What is Sex Work?

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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.

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.

This Week in Videos of Badass Sex Workers

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

The World’s Worst Internship: Author Seeks Fucking Muse

CLheaderAn author has posted an ad on Craigslist seeking a young woman to have sex with him and keep a diary about it for a month, after which he’ll write a book about the experience and self-publish it on Amazon. Literary experimentation for our times? Product of reading too much Henry Miller? Really complicated scam to get a young fuckbuddy for a month? Sugardaddy who’s low on sugar? What the FUCK is really going on here and who is the kind of person who gets on board with this?

The book will detail every aspect of a mutually-agreed to romantic affair between myself and a young FEMALE lover (perhaps you), experienced over 30 days, as in the novel. The difference between the first book and this one will be verite: everything in this new volume will be the truth as both participants see it. If you agree to participate in this project, you will keep a diary of all of your thoughts, impressions and memories of the thirty day affair that we will share. I will then combine your written thoughts with my own to present the reader with two versions of the same erotic story. One love affair, as seen separately by the man and woman.

In case it gets taken down, here’s the screenshot below. We encourage someone to write in and apply to get the free copy of his first book!
[via Romenesko]

I Went To An Actual Vag Pageant

all photos courtesy of Hypnox

I feel nothing but pity for people who don’t “get” Twitter, anyone who has ever rejected me, and most of all, those who missed the 2nd Annual Vagina Beauty Pageant that happened this past week at Club Rouge in Portland, OR. I generally have a strong disdain for gimmicky strip club events and formal exotic dance pageants, but I feel like a child on Boxing Day now. I haven’t been able to get out of bed since realizing that I have to wait an entire year before I get to celebrate again.

I had considered entering when I read that the top vagina gets $500. I wasn’t sure what competing entailed, but felt like I had a solid entry. Plus, I thought maybe I could start charging extra for dances after I flashed customers my blue ribbon* (which I would carry on my person for the rest of my life, ready to show cops who pull me over for speeding, my future husband’s parents, etc). I boasted to a friend that I could win with toilet paper stuck to my junk, which I figure is the vaginal equivalent of doing a one-armed pushup. Ultimately, I was too confused (read: wimpy) to compete, but I did stop by to check it out just for the fresh blog material.