From Belle Knox to working the World Cup, the headline writers of the world’s publications had cause to write many headlines about sex work. In chronological order, we bring you the worst ten of the bunch, each gross, reductive, and hateful in its own special way.
“I Begged For Change To Stay Out Of The Sex Industry,” XOJane, Feb. 6 2014
XOJane’s “It Happened To Me” feature is generally offensive (“It Happened To Me: I Had First World Problems”) but this edition might take the cake. A lot of bad things happened to this woman while she was impoverished, but her equivocation over whether or not to become a high end escort after watching Secret Diary Of A Call Girl wasn’t one of them.
“Welcome Home, Daddy, I’m A Porn Star!” The Daily Mail, Mar. 10 2014
We know the Daily Fail isn’t exactly known for its rigorous journalism, and they are in the business of aggregation, so it’s not surprising that they had the single worst headline about Belle Knox.
“Sex Workers Are Excited For The World Cup Because They Think It Will Make Them Rich,” The Atlantic, Apr. 15 2014
Sex workers are realists, and painting Brazilian workers as naive dreamers with Pretty Woman fantasies featuring dollar wielding American white knight clients does them a grave disservice.
“Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?” The Nation, Apr. 21 2014
It’s news to us that SO MANY leftists want that, but it would seem that wanting rights for all workers should be a part of any decent politics. Katha Pollitt really goes in on the “the sex workers we hear from are all too privileged to be credible!” theme here, not realizing that her example of a New Inquiry-contributing, grad-school attending sex worker has a story that doesn’t back up her thesis.
“Tech-Savvy Prostitutes Trade Pimps for Web Pages,” NBCNews.com, Jul. 11 2014
It’s a story straight out of 2007: Sex workers use the internet to advertise!
“Is Sex Work Empowering Or Enslaving? 12 Experts Weigh In,” The Huffington Post, Oct. 18 2014
Can we have a third choice? Like “a job”? Is Sex Work Empowering Or Enslaving or A Job. Never use the E-word.
“Gamergate Supporters Partied at a Strip Club This Weekend,” NYMag.com, Oct. 27 2014
The headline summons horrors, but the story is a great portrait of the ‘gaters, who go to a juice bar because not all of them are over 21.
“Pole-dancing: Olympic sport or strip-club sleaze?” The Telegraph, Nov. 9 2014
Hate to break it to them, but it’s the same activity no matter where you do it.
“Judge makes it rain for strippers with $10.8M award in Rick’s Cabaret wage suit,” New York Post, Nov. 24 2014
Of all the punny and cute headlines about employee misclassification strip club lawsuits, this is possibly the most ridiculous.
“Autopsy suggests dead hooker was fleeing Long Island killer,” New York Daily News, Dec. 11 2014.
As Melissa Gira Grant tweeted, “How many brilliant, generous, fearless women I love could, in death, be headlined like this?” The headline was later changed to “Autopsy finds no drugs in dead hooker’s system, suggests she was frantically running from Long Island serial killer” online. The story itself is about Shannan Gilbert, assumed to have been a victim of the Long Island serial killer.