"It is very important to me that everyone understands I do not support decriminalization or support illegal sex work. I only advocate legal federally and state regulated brothel style prostitution. After having grown up in the adult industry and having spent 20 years in the business, safety remains my number one priority. I consider all sex workers - men, women and transgender alike - my sisters and brothers and want everyone to understand that if we work diligently on changing stereotypes and empowering one another we can change laws in order to ensure a safe work environment for all of us. It's important to me that our clients are protected as well. We work in the most intimate business there is and health education and safety should be our focus." Bethany St. James
After Bethany's headline on Xbiz.net caught my attention, I was drawn to the magnetic presence exemplified through her website. What a dynamic woman! Not to mention, an eloquent writer. Now, here is a woman who takes a firm stand on what she believes, liability and all. However, I found her interview with Anderson Cooper to be somewhat disturbing and awkwardly unfair. I approached Bethany about a phone interview with Geisha Diaries. Not only did she oblige, but she was johnny-on-the-spot with the timeliness of our scheduled phone call.
1. Why did you choose to go on national television to talk about your job as a legal prostitute?
I had a lot of respect for Anderson Cooper as a journalist. For weeks I spoke with the producers of CNN about the blog entry I wrote for Huffington Post. I expressed my concerns about how the subject of legal prostitution would be represented during the scheduled interview with Anderson. During the recording of the interview, I felt that the rug was pulled out from underneath me. They betrayed me. During the actual interview was the first time I heard the title of the show, “Why Men Cheat”.
2. The interview was rough. How did it make you feel?
It was pretty bad. Most parts of the interview that contained horrible, blatant insults were cut. At one point, the producers came onto the stage to see how I was doing because it was so brutal. They told Anderson to give me a chance to respond to questions. They really toned it down and cut out most of my intelligent responses.
3. As an advocate for women in the adult industry, I recognized your objective. What was your heart felt reaction to the audience’s response?
I felt sorry for them. Since the interview, I have received so many emails from female viewers who saw the show on television and actually support me. They think it’s a shame that the people in the audience did not support me. Many of these same female viewers are now following me on Twitter. Their initial views of what I do had changed by the end of the show. I think that the people in the audience just couldn’t put stereotyping out of their heads long enough to hear what I had to say. I advocate goal setting and empowerment of intimacy. Lack of intimacy is a dilemma that has permeated our entire culture yet we don’t talk to our partners about it.
4. Why do you think women are threatened by the fact that you are a legal prostitute?
I think that people would be more accepting of my message if I was uneducated. Because of the stereotype, they don’t understand that I am empowered, smart and happy. I’m about setting goals and achieving those goals. Many women think that because I’m a prostitute I am automatically attached to a stereotype.
5. Did you feel attacked? If so, why?
I held it together until I got to the airport after the interview and then I got sick. But I wanted to stand up for my peers. So I made it my mission to be the whipping post.
6. Seems women are threatened by who you are and what you stand for before they even consider how they personally might play a role in the dysfunctionality of the relationships with their husbands. What message can you send to these ladies?
They are close minded and doing a disservice to their marriage. Sex workers have an interesting viewpoint of relationships and sexuality. Their points are just as valid if not more so because the men still go to see them. I wish that these women could open their minds and hear what these sex workers have to say. These women are contributing to the decline of their relationships.
Written by Geisha Diaries Publisher, Meeshee