Favorite

Stormy shaming 

Can we talk about Stormy Daniels? More specifically, can we talk about how we talk about Stormy Daniels?

Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, first gained mainstream attention in 2009 when she considered running against David Vitter, the GOP senator from Louisiana who was caught up in the D.C. madam scandal. Now, she is back in the news after allegations that Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney and "fixer," paid Daniels out of his own pocket to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she claims to have had with Trump. With the recent FBI raid on Cohen's office and the revelation that Sean Hannity was one of Cohen's few clients, it is safe to say Daniels will probably be in the news cycle for a while.

Male political pundits, columnists and commentators can rejoice that they are guaranteed at least a few more weeks to put their misogyny on full display with more tired jokes and snide remarks about Daniels' enhanced appearance and her completely legal work as an adult film actress and dancer. After she gave a prime-time television interview and took a lie detector test wearing what was a perfectly normal outfit, a chorus of men, including those who claim to lean left, took the opportunity to take as many shots at Daniels as possible. Calling her breasts "preposterous" and referring to them as "hooters" and implying she will have sex with just about anyone were some of the more tame, but still offensive, jokes. I refuse to repeat some of the more obscene, but if you are on social media, I'm sure you've seen what I'm talking about. Sure, in between the digs, a few compliment her here and there about how she is clever or articulate, but in the end, because of her line of work, her blonde hair, and large breasts, she is a punch line. A joke.

Never mind that Daniels comes across one of the most sincere, intelligent and human players in the whole Trump fiasco. She is a mother, a success in her industry, and her sense of humor is far more sophisticated than those who want to reduce her to body parts and sex work. She also had the sense to hire Michael Avenatti, who by all accounts seems to be the sharpest and most competent attorney in this whole dang mess.

Before you call me a humorless scold, I'll admit I'm guilty of having made light of sex workers in the past and laughing at stripper jokes. No more. Over the years, I've represented sex workers in various court proceedings and am always frustrated when a few judges, prosecutors and police immediately discredit them due to their work. I think we all know women and men who use sex as currency. They just aren't as brave as Daniels to admit it. I think the thing that put me over the top with my intolerance for the bashing of sex workers is when I attended a convention in New Orleans for attorneys. Two other groups were meeting at that same hotel: a Lutheran youth group and the Desiree Alliance. The Desiree Alliance describes itself as "a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social scientists, professional sex educators and their supporting networks working together for an improved understanding of the sex industry and its human, social and political impacts."

I was immediately curious to see their itinerary. They had classes on harm reduction, human trafficking, effective lobbying of local and state governments and access to health care, but what immediately stood out to me was that the Desiree Alliance provided free on-site childcare for all of the attendees. The attorney conference, with a large amount of women attorneys present, did not.

Why is this such a big deal? I work as a criminal defense attorney. It's a job that many people don't understand. Over the years, I've represented men and women charged with terrible crimes against children. I'm received scorn from friends and family members for doing something they see as immoral and inconsistent with my role as a mom. Don't understand? Look at the comments about Melisa McNeill, the public defender assigned to defend Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz. Look at the attacks on political candidates who have worked in criminal defense. I know attorneys who've received death threats and had their websites attacked because of the unpopularity of their clients. Being a criminal defense attorney isn't the same thing as being a sex worker, but I think, like many of the women attorneys who had to struggle to arrange child care while we attended our conference, I felt a kind of kinship with these women who do work that is necessary and needed, yet they are maligned for their decision to do the work. That they supported each other enough to provide free childcare and to acknowledge their roles as mothers and caregivers forever endeared me to them.

But back to Daniels. In her interview she pointed out that she initially took the money from Cohen because she knew she would be the subject of scorn and ridicule if the story got out. She was right. In the end, the only thing preposterous about Daniels is the idea that her bra size and her career mean she is fair game to be slut-shamed by progressives and conservatives alike.

Favorite

Speaking of Stormy Daniels

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Autumn Tolbert

  • Rep. Nicole Clowney on education, disagreements and who runs the world

    Freshman Rep. Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville) took time out of her schedule recently to answer a few questions about the expectations of others, the biggest problem facing Arkansas today and what she's listening to as she prepares to represent District 86.
    • Jan 16, 2019
  • Rep. Jamie Scott ready to do the hard work

    Rep. Jamie Scott (North Little Rock) became the youngest African-American woman in the Arkansas Legislature. Scott, the executive director for Pulaski County Youth Services, defeated opponent Isaac Henry in the District 37 Democratic primary and went on to run unopposed in the general election. Recently, she took time to answer my questions about what problem she believes needs fixing in Arkansas, the pressures of being a woman elected in 2018 and the music she is listening to as she prepares for her first week of the 2019 legislative session.
    • Jan 15, 2019
  • Some thoughts from Rep. Megan Godfrey on her new role as a legislator

    I reached out to Representatives-elect Megan Godfrey, Nicole Clowney, Jamie Scott, Denise Garner, and Tippi McCullough to get their thoughts on the biggest problem facing Arkansas, how they plan to deal with the pressure of having so many women looking to them with high expectations, and what they are listening to for inspiration or motivation as they prepare for their first week in the legislature. Up first is Godfrey, a bilingual educator and mother of two who defeated the GOP incumbent, Jeff Williams, by twenty-nine votes in District 89.
    • Jan 14, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Wrasslin' Trump

    I first thought the Sunday morning video clip of President Trump wrestling was something from one of the many parody accounts on Twitter.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • A fresh start

    For much of my adult life, I've tried to eat black-eyed peas and greens every New Year's Day, worrying that if I didn't, the year would be just awful. I've made resolutions. I've sworn off fast food. I've pledged to go to the gym three times a week.
    • Jan 4, 2018

Latest in Autumn Tolbert

  • Beware of 'unity'

    Beware the sweet lull of that siren song calling for "unity" and for us to "come together." It's the latest incarnation of the call for "civility," and just as dangerous.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Of the people

    In a recent video posted to Instagram, U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran as a Democrat in New York's 14th Congressional District and is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, walks in front of the United States Capitol.
    • Nov 29, 2018
  • On to 2020

    I'll add my two cents to the chorus of advice for Democrats in 2020: Do not limit your imagination by falling back on candidates who have previously appeared on the ballot.
    • Nov 15, 2018
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • Perhaps, dss, the relevant data is found in the types of jobs held by men…

    • on January 16, 2019
  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • Wondering what my name would be if not for Jonathan Swift. Probably Pamela.

    • on January 15, 2019
  • Re: Of Freud and foolishness

    • i would not necessarily regard this correlation as evidence of 'toxic' effects, but some years…

    • on January 15, 2019
 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation