The Apocalyptic End of Review Culture

    Alexandria Fox · September 10, 2016 · Sexwork: Past and Present · 7 comments
    picmonkey-collage

    Center image credit to @FCKTER on Twitter

    Sex workers and suitors alike have had a love/hate relationship with many of what are often called collectively the “Big Boards” of the sex worker industry. These boards offer a way for sex workers to advertise their offerings, connect with other sex workers in ladies only forums, get updates on law enforcement activity in a given state or city and connect with and chat with men known as “hobbyist” in public discussion forums. They also offer a way for newbies, clients and hobbyists to discuss topics ranging from football to sex workers in varying degrees of detail.  Such boards actually have a large reader/viewership beyond what is seen upon login, as anyone who is aware of them can utilize them for due diligence on a specific sex worker or agency which is a double edged sword. Law enforcement often uses these boards as well in their war on “illegal sex trafficking” (see Maggie McNeill’s blog as it is chock full of articles on this fact).

    Hobbyist: A man who has a lot of reviews under his belt, is very active on his local board and who’s opinion regarding sex workers and the industry is well regarded among his hobbyist and newbie peers.

    The truth is most of us sex workers hate the Big Boards—there are two which most loathe but I will not name because their notoriety already precedes them. Many of us would prefer to not use them because of the damage that can be done to our businesses by one dissatisfied client or a vindictive ass who knows that the inter-workings of the system skews heavily in his favor. The ability to seek proper recourse for such instances is virtually non-existent and often times when we are successful in getting a bad review or bad thread taken down, the damage has been done and the road to rebuilding one’s reputation is long. It has been well documented that men take the word of other men over that of a woman and a sex worker speaking out on mistreatment or bad conduct is rarely believed. Why would a whore tell the truth about a guy behaving badly—she is a whore after all? Of course, it is her fault that she received the bad review, the guy couldn’t possibly have done something to elicit the response he received. I have two bad reviews to my name if a person were to dig back in my review history. The first was a guy who was pissed that I wouldn’t leave work early (at the time I held a corporate job) to see him who became increasing belligerent over email—even hurling racial and homophobic slurs.  I never succeeded in getting his review removed as back then the boards were managed by local moderators and I was told that I “lack sufficient evidence to merit removal”. The other was a Black guy who stated that I had “bad skin” (I never have a day in my life) and was “ok” in looks. I remember him quite well to this day; he was arrogant, full of himself and wanted things that I was in no way about to do and he made it known that he was a reviewer several times during our encounter, and attempted to threaten me with a bad review. The threat of a bad review is a sort of psychological rape that a sex worker must endure during an encounter with suitor and often is the very root of the “disconnect” or “choreographed” experiences men write about. The mental anguish is increased if we are aware we are seeing a Hobbyist: A man who has a lot of reviews under his belt, is very active on his local board and who’s opinion regarding sex workers and the industry is well regarded among his hobbyist and newbie peers. There is a backlash occurring, however; many ladies across the country are delisting themselves such as Ms. Ava Raleigh and others such as Adrianna Carter and @FCKTER are leading an apocalyptic crusade against the corrupt and degrading system. Viva la Revolucion!

    THE REVIEW SYSTEM

    The review system by its very nature becomes a system of non-consent—especially for those providing services outside the realm of intercourse or anal sex.

    The review system is a very explicit way of ranking the performance and looks of a sex worker by those who have seen her. It is graphic, often demeaning and leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. They are poorly written pieces of highly fictitious erotica that are often heavily embellished in order for them to be published in the first place. Many a gentleman has said that in order to get a review of a lady they met with published, it gets denied quite often due to “not enough detail” until the deep and sordid details of every sigh, moan and cum load are described with an embarrassing amount of embellishment. A girl is given a ranking of 1-10 on looks and performance and it has been suggested that an element of racism exists in the system as several men who often patron African-American sex workers have confessed that whenever they attempt to give her a 10/10 they are given bullshit reasons as to why their reviews are consistently denied…that is until they lower at least one of the scores by two points. (*Note: There are exceptions to every rule. I have a singular 10/10 but that is also from a well-respected hobbyist too. But just because something is allowed to happen on occasion doesn’t mean that getting it to happen did not take an act of Congress with aid from a pantheon of gods.)

