Posts Tagged ‘feminism in sex work’

So, you’re learning How To Feminist.

October 28, 2015

(This is dedicated to anyone who went to the Feminism in London conference. They discussed the Swedish Model, invited a panel of pro-abolitionists (3 of which pulled out) but not one sex-worker.

This is for you.)

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This week, a lot of people have been quite shocked to discover that Germaine Greer isn’t all that nice to Trans women. Well, strap in, my loves.

She’s been saying it for years. Honestly, her exclusionary feminism is nothing new and well documented. She is – what we call – a T.E.R.F. A Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist, as well as a S.W.E.R.F – Sex Worker Exclusionary yadda yadda yadda..

Unfortunately, this has filtered down through the ages to people who are currently trying to Feminist, and because they’ve read The Female Eunuch, the think it’s the right way to go. It also means that so-called ‘Influential’ feminists (i.e rich, white Hollywood celebrities) have taken up the battle and believe Feminism should exclude Sex Workers. Including those who ran the ‘Feminism in London’ event. (Ironically, one of the abolitionists has just written an article on why free speech is important. Plenty of sex-workers who would have happily gone to the conference couldn’t agree more! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/06/feminists-doctrine-conference-free-speech)

Here’s what they believe, because it’s been In A Book:

BECAUSE WHEN A WOMAN SELLS HER BODY, THE PATRIARCHY OBJECTIFY ALL FEMALE BODIES.

*Snooooooze…*

ALL SEX WORKERS ARE BEING EXPLOITED! THEY JUST DON’T KNOW IT…!

Boooooring….

IT’S A PATRIARCHAL INDUSTRY! ONLY MEN ARE PROFITING!!

Ok..it’s true, I admit it. A LOT of my earnings went to men; my landlord, the guys in Tesco, and let’s not forget the various heads of multi billion pound corporations I have to give money to in order to..well…live, basically.

So this is for you. This is my handy guide for you Sex Worker Exclusionary Feminists, who might be finding out that it’s about time you started thinking for yourselves.

  1. Sex-work makes men think it’s OK to objectify women.

Let’s start with something basic – you might believe that sex workers are a manifestation of the patriarchy. You think every branch of them – from page 3 girls to street workers – should die in a fire because, to you, the men who see them then see every woman as an object for their amusement.

Yep, it’s a tough one. Been floating round for yeeaaars. But the solution is actually quite simple. Are you ready?

Men are doing it too.

Men have been sex-workers, models, topless totty, strippers, dancers, all of it, for just as long as women. And look at them – still running the world!

Women have been oggling at men, seeing them as sex objects, but do they have to justify it? No.

Case in point – David Beckham

Look at him, just look at him. In his pants, hands perilously close to his peen, and an advert that made his cock several feet bigger by appearing on a bus.

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He’s got an OBE, was on the Olympics committee, he’s a global ambassador for football….and he can still model in his pants and it’s not the worse thing that he’s ever done.

If a woman did that, if a woman of his fame and his calibre did that, can you honestly say it wouldn’t be held against her?

Abso-fucking-lutely-not.

I don’t want to live in a puritanical society, I’m putting that out there straight away. I don’t want to live in a world where the only way to have equality is that no ones revels in their body, that we all hide our skin, men and women. I don’t think many of us do want that. Instead, I want my female sport stars, presenters, members of parliament to be able to do exactly what Mr Beckham and his ilk can – enjoy safe, sane and consensual activities without fear, shame or judgement.

‘But look at Katy Price! She isn’t a sport star, she just poses for men to objectify her!’

  1. When women football players earn as much as their male counterparts, then we can discuss the rather humongous topic of why modelling is has become the go-to lucrative choice for our generation of young, fit, well-toned women.
  2. Love her or loathe her, she’s still a best selling author and has built up various fashion brands and £45 million net worth.
  3.  I wish I had a bigger list of successful models who have branched out beyond page three, but I don’t. WHICH IS EXACTLY THE POINT I’M MAKING. 

Feminism should be about equality. We should be able to do exactly what the boys can, only they don’t have a faction of their own gender telling them it’s wrong to be on a bus in your pants.

2) ALL SEX WORKERS ARE EXPLOITED!

