So I think I, and many others, can use an unique approach to our yoga and meditation practices. To that end, I present this video to you. Enjoy!

Posted in Art of the Courtesan, Essentially Claudia, My Favorite Things, Philosophy, Pleasurable pursuits | Tagged , , , , ,

On childhoods, barns, & other etiquette stuff

The Australian-based advertising platform Scarlet Blue (which will be opening up in the US soon if they haven’t already!) has an excellent article on the importance of client etiquette. I’d like to think most prospective clients who also read my blog wouldn’t need this lesson and would already know my definite feelings and views on the matter. So instead, I am posting this in the hopes that curious passersby, people who think etiquette is nonexistent in the sex industry because teevee told them so (or particularly boorish denizens of message boards), and a garden variety of others, will be educated on the subject.

 

Posted in Companionship, Demimondaines, Dialogues, Essentially Claudia, Ethical Practices, Etiquette, Philosophy, The Demimonde | Tagged , , , , , ,

Contempt of the Flesh

I'm No AngelYou’ve most likely heard at least some of the hubbub surrounding Lane Bryant’s new I’m No Angel ad. If nothing else, it’s one of those Cultural Moments that has spurred a lot of talk and a reflection of our values. A great deal of concern trolling from people who think the gorgeous models in that advertisement are “morbidly obese” (are you freakin’ kidding me?) and think that quality of health can be discerned by physical appearance alone.

Then the moral concern trolling, due to the models having figures that are more obviously, classically feminine than the much, much skinnier models that Victoria’s Secret now uses. Remember when VS used curvier models like Tyra Banks and Laetitia Casta and Frédérique van der Wal? Yeah. Anyway, where a very skinny female model might be easier to “desexualize” and be considered non-feminine and/or non-female (tape down their breasts, cut off their hair, and a lot of them will look like adolescent boys. Not a criticism, but I know a lot of skinny, androgynous women who do that), the Lane Bryant models have obvious breasts, hips, and thighs that undeniably call to mind female sexuality in all its voluptuous glory. Remember the Lane Bryant commercial that was banned from airing during the Super Bowl?

While there is nothing wrong with a female model’s body, regardless of her size so long as she is not jeopardizing her health to be that size, fuller-figured models and women in general touch a particular nerve in our society. I think I know why. Bear with me and keep in mind I am talking about healthy bodies independent of size!

Our Anglo-American society was strongly influenced by Puritanical religious viewpoints. These beliefs continue to this day, regardless of whether one is a Christian or not. It is so ingrained in our culture and it takes conscious effort to fight against it. Abstaining, denial of worldly pleasures, general asceticism, all work and no play makes Johnny a good boy…all these are considered good traits. No, beyond good; the only traits worth developing. These are objections to all matters of the flesh. The more flesh there is the more hated it is. It is too much of a reminder of Earthly reality versus spiritual fantasy. Where the Christian mindset sees the female body from birth to death as “problematic” and the male body as “ideal” or standard, obviously a female body that is undeniably and, worse, unapologetically female is not to be allowed. Increase that tenfold for the Puritanical Christian (or, to be honest, ANY religion- most have a Puritanical wing) mindset.

So here are these women, unapologetic in their showing of absolutely feminine figures. They’re not ashamed nor will they allow themselves to be shamed for neither their body nor their body of work. And some folks can’t stand it. These women are supposed to bow their heads, beg for forgiveness, wear a hairshirt and detox any thought of celebrating the skin they’re in.

I’ve been a fan of three of these models (Marquita Pring, Ashley Graham, and Elly Mayday) for a few years now and I’ve followed their careers. I love that they’re showing that beautiful and sexy women above a size 12 can be just as beautiful and sexy as their slimmer counterparts. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and loving one end of a spectrum does not necessitate hating the other end.

