Ample thought, deliberation, and effort go behind curating a notable professional profile on LinkedIn. But what sets you apart from the rest is perhaps a dash of honesty. Arielle Egozi—who has garnered over 9,000 followers on the employment-oriented online service—is being applauded for the demonstration of this very virtue. In the 'experience' field of her LinkedIn profile, she made no bones about mentioning being self-employed as a sex worker.
Image: Courtesy Arielle Egozi/LinkedIn
Arielle shared a screenshot of her experience profile, accompanied by a lengthy post explaining her reason for doing so. "I left an in-house job with fancy benefits two weeks ago, and the reason I could do that was sex work. I had just enough saved from selling and engaging my image that I could ask myself if I was happy. I wasn't. Yeah, the few grand I'd stashed up over time helped, but the biggest reason I could walk away is because sex work shows me what my power can do when I own it intentionally. I charge exorbitant amounts," she penned.
Tapping on the "emotional labour" required for the job, she elaborated, "I have no problem taking rejections from those that don't want to pay it because I charge what emotional labour is required right into the fee. I set and hold boundaries, and engage only in ways that are safe, playful, and abundant for me. I don't waste my time with anything less. I stopped pitching and negotiating. I have nothing to prove. I've done the work up front to make my value evident."
Image: Courtesy Arielle Egozi/LinkedIn
"Why is this different than any other client work?" she rhetorically questioned. "The answer I come to, again and again, is that it isn't. So it's now up on my LinkedIn. Because not only is my new standard for incoming creative clients that they be at least half as respectful, generous, and grateful as the John Does online—but that anyone who I partner with celebrates and accepts every experience as one I will inevitably bring with me into a project. They don't have to understand it, but they better respect the hell out of it," she put forth.
A slew of LinkedIn users engaged with Arielle's post; some in support and some at odds. "As long as the woman is voluntarily using her body to earn income, I am good with it, even if the activity is related to sex. Her body, her choice," one stated. Another, in an attempt to break the shackles of societal taboo, said, "We talk about women's rights in the context of abortion, but we don't see much talk about the right of a woman to use her body—physically or graphically—to earn income. Athletes, musicians, models, acrobats, and even construction workers use their bodies to generate income, and everyone seems good with that. We can't all work behind a desk at a computer."
"In my experience, people who disrespect sex work and sex workers do so to aggrandize themselves. 'I may be _____, but at least I'm not a sex worker' type beat. Your comfort in your own skin threatens their worldview and calls into question their beliefs about what they 'deserve' and why 'I'm successful and I didn't *have to* take off my clothes to do it' type beat. Never occurs to these folks that maybe you didn't *have to* either. You chose to. In a world where the autonomy of our bodies is a political battleground, that choice is resistance. It is rebellion. It is how revolutions are born. Said differently: Get it how you live," wrote a third.
While many jumped on the women empowerment bandwagon, some felt otherwise. A user retorted, "This is a very dangerous game you are playing...I just want you to think more about the outcome, than the current situation. You get money, but is it worth looking in the mirror and crying in the shower when you still feel unfulfilled trying to fill a void?" Another spoke, "So, we can now advertise prostitution on LinkedIn? I mean regardless of how we choose to phrase it, receiving monetary remuneration for sex is still prostitution."
Arielle Egozi is currently self-employed as a brand advisor, creative consultant, and creative director.