I Have To Get Paid To Write But I’ll Show My Tits For Free

February 25, 2016 — 96 Comments

tits for free

 

Angry smoke is billowing up, as all over the world, people are burning Arianna Huffington in effigy.

PAY US WHAT WE’RE WORTH!

WE WON’T WRITE FOR FREE! 

It’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric of a demagogue who denounces the Huffington Post for not paying their writers.

Wil Wheaton waged war against HuffPost in this article. It was a shot heard round the world. The online writing community went WILD, tweeting in copious agreement.

I have mixed feeling about this issue, but here is a reality check: As of 2016, Wil Wheaton’s net worth floats somewhere around $2.5 million, depending on which source you check. Not all of us have Star Trek residuals rolling in. If he wrote about ass fucking his grandmother in Macy’s window, he’d still be set for the rest of his life.

 

This is just another issue for us to tear each other apart over, instead of uniting over the pervasive damage being done to women, right this moment. By women who post pictures of their naked bodies on their blogs, their Facebook pages, Instagram accounts – all their social media.

 

I understand that women who display themselves naked on their blogs are doing it to demonstrate their freedom. They feel they are making a strong statement of choice and power. They admit they crave the validation; that it’s a turn on, or that they do it simply because they can.

They point out that nudity is accepted in most other industrialized countries and challenge the stifling conformity of American prudishness.

America is flawed as fuck, but a whole LOT of European countries are based on eroding, unsustainable models. Europe is teeming with calcified labor laws, a negative birth rate,  inflated government spending, expensive costs to businesses, and overly restrictive governments.

In the Netherlands, for example, wiretaps are 130 times more common than in the U.S.

So perhaps you should move to Germany or Spain, and romp around au naturel. Have fun dealing with archaic abortion laws that reflect stifling Christian values on reproduction. I’ll stay in the US, and deal with our anti-nudity laws.

 

Is showing your tits really “freedom”?

I know that story. I WROTE that story.

I worked at a Wall Street strip club in the 90’s, because I felt it was my right to display my body in whatever way I deemed appropriate. The money was flowing in an economy on steroids, and I loved earning $500 a day in cash, working 3 days a week. It left me plenty of time to get into trouble squandering all that money.

Today, if I had a daughter who wanted to climb the pole for a living, I’d chain her to the couch. It wasn’t “empowering.” Strip clubs create an environment where men can openly objectify women. They reinforce the notion that women are more highly valued for their outward appearance than for their intelligence or creativity. And I fueled that system, something I deeply regret.

 

To the bloggers who show their tits:

I understand that for you to love yourself, you need approval from men. All women have been taught that from the time we are little girls.

When you isolate and objectify your breasts, you are confirming the pervasive notion that the most important thing about us is how our tits look. Personally, I would much rather see a painting you painted, read your poetry, listen to you play a song on an instrument, read an essay you wrote about a timely issue, pretty much anything that tells me about who you are inside. Your body is superficial and irrelevant. Give me your mind.

The validation you crave from exposing yourself this way is in no way connected to any kind of “freedom.” It comes from a place deep inside you, a place thoroughly indoctrinated, since you were a little girl, into believing that our naked tits have more intrinsic value than anything else about us. You are not free.

You are simply brainwashed.

 

I think the naked female body is one of the most beautiful images in the world. I’ve even played around with that a little, on my own Instagram account, and have photos of my lower body posing in superhero underwear. That was intended to be a playful statement on how the nerdy girl has grown up, and isn’t so nerdy anymore.

I also don’t show any more of my self than I would show in a bathing suit – actually, I’m more covered up in my geek girl underpants.

But I don’t want people to confuse my writing with my appearance. I write anonymously, but that isn’t why I rarely show pictures of myself on this blog. I can certainly show pictures that hide my face. However, I’m not interested in gaining readers because of how I look, or don’t look.

 

The issue over getting compensated to write is so divisive, it may break apart communities that were created to nurture and support each other. I’m not ready to contribute to that by casting a vote in either direction.

 

In the meantime, why not think about a bigger picture? Let’s not fight about who gets paid, and how those who choose to write for free are scabs on the professional writer’s landscape.

