See, what Twitter does is it allows us to have a right to reply instantly. It means we can contact and immediately communicate with those who would seek to put an end to our profession, or misrepresent us in harmful and dangerous ways. We can talk directly to them/their followers/members directly and say ‘Hey! We’re here! That person is wrong, so here’s some stuff you SHOULD look at/think about/talk about.’ All with just the click of a button, and 140 well organi[z]ed characters…Not only that, but we can instantly see who is willing to listen, who will talk, and who will just block us instantly and remain in their own bubble of ignorance.
-BBW Melody with a song of praise for the sex worker twittersphere in her blog, The Coin-Operated Girl
Individuals arrested as “pimps” during “rescue” operations are not necessarily abusers, traffickers, or exploiters; in fact, many are friends, family members, partners, etc. who happen to provide room, transportation, mentoring, security, and other assistance to people in the sex trade, or are financially supported by them, even though they are not abusing, coercing, exploiting, or otherwise hurting that person. Sometimes, women are arrested as “pimps” for working in pairs to increase their safety. Indiscriminate arrests of friends and others as “pimps” when they are not abusers, traffickers, or exploiters lead to further isolation of people who trade sex, putting them at greater risks.
-One of the many injections of common sense Emi Koyama makes into trafficking discourse in her new blog post/conference handout, “Rescue Is For Kittens: Ten Things Everyone Needs To Know About “Rescues” Of Youth In The Sex Trade“
From beginning to end, it is a classic narrative of colonialism. It is the story of Victorian ladies who saw Native Americans going “naked” and found themselves filled with pity; it is the voice of Sally Struthers pleading on late-night TV for the starving children in Africa. Her language others not only the sex workers she describes, but all the inner-city residents whose conditions so move her. She resorts to metaphors that evoke an urban war zone like “the frontlines” and “in the trenches,” — a much-beloved motif of suburban whites who see cities as hostile and uncivilized.
While [Sarah Elizabeth] Pahman says in her very first graf that the group isn’t there to “save” anybody, her story is nothing but a white savior boldly venturing into the land of the savages. Not a single word of her post is actually about the people in the city; it is entirely about how seeing them makes her feel. The people themselves are exotic others, with as much substance as if they had been green-screened into the background.
–Literate Perversions on Sarah Elizabeth Pahman’s disgustingly whorephobic Feministe guest post, which has since been taken down with no comment or apology from the Feministe staff.
Let’s try a thought experiment. ‘Every year thousands of people are promised a job as a dancer, but sadly, they end up here.’ The curtain rises on someone working in a tailor’s shop. That doesn’t quite work the same way, does it? We don’t automatically assume that it would be sad to work in a tailor’s shop (because that would be a horrible and classist thing to assume) and we certainly wouldn’t represent the problem of some people suffering abuse in the textiles industry by showing images of someone just doing their job. Nor would it make much sense to witness the dawning realisation of a potential customer looking in the window who will never again have a pair of jeans adjusted now he knows that some people in tailoring shops were promised jobs as dancers.
Eithne Crow takes on a video that claims to be anti-trafficking but is, unsurprisingly, mostly the same old anti-sex work propaganda we’re so regular exposed to.
When I moved to Atlanta I was made aware of a peculiar pastime of the city’s white frat boy elite. They apparently enjoy getting drunk and visiting one of the city’s many legendary black strip clubs rather than the white strip clubs. The fun part of this ritual seems to be rooted in the peculiarity of black female bodies, their athleticism and how hard they are willing to work for less money as opposed to the more normative white strippers who expect higher wages in exchange for just looking pretty naked. There are similar racialized patterns in porn actresses’ pay and, I suspect, all manner of sex workers. The black strip clubs are a bargain good time because the value of black sexuality is discounted relative to the acceptability of black women as legitimate partners.
Tressie McMillan Cottom on Miley Cyrus, the commodity that is being desirable, and “brown bodies as white amusement parks.”