    There is also the well-known fact that if a sex worker does not provider intercourse, she cannot receive marks higher than a 7 and a 7 is the kiss of death for any sex worker’s business. If sensual massage, BD/SM, Domination, Fetish or Kink without sex (with her) is offered, anything above a 7 is unachievable. The review system by its very nature becomes a system of non-consent—especially for those providing services outside the realm of intercourse or anal sex. If the only reason I consent to sex and/or I take a look at my business model and make the decision to start having sex or start offering anal is because I see the clear correlation between offering such services and higher scores on reviews and an increase in patronage, then that is still a form on non-consent. IT IS A FORM OF SILENT COERCION DUE TO THE CULTURE OF A COMMUNITY. The time for change to review culture is long overdue.

    A NEW DAY

    The purpose of reviews should be nothing more than a step in the due diligence process for sex workers and patrons alike. It should not be the circle-jerk, chest beating “cum on her face festival” that it is today. It should be a system that respects both the privacy of sex workers and the men who seek their company and it should be a two-way street should a man seek/attain hobbyist stature.

    The critical pieces of information in my view are:

    Is her location a hotel or private?

    If private what type (house/apt/condo)?

    How did you first make contact with the provider?

    • Phone
    • Email
    • Text
    • Other (please specify)

    Was this her preferred method of contact?

    • Yes
    • No

    If no and you were able to meet with the provider, give specific reason she gave for seeing you anyway?

    Cleanliness of location

    • High
    • Moderate
    • Low

    Please explain the reason for your choice in detail

    Was provider the person in the photos?

    • Yes
    • No

    Were the photos accurate?

    • Yes
    • Sort of
    • No

    If “No” or “Sort of”, please explain the reason for your choice in detail

    Type of experiences(s) offered?

    • Massage
    • BD/SM
    • Kink/Fetish
    • GFE
    • PSE
    • Domination

    Type of experience(s) you engaged in?

    • Massage
    • BD/SM
    • Kink/Fetish
    • GFE
    • PSE
    • Domination

    Were you please with how you were greeted?

    • Yes
    • No

    Please explain the reason for your choice in detail

    Personal hygiene of provider at time of visit

    • High
    • Moderate
    • Low

    Please explain RESPECTFULLY in detail

    Did you feel safe and were you able to fully relax?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sort of

    Please explain any reason given in more detail

    Would you see this specific provider in the future?

    • Highly likely
    • Likely
    • Neutral
    • Unsure
    • No

    Please explain any reason given in more detail?

    Given your selections above, please rank your overall experience

    (This can be done with 1-5 stars)

    This method is simple and unobtrusive. If a bad review is given, before it goes up publicly a provider is given notice by email before posting and up to a week to dispute it using emails and photos (*Note: Currently we receive no notification that we even have a new review. They are little unwelcomed surprises often told to us by other sex workers or suitors). This could weed out potentially pissed off and vindictive sorts. Furthermore, if a provider has a good experience with a known hobbyist, she should be able to file a PUBLICALLY VIEWABLE similar report on him/her. We already have private systems in place for bad experiences and such things need to remain private and among ourselves for safety reasons but when we see hobbyist, I fully believe they should receive full reviews also as a way to equally self-police both sides of the community. While my methodology is by no means perfect, it is a start in the right direction of changing reputation damaging review culture. Sex workers have a right to critique what is published publicly about them and a right to dispute bad press. A man’s opinion on his experience with a sex worker should be able to be countered and fully disputed—especially if she has a string of excellent reviews and suddenly is lambasted in a new review or in a public forum. No matter what type of experience a given sex worker offers, intercourse (and especially anal sex) should not receive the highest marks of all and a massage provider should not feel pressured into sex to get higher scores and increase her review rankings. Furthermore, looks are highly subjective—what’s one man’s goddess could be another man’s ogre. Why rank looks? Asking if she is the girl in the photos and if the photos are accurate is enough. Lastly, a sex worker should not feel pressured to show her face to get more business or as a way to dispute low scoring reviews (I feel this silent pressure myself) despite the fact that the men who engage us hide behind handle names and fake emails and we more often than not don’t see their face until we open the door on a first date. We have private lives that deserve the same amount of protection and respect as any of the men who seek our services. Asking for unblurred pictures is highly disrespectful and writing in a review, “Her pics are blurred which has given me pause for a long time but since her latest reviews are within my criteria for someone I typically meet I gave it the go ahead. She should really consider showing her face as she is beautiful and she would get more business.”