Before we bludgeon each other to death over that first world debate, can we at least ponder the global disempowerment of women? Even in 2016, women remain more likely than men to be poor, malnourished and illiterate. We are marginalized socially and economically.

Let’s put aside our differences about paid writing, and embrace a conversation about how women have been subjugated, and the way in which that connects to domestic violence, female mutilation, higher illiteracy rates, forced child marriages, lower wages, and so many of the areas crucial to a gratifying existence.

Systematic disempowerment of women doesn’t affect only writers. It affects every single woman on the planet, and therefore every human being on the planet.

Today, I’m going to put aside my feelings about paid writing, and instead, focus on what I can to do raise awareness of an issue that has the potential to change lives all over the world.

I just hit “Publish.” Your turn.

 

Am I asking the right questions? 
Talk to me. I’m listening.

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96 responses to I Have To Get Paid To Write But I’ll Show My Tits For Free

  1. 

    Boom.
    How about this: you are MY hero.

  2. 

    Two years ago I just decided to stop writing for free. The minimal amount I had made on writing dried up becoming doing it for “exposure” wasn’t doing it for me. I wish I had boobies that were worth seeing. I’d do that for free and money, too.

    I think this is why I went back to stand up comedy. At least it pays beer and gas money, sometimes.

  3. 

    Thank you. That is all. as you were. ❤

  4. 

    Over my career, I have had the opportunity to attend high-level classes (inside) on sex trafficking (sadly, young girls are the most coveted in this perversion). Your article strikes a chord with me. I do enjoy good prose, but it is deeply devalued when the nudity/sexual expression shows up to accompany whatever someone cannot sell without that imagery. I think if everyone who participated in what you speak of could just take one look at the “real” damage it does…deep down the rabbit hole…they would not be so eager to push the nudity agendas here. Loved the article. Thank you!

  5. 

    I´m clapping my hands. I have similar feelings but wouldn´t be able to put it in words this way. Also, your writing is a lot more interesting than any pair of boobs.

  6. 

    You really hit home here, Samara, underscoring one of the fundamental issues we’re facing in this “age of communication,” which is that we spend too much time talking about the wrong things. The fact that a debate over getting paid for your writing overshadows real dialogue about improving the human condition and raising awareness about the many inequalities that still exist in our modern society is a sad commentary — and one that is likely to continue with the overall dumbing down of society. Women’s issues, race wars, domestic abuse, child porography, these are real problems that need real solutions.

    And as far as getting paid for writing, I think the real question is this: If you weren’t getting paid, would you still write? If the answer is “yes,” then it shouldn’t matter. The HP is providing exposure and credentials, which is worth something in itself, and providing an opportunity to be seen. There are hundreds of thousands of writers who are never read by anyone beyond family and a few friends. But they contiunue to write because they can’t NOT write. Getting paid for it and building a readership is a bonus.

  7. 

    This is very true, the world over! I remember making a similar argument back in 2004 when we (Canada) legalized gay marriage. It felt to me that the people making such a fuss against it were just trying to distract from real problems. Yes, legalizing gay marriage was important, but it should have been a no-brainer. Dealing with the fact that this country has hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women is what we really should be fussing about.

    Great post, Samara.

  8. 

    I got paid for writing for awhile, because I was a newspaper reporter. I can’t say it gave me the same sense of satisfaction as having a poem published on Elephant Journal did. I have to write, and have written since I was young, and will continue to do so into my old age.

    And as far as showing naked body parts on a blog, or social media platforms, I heartily agree with what you said. It irritates me to no end that women feel the need to post pictures of their lady bits everywhere–it makes me pissed at the women who do it, and it makes me pissed at the men who drool after them.

    Also, let’s not fail to mention that nudity is much more widely accepted in Europe because it’s not overly sexualized, which is the main reason we have issues with it here in the States.

    Good post. Thanks for pissing me off. 😉

  9. 

    I second Fat Bottom Girl. Exactly! (Great post!)

  10. 

