sex work

Anyone who knows me will tell you I struggle with nuance.  Different people have different ways of expressing this: two of my friends describe me as a typical Capricorn, I’ve been called an “angry bumblebee,” “strident,” and “ideologically rigid” by some of my best friends.  They aren’t exaggerating! I’m capable of nuance, especially when talking about my own experiences, but when I see good things said about the sex industry without any mention of the bad, my internal alarm starts screeching.

Which makes me a really weird pick to review Jacqueline Frances’ (AKA Jacq the Stripper) celebration of strippers, Striptastic!, right?
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Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Trick or treat, smell my feet! Then pay me for the privilege.

Darren Vann, the man accused of targeting sex workers and killing seven women in Indiana, says he messed up by killing his last victim, Afrikka Hardy in Hammond instead of Gary. (True remorse.) S.E. Smith asks how a convicted sex offender was able to murder at least seven women over the past few decades. Gary Ridgeway could answer that for her. And our own Tits and Sass contributor, Peechington Marie, explains how Vann’s sex worker victims are stigmatized and erased by the media because they don’t fit the good victim profile on the Ebony Magazine site.

Olga Galkina, a St. Petersburg lawmaker, has drafted a bill that would give clients a choice between fines or arrest if they’re caught seeing sex workers, with the fines and jail time increasing if they know the person was forced into sex work, and best of all, an option that would forgive and forget the infraction if the client marries the sex worker.  Galkina says that she favors legalization of prostitution and is using this bill to start a public conversation on the issue.

File this one under Civilians Being Obnoxious Idiots About Sex Work: two former New School students have started the world’s first “poetry brothel,” where:

….writers could present their work in a more vibrant, visceral setting. They would dress up, invent alter egos, and sell not their bodies but their poems.

A 19-yearr-old Chinese backpacker is looking for generous “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels: they pay for her trips to their cities and her expenses while there and in return “they get a whole night with me, my undivided attention, and a chance to show themselves off in the company of a truly beautiful girl.”  Haters say if she was getting cash rather than a trip we would all know what to call her, but I think we already do: thrifty.

A former police officer who abused his power in order to force sex workers to have sex with him has been sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Strippers at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club is Las Vegas won  legal recognition of their employee status on Thursday, and the case is now back in the District Court to decide how much the approximately 6,500 dancers who work there are owed.

Siouxsie Q. talks about Facebook’s short lived legal name policy and the reality that pseudonyms keep us safe.

CNN goes inside the world of a feminist stripper and hears that “it’s hot and empowering.” Sex workers the world over who’ve been trying to break free of that word cringe in unison.

In the wake of her rebirth and the creation of her new anti-trafficking organization Somaly Mam breaks her silence to defend herself. Some things are too good to last. [READ MORE]

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(Screenshot of Association of Club Executives newsletter.)

Mayang Prasetyo, a trans woman sex worker, was killed by her boyfriend in Australia (trigger warning: article describes a brutal, perverse murder).  The Courier Mail used some unconscionably unfeeling headlines in relating the murder, and is being called on it.

Oregon lobbyists are working with strippers and social workers to come up with legislation that will offer protections to strippers, reinforcing their labor rights given that, in Oregon as in so many other places, strippers are illegally classified as independent contractors. Mary Emily O’Hara notes:

Though the panel won’t finalize the bill until later in the year, everyone seemed to agree on one thing: if you’re going to work as a stripper, some sort of basic education that clarifies rules around touching, employee status, and other workplace protections is desperately needed.

The Association of Club Executives was way less than thrilled by O’Hara’s article, as you can see from the screen shot above, taken from their newsletter. “Empowerment Enterprises”! That’s some beautiful cheek.

The Cambodian government is also proposing to enforce the labor rights of workers in entertainment venues, including sex workers.

A recent study of sex workers over 40 in India found their circumstances to be very distressed, often exacerbated by the Devadesi system.

Another sex worker is on reality tv: Former stripper Courtney Lapresi is on Master Chef, and the response to this from contestants and critics has been even more negative than Irish response to sex worker Kate McGrew on Connected. Naysayers theorize that Lapresi might exchange sexual favors in exchange for winning. As Esmerelda Murray reports, Lapresi herself is framing stripping as an embarrassing and regrettable decision she made while she was broke.  What’s embarrassing and regrettable is that, after making it on to a cooking show, she felt she had anything in her past to apologize for. Badly done, Master Chef.

Several cases of male violence after rejection made the news this week, only one involving a sex worker (progress?): An English sex worker was attacked on the outskirts of Manchester after attempting to keep walking and ignore a man who wanted her attention.

A days-long trafficking investigation/sting across Canada, which interviewed over 300 sex workers, resulted in 9 arrests, although police in Edmonton, for example insist that they got a very guarded feel from many of the women.  You don’t say.

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