Search
  • guts publishing

Tamara MacLeod Interview - Cyber Smut

Tamara's essay 'Cyberwhores_Sex_Robots_and_Aliens' is in our Cyber Smut anthology, release date 15 September. For pre-orders visit: gutspublishing.com/books


What inspired your pseudonym?

That’s a question for detectives.


Tell us about your essay ‘Cyberwhores_Sex_Robots_and_ Aliens’.

Superficially it’s about the proliferation of sex-bots. Beyond that it’s about our relationship to techno-capital and the alienation inherent to sexual relations and contemporary life in general. At its core, it is about my experiences as a sex worker at the interstices of desire and exploitation, connection and alienation…


Do you consider yourself more of an essay writer or do you also write fiction?

In my other life I write fiction, shopping lists, to-do lists, dreams and journals, recipes, poetry and itineraries for road trips I’ll never make.


In your bio, you give your email address and ‘invite hate mail’—have you actually received any? What has been the most absurd thing someone has emailed you or DM-ed you?

I wrote an apparently controversial essay for Aeon intending to lend some nuance to the ‘prostitution is exploitation’ discourse. I argue that while it can be, work within capitalism is generally exploitative as are gendered power relations. I recalled being aware of my own sexual exploitation and learning that sex could buy me social mobility. A man emailed me congratulations for the piece, writing, ‘Epstein obviously did wrong, but–‘ So perhaps the essay is a failure.


I get the occasional email from men who want me to reassure them they are not exploiting the sex workers they see (how could I know?), in which case they have missed the point of my work entirely. In my working persona I am paid to hold space for the male ego, but Tamara is a space to exorcise the misandry that emerges from doing sex work.


Liberals and anti-sex-worker-feminists, those I take umbrage with in my work, tend to respond with the denial that I am a woman at all. A common tactic of the prohibitionists is to silence sex worker voices by asserting we are proxies for pimps. Ironic that feminists use this tactic given how, throughout history, women writers have suffered to have their names rightfully assigned to their words.


Tell us about your work in Aeon Magazine and 3:AM Magazine.

Aeon has been a wonderful platform on which to filter some of my wider theoretical interests to a single point of concern. Sam is brilliant editor.


Sylvia at 3:AM fortunately allowed me to take the topic of SESTA/FOSTA into the wild and explore the phenomenology of the workplace and cyberspace, and techno-utopianism within the framework of the loss of the commons. My argument is that the homogenisation of cyberspace functions as one more enclosure designed to sustain class oppression, which I trace back to feudalism. Dr Heather Berg teaches it on her graduate program. She’s doing important work which I encourage people to follow: @DrHeatherBerg


Tell us about your work as an activist.

Sex work in the UK currently exists in a legal grey area. Independently I do work around strategic litigation. I have been involved in a number of local and international organisations, whose goals range from unionising sex workers to campaigning for broader issues where sex work might intersect with foreign policy, migration, LGBTQ and women’s rights, employment rights, health and education. Immediately our goal is to achieve the full decriminalisation of sex work since we believe only this will reduce harm. Our longer-term concerns are with a post-capitalist world.


Can you describe yourself in three words?

A precision-scream.


* * *


Tamara MacLeod is the pseudonym of a freelance writer, sex worker and activist based in England. Her words can be found online at Aeon Magazine and 3:AM Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @HiTamaraMacLeod. She invites hate mail directly to hitamaramacleod@gmail.com. For anything else, cast a circle with five black candles and say her name three times.

41 views

©2020 by Guts Publishing. Proudly created with Wix.com