Two of the many reasons why I’m proud to live in New Zealand: we are the only country in the world to have completely decriminalised sex work, and we were the first country to grant women the right to vote. Today the New Zealand Herald published a special commemorative issue celebrating 125 years of women’s suffrage…and Madame Murphy is in it! (right between a dairy farmer and a Crown prosecutor. Madaming: just a regular, every-day job!)
When The Bach's Instagram feed disappeared, it was an inconvenience. Gentlemen enjoy pretty pictures of our ladies, but it's not how we make the majority of our bookings--since sex work is decriminalised in New Zealand, we can advertise online and in the local paper.
But since the US Congress passed the FOSTA SESTA laws, American sex workers are having all their social media outlets censored. Disappeared. Poof. And for American sex workers, that means one thing: Danger.
When sex workers can't communicate with their clients, they are driven even further underground. Into exploitative relationships with pimps. Into street walking. And the more we stigmatise and criminalise sex workers, the less likely it is they'll call for help when they need it.
It takes many voices to call for change...Thank you, Katie!
Catherine Healy, president of the NZPC (New Zealand Prostitutes Collective), tireless advocate for sex worker rights, inspirational leader and all-around beautiful and compassionate person is now a Dame for her services to the rights of sex workers!
Though we don't expect to see her swinging a sword around anytime soon, Catherine does something more powerful: she wields her leadership with intelligence and grace. And make no mistake: it's a very big deal that the British Honours System has chosen to celebrate an advocate for New Zealand sex worker rights. Slowly but surely, people are realising: Sex work is work. Women have the right to sexual agency. Decriminalisation is the safest model for sex workers.
Sex Work is decriminalised in New Zealand, and Northland's unemployment rate is nearly 7%. Shouldn't women have the right to know about a job option that pays $120+/hour?
Radio Live's Ryan Bridge was kind enough to call up Madame Murphy and get the low-down on our new Kiwi Kissing Coach classes! We've had so much interest, we're starting to think there's quite a pent-up demand in Northland for kissing lessons! You can find the full interview on the Radio Live site here (about halfway down the page.)
"REAPING THE BENEFITS Farmer mum who opened a BROTHEL at the age of 42 now charges £185 for kissing lessons" So goes this lovely little piece about The Bach which Josie Griffiths penned for Britain's largest tabloid newspaper, The Sun. My favourite part about the piece is that somehow my age (43 actually, but who's counting?) makes the whole thing sound so much seedier. Would it be better if I were 19? How about 65?
Regardless, we're thrilled about the coverage...and we'll keep matching beautiful, giving women with Northland's finest gentlemen. Because no matter how old you are, everyone can use a little romance in their lives!
Emily Mazza wrote a thoughtful piece about our Kiwi Kissing Coach classes for the Daily Mail Australia. I especially appreciated how she described that so much of what we do at The Bach isn't about sex--it's about human kindness and companionship. Everybody wants to feel a little less alone in this world...why not get a helping hand to find love?
"I'm new to this country, and I wish I could get a Kiwi girlfriend...but how do I do it?" How many times have we heard that question at The Bach? Lots of times! That's why from today, we're offering Kiwi Kissing Coach classes...helping you figure out everything from introductions, flirting and texting with a lady, kissing and consent.
The New Zealand Herald thought this was a pretty cool idea, so they profiled the Kiwi Kissing Coach in a Valentines Day article here.
On Saturday, November 25, a completely avoidable tragedy took place. A 38-year old woman killed herself by jumping out the window of a building in Queens, New York. Why? She was a sex worker, and she was about to get arrested by the police.
The New York Daily News published a provocative column about the incident, titled "We Need a #metoo Moment, But For Prostitutes." And for the most part, I agreed with what the author had to say. Prostitution shouldn't be illegal--prohibiting adult sex work makes women more vulnerable to assault and exploitation.
But I wanted to add a couple of points, so I wrote a letter to the editor--and they published it! (I think maybe the last line made them chuckle.)
Professionals and profits
Whangarei, New Zealand: I am the owner of The Bach (rhymes with “catch,”) an ethical escort agency in Whangarei, the northernmost city in New Zealand. I read with interest S.E. Cupp’s Nov. 30 column “Needed: #metoo, for prostitutes” and I’d like to clarify a few points. The World Health Organization endorses the decriminalization of prostitution, not the legalization. These are two separate things. New Zealand is the only country in the world where sex work is decriminalized, meaning it is treated like any other profession and is not unduly regulated. Since the 2003 Prostitution Reform Act, sex workers are empowered to call on the police for help, and officers are able to to assist — whether it’s escorting a client to an ATM to make sure he pays, or by taking a report of sexual harassment or assault. The ladies who work for me are not exploited or exposed to violence. Rather, they are single mothers and young professionals, saving hundreds (and sometimes thousands!) of dollars a week for their future. Does sex work cheapen sex? That’s a matter of opinion. But I’ll tell you what most of my ladies say to me, when they leave work with a smile and a fistful of cash: “I can’t believe I was doing this on Tinder for free!” Antonia Murphy
Imagine our surprise to learn the Daily Mail Australia's published quite a big, supportive piece on The Bach! Emily Mazza seems to have pulled much of the material from the Take 5 piece that came out earlier this year as well as...deep cuts from the Internet:
Outrageous texts, yucky texts, and just plain hilarious texts...we get them all at The Bach! Some of these are just too good to keep to ourselves, so we decided to start an Instagram account with our favourite ones. Follow us at Text A Madam on Instagram...and mind your manners, or you might recognise yourself up there one day! (We always protect our clients' identities. Even the rude ones!)
