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Quote of the Week

Trust that all sex workers know just how fascinating white men in positions of power find them. I’m not going to be impressed that one of them condescended to consider that sex workers are worthy of being written about. I’ll be impressed when sex workers are considered authorities of their own lives and get recognition for the art, science, and analysis they have to offer about themselves and any other topic under the sun…Note to Joss [Whedon]: you need a sex worker consultant, mmmkay? Hire one to help you write the whores you seem to admire.

-Miss Maggie Mayhem explains why Firefly’s Inara is more of  “a white nerd’s wet dream” than a positive portrayal of a sex worker.

Quote of the Week

WHOOPS! Here I was thinking that the interplay between sex work and forced labour was complex and multi-causal, involving structural factors like poverty, identity-based discrimination, and anti-migration policies! BUT IT’S ACTUALLY INCREDIBLY SIMPLE! Turns out pimps (or, as they’re also known, “drug dealers”!) are simply luring young girls into the game with sequinned knicker shorts and the “Single Ladies” video, and if Beyoncé would just put some damn clothes on, the sex trafficking industry would dissolve!

Sorry to snark, it’s just that I can’t seriously engage with your evidence-devoid theory. The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense. This wouldn’t especially bother me if it weren’t for the fact that theories like yours spawn attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers. You are ignoring the freely available perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved. If you engage with sex workers before you form a view onwhat’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants.

Maddie Collier at the Pantograph Punch writes An Open Letter to Rakhi Kumar, Beyonce Hater: Your Feminism is Not My Feminism

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Smith didn’t just consider it irrelevant to ask these women what the law has meant (and hasn’t meant) to them. She also refused to engage with the many sex workers who tweeted her to point out this omission […] She allowed police officers – people who see it as their mission to drive sex workers out of business, people who have a long history of using sex workers for their own ends in all sorts of nefarious ways (yes, even in post-criminalization Sweden)  to define their experiences for them. I have a few words for that type of reporting. ‘Feminist’ isn’t one of them. 

Wendy Lyon responds to the silencing of sex worker voices in The Independent columnist Joan Smith’s whorephobic discussion of criminalization in Sweden this week. Another excellent response from Jem of It’s Just A Hobby here

 

Quote of the Week

I called my friend Amy and told her I feel trapped, and that I don’t think I can live my life if it’s just going to keep cycling back to having no options. And she was kind enough not to tell me why sex work is awesome, or to question my commitment to the movement, or to question whether I could really feel this bad about it. There is something really crazy-making about trying to pretend my feelings about sex work don’t matter, about continually tying the right of decriminalization to the obligation to be happy, when doing sex work makes me desperately unhappy.

…In The Promise of Happiness, Sara Ahmed traces the rise of happiness as a personal and cultural obligation. Happiness is “the good life,” and good people are the ones that make themselves and others happy.  But we live in a world in which some people’s “good life” is necessarily dependent on others’ exploitation. The obligation to be happy, for Ahmed, is the obligation to let that continue. The history of unhappiness  in the 20th century – as it has been told and recorded, in literature, memoirs and other archives – has been the history of resistance.

I’m not sure precisely what a sex positive feminist theory of prostitution that embraces unhappiness looks like, or could look like. But I’m tired of only ever seeing my feelings about sex work represented in abolitionist writing that doesn’t reflect my politics (or my basic need for survival, thanks bitches).

Sarah M.  in “Unhappy Hooking, or Why I’m Giving Up On Being Positive” on her exceptional and erudite blog, autocannibal

Quote of the Week

I was left feeling that those who had warned me against organizing in strip clubs were right: Most strippers are willing to tolerate labor violations in exchange for the relative freedom to pursue quick cash in an unregulated environment.

Tits and Sass contributor Rachel Aimee explores unionization, law suits, and how strippers try to balance the desire for fair labor practices with the desire for independence at In These Times.