May 21, 2006

Back in business?

On the eve of her trial for prostitution, Women-Studies-professor-turned-call-girl Brandy Britton grants an interview to the Washington Post.
She has changed into black sweats, black cardigan and an oversized Testudo's Troops T-shirt, and she materializes in her bedroom -- a place of Asian-inspired tranquility, complete with a canopy bed draped in chiffon, beaded curtains and floating shelves of Asian statues.

Crawling onto the bed, she sits cross-legged and talks for another 4 1/2 hours. Night turns to early morning, and she periodically stands at the end of her bed, stroking the skin of her lower stomach and upper thigh. It's an unconscious habit, like twirling her hair or picking at her cuticles.

She believes, she is saying, her colleagues at UMBC got together and decided, "How are we going to do her in?" She believes they wiretapped her phones and put her under other kinds of surveillance. "I was devoted," she continues. "I spent my whole life working for that. . . . It wasn't just a job to me. It was my life." She left UMBC and "just thought, 'I'm going to lay down and die. I'm so depressed.' "

Since quitting, she has filed for bankruptcy twice and struggled against five foreclosures on her Ellicott City home. In 2001, she filed a $30,000 lawsuit after a car accident, settling later for an undisclosed amount. For about seven months, between October 2003 and April 2004, Britton worked for the Baltimore City Public Schools in the research department.

Ask where she's worked in the past couple of years, and she starts to answer, then suddenly recommends a book: "Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry."

The article describes a brilliant student and teacher whose academic life imploded, twice, in a flurry of accustations, suits and countersuits. Her marriage broke up and she's estranged from her mother. She's fought off disclosure of her Ellicott City house several times.

The article also reveals that Brandy has a new website advertising herself as an escort. Although the story doesn't provide a link, an anonymous reader sent me this, which sounds a lot like site described in the story.

It's a strange and sad tale. And it leads me to ask: What is it about self-described feminists that leads them to display themselves naked on the Internet?

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