    Dear Naïve and Arrogant Sir,

    I blur my face because I am aware that there is face matching technology out there and I am always aware of scraper sites that will take my image and ad copy and post shit as far away as the Xin Hang Province in China. I also plan on a future after sex work and if my face is plastered all over the internet should I remain in the U.S. where sex work is illegal, getting a job could be thwarted by the fact that HR and background check firms now look at potential hire’s social media and perform Google image matches on faces checking for criminal history and BOOM! There my face is to some ancient ad I posted years prior. Sir, I am a regarded as criminal and pariah by all of society for my choice to engage in this type of work. So how dare you ignorantly and arrogantly request more pictures of me where I show my face via email, text or other means then play juror and judge for me not doing so.

    **Comments have been enabled on this posting**

    Written by Alexandria Fox

    Written by Alexandria Fox

    7 Comments:
    1. In the days before TER (yep, I was there… though not a participant in this lifestyle to the degree that I am now) there were other boards who’s review format is similar to what you have above. BigDoggie.net still exists I believe, though apparently people prefer TER’s more graphic style as that site now gets 10x the traffic. Big Doggie reviews were never required to be graphic.

      Oddly enough, I also miss the the old escorts.com… while it was just as difficult to get a review removed or changed, ladies were allowed to add comments to each of their reviews so as to make sure that their side of the story could be told. That was *really* helpful, for a variety of reasons. When a gentleman reads another man’s review, he’s looking through someone else’s perspective, and there’s no way for the lady herself to actually engage the reader – it basically leaves our marketing up to the mercy of some random man’s literary skills! If you’ve seen the drivel that passes for a coherent carnal recollection on TER, you know that’s a nightmare… allowing the lady a section to say her own piece, even if it’s just a well written thank you, gives us an opportunity to at least take back *some* control over how we would like to handle our public display.

      Madame X · September 10, 2016
    2. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I’ve been around quite awhile and seen many things come and go in this business. I have seen reviews grow increasingly graphic and sordid over the years. I have had conversations with women who feel pressured to add PSE, anal sex, unprotected rubbing to their offerings and who felt they had to show their faces because the trend in face showing comes and goes over the years. Menu offering change more frequently than that of a Richard Blaise restaurant. These women are often times under psychological duress from the pressure of review/hobby culture. Some cave in and others give a strong middle finger to the establishment. Some suffer under the weight others are made strong from the weight lifting. At the very least a sex worker should be able to reply to a review written on her on a board in some way as you stated. The utter disgusting USA Sexguide needs to fucking burn as that is a trash site and is frightening to read through as the men there (with some TER crossover) regularly write about abusing sex workers who are on the dark fringes of our industry. We need an alternative and fast! The exodus from such sites will not happen (as stated on Twitter by Geeky Client) until one presents itself. With all the ladies who are wonderfully educated in web design, software engineering and code it is a wonder someone hasn’t effectively snatched control or isn’t on the way to doing so. I thank Miss Adrianna Carter and FCKTER for their presence on Twitter because they have raised the battle banners and scream loudly the rallying cry for all sex workers to hear. And goddamnit we are listening!

      Alexandria Fox · September 10, 2016
    3. I’m new to the industry and TER gives me extreme anxiety. I hate every intimate detail (real or fantasy) being displayed out there for anyone to sign up and see. I feel pressured to get reviews because people tell me that I won’t get any business without it. I have nothing against other forms of sex work, but I’m not a porn star simply because I see intimacy as something private between the parties involved. It’s just not my personality to want everyone to know what happened between us. Them writing erotic novels disguised as a review makes me feel extremely violated. And after reading some of the reviews of myself makes me feel like I’m reading the transcript of a porn movie. I always try to provide the best date possible but I often feel like knowing a guy is going to review me (or that I need to ask for a review) slightly changes my personality. I start thinking about all the categories listed and what I need to do to ensure a good review or a rating above 8. I personally don’t like giving bbbj. I fear for my health. But after not being able to get a decent review because I only offered covered made me change it. I still don’t feel good about. I saw a hobbyist just yesterday and I personally couldn’t enjoy it because I was so concerned about how the review would be. They love to brag about how many reviews they write. Like letting me know you better be good or I’ll ruin your career. He even went on and on about how every girl he sees in Orlando gives him a discount and he never pays more than $200 and they go way out of there way to accommodate him. Well I’m not dropping my prices because you are a well known hobbyist. I wish my website building and coding skills were good enough to create this much needed website.