Posted in Beauty, Essentially Claudia, Philosophy, Pleasurable pursuits, Sensuality, Society, The Erotic | Tagged , , , , , ,

Anti-Social…Media

woman-screaming-at-computerSocial media makes me itchy and there is not enough Benadryl or calamine lotion in the world to counteract the effects it has on me. If you take a look at my Twitter stream, I use that almost solely to promote my blog posts. I don’t spend time on there, so if you send a Tweet to me, please don’t be offended if I don’t respond*. Back when I was an activist, I did but the culture of Twitter in general (not just in the demimonde) has become like a toxic sludge and I’m donning a full hazmat suit. And running away in the opposite direction.

It’s a shame. As a Professional Companion who doesn’t want public reviews, social media had the ability to allow interaction between me and potential patrons. From what I can see and hear, a lot of drama from message boards has just spilled over onto Twitter, Instagram, and whathaveyou and ughhhh….. I shy away from message boards of ALL kinds, in and out of the demimonde, because of varied reasons; all of them to do with drama and bullshit.

I’ve never disguised the fact that I’m a science fiction and fantasy nerd. Old school nerd, not the newfangled “nerd” that is apparently cool these days. Anyway, back when only a handful of people had the Internet and I was but a wee nerd, boards were civil overall. Not that drama didn’t start, but it was reigned in a lot quicker and a lot of it got nipped in the bud. These days? Not so much.

I tip my hat to those who are able to navigate the minefield of social media. It’s something that I’m not likely to do. So no, you won’t find me interacting on provider boards at the moment though I still have a couple of profiles out there.

Though I discussed a positive aspect to social media in the demimonde, it’s a double-edged sword because that same aspect is also a negative: the increased exposure. The more social media profiles a Professional Companion has, the less discreet she becomes. The more likely someone can identify her, possibly in a venue she’d rather not be recognized as such. OR, or, by someone she’d rather not have informed of her alternate job. I don’t think I’m paranoid, but I am very cautious. I am very concerned about discretion both for myself and for my patron and I keep that in mind always.

 

*If you want to say hello, email me at claudiachristophe[at]hushmail[dot]com. Or leave a comment here on the blog.

Posted in Companionship, Essentially Claudia, Ethical Practices, Philosophy, The Demimonde | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dancing with joy

I haven’t been shy about my nerdiness and in case you have any doubt of my sincerity, I have been dancing with nerdjoy all day. Why, you ask? The second trailer for the upcoming Star Wars sequel, The Force Awakens, premiered today at the annual Star Wars Celebration. Haven’t seen it yet? Here it is!

*dancing*

Two friends of mine got to attend SWC today and so they watched the trailer live with the cast members present at the viewing. One of the rare times in my adult life that I’ve actually been jealous.

I hope and fervently pray to All Deities Above and Below that these sequels will wash out that nasty taste left in my mouth from the prequels. How much did I hate the prequels*? Oh let’s see, I only watch The Phantom Menace for the fight scenes, I use the “love scenes” between Padmé & Anakin in Attack of the Clones as an ipecac, and my DVD of Revenge of the Sith serves as a coaster for my wine glass. I think I’m actually allergic to sight and sound of Jar-Jar Binks (my eyes well up with tears and I get this nervous tick).

But I’m a fan of J.J. Abrams and he’s a fan of Star Wars so I have faith that he’s done the fandom proud.

 

*I will agree with Camille Paglia in praising the visual beauty of the prequels. But pretty graphics does not a good story make.

Posted in Essentially Claudia, Geekdom, My Favorite Things | Tagged , , ,

{Zenith}

the-endFin. The End.

I couldn’t find any words for X or Y entries that wouldn’t have been ridiculous, so I skipped on ahead to the end. Luckily, there was a word for the finish of my Alphabet Soup. More than just describing the culmination of this particular project, there are many things in my personal and academic life that are culminating at this moment, making ‘zenith’ applicable in many aspects.

And with this, I have returned to the demimonde. My site is back up and looking gorgeous and advertisements should be up next week. I’ve yet to run out of topics to blog about, so stay tuned as always.

Posted in Alphabet Soup, Essentially Claudia, General Announcements, The Demimonde | Tagged , , ,