It looks like I’m at the stage of my messed up pandemic sleep schedule where I wake up every day at 4am, WIDE AWAKE, with no hope of ever sleeping again. And like I do when I’m wide awake in the middle of the night, I opened Twitter to see what is happening in the world. Today, I took a deep dive into an article posted in the New York Post by Dean Balsamini and Susan B. Edelman (if you click on their names, it will bring you to their Twitter profiles so you can tell them how much you appreciate their lack of journalistic ethics) about a woman named Lauren Kwei who has been working as a paramedic, but who got the side gig of posting sexy pictures on a Fans Only site.
A couple years ago, Lauren started working as an EMT for a private senior care, and was making about $15 an hour. She took a break, paid for training as a paramedic to make more money, worked as a hostess in a restaurant… And then last year, to help pay the bills, she started a Fans Only site, where people could pay her $12 a month to see sexy pictures of her. And I guess there aren’t enough news stories right now, because the Post approached her about her and informed her they were doing an article on her.
Afraid that she might lose her job, she pleaded with them to keep her identity secret. They refused. And they posted THIS ARTICLE (please only click on it if you absolutely have to, because it would be a shame to give them even more ad revenue), where they repeatedly shamed her for her decision to make extra money with her body. Twitter came to her defense… I became aware of the story when AOC posted this:
She doesn’t know yet whether she will lose her job as a paramedic. Lauren is taking care of her father, who is very sick. Ugh… This whole thing is just so gross. The New York Post is such utter trash. Imagine deciding to mess with a 23 year old woman who is taking care of her sick father while literally risking her life working as a paramedic during COVID, and posting an article shaming her for posting sexy pictures of herself… So that she doesn’t have to work overtime. I’m so disgusted. It makes me want to spit.
Just a few days ago, I was at work — thinking about how much my feet hurt, and day dreaming about putting some lotion on them when I got home — and I jokingly said to some coworkers, “I wonder if I could start a Fans Only site where I just rubbed lotion on my feet for like 10 minutes at a time… Nothing *SUPER* sexual. Just sexy enough, you know?” They said it probably depends on what my feet look like. I told them the story about letting a camper paint my toenails orange one summer when I was working at camp, and discovering that my feet were F*CKING GORGEOUS, and describing how my vanity — in Grinch-esque fashion — grew three sizes that day. We all laughed, but I thought to myself, I’d TOTALLY let a couple dozen creepy people watch me rub my sore feet for $12 a month. In a heartbeat. But I digress…
So — as is often the custom — someone has started a GoFundMe for her. It’s RIGHT HERE. Yesterday Lauren responded to the generous people who have contributed so far. Here is what she wrote:
“I want to start off by thanking you all so much for standing up for me and fighting. I have read all your comments and messages and I’m feeling very overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Let me also say that I truly believe I do not HAVE to explain myself, but I want to. I know in my heart that I did nothing wrong, but it really helps to be reminded that I do not deserve to be treated like this or spoken about this way. All my life, I have been sexualized and treated as a sex object, no matter what I do or say. I sold pictures of myself on the internet for extra money because it’s easy. I didn’t pick up extra shifts because I cannot work 40+ hour weeks and maintain my mental health. I did not ask my parents for help because I’m adult and wanted to make my own money. I never once spoke of my pictures at work or used my job as a paramedic to solicit subscribers. I know I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Most of the quotes in that article are me defending myself to this reporter. He did not include that I begged him to remain anonymous (which was never agreed to) and that I told him my safety and job were going to be at risk if he posted this article. He truly did not care. He went on to call my employer and my mother. As some of you may know, I’ve been home with my family in WV following my father going into cardiac arrest last week. I have not been able to speak with my employer because of this and I still do not know what they are going to do. As of right now, I do still have a job but I will probably find out tomorrow if I don’t.
I reached out to a Facebook group called First Responderinos (a sub group of fans of a podcast called My Favorite Murder) and I had SO many people asking if they could donate money. A very kind soul put together a GoFundMe for me and my family. Under normal circumstances, I would never accept money from strangers, however my dad is the sole supporter of my family and will be out of work for at least 2 months. Any money donated to this GFM will be used for me and my family. I don’t think I deserve all the kindness you all have shown to me, but I cannot thank you all enough.
I’m a strong woman because I have strong women all around me. I did nothing wrong and I will not take this lying down. I will continue to fight for my name and reputation. I will speak out against this and tell my story in time and when I am ready. Thank you all so much. I love love love you all. Please forgive me if I haven’t responded to your messages.”
Please consider this line: “All my life, I have been sexualized and treated as a sex object, no matter what I do or say.” We relentlessly sexualize our young women, and then we shame them when they decide to use their overly sexualized bodies to earn a living. It really needs to stop.
Anyway, I don’t have a lot of money right now… But I do have a bunch (ish) of people who follow this blog, and I wanted to do something to help her. If you have some extra money right now, please consider sending some of it her way. Here is her GoFundMe again. And if you feel like helping support me & this blog, you can learn how to do that HERE. Love y’all… And let’s stop shaming sex workers.