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It’s International Sex Workers Day

June 2 marks International Sex Workers Day, commemorating a 1975 sit-in staged by French sex workers and allies at a church in Lyon. How do we celebrate this, exactly, and what can we expect from it? Holidays like this can be a good way to start a conversation or rejuvenate your own commitment to activism, but other than that, they’re essentially another calendar-condoned opportunity to preach to the converted.

This day, and International Sex Workers’ Rights Day (celebrated March 3),  get significantly less attention, at least in the U.S., than even the December 17th International Day to Prevent Violence Against Sex Workers—yet another day largely ignored by anyone outside sex work activist groups and indie media. While these are days for community building and solidarity, they arguably don’t achieve much, if anything, in the way of tangible social or political progress outside our insular communities. The vague notion of “raising awareness” makes its way into every article and event announcement, but it’s quite difficult to measure how much awareness is raised beyond the awareness raisers themselves and their immediate group of allies. More frustrating than a somewhat arbitrary holiday’s lack of power in dictating change is its reminder of how desperately necessary that change really is.

Sugarbabies Unite! (sort of.)

For some, the jury is out on whether being a sugarbaby counts as sex work, for others it’s pretty clear that it is. The ladies of Tits and Sass think it is, even if we don’t all have the same opinion on it. So, we decided to have a little Sugarbaby Roundtable on the topic. What could be better than the opportunity to share experiences, especially when the subject at hand is generally treated like a secret?

This Week in Videos of Badass Sex Workers

The Secret Service escort and the hot dog stripper finally speak to the media.

A “Whore” of Many Colors

I just want to know what these people want from us. They argue over which term to use like we are animals, where using the wrong genus actually matters. It is not difficult to figure out. We are sex workers because we use our sexuality to make money, period. All of us: strippers, escorts, dominas, whatever. It is an umbrella term because we can all fit under it. Why is that so hard? Why do they need everybody to be ultra specific before they can tuck themselves in at night?

I know why: this isn’t really about trying to figure out what to call us. This is the kind of classification you use so you know how to react to someone, you know what I mean? They want to know which kind of sex work we do so they can know how to treat us, because “sex work” doesn’t have the same hateful baggage as “whore” or “stripper” does for some people, and it is hard to throw at someone. “This is one sex worker with chutzpah” just doesn’t have the same sting; it sounds like something you say to an equal, not something you say to classify another group of women as less worth respect than you are. I’m looking at you, Andrea Peyser.

Bad Advice From “Ask A Dude”

by smcgee on flickr

At The Hairpin they have this thing where they “Ask a Dude” to give advice on matters of all sorts. Most fall along the lines of “Should I leave this relationship?” or “What does it mean when a guy does this?” type of questions. Last week, though, the featured Dude told a girl that turning a friend into a client by sleeping with him for money was a good idea—forward-thinking, even—and it was horrible advice.

There’s a reason most of us use pseudonyms, screen, and even blur our faces: We don’t want to have relationships with our clients beyond the actual transactional one we will already have. Clients can’t be friends, and friends can’t really be clients in the long run. When you actually know someone and they know you, they anticipate feelings (or you do), but somebody is doing a lot more thinking on the experience than “This is amazing, it feels so good!” In this girl’s case, that would be what her Mom might think and how he can use this as leverage to get more attention from her.