We hear it all the time: "I have so much MONEY!" "He was SO CUTE!" "I can't believe you guys are paying ME for this!" But then the other day we got a great message. A really phenomenal one, in fact, from one of our girls (who shall remain nameless!) Here it is:
"Also wanted to pass on feedback from some of my friends. They haven't seen me this happy and confident in a long time, and they agree with me working at The Bach is giving me confidence as a woman, less stress money wise as I have almost no outstanding bills left, less stress trying to get dates / get laid. And they love the way I speak about both my Madams-- they treat me with respect, let me debrief every booking, include me in their own personal life, and truly and honestly care for me, my health, mental health, and I'm making some amazing friends. I really cannot thank you both enough, I'm so happy."
And to that, we say: WOW. And right back at you, babe. Right back at you.
Every now and then, we get a truly amazing vote of support at The Bach...whether it's one of our ladies saying, "This is the best job EVER!" or "That was so easy...I can't believe how much money I'm making!" (Or our favourite: "I would have shagged that one for FREE!"...but that's the subject of a whole other blog post.)
Well, today a message came through on snapchat, and it was so beautiful we thought we'd share it with you:
"With the imminent deployment of robots taking over the workforce, the sex industry may be one of the last bastions safe from the biggest technological shifts about to occur since the industrial revolution."
Yep, that's one way of looking at it! Bowron's piece in stuff.co.nz may be deliberately fanciful, but she raises an interesting point: if The Bach pays 11 times the minimum wage, and it's a real, human experience that can't be replicated by a robot...maybe sex work is a career option worth considering for your future?
Kim Blair interviewed Madame Murphy about her difficulties advertising job opportunities in the sex industry...why shouldn't women hear about ALL the job opportunities–even the sexy ones paying $180 per hour? Their live conversation sparked a (cough!) lively discussion on the airwaves! You can hear the audio interview by clicking on the player below.
It's a pretty good gig, working at The Bach– $180/hour, flexible schedule, free childcare on site. So why won't Work and Income list our job vacancies? Because sex work is "Not Suitable," according to WINZ...as if it's anyone's business what's considered "suitable" for women in 2017! The New Zealand Herald thought this was an interesting question, and they published an article about it: Ethical Brothel Struggles To Find Staff (we're not struggling, but I guess that sells papers!)
New Zealand's favourite real-life tabloid, LUCKY BREAK, published an awesome piece on The Bach in their April 24 issue. "Inside New Zealand's Ethical Brothel" shows readers what we're trying to do down here: create a wonderful experience for our clients, and a healthy and respectful workplace for our ladies. An excerpt from the article:
While some people may not agree with the industry, I believe women have the right to do whatever they like with their body [sic]. I'm just helping to provide the safest and healthiest environment for both clients and workers. Prostitution is one of the oldest professions. If it's going to be done, I see no reason why it shouldn't be done responsibly.
The reporter interviewed me for more than an hour, she really listened to what I had to say...and I was pleasantly surprised. The more we get the word out that sex work can be an honest way to learn a living, the more we'll break down those stereotypes that can create an atmosphere of shame in the sex industry. Thank you, LUCKY BREAK for listening!
"I don't understand feminists who say they're pro women having agency, but then when it comes to sex work they're completely against it...sex work can give a lot of women agency. It's better than being in a minimum wage job, right?"
Amen, Lila! We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Follow this gorgeous, gutsy broad on Twitter @SheIsDiscoTits
Plenty of people have opinions about sex and the sex industry, and many are too scared to say what they really think. This man wasn't...let's call him "James." James sent us this extraordinarily touching email, and I have a feeling he speaks for many men:
Hi Antonia, thank you for your statements in the NZ Herald the other day, which I am sure many men appreciated. I think you are right, we live in a society that refuses to acknowledge and validate that men may have strong needs for intimacy, attention and loving care. And for many, this translates as a need for sex. These issues raise innumerable conflicts relating to morality, religion, mens and womens self-esteem, and law. The lack of discussion, and the lack of the male voice, is tragic - not only for men, but also for society. If more men could afford your services in a comfortable and ethical context, I believe it would have a significant impact on mental health. Thank you.
It's not all doom and gloom in the media...Corazon Miller of the New Zealand Herald has written a strong and well-balanced piece in Sunday's paper about The Bach and our concept of the "ethical brothel." Shouldn't be so controversial really– the idea of paying women well for their talents, dealing fairly with our employees, and operating a clean business free from drugs, violence or exploitation! But unfortunately, "drugs-gangs-and human trafficking" are still what most people associate with the sex industry, so all we can do is provide a great service with healthy, sexy women and prove them all wrong.
Brava, Corazon! And thank you for telling our story. The article is entitled "The Ethics of Prostitution: Selling Sex Out of The Shadows." You can read the full text of the article (and view a video interview with Madame Murphy--oo la la!) here.