    This writing for free issue is a cloudy one. There’s exposure and the fact that, in this digital age of sharing is caring, we all see the value of an audience. I think writers can be used. There is a line somewhere. The reason being is that then is becomes difficult to make a living as a writer if everyone is willing to write for free.
    As for the nudity on the blogs, I totally agree. I think it must come for an empty place and that is what it must feel like! That’s pretty sad. By the time women have had enough, they probably feel used. You have my head spinning with lots of ideas after reading this. Great article, Samara. xoxo

    • 

      Writers CAN be used. Yep. I’m not sure what to do about that, yet. I have to think about all the factors involved before I’m going to boycott everyone I know who writes for HuffPo.

      In the meantime, I’ll be over here, clothes ON, writing my little heart out. And dreaming of the day I will get paid to do so. xox

      • 

        I hope you wouldn’t boycott the writers! It’s HuffPo’s fault. They really should pay. At least something! Even a little would mean a lot and I don’t think it would hurt them.
        Keep writing, Samara! xoxo

  11. 

    I think I understand what you are saying. And I agree with your points over our issues in this country amongst others. And correct me if I am wrong, but how it interprets to me is say for instance the issue brought up was a woman stating that women are paid only .77 cents to the dollar a man makes for equal amount of work and sometimes even with more experience and credentials behind the woman. Yet, a person who doesn’t want to weigh in on that particular issue states that there are more harrowing issues at present so let’s focus on those instead.

    I think a better idea would be to be more inclusive, weigh in on a side and fight for all you think is right. Does a writer deserve to be paid? Yes, I believe they do. Who is it hurting to pay them for their worth? The HuffPost? Depends on their net worth, but I doubt it. Who is it hurting not to pay them? The writer and any future writers.

    Your post made me think which is always a good thing. Thanks for publishing! 🙂

    • 

      If you want to bring it up, women are paid 77 cents to a man’s $1 not for the equal work. That’s the average between all men and all women for an average hour, lumping in every profession and all education levels. For comparable cases (same occupation, education, years of experience) it’s somewhere between 90% and 95% on average, with specific professions where gender disparity can actually favor women, and others where the disparity can be as bad as 60 cents to the dollar or worse.

      • 

        Cool to know but I was using an off the cuff example. And my professor used to be a dean and she has a PhD and was being paid thousands (forget the number) less than a male dean doing the exact same job without a PhD.

      • 

        That could be one of the examples of these professions. I do know that it’s harder for female professors to get hired and get tenure.

      • 

        X, the only profession I read about where gender disparity favors women is the porn industry. I’m willing to hear about others, if they exist.

  12. 

    I don’t understand why there has to be a battle about anything related to writing- every single writer has different goals and why can’t we simply honor each writer’s decisions along with their words? I believe writers should DEFINITELY get paid for their work, but there is absolute validity in publishing elsewhere without payment- for other various benefits. There always has to be drama… I’m really over that jazz. As with any profession, everyone will make their own paths and that is how it really should be. Support writers with whatever they choose to do with their gift- end of story.

    As for the issue you so boldly reveal- I am sick with disgust at how women offer themselves as sexual subjects, desperate for attention and affirmation. It is a shame to us all, and I hate the message it permeates everywhere. I passionately agree with every detail you shared about these women and the men who empower them with their lust. My heart breaks for these women, who think they have nothing more to offer, or as you said-believe what they have to offer isn’t enough without the sexual boost. It saddens me greatly to know there are women out there falling to that level of living. Thank you for putting a spotlight on something much more significant than the writing issue.

  13. 

    **Is showing your tits really “freedom”?**

    F*ck, NoOoooo. That’s exploitation, babe.

    That’s “I want attention,” babe.

    I don’t want to SEE YOUR stupid TITS or Penis.

    I want your writing, words, stories, metaphor, rawness, flaws, & heart to melt inside my heart.

    That’s what I want. Yeah, that’s what I want.

    And this is the reason I find myself right here…right now.

    Xxx kiss and NO tit from MN.

  14. 

