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Annals of academic TMI: Ex-grad student blabs to her professor that she works as a dominatrix, then is shocked, shocked that the prof isn’t all in

December 10, 2019
 Dominatrix
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Your $55,000 a year in college tuition pays for revelations like these:
Something seemed off when I signed into Interfolio one late September morning, during the break between two classes I was teaching. I scanned the dossier a few times, wondering if it could be a glitch, and then it hit me: My mentor had withdrawn her letter of recommendation. In fact, she had withdrawn all of her letters, from 2016 to now. The revelation rang in my ears, like crystal shattering on the floor.
My mentor — let’s call her Anne — was the sole reason I finished my dissertation. While she wasn’t my adviser or even in my primary field, she was my cheerleader and confidante. We had become quite close. She said she felt in loco parentis; I called her my “dissertation mom.” But things fell apart when, desperate to quell her fears after a summer teaching gig fell through, I outed myself to her as a sex worker.
The author of this piece calls herself “Mistress Snow.” She says she got her Ph.D. “in the humanities.” Thanks to the fact that no one wants to give a full-time tenure-track teaching job to a Ph.D. in the humanities these days, Mistress Snow works for peanuts as a part-tlme adjunct professor when she’s not walking on some guy’s back in her stiletto boots:
I teach four classes per semester and occasionally a summer course; at best, I make $28,000 annually, after taxes….
This past summer, a few months before embarking on my fourth round on the academic job market, and without any courses to teach for the semester, I found myself in a financial snafu. With no money in my checking account and no paycheck on the horizon, I had about a week to cobble together a couple grand before rent was due. The clock kept ticking; there was no lifeboat in sight. I was hungry. So I swallowed my pride, reluctantly dusted off my corset, and dialed up the old dungeon. By the end of the week, I was back in the sex trade, beating, humiliating, and degrading men (and sometimes women) for $90 an hour, plus tips — slightly above my hourly adjunct pay before taxes.
But no one in academia really understands the intellectual paradoxes:

Sex work…exposes the scholar’s body in a way that highlights the very vulnerability and, indeed, the humanity that academic work politely ignores. It lays bare the prevailing truth that bodily exertion cannot be acknowledged unless it is in service of intellectual work — never mind survival. The academic sex worker, selling her body to subsidize her brain, is a mirror: See how my candle burns at both ends. Look at how I set myself ablaze for you.

At the same time, the academic sex worker illuminates the insidious class tension that structures academia. Look at me, whip in one hand, Foucault in the other. Am I not decadent? And yet, I have the audacity to claim, with a face beneath my foot, that I suffer from poverty?

Plus, being a dominatrix is no picnic:

As a curious foil to academic labor, which is both difficult and underfunded, sex work is often misconceived as easy and lucrative. It is neither. Sex work — an umbrella term for an industry that includes escorts, strippers, dominatrixes, sugar babies, adult-film performers, and phone-sex operators — is labor intensive. My own field of domination requires physical strength for corporal sessions, mental agility for role play, a keen awareness of time management to schedule and perform the components of a scene, and the stamina to take session after session over an eight-hour shift.

Like with adjuncting, my income from sex work seems reasonable on paper, but that’s because it reflects only the hours spent in session, not the time that goes into training, planning, or promoting. While a particularly skilled and successful Domme may pull in six figures a year, sex work is more often a means of making ends meet. I, for instance, earn about $500 a week — hardly enough to make a dent in my six-figure student-loan debt.

So Mistress Snow is royally teed off at “Anne”:
What the academic sex worker needs from her mentor, though, isn’t confusion or derision. She needs to know that, despite the academy’s devaluation of her labor, her work is valuable….

I’ve started lying, like I wish I had to Anne. I cry more, I sleep less, I doubt my own ability to mentor my students. Am I, too, capable of such cruelty?

As a Domme, I am paid to be consensually cruel. Anne’s cruelty is both gratis and gratuitous. Despite her disdain for BDSM, she is a natural at it.

And yet, I miss her. Her abandonment echoes through me, my hollow body, and I feel an absence in my heart as though she took the space she occupied in it with her.

Besides feeling a lot of empathy with “Anne”–who obviously realized that she didn’t want her academic good name associated with a hysteria-case in a leather teddy–I’ve concluded that Mistress Snow doesn’t need a mentor. She needs a dominatrix of her own.

So let me briefly assume that role:

There’s no such thing as a “mom” in grad school. You’re an adult professional, and so are your professors. “Anne” had a scholarly reputation to protect, and so do you. So quit whining about “abandonment.” Try to be more like “Anne.” Maintain appropriate professional distance from your colleagues.

If you must take up “sex work” to support yourself because your preferred profession doesn’t pay, don’t tell anyone: not your “dissertation mom” or your real mom. They won’t understand. They just won’t. Most people think it’s icky, at the very least, to engage in sexual intimacy with strangers for money. They will either feel sorry for you or avoid you like the plague. Save your spicy stories for when you get old and rich. Then you can tell all in your memoirs.

Get out of adjuncting–it’s for losers. The reason you can’t find a tenure-track job (after four years of looking!) is that your professors and others like them turned the “humanities” into tired and dull-witted leftist propaganda programs (“Foucault”) that students shun, Find yourself a real job that will pay some decent money and help you pay off that giant student loan that you foolishly took out when you already knew or should have known that the academic employment market is shot. At $90 an hour, you ought to be making at least $200,000 a year. And if you’re not, try something else. Get off your duff.

There.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. OMG They’re all grade schoolers under the leather.

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