QOTD: Rethinking Sex-Positivity & Sex Work

Audacia Ray:

If we put aside our attachment to the sex positive construction of sex work, we will certainly hear things that will be hard to sit with. But for sex positivity to be a useful framework, one that encourages the pursuit of social justice, it must also engage with the ugly pieces of sexuality, and not in a simplistically reactive way. Otherwise, the concept of being a sex positive sex worker is a self-serving marketing practice, in which the enjoyment of sexuality is being sold as a product to both workers and our clients.

h/t Jill

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Tina Fey and “Sister Souljah” Feminism

by Isabel

“I love to play strippers and to imitate them… . I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little bit better than that.

Tina Fey, from the January issue of Vanity Fair

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“These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for.”

by matttbastard

Wendy Babcock, Morgan Page, and Rebecca Hammond have an article in this months issue of FAB Magazine on the Homewood-Maitland Safety Association and its controversial efforts to force transgender sex workers out of the neighbourhood.  Although the article isn’t available online, Babcock has posted the text at her blog, the Prostitution in Canada Journal.

A sample:

Homewood and Maitland isn’t the first stroll in Toronto to come under pressure as a consequence of gentrification – so what’s the big deal if this is a sad, but seemingly routine, social process? Homewood and Maitland is unique in that it has historically been known as the trans stroll, making it one of the few safer spots for trans sex workers. Johns here know what they are getting, as one sex worker explained, “in other neighbourhoods the johns don’t know what they’re getting, and they are likely to freak out and assault us.” As working conditions deteriorate thanks to the HMSA, trans women have started working untested areas where they are likely subject to increasing violent attacks.

These trans women make easy, almost socially sanctioned, scapegoats for a litany of issues that they are largely unconnected to and not responsible for. The streets are quiet, save for a few rowdy drunk college kids and the sounds of traffic wafting down from Wellesley. You know, the kind of night soundscape one comes to expect in downtown Toronto. Other residents of the neighbourhood have expressed their dismay to us. “Just tell me what I can do to help the sex workers,” one man said to us. The HMSA is quick to dismiss these other neighbours as unimportant, either because they live on the higher floors of the condos or their opinion goes against HMSA morals.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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Things That Aren’t Cool

by matttbastard

Today’s example: Slanderously appropriating catastrophic events in someone’s life just to rig some Mean Girls redux game of “See? I told you those women are walking the razor’s edge!”

Great–you’ve won a postcard from Clueville with the words “get a life” written on the back in cherry red lipstick.

Look, I can’t for the life of me see any difference between comments like these and the recent decision rendered by Alberta Justice Peter McIntyre.  Rape/VAW apologia is wrong, regardless of who is spouting it.

Period.

Your Feminazi membership card ain’t no pass for hyping a passive aggressive variation on “she was asking for it”, y0. It should be obvious, but obviously bears repeating: women never, ever invite anything upon themselves.  There is no fucking excuse for violation of bodily sovereignty.

Period.

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Quote of the Day: “So why did the other fucker?”

by matttbastard

Cos, right – here’s a radical thing – if you get raped, it’s the man’s fault. A man fucks you without your consent – that’s not porn’s fault, that’s not your top’s fault, that’s not your skirt’s fault, that’s not a prostitute’s fault. It’s the man’s fault. Cos he’s a scumbag. And some men are scumbags and some men will do that to you and they deserve to have their fucking bollocks cut off. And he can blame your top, your skirt, the porn, his bitch mam, that prostitute or whatever, but the fact is, you’ve probably walked past a million men wearing your skirt and top and those men who’ve looked at you and thought, “Wow!” watch porn, have dreadful mothers, live in a society where prostitution actually happens and think that that top you’re wearing makes you look like Mz Berlin or Darenzia or Marilyn Monroe or whoever floats your boat. But they aren’t raping you. So why did the other fucker?

Lina, What passes for Feminism these days (h/t belledame, written in response to this post by RenEv)

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Silence of sex workers

by sassywho

Renegade Evolution may be uninvited to this debate:

On Monday, April 21st, at 5:30 pm, in the Andrews Building on the Campus of William and Mary College, there will be a debate focusing on…you guessed it, porn (and presumably other sex work related stuff).

On the Anti Side, we shall have John Foubert, who is a professor of education at the college who adamantly and publicly opposed the Sex Workers Art Show. He is a self-identified feminist, and he believes that viewing pornography increases male sexual violence against women. He also believes that the SWAS is pornography, and thus that having it on campus increases the likelihood of rape for women at this school. He’s also the founder of the national all-male sexual assault prevention group 1-in-4 (http://oneinfourusa.org/). Also on the anti side will be Samantha (Sam) Berg. She’s the creator of the web-site genderberg.com. She also seems to have coined the term “pornstitution,” and is a co-founder of the Antiporn Activist Network, and “has dedicated herself to educating people about the inherent harms of sexual capitalism.”

Apparently some prefer that sex workers know their place within a certain dogma, which excludes academic debate(?)

So, I seems I might be uninvited to the forum at William and Mary. Why? Because apparently, Sam Berg, who has been booked as a panelist longer than I and is traveling further than I, is uncomfortable with me being there. Apparently, once upon a time I said I wanted to push her in front of a truck.

Something radical feminists so often forget is that sex workers have voices that can neither be synthesized nor collected under their umbrella. Those voices do not need your permission, nor approval and there is something very wrong with your movement if you can’t recognize that.

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