      Chantel Etoile · September 10, 2016
    4. My heart goes out to you, Sweetheart, as your words point to the scary reality of review culture. First off, let me state that sex work is work and like any other worker we deserve full rights and protections. The criminalization of sex workers in the U.S. serves no one–not even the moral crusaders who believe that a woman cannot logically make the decision to sell sex. It is one more stone in the wall built around women’s sexual autonomy and our right to our own bodies. We somehow lack the ability to accurately judge such a decision. However, the tricky part of sex work is this: As long as a camera is involved and the girl shows her face even though there is money exchanged for sex it suddenly becomes perfectly legal (pornography).

      As you pointed out, knowing that a review might be the result of a date with a client behavior is adjusted be it consciously or subconsciously. We are not ourselves or even the best that our “characters” have to offer. This is when an intimate act between two consenting adults becomes a bit part audition. We go for the Oscar or Emmy out of fear that a reviewer will ruin our business. I am sorry that you feel you must offer BBBJ’s although you have no desire to. I hate that you had low scores because you did not offer this. I often wonder are those pages of 10/10’s received by an elite few are 1) Mostly fake or 2) the result of said sex worker having unprotected sex in order to receive those coveted pages of 10/10 reviews. It’s time that WE all made the decision to dismantle review culture and take back our lives, reputations and businesses. We can all work together to achieve this through both big and small actions. Twitter has provided an amazing place for seasoned and new sex workers alike where we find our voices, support and educate one another, share our joys and share our worries. A small action each and every one of us can take would be to write about review culture and/or support those who do. Follow account such as @AdriannaCarter and @FCKTER and others who regularly sound a rally cry against the “Slobbyist” establishment, and speak out against trash sites such as USA Sexguide. Stop putting down Backpage girls or women who charge rates lower than you. Lower rates does not mean lower class. Classism and elitism among sex workers needs to die and be buried. No one is better than another. We must celebrate and champion our differences because it is those things that make us unique and beautiful.

      Follow your heart, trust your instincts and get yourself a tight circle of trustworthy heaux friends because they make the best friends in this isolating profession. If you are suffering mental and emotional anguish, seek therapy from a sex worker positive counselor or from SWOP in your area. Lastly, there are wonderful men out there who see things the way that you do and learning to market to your target audience is key. Dig deep and figure out what makes you special and sets you apart from the bevy of beauties available in your market. Network with willing providers and tour if you can to areas where your preferred clientele reside.

      To the Slobbyist who regularly prey on sex worker insecurities with the threat of bad reviews know that a revolt against the revolting has been brewing and the tidal wave of reckoning is coming. We and other men who hate you are speaking out against you for you are the bastard spawn that has been allowed to wreck havoc for far too long.

      Alexandria Fox · September 10, 2016
    5. You’re aware of VerifyHer.com, right? And my own thoughts on the subject? They’re creating VerifyHer based on my blog post. I’m looking forward to it finally being open to use.
      https://twitter.com/v_erifyher
      http://www.texasgoldengirl.com/afterhours/verified-escorts/

      Amanda · September 11, 2016
    6. I was wondering when (or if) that was ever going to launch and I am glad to hear that it is. You are right that it would attract many providers and suitors to the service and it protects us from vicious and nasty public outing such as the one you mentioned. I will stay abreast of the website’s developments.

      Alexandria Fox · September 19, 2016
    7. This post is spot on. Thank you for sharing and letting your voice be known!

      In essence, I don’t see valid excuse for writing incriminating information on the web for all to see. Unfortunately, many sex workers have been victims of online reviews and have been busted, evicted from their apartments, and/or have had their children taken away from them as a result of someone printing out reviews and blackmailing them.

      Reviews are just not safe in regards to sex work.

      Kind Regards,
      Adrienne Baptiste
      http://adriennebaptiste.com

      Adrienne Baptiste · September 29, 2016

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