The Power to Submit: A Review of "In Her Own Words…An Interview with a London Call Girl" by Ruth Jacobs


Note:  This piece originally appeared on The Left Side of Feminism.

 When Ruth Jacobs first sent me a copy of “In Her Own Words…Interview with a London Call Girl”, I didn’t know what to expect.  Would it be a melodramatic story that lays out the evils of prostitution, the horrors of the life?  Would it be a stereotype of the life, one meant to win converts rather than reveal the truth as Q sees it?  I knew Ruth was donating the proceeds to an organization that helps women exit prostitution, so that was where I thought it would lead.  The truth was much worse:  it’s the story of a woman who has convinced herself that her life is “fun”, even as she talks about allowing herself to be raped.  In a few short pages, Q contradicts herself repeatedly, revealing a conflicted psyche of a broken woman.  A woman trying to rationalize the hatred played out on her body.  Without editorializing, Ruth allows us to experience Q’s pain and confusion.

 Many times throughout the piece, Q speaks of the power she has over men.  In the very next sentence, she will often speak of feeling as if she is being raped when she is with a client.  Then, she will speak of feeling raped when she is with a man who doesn’t pay her.  She will talk about power and control, but her story reveals that her sole “power” is the power to submit.  The power to let men play out the “sick perversion in their head” on her body.

 To make herself feel more in control, she speaks of how she is doing a service for society—allowing herself to be abused so that other women and children won’t be.  Even if that were the case, the idea that some women should be set aside and abused so that other women can live in safety is a terrifying thought.  That a woman would wish that to be her own lot in life is heartbreaking.  That other women would wave their hands at it, declaring it all just a “choice” is infuriating.

 I could see Q’s words being very easily twisted by liberal feminists of the “it’s all a choice” variety.  She speaks of how she would not want another life now.  This is all she knows.  To accept that this is a good choice for Q, we have to say we don’t care when she talks about wanting to scream at some guy to “get off me”, but being unable to do so.  We have to say that we don’t care when she talks of how she will never have a normal relationship, because she has seen into the heads of too many men for whom she “plays out all their sick fantasies”.  We have to ignore the disconnect.  The disconnect in a woman’s head when she will say, “It’s a lot of people you’ve seen and it’s soul destroying to do it,” then follow that with, “But now, it’s just like that’s all I know and that’s all I find fun.”  Is this what we want for women in this world?

 Any woman who has worked in the sex industry will relate to what Q says about how society looks down on you, no matter what else you may do in your life.  For some people, it will be a joke.  For others, it will be something they expect you to be ashamed of, to keep quiet about.  Men who will walk into a strip club or pay a prostitute, will suddenly not find it all so funny when it’s their daughters, their girlfriends, their wives, “their” women.  The true Madonna-whore complex is writ all over your life and your body–in flesh, in breath, in blood, in memory.  It will no longer be a joke; it will be something you should hide in shame.  It will be something they do not want to face, because it might say something about the pain you felt and they didn’t see.  If you’ve spent long enough in the life, I imagine it’s easier to forge onward than to deal with the fake world outside.

 Ruth Jacobs does a fantastic job of letting this woman speak her own truth.  There is no need to craft words or ask leading questions here.  Just allowing Q to speak tells us all we need to know about the liberal doctrine we are being fed about women and their “choices”.  When a woman talks about beginning a life of prostitution at the age of 15 and crying after each time, is that what we, as feminists, are fighting for?  When she uses words like “soul destroying”, “rape, “sick” and “perversion” intertwined with “fun”, are we so blind that we can’t see through it all?  When she talks about how she can’t have a normal relationship and doesn’t think she ever will, because she has become hardened to men, is that where we want the lives of other women to lead?  When she speaks of the dangers of her life, are we happy to see other women in danger?  How can a woman say this is what she wants for other women, while still claiming to be a feminist?  I say that she can’t.

  “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl” is available to download from Amazon UK at for £0.77 and from Amazon US at for $0.99. It is also available worldwide.  Find out about Ruth’s book Soul Destruction at
 Ruth Jacobs studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. Her series of Soul Destruction novels dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has firsthand experience of some of the topics she writes about, such as post traumatic stress disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.

2 responses to “The Power to Submit: A Review of "In Her Own Words…An Interview with a London Call Girl" by Ruth Jacobs

Share your thoughts, but be aware that comments on this blog are moderated. Please be patient, as it may take me a few days to moderate comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s