    I think that the problem with the writing is that it’s so easy to get into (no license or training required), and easy to do (don’t need special equipment, doesn’t involve physical danger or even going to the office), unlike, say, plumbing or medicine. Well, “easy” depends on the specific person – some can quickly write quality stuff and others will sit at the typewriter and bleed and will still produce garbage.
    So I can’t blame Huffington Post or other outlets for wanting to exploit that huge number of people who don’t mind to write for free, and enough of whom produce quality content just for the heck of it, or because they just have to. Like you, for example.
    So what I think needs to happen is that the journalists and writers who want to get paid should unionize, set up some licensing rules, and tell the media outlets that they have to pay the professional writers if they want to work from them.

    • 

      YES. Pretty much anyone can say, “I’m a writer!” That’s one of the main reasons behind these publications not paying. Many of us need to learn our trade somehow, and along that journey, not everything is worthy of compensation.

      I like your idea of the unionized thing. I don’t like thinking that because I write for free, I’m part of the problem.

  15. 

    It’s frightening what people will tell themselves to justify their poor choices. You’re absolutely right. Revealing photos only serve to perpetuate the objectification that leads to abuse, on so many levels. Writing for free is not a problem for me, when I do it for myself. The idea of someone else making money on my words gets a little cloudy. It’s why I’d rather keep my tiny audience, and hope that the people who really need to read what I’ve written will find it. And I get to maintain control over what I write. It’s not so much the feedback I seek…it’s the release. Thanks for sharing your throught provoking perspective💗

    • 

      I wish more people understood the connection between objectification and disempowerment and abuse.

      Your words are SO important to the community. Never stop writing. xox

  16. 

    Your writing gives me blogasm.
    Have you seen this brilliant TED talk – Bad Feminist (she speaks your language)? https://www.ted.com/talks/roxane_gay_confessions_of_a_bad_feminist?language=en

  17. 

    But isn’t this argument telling women they can’t be who they are because of the way that men behave? Why do women always have to cover up because men are pigs? Women’s human rights are being violated because of misogynist governments and laws that systematically allow it to happen, and not because some woman posted a boobie shot on her Instagram account. Are we then going to tell a woman who gets raped that if she didn’t post boobie shots it wouldn’t have happened? Oh wait, that’s already happening here in the US and abroad because we keep perpetuating the myth that it’s the woman responsibility to make sure that a man behaves correctly.

    • 

      I’m going to address your comment first, because I appreciate when people take the time to challenge me.

      I don’t support the idea that we shouldn’t be who we are, because men are pigs. Blaming women for men’s actions towards them is rape culture, and it is loathesome.

      What I’m saying, is that too many women use their naked bodies because they crave validation and approval by men. Because we have been taught that that our sexuality and appearance is what is truly important about us, from the time we are little girls. I do not support the idea that showing our bodies leads to rape. Rape is not a crime of sexuality, it is a crime of violence.

      Thank you for taking the time to read, and comment.

      • 

        It goes back to the male-oriented culture. Why do women desperately seek validation through their naked pictures? Because our society ties everything to how a woman looks and not how a woman thinks or to how a woman behaves and not how they create. We need to change this attitude and thinking. We also need to teach young girls and women that validation comes from within, that no one else can validate who they really are. But let’s also not assume we know why they are doing it. Some are seeking validation, others are making a statement of control.

    • 

      I don’t give a damn if a woman is walking around completely nude w/ her shit hanging out all over the place— NOBODY has the right to touch her.

      EVER! EVER! EVER!

      And whomever is saying this is an utter ASS. ( I assume men )

      It IS NOT our responsibility to make men behave!

      But if I did have a daughter, I’d tell her– “Keep your tits off of Instagram because you might become President of the United States one day. It’s just NOT cool, darling.”

      —-just my couple cents.

  18. 

    Matt said it first. You are my hero, too. Now I have to rest my swollen cankles.

  19. 

    You’ve hit on so many excellent points! Paid to write? The icing on the cake. The fact that we get to see stupendous talent is a major plus for we middlings and I sincerely hope that one day, someone with the bucks will see you for your scribing worth.

