Let me preface this blog by stating that, although I am critical of review boards, I do not seek their abolition. I understand that they will be a part of the industry for a while to come. As such, my issue is not with their existence but, instead, how sex workers are treated upon them.
In my opinion, review boards contribute to a culture of criticism. There seems to be a mentality on some review boards that a review is only deemed legit if a client critiques at least one aspect of an engagement. This philosophy compels a gentleman, even a client who had an outstanding experience, to scrutinize his experience with a critical eye. Perhaps, some clients believe that the results of this examination broaden the value of a review; however, to me, it has unfortunate implications.
First, it implies that regardless of how well a sex worker performs during an engagement, it is not enough. This mentality not only devalues a sex worker’s service offering but it also reinforces an adversarial relationship between clients and sex workers. Under constant surveillance, how can a sex worker relax and truly enjoy her time with clients?
Furthermore, within this fault-finding exercise, there is the potential that a client might make an issue out of something which is outside the sex worker’s control. For example, I have seen clients complain about outdoor noise or the dryness of air in an apartment. Then, of course, there is the temptation to overstate a criticism. For example, in one of my reviews, instead of notifying other clients that I have a small dog, the client wrote the more provocative, and sure to garner a laugh, “Take your antihistamine, boys.” Because of the internet-obsession to hone-in on the negative, some clients interpreted his comment as a warning that my apartment was covered from carpet to ceiling in dog hair.
It is important to remember that, in the online world, some clients take criticisms too literally. As such, even a constructive comment which is sincerely intended, has the potential to be misinterpreted as something more insidious. When this happens, it contributes to an unfair and an unfavorable impression of that sex worker. In real terms, it means that even in a positive review, where a client is pressured to critique an aspect of the engagement in order to demonstrate that his review is not a shill, can inadvertently result in lost revenue for that sex worker.
However, my biggest concern is the infectious nature of criticism on review boards. When someone is critical, oftentimes, there is a trickle-down effect which emboldens other clients to also be critical. As time goes on, this negative energy becomes normalized such that online criticism becomes increasingly disparaging. The reason that review boards are more toxic than ever before is because we have become socialized into accepting this negative energy as normal. But, in truth, it does not have to be this way.
Remember: negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you seek it out, then that is what you will find. As such, why dilute a special moment with a sex worker by actively seeking reasons why it was not as special as it could have been?
Perhaps, a better course of action would be to simply focus on why it was special in the first place.