The following is a guest post written by Bardot Smith, an ally in our battle to challenge old-world order approaches to sex tech.
Hello. You may call me Ms. Smith.
I am an analyst turned hustler, and a…Mistress. My work presides at the intersection of financial technology, psychology, behavioral economics…and, the dark pool of the adult industry. I am the proprietress of BardotSmith.com and Mistres.se, a think tank and advisory firm for the intersection of adult industry and financial technology.
At the beginning of operating this enterprise, I chose to embody the ideals of feminine power at all levels of my existence, up to and including my business model. In effect, reversing the concepts of supply and demand in the adult industry to challenge the notion that women who work in any type of “adult” context are only able to operate as a result of male desire, and therefore subject to male power hierarchies, even within the industry.
From the outset, I adopted a unique strategy. Instead of viewing my sexuality as a commodity to be bought and sold, I would view myself as the owner of a set of capital assets. I would operate as a capitalist, not a laborer. As the owner of capital, I would set the terms and expectations for each and every interaction with that capital.
I wanted to directly address the discrepancy between how female and male behavior is regarded in this arena. We expect that successful businessmen, lawyers, financiers, etc — the elite — to operate with ruthless efficiency. But if we witness a woman doing the same, it is controversial. She is considered unnatural and suppressed, either directly or indirectly. When she performs this feat successfully with respect to her sexuality, we consider it an unforgivable trespass.
But isn’t the foundational goal of capitalism to press your advantage? Isn’t refusing — or severely controlling — how women are able to leverage their natural advantages discriminatory? And, if we are considering this possible perspective, it is quite possibly unconstitutional. (Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, but I digress again.)
This attitude has manifested on a large scale by how we regard the adult industry itself, and the people who comprise it. While men of all ilks, including venture capitalists, have interfaced with pornographic or adult content, the women who work to produce the content are considered untouchables. Female founders who know and understand the challenges *and opportunities* that the industry presents, are barricaded from finding funding for ventures, and even from running their own personal enterprises (bank accts of porn stars being seized, payment processors declining to accommodate my business and MLNP etc, etc, the widespread abdication of responsibility for these policies…etc.). Banks have no trouble dealing in faulty mortgage securities, but the suggestion of pussy? That is too high risk, I see.
The Irony Is.
By forcing participants in and on the periphery of these industries to the limits in order to run their business, subversive behavior is encouraged, and not actually deterred. It creates opportunities for extortion, rather than mitigating them. For example, Adult payment processors take excessive fees for handling transactions, even if they had no part in generating that business. On a macro level this is essentially female talent, ingenuity, and — by way of my stance — capital stock being turned into profit for owners and operators in the industry without the theoretical owners of said stock being compensated. It would only be a minor digression to discuss how these financial service providers are entities housed under the same equity groups as their mainstream relatives.
Despite the fact that my website has no explicit pornography, and that, as a Mistress, I am not offering sexual services of any kind, it is deemed adult. Because of this, I am strictly limited in how I conduct business. For example, I am barred from using these “mainstream” payment processors to conduct business and receive gifts and tips from the people I interface with. That is how aggressively anti-woman these policies are at their core.
Not to be deterred, I started to take stock of possible loopholes. Of course, there are many. But I am not here to entertain myself. I started to devise strategies and financial technology to circumvent the issue on a broader scale.
My goal in operating, both as an independent persona and a founder, is to illuminate the underlying assumptions that allow the industry to stay mired in the financial past and to challenge this with specific and focused action. I have taken capitalism to its inevitable (but prohibited) conclusions as a way to protest these hierarchies.
To continue to make this statement, I founded MISTRES.SE which is a strategic advisory for participants in the adult industry who would like to operate independently. I am interested in meeting with individuals and investors who are like-minded in their optimism for the sex industry.
I am relentless and uncommonly skilled. I am here to break #sextech open. Isn’t it time?
Follow Bardot Smith on twitter.