    I will also add to the point of women knowing their value or not… I know of some women who are so desperate to prove their worth above all other feminine forces that they have actually tattooed a reference to their online hero. A freakin’ permanent mark on their body for someone they may never even meet. It has the smell of really down and under desperation to me. Sad stuff all around…

    • 

      Oh, wow. The only name I have a tattoo of is my son. He’s a forever thing. 💜

      • 

        Ikr? The one I was referring to is still trying way too hard ‘to be seen’by her online crush and in the public realm. I think there is something particularly sad about anyone over 50 years old still working life in that fashion.

        On the other note, I have toyed with the idea of a tattoo representing my son too. Another friend has one of the most poignant little one of her two kids…. There is something about this permanent mark that speaks right to my heart.

  20. 

    I hate the way writers have been devalued because so many work for free. They sell you on ‘exposure’ and it often gets you the same sort of respect as showing naked pictures online does.

    • 

      That is the crux of the debate. Whether or not “exposure” is a commodity. I’m just not sure where I stand on the whole thing yet.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate you.

  21. 

    Where are these everyday blog flashers?! I’ve been trolling around blogland for about eight years now and have only stumbled across this phenomenon a couple of times. Are you overstating or am I sheltered?

    I know you want people to separate your writing from your appearance but that’s not how it works. We’re all slaves to our DNA and biological coding. Can’t fight that shit nohow.

  22. 

    I know that you occasionally tease us with your beauty and sensuality, but you really are an amazing woman in so many ways. I hope this message is read widely and resonates. As an artist and man, I would just comment that the female body is the most beautiful thing on this earth, but I want a woman’s mind first and always.

  23. 

    This is great! I don’t think a lot of women understand how differently the male mind works. Telling a man you are naked because it is empowering rather than to make money, does not change the way they look at you or think about you.

  24. 

    It is a lot more difficult to bare your naked soul writing than to expose your bare body.

  25. 

    I was amused about your idea of Europe. But then I started to wonder if you really think thta? Where did you live there that left such a wierd impression?
    Restrictive? Calcified labor laws? Our labor law gives me a decent life at 35 hours a week – without havint o have a job nr. 2 or 3.and more then 6 weeks holidays a year.Catholic? Whole Europe? Germany? Sweden? Greece?
    For the same reason I don’t write about USA. Since I don’t know much about it.

    What is just plain crazy is showing agressive movies and that is normal, but to breastfeed your baby in the public is not normal? What is wrong with having good and cheap health insurance? Or payed year off when you have a baby?
    And what is wrong with the strip clubs? 😉 We girls visit the male version of it and have fun each time.

    About naked tits online, hm, never came across a blog showing them, not that it would desturb me, it would just be boring.Equaly as any censorship which we didn’t choose by ourselfs is damaging and restrictive.

    • 

      I never have lived in Europe. I did do some research, prior to writing this, but with all things it may not have been enough to make 100 percent accurate statements. There were so many differing assessments it began to make my head swim.

      I couldn’t even find one definitive answer to Wil Wheaton’s net worth.

      I stand corrected on anything I may have said that inaccurately reflects Europe’s labor laws.

      Aggressive, violent movies leave me feeling queasy and anxious, which is why I don’t see all the latest hyped superheroes movies.

      I have an online friend from Europe, and with regards to having a baby, her healthcare was divine. She was even entitled to a nurse to help with the baby, for many weeks after. America could learn from that.

      Having been in both, I experience an enormous difference between male and female strip clubs. It would take an entire blog post to articulate that.

      Thank you for commenting! Food for thought. I value your opinion.

  26. 

    The issue many folks have with not paying writers is the idea of getting (or giving) something for nothing. That’s simplifying the issue, and oversimplifying it. I’m a poet, and while I’ve had poems published in various journals in print and online, across the globe, only four or five times have I gotten paid for it. Twice, the payment was a token payment. It would be nice to be paid for every piece that gets published, yes. At the same time, poetry journals are usually a labor of love, with no paid editors, and available for free (or nearly free). I know people who invest their hard-earned money and time to keep a good literary journal alive. I’m a reader for an online journal myself. I am okay with the fact that I’m not getting paid for my work because I know none of the other artists and editors get paid (or make a profit) either. What bugs me is submission fees. I hardly ever submit to places that charge a submission fee because let’s face it, everyone knows poets are not rolling in dough.

