Week Woman

A Pox on the Patriarchy

In Her Own Words…Interview With a London Call Girl: Review

- Caroline Criado-Perez

“I love it. It’s fun now. But sometimes I can’t stand it. Sometimes I really hate it. But a lot of the time, I like it. I like it better than a boyfriend. It’s fun.”

This is one sentence. But there are many I could have chosen from the interview I’m reading of Q, a woman in her mid-twenties who had been In Her Own Words... Interview with a London Call Girl - Book Cover
selling sex since she was fifteen. And nearly all of them would have reflected the divided, oxymoronic emotions revealed in this near-chiastic sentence, whose circular structure seems almost calculated to represent the unmerry-go-round of confusion that pervaded her life.

In Her Own Words…Interview with a London Call Girl”, is an unedited transcript of Q’s words, spoken to Ruth Jacobs in the 1990s. They describe her emotions – or really, lack thereof, in regard to her body, her mind and her life. She reveals a life hardened by abuse; a body disconnected from a mind; a soul that she cannot help but continue to destroy.

Q describes an attitude to her work that sounds like addiction. She speaks of loving it, hating it, relishing the control, hating what feels like a rape she must consent to. And more than once, she says “I can’t stop” – phrasing which sounds very much like it’s missing a “but I want to”.

And it doesn’t just affect her work-life – the emotions have infected nearly all aspects of her life. She repeatedly states that she can’t have a boyfriend – partly because sex without being paid for it feels like rape, but also because she can no longer trust men after what she’s seen. What she’s done. Who she’s done it with. “I would always think of them as tampering with my child”, she says – and continues, “I think that if it weren’t for prostitutes there’d be a lot more people getting raped in the world”. She is providing a chilling service.

Not that she receives gratitude for it. People, “especially women…normal women” – with that qualifier revealing so much of what’s wrong with our attitudes to women who sell sex – “take the piss” out of her being “a hooker”. “..it’s like they’re disgusted with me”, she says. But as she points out, these people who look down on her for how she pays the rent, who attack her mother for “letting” her do it, aren’t provide any assistance beyond their inefficacious moral outrage. And so she doesn’t “give a shit about them”.

And they don’t give a shit about her. Friends who she looks to for support expect sex in return. No sex, no support.

Q talks about the “buzz” of feeling in control as she dresses up and looks “like a proper hooker”; she also talks about times where she felt like she was being raped, but had to continue for the money. It is hard to think of anything less like control. It’s hard to think of anything less like fun.

And yet, it’s all Q knows, and it’s what she wants to keep doing as long as she can. “…‘cos I like this fantasyland what I’m in. You’re in a world of your own. It’s like…but I’m having fun. I like it.”

Since this interview, Q has sadly died. Ruth Jacobs’ book has been released in order to raise funds for “Beyond the Streets”, a charity that aims to help women who want to leave the industry. A charity that doesn’t stand in judgement. Which is crucial, because, while there are some women who enjoy their work, what is clear from Q’s story is that, for those who don’t, the sex industry can destroy you, mind, soul, and ultimately, even body.

You can buy a copy of the book here. Please do. It’s an incredibly moving and powerful read – and opens the door to voices that are far too little heard.

3 comments on “In Her Own Words…Interview With a London Call Girl: Review

  1. Candice
    December 31, 2012

    I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! :)
    http://candycoatedturtles.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/2013-here-we-come/

  2. cherrybossom777
    December 26, 2012

    Wow. This is something the whole world should read. Men and women. Im really interested what prostitutes are like-how they think/ how they see the world and do they all get beaten do the all hate it? I will definetly get this book and the series too. I would like to ask, how did she die? Was she killed?

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2012 by in Features and tagged , , , , , , , .
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