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Welcome to the world of sex worker review boards, online forums that allow people to discuss and rate the appearance and skills of sex industry service providers. The general tone is a combination of blatant objectification of women "it"?
But as in other service industries, these often-slimy online critiques can have a very real impact on business. VICE reached out to sex trade workers and clients alike to find out just how influential these forums can be and why they are dripping with this macho, misogynistic language. Interestingly, the sex workers themselves were not so quick to condemn the forums and generally say there are many positive aspects to consider. She says that for sex workers, also referred to as "providers" or "service providers" , the review boards provide a useful platforms on which they can communicate with each other to discuss clients and share tips and concerns.
There's also a financial advantage: "For some sex workers, that's the only place they advertise, because advertising can be expensive," she says. However, Garcia says Canada's prohibitive new prostitution laws , which criminalize the advertising of sexual services as well as the purchase of sex among myriad other aspects of sex work , have reduced the sites' reach and purpose and limited the kind of conversations users can have. And while a number of review boards are now hosted outside the country, operating in a sort of legislative grey zone, she says many users have simply been scared away.
While the language tends to be vulgar and chauvinistic, it's a tendency Garcia chalks up to the anonymity of reviewers. They use language they would never use, take liberties they would never take. Garcia says that relative to the industry's context, the comments are no worse that review sites devoted to other topics or professions. On the client side, workers say the sites can play the role of consumer watchdog. But the women agree there is an insidious side to the review system.
According to Libertine, the fear of negative reviews that can push women to eschew safety measures or to perform acts they're not comfortable doing. For instance, she says some men take to the boards to complain about women who use condoms.