You might remember the article about sex workers in the Sunday New York Times, "The Double Lives of High-Priced Call Girls," that interviewed a Williamsburg artist and "part-time prostitute," an internet escort raising money for her uninsured father's operation, and a dominatrix. The article appeared calm and fair, and didn't identify the working women as victims. However, one of the women profiled, the artist/part time prostitute "Faith O'Donnell," was unhappy with how she was represented. The article described her as "25, is a hipster with entrancing blue eyes who carries an NPR tote bag and might offer up a few pleasantries on the Whole Foods checkout line before turning back to her Junot Diaz novel." But that's not what irked her! On the sex workers' blog Bound, Not Gagged, she tells us "How the NYT Got an Interview Wrong: For one thing, basic details were wrong, but too many identifying details were included, despite my request to the contrary (I wish I had paid off my student loans!)..."
Additionally, I felt like this was a fluff piece for the Sunday paper, only confirming one kind of way of thinking about sex workers. Had I known this, I wouldn't have participated. I turned down many other requests in response to our press release or spoke less in-depth, but the NY Times seemed to have more credibility (stupid of me), and Andrew Jacobs seemed to "get it..."[ Bound, Not Gagged]
I have never identified as a prostitute or call girl, or as "a call girl who books [my] own appointments." I was told for the piece, I needed to talk about 'personal experience.' I talked about stripping (sex work includes different kinds of sexually-oriented jobs, not just "prostitution")...
I would have never said I do anything illegal! And I'm not doing anything illegal. I have a relationship I didn't want to mention and a girl I'm dating and the reporter assumed I'm "bisexual" (I hate that term) and made other assumptions (gleaned as true from my coyness or hesitation to talk about some subjects). Furthermore, some details are totally out of context, as if I had said them the way expressed in the article. Andrew Jacobs spoke to 4 people at length, only 2 of whom are explicitly represented in in the article, and it seems as though some of the details are combined!
Overall, I don't think it portrayed me totally in a "bad light," (I am an NPR addict with "entrancing blue eyes" and "natural breasts" that keep 'em coming, after all!) but represented me in a way that could be hurtful to me (despite being details not about me) and was not ultimately a new story about sex workers... and also included too many personal details that were supposedly only required as "factual references."