Today, in the year of 2014, I find that society still views women as either the Madonna or the whore. We are classified or boxed in as either Mother Theresa or Kim Kardashian. The problem is that we are neither, or rather, we are both. This paradox is multiplied for female addicts.
in one aspect, women who are hard drug users are almost immediately classified as whores. I do not mean like, “Oh, she’s such a whore” either. I mean that the easiest and thus normal assumption is that we are actual whores, that we obviously suck dick to obtain our drug money. I’m not going to tell you that this doesn’t happen, it does. That doesn’t mean that every woman who sticks a needle in her arm or smokes crack is a prostitute. There are a good deal of men who actively participate in gay sex for hire to procure their drug of choice, it is just not the automatic assumption.
Ironically, though, it tends to only be when a woman gets to the point where you can look at her and tell that she is an addict that women get classified as “the whore”. I’m talking pock marked skin and meth mouth. Stringy hair and bones protruding. Otherwise, we are innocent angles that people are shocked to learn that we do such things.
I cannot tell you how many times, when upon hearing about my past, people have said to me, “I had no idea. You seem like such a nice lady, a good mother.” That’s entirely the issue. I AM a nice lady. I AM a good mother. I just also happen to suffer from the disease of addiction.
As a woman, when I was in active addiction, I used this paradigm to my advantage. I would dress nice and sweet, with my makeup and hair done, wearing expensive clothes and purses to go boosting. The point was to play up the Madonna aspect in order to be over looked in the stores. It is simple pragmatism. Play up to people’s small minded, boxed in views of women in order to obtain what you need without arising suspicion.
Similarly, on the occasion that I was caught I would then play the weak female in order to get off with a warning. This works far better than one could imagine. Especially, if the security guard or cop is a man. They all want to save you. I even had a cop who did arrest me try to set me up with one of his cop friends to help me turn my life around. Yeah, buddy, after I get release on PR’d or bailed out I’ll be sure to hit you up. Right.
Women always try to use their innocent feminine ways in court as well. Cry for the judge they tell you. Talk about how sorry you are and that you are ready to be a good girl now. Particularly if you are a mother. Although in all fairness, that is probably true.
On the other end of the spectrum is the whore. Women who stand out on the street often play up their overt sexuality in order to make it known which end they stand on. Funnily enough, I knew a few women who worked as strippers to support their habits. They played up the innocent while taking off their clothes. These girls looked young. You know the bodies of pre-pubescent girls. Actually, now that I think of it, one of the most successful prostitutes that I knew looked old in her face, but from a distance looked twelve. All of theses girls played upon (or preyed upon?) men with pedophile urges. See, we may play dumb if it suits us, but we are far smarter and far more calculated than we let on.
The right thing to do might be to fight against these stereotypes and declare that we are far more complex than either the Madonna or the whore. As addicts, however, we are more interested in a means to an end. If we can get we want, or more accurately what we need, by letting the world box us into a cheap, outdated stereotypes, then so be it. It’s not right, but neither is people thinking that women are that simple, so fuck it. When you are ill and need to get well, sexual politics is the last thing on your mind.