Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers purports to reveal “the truth about what the average performer looks like, what they do on film, and how their role has evolved over the last forty years”, using information gathered from The Internet Adult Film Database (and without talking to any actual sex workers, conveniently).
In New Zealand, a bill that would ban street-based prostitution in parts of Auckland is currently before a parliamentary committee. If passed, the bill would give police powers of arrest, the power to stop and search vehicles, and would allow fines of up to $2000 for street workers and their clients. The bill has been lobbied for aggressively by unhappy local residents and conservative community organisations. The New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective opposes the bill, saying it “makes a scapegoat of street-based sex workers and would leave them more vulnerable to violence.” In a submission to the committee, one street-based worker commented “This is my life. Please don’t make it any harder on me. I’m only trying to get by.” Sex work (including street work) was fully decriminalized in New Zealand in 2003.
Melissa Gira Grant reliably produces more brilliant work–this time, a piece on the history of sex work in the US and the forces that conspired to criminalize it.
The Indian government has decided not to recriminalize sex work, by not defining voluntary sex workers above the age of 18 years as victims of trafficking in their new definition of the criminal offense.
Gay porn star Arpad Miklos committed suicide earlier this month, and the Gay Star news thinks it’s a sign we should be taking better care of sex workers in the community rather than stigmatizing and objectifying them. Connor Habib, another gay porn performer, blogs about how “Did porn have anything to do with his death?” is a specious question.
The redoubtable Robin Hustle writes in Jezebel about what she’s learned through experience sex workers, nannies, nurses, and waitresses all have in common. Arlie Hochschild’s concept of “emotional labor” has been really helpful to many sex workers in thinking about our work.
The controversy around Kink.com continues as SF Weekly runs a feature on two former models’ allegations that they were denied workers’ compensation when injured on set.
Ireland apologizes for slave labor in the Magdalene Laundries, but the apology makes no mention of the fact that many of the women abused and exploited there were sex workers, and that even now, the Irish government is allowing the Ruhama Agency, one of the organizations behind the laundries, to advise them on laws that directly impact sex workers–in a forum from which sex workers are excluded.
In the ‘badass sex workers of the past’ category, this post profiles 1950s stripper and burlesque performer Virginia Lee Hicks, who founded early stripper union the Exotic Dancers’ League of North America, and spun a mean propellor pastie.
In Australia, a Camberra man with cerebral palsy issued a call for the services of sex workers to be considered a legitimate need for people with disabilities in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A parliamentary inquiry into draft legislation is being held. In Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, sexual assistants for people with disabilities already have legal status.
HIPS, an org in Washington, DC whose mission is to assist sex workers in dealing with HIV/AIDS, STIs, police violence, discrimination, and poverty using a harm reduction model, held a writing exercise for their clients in which they were asked what they would say to *their* clients if they could say anything. You have to zoom in to see the results, but it’s worth it.
Iceland wants to ban internet porn, getting right on that sex panic bandwagon by calling it a threat to children.
Read self-proclaimed Afrogeek porn webmistress Sinammon Love’s piece, “Transforming Pornography: Black Porn for Black Women”, from The Feminist Porn Book, in Guernica magazine.