  27. 

    Thank you for seeing the bigger picture, to go where that man apparently doesn’t want to go. To a place where we all need to strive to go. To a place of unified support.

  28. 

    1) The Huffington Post hates my guts, so it’s tough for me to not hate them back.

    2) I’m a complete loser when it comes to blogging and pitching ideas, so I envy you AND Wil Wheaton.

    3) I don’t think women who show their chests on their blogs are brainwashed, but I see your point.

    4) I’ve always thought you were one helluva writer, young lady… and I was right.

    • 

      1. How could anyone hate YOU? What have you done? You’re adorable!
      2. You are not.
      3. Thank you for being open to a different point of view.
      4. And a HUGE thank you for that!

  29. 

    Well. I have some things to add here. Like you, I too played the “show and pay” game, not on wall street, but in another state and in a place just like you describe, and I too was obsessed with the money! For a long time. But I too have thankfully recovered and come to my senses and want to slap kids like my niece upside the head when I see her posting what looks like pictures of I can’t even describe here, they’re so bad.
    Yes, we agree on these things. And, on the issue writers getting paid. As a struggling MFA student trying to break in, it’s tough. I find myself asking lots of questions like, should I write that guest blog for free, just for the exposure? And if I do it can feel like selling my soul all over again on that pole for nothing.
    Yes, writers should get paid. Always, and for everything!

    And one more thing. Your blog is strong, your pov sharp! But I think it would be even stronger, if you wrote with your own name! After all, what have you got to lose?
    It’s your own voice going out there!

    Write on!

  30. 

    I’d show my tits for no reason. There, just did it right now.

    BRB, Human Resources is here.

  31. 

    I get confused over the “women are free to show their bodies” issue. Beyonce is always just about doing a lap dance on stage while proclaiming her feminism. I can never decide if she’s being a free woman or just trying to get her supposedly philandering husband jealous. Somehow it doesn’t seem that empowering to try and get male attention that desperately. Still can’t decide.

    • 

      It’s a confusing issue.

      Sex sells, especially in entertainment. Pushing the envelope is important for performers. And our culture is so hypersexualized, that Beyonce giving a lap dance onstage just seems normal.

      I’m not sure where I stand on this one. Would her show be just as powerful without that display? Probably. So why is it in there? I’m not sure. I do crazy stuff like that with my friends, when we’re hanging out. But I’m not sure I would want millions of teenage girls watch me do that, and emulate me.

      Ugh. Agreed, so confusing.

  32. 

    Your never-ending strength and humility along with your honesty never fails to hit close to my heart. I have never had children so I don’t know how hard it is normally, but in your situation it must be 100 times harder. I am the London Big Issue seller (I sell a magazine that gives a job to homesless people, so I know a little about being different marginalised) and I commented a couple of times before on your blog. I can tell that your wild youth has found a calm place in your “Little Dude”. Love and life to you both. London Bridge Sharon xxx

  33. 

    I post cock shots constantly and am universally ignored… except for the restraining orders i receive…

  34. 

    I have been blogging for a number of years, on google and now recently on wordpress. I don’t feel I have “paid writer” skills, so I have nothing to contribute with the topic of paid artists. I do have man boobs. small but getting bigger. but they won’t be what people want to see. I have to admit I like women but I don’t want to degrade them. I think each situation is probably unique and each their own. Still the choice to bare must not be easy. Rambling I know because the issue is beyond the knowledge of bare mortals and needs to be addressed by those that know; i.e. Women. I found your blog by way of the twitter post and followed the link. I can give you a blog high five by way of taking the time to comment on your post. Thank you for bringing the woman issues to the pages. I like Women. I wish Women raise their voice in a way that is comfortable for them. I wish they are not fought by their “better – half”. I wish we didn’t treat them as second and treated them with the respect they deserve.

  35. 

    It is a little ridiculous isn’t it?

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