Body

Published on March 12th, 2015 | by Juniper Fitzgerald

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THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE by Juniper Fitzgerald

I belong to a class of people known only as whores. Our shadows pour over nighttime cobblestone, our lives exist in the B-rolls of legs and ass. We are sociopaths or infantile victims, depending on whom you ask. Our deaths are bracketed by alleged evidence of titilating yet soiled pasts; violence against us is an exercise in inevitability. And in the rare instances when prudence and virtue allow us a breath of unadulterated intimacy, we keep one eye peeled for fear of losing it all.

Eager droplets of men pay to see, to touch, to fuck me; my body. Tits and ass and pussy, you call them. You–the jejune boy with a penchant for performing virility. You–the man shoving his teenage son into the careful arms of a whore. You–the businessman, the organic farmer, the professor who’s “not like other guys.” You see in my fertile body that which you covet obsessively, the most fundamental of all human needs–The Maternal as nutrient rich soil. You desire me like an infant, yet your toxicity prevents you from truly loving. And when I bring my newborn daughter to my breast in the softness of early morning, I am disturbed by your lack of reverence for my life sustaining parts. I’d demand you bow down and worship, but you’d probably turn it into masturbatory fodder, anyway.

belly

And yet, despite your contemptible obliviousness for the sheer magic of my tits and my ass and my pussy, I find sex work to truly be my most viable option (not that my reasons for doing anything are any of your fucking business, anyway). I am the Madonna and I am the whore, spank you very much.

The thing about whores, you see, is that we are always, always whoring. As the pornified narrative goes, from the rubble of childhood trauma grows an insatiable and wicked, whorish perversion. Our perversion gnashes into the sweet flesh of nice boys and married men. We just can’t help ourselves, you understand. So it is certainly unsurprising–albeit no less ridiculous–that a cocktail of unscrupulous sexuality with a twist of maternity should leave the most unsavory taste in the prudish mouth of culture. It would seem even less surprising that the children of whores should be made the sole property of the state, tormented for the sake of “purity.” It’s not hyperbole. It happens all the damn time.

So here I am. I am a whore with a kid. A daughter, nonetheless, who will surely come to resent her mother’s boisterous sexual antics, if society has anything to say about it. And of course, that’s assuming my sweet girl isn’t taken from me first.

turkey

My daughter. My beautiful baby. She has a head of unruly curls and an orneriness to match. Her breath is at once musky and sweet, a bouquet of milk and blueberries. She’s recently learned how to growl and enjoys practicing her technique at about 4:00 every morning. When I hold her in my arms, I embrace her with the will of impermanence. My unconditional love for this extraordinary human is rooted in infinite appreciation–a kind of appreciation hard won from an adult life steeped in profanity. And for this crime of sexual blasphemy I must pay with every single relationship I form, including the most sacred of them all–the relationship with my daughter. I live in constant fear that I will one day be deemed an unfit mother. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fear that she will come to find my love inappropriate; that the narrative of the unscrupulous whore will infiltrate her memories of my affection and she will somehow feel within the layers of my adoration an element of exploitation. A whore cannot tickle her child with the same whimsy as a desexualized and disembodied Madonna. A whore’s intentions are forever interrogated, her actions almost always deemed lecherous. When I tickle this tiny creature, this magnificent little human who once lived inside the folds of my flesh, I do so tentatively. I am a card-carrying member of the subhuman category of pervert, after all. My affection might seem suspect to the puritanical sensibilities of lawmakers and their pimps. When a woman can’t even wear leggings without her morality being drawn into question, is it any wonder that her sexual and/or work life should be woefully scrutinized, particularly if she is a mother?

umbilical

And where, oh where, are my loving, feminist sisters? Where are the radicals, the bad ass queers and perverts who’d rather empathize with a whore mom than advocate for her arrest? Where are the marginalized freaks who remember stonewall and the roll of whores there? The anti-capitalists who actively resist the prison industrial complex instead of claiming, like many feminists do now, that it’s essential for corralling and erasing sexual deviants? They surely aren’t here. Here, in the Bible Belt of America where whores service cops and clergymen with the fervor of an indentured servant while  “feminists” seek to enlighten us–the whores–with fists of middle class words. “Class consciousness,” “human dignity,” “freedom from degradation”–It all stinks of respectability politics. Trust me–a bourgeoisie “anti- trafficking” film party won’t save me from poverty, no matter how degraded you try and convince me I am. And it won’t arm me with the politically and socially radical community I need to fight the state. The state–the sole determiner of my maternal sufficiency. The state–at once illusive and material; my sacred maternal bond is entirely dictated by the whims of this institution. The state–cleverly constructed to service those who find its presence inevitable.

That a social, political, and economic institution has the power to deem my sexual behavior “incompatible” with motherhood is indeed a human travesty (and if you don’t believe me, ask your mother). But it’s not simply the ill will of an innocuous structure, as structures are made of humans and humans are made of all kinds of bad ideas. As the late 19th century sociologist Max Weber pointed out, the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. The state as a violent institution has been illuminated by the recent, state sanctioned murders of John Crawford, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and others. But somehow, taking away a whore’s children simply because she’s a whore continues to be uncritically accepted, even among feminists. And with the rise of lucrative, religious-based “anti-trafficking” efforts, many with vested interests in discrediting whores, I don’t feel especially optimistic.

JuniperBaby

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About the Author

Juniper Fitzgerald is a mother, former sex worker, and academic based in the Midwest. Her children’s book, How Mamas Love Their Babies, was published by Feminist Press in 2018 and was the first to feature a sex-working parent. She contributed to We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival and her memoir, Enjoy Me Among My Ruins, is out now. She holds a PhD in sociology.



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