Love & Sex Magazine

Forbidden Questions

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Forbidden QuestionsIt happened again this week:  somebody emailed me a question that I could answer, but won’t.

When I first started this blog seven years ago, I was just a little past 40 and still a little bit naive about the capacity of humans to handle unpleasant truths.  Of course I recognized that most people prefer to live in blissful ignorance than to have their comfortable delusions challenged, but I foolishly believed that the sort of person who would read a blog specifically offering “frank commentary” from a hooker would be different.  And you know what?  I was wrong.  Just because someone’s against the establishment and wants to change the status quo doesn’t make them open-minded; very often, it just means they want to establish their own censorious, oppressive status quo.  So during the first year I was writing The Honest Courtesan, I often stepped on the toes of people who weren’t actually my enemies, and against whom I meant no disrespect or offense.  Sometimes it was because I was wrong; sometimes it was because I was basically right, but expressed myself in a clumsy or offensive way; and sometimes it was because I was completely right, but the objectors simply didn’t like what I was saying so they mischaracterized it as something else or simply denied that I was qualified to opine on the subject at all.  The majority of the times the latter happened, it was because I’m not a member of whatever group the question involved; on a few occasions, people who wanted to be offended have actually claimed I wasn’t a member of some group that I actually am a member of, so as to have an excuse to attack me.  I’ve had women claim I was never raped because they were angry that I challenge neofeminist bullshit about rape; before I went back to work prohibitionists would often claim I had never been a whore (it’s kinda hard to do that now that my escort ads are easily found on Google by typing in “Maggie McNeill Seattle escort”); and before I was showing my face in copious selfies and freaking TELEVISION APPEARANCES, some idiots who thought themselves clever tried to claim I was a man (specifically a client) because they didn’t want to believe that a woman might not think like them.

At first, this didn’t really bother me, but now I’m over 50 and operating in a chronic state of emotional exhaustion, and people with axes to grind are just looking for excuses to undermine my work by making asinine accusations against me; some of these are even sex workers for whom ideological purity trumps actually unifying to fight for decriminalization.  So I’m sorry, but I will no longer answer controversial questions about groups that I’m not a member of.  If your question is about women in general, or sex workers, or bisexual women, or kinky people, or any other group I’m part of, fire away and it can be as controversial as you like.  And if your question involves some group of which I’m not a member such as nonwhite people, trans people, heterosexual people or whatever and it isn’t controversial, fire away and I’ll answer as best I can.  But if you have some question which arouses considerable acrimony and involves a group I’m not part of?  Forget it.  I’ve been directly told, for example, that I’m not allowed to have an opinion on circumcision because I don’t have a penis, even if that opinion is based in data from published studies.  And while I think that’s nonsense, I’m too tired to fight it any more; you’ll need to address such questions to a member of whatever group is allowed to have opinions on the subject.  Sorry about that; I’m not masochistic enough to enjoy beating my head against a brick wall.

The one exception is questions about those in power, of course; I’ve never held political power, but I’ll opine on those sociopaths all day long.  Fuck them.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)


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