This week I started working on my master’s thesis. I’ve had my two weeks of fucking off, being in Vegas, sleeping, socializing and falling behind on my various responsibilities, and that was nice while it lasted, but I have a lot to do if I want to be awesome in 2007.
Right, so the thesis. I’m adapting the work from my book on sex work and the Internet for academia (lots of footnotes), and I’ve got two readers for it, one of whom totally gets it, and the other who is the prof in the thesis workshop, who doesn’t get it at all.
During our class this week, I was attempting to explain that one of the main things I want to explore in the paper is the emergence of a growing middle class of sex workers as a result of the advantages of the Internet, and the fact that the Internet is creating a more visible and politicized digital space which some women create workspaces that allow them to opt out of other jobs and lifestyles. The prof simply didn’t accept the idea that some women would chose sex work or that a sex worker could be an intelligent (or even sentient) being. Incredulous, she said: “It’s not as if sex workers are writing master’s papers at Columbia!” And the whole class laughed.
I opened my mouth for an angry second and then clamped it back shut, looked down at my Donna’s Ranch pen and thought of Scarlot Harlot and her performance about who to be out to and who not to be out to: “Don’t come out to your dissertation committee!”
Its unlikely that I will remain silent (silenced?) for the whole semester on this issue, but fuck. My other thesis reader Knows About Me, which is fine and lovely, but this is going to be rough going. I know I am naive to believe that I can glide through with a topic like the one I’m addressing, and I have some decisions to make. I want to love academia again, the way I did years ago when I was getting my BA. But I don’t, and furthermore it isn’t loving me back. It really makes me sad, and I don’t want to just go through the motions so I can get that piece of paper, but fuck dude. Sometimes I think I’m very cleverly negotiating the lines between all the different worlds I’ve got a stake in, and other times I think the joke is on me.