Nope. We’re not. We’re the ones getting the money, we’re the ones setting our times, our limits, our workplaces. There has, however, been a rise in exploitation by outside factions –

The Police – This is a recent story from Ireland. Things in England are a bit better with the education passed to police forces thanks to resources like National Ugly Mugs, but I daresay that a lot of sex-workers don’t realise where they stand when it comes to reporting crimes, and what ISN’T legal.

“The first complainant’s statement said that she felt compelled to have sexual intercourse with the garda concerned because he was a member of An Garda Siochána involved in a prosecution which led to her conviction for an offence under s.11 of the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 1993 and she feared further prosecution. – http://www.closeronline.co.uk/2015/07/police-officer-has-sex-with-prostitute-after-arresting-her

The Media – Ahh, another joy from America. ‘8 Minutes’ has been steadily making me throw up in my mouth. Basically, it’s as you might imagine – a camera crew raid various sex-worker locations and show their faces, recognisable locations for all the world to see. No one is winning apart from the TV show. “It basically coerces someone into a situation where they’re in front of cameras having a personally violating experience. It’s public shaming,” says Kate D’Adamo, National Policy Advocate for the Sex Workers Project.’ http://flavorwire.com/511253/appalling-new-ae-sex-worker-intervention-show-8-minutes-met-with-protests

All of which could be resolved by Decriminalisation.

Now, I’m not going to bang on about it too long, because I spend 90% of my time talking about it. Here’s just a summery of the basics – it works. It allows women to work together for safety, means the police in every jurisdiction will concentrate on finding the perpetrators of crimes against them rather than any misconceptions about what a crime against a sex-worker consists of, it will help reduce stigma. It’s NOT Legalisation – which would be a rise in stringent rules and regulations, possible licensing (so real names, and addresses on government file) and a rise in prosecutions against sex-workers – effectively trapping them into sex work. That’s exploitative. The Swedish Model (banning the buying of sex) leads to a rise in stigma, less resources for sex-workers, no protection from exploitative police or media outlets.

It’s a patriarchal industry and men are profiting from it!

Darling, that’s every job in the world.

Governments, businesses, banks…it’s all, sadly, run by men. The only job I’ve ever had where a man didn’t profit from the money I earned was sex-work. Even in comedy, I’m making money for promoters and venues, most of which have been men.

‘Then..then….sex-workers are making women objects, and THAT’S what’s stopping them getting the top spots in industry!’

Let’s go round again…Go back to Point 1. Remember? The thing I said about how men are sex workers and still running the world? There you go…

The basic fact is it’s not how a certain group of women choose to make their money, it’s how men are educated about women. How women are educated about women.

‘B-but…why can’t they make their money doing something else!’

It would be lovely to think everyone was educated the same way, could achieve what hey wanted to in life, didn’t have stigma following them because of what size or shape they were, how old they were, if they had kids or not…

‘It doesn’t have to be highly paid, why can’t they be cleaners? Admin? Stacking shelves?’

Welcome to privilege. Again, lovely to think we all grew up in healthy households, or we didn’t have physical disabilities, mental health issues, drug addictions, that turning up to work didn’t fill anyone with anxiety, we were all socially adept.

‘So sex-workers are either lazy or cray cray!’

Nope. BUt just FYI – those who do it out of choice are definitely NOT lazy. Just because you think ‘Hey,. I’m gonna do sex-work!’ doesn’t mean you’re going to be raking it in. It’s still a full time job, just with a few more benefits which I, personally, enjoyed. But that’s the same for any job. No one deserves to be stigmatised for their job.

‘Bu-‘

Nope.

‘They-!’

Na-ah.

These are women. These are women earning money. They are not killing anyone, they’re not hunting animals, they’re not global capitalists sucking the economy dry. They are not governments criminalising people, they are not armies shooting unarmed civilians, they are not dropping bombs. They are your sisters. Having sex for money is not what is killing the world. It is not a cause of sexism.

Talking about any woman and deciding on their issues without inviting them to discuss what they think is a solution is only damaging to a cause which has enough enemies. Instead, start thinking for yourselves. Instead of exclusionary, include all women into your thought process about feminism – no matter their age, race, orientation, religion, work, size…or even if they have a vagina or not.