Those are very scary stories. I have a few stories like that, not many, but a few. And they’re not even the beginning of the scary things that *could* happen.
But your target is wrong. And listen, I get that it is HARD to think about things that give you the personal squicks and digest that they may be the every day choices of other people. I get that it is hard to think of a class of people you care about and stand in solidarity with, share some oppressions with, that it is hard to think of them being unsafe in ways that can’t be controlled and sound very scary, and feel “okay” about that (which is not really what I’m asking you to do, but one thing at a time). So let’s go through this slowly.
Let’s take an imaginary sex worker in distress, working in unsafe conditions, hating her job. Why is she there? Maybe she is actually being coerced and literally not allowed by a scary kidnapper to leave. That is *possible”. That doesn’t *never* happen. But it’s not massively common, and it’s not really the kind of situation you’ve been talking about, particularly because you’ve been engaging with self-identified sex workers in having this conversation, so let’s leave that possibility for the moment.
She (and again, not all sex workers are women, but abolitionist sex work narratives are almost always framed in terms of ‘exploited women’ so that’s how I’ll talk about this right now) is working her job, like everybody, because it’s the one that falls at the intersection of “job that pays for my ability to continue living” and “job I can access/am able to do.” It’s *hard* to get any job right now, even coming straight out an expensive college with lots of qualifications and lots of privileges. So, let’s say you get an awesome abolitionist magic wand, and “poof,” the sex trades disappear, all of them, just like that. What happens to the hypothetical woman we were just discussing? Does she go back to her awesome high powered lawyer career? Does she end up working in another part of the service industry? (where there are frequently attacks and pressures of the nature you describe, often with even LESS ability to avoid or redress them, and certainly with less money attached. I am going to digress briefly and talk about my personal experienced — I’ve worked as a server in a restaurant, and worked as a sex worker for literally twelve times as long. And yet my experiences of being harassed, assaulted, stalked, pressured to act sexually in a way that I didn’t want to, and being punished for speaking out about those experiences, are far FAR greater from my brief run as a waitress.) If she gets a civilian job, what trade offs has she made? Sure, she’s (maybe) not engaging in sexualized services anymore, but now she’s working double or triple the hours for a fraction of the return, she’s probably not her own boss anymore, and if she gets sick, or if her family members need care, she has a fraction of the flexibility, and a much greater investment in this one particular position she has landed. (If you get fired from a dance club, there’s always another one hiring. If you can’t answer your work phone for a week, you have the ability to rebuild without getting fired from sex work.) So the only “problem” that has been definitely solved by taking sex work out of the equation is that other people feel less uncomfortable when they ask her what she does for a living.
And that’s assuming that non industry jobs are accessible to her at all. She might be doing sex work because health issues prevent her from keeping a nine to five schedule, or being physically active in certain ways, or being out of the house in certain ways. If you take sex work away from people in those circumstances, then what you’ve left them with is “no job.”
So, even for those of us who aren’t “happy hookers” who could do “anything” but choose sex work cause we love it, getting rid of sex work doesn’t solve most of the problems that you are identifying as being a part of sex work — it doesn’t stop customers and employers harassing or assaulting you, it doesn’t stop needing to be “detached” from work (again, EVERY civilian job I’ve ever held, including ones in theater, which was theoretically what I wanted to do for a while, required more detachment and checking out to protect my mental well being than sex work has, but that’s a whole other conversation too), it certainly doesn’t stop you from hating your job or wanting a better one. People who want to exit the industry should be able to, OF COURSE, but you know how you make that a possibility? By supporting sex workers — by making it a decriminalized and destigmatized industry so that workers don’t have giant resume gaps, and can be open about the awesome work skills they bring to the table with new employers, so that workers aren’t barred from other jobs because they have criminal convictions to do with sex work, so that when they DO experience violence on the job, they can report it and not wind up in a worse situation than they were before (which hey, while we’re on the subject, is why most non sex work related sexual violence goes unreported too, right?) . When you say that you hear these horror stories and therefore “can’t support sex work,” what do you actually mean?
That’s actually a completely serious question, and I’d love it if you addressed it — when you say that you just can’t support sex work because of these stories you have read and heard, what does that mean to you in practical terms? Should sex work remain criminalized? Are you placing yourself in the end-demand camp? Or do you simply want all people who would work in sex trades to be free from the risk of those horror stories impacting them?
There have been a lot of interesting and though-provoking responses to my question about sex work posted yesturday; many of which I am still formulating ideas about.
I just want to say this though. I don’t condemn sex workers, nor do I seek to dismiss or judge them. But I can’t support sex work….
Women are exploited and used for profit by any corporation. Sex work at least pays a comparatively high wage. If you refuse to accept any form of exploitative labor then you are condemning all forms of labor. Not just sex work.
And no one is saying sec work is with out fault but sex worker’s are saying that the faults come from the illegality and stigmatizm of the work, not the core of the work itself.
Things you can actually get mad at, as apposed to sex work are: Gender pay gap Poc pay gap The vastly low employment rate for trans people The unemployability of women with children Low wages Unfair working conditions A lack of jobs full stop High tuition fees Irresponsible lending The economy The laws used to discriminate against sex workers Police violence to sex worker’s Sex work being criminalized full stop THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO SEX WORK THAT RESULTS IN VIOLENCE TOWARDS WORKERS and prevents people transitioning out of sex work and into mainstream work as and when they want
The issue isn’t sex work, sex work is not the problem, for the majority of us it’s the solution.
I’ve always wondered about that narrative of women who have been raped but then partake in sex work later on. Is that in a way them reclaiming themselves, their sexuality, or is it something more dark? I can’t tell if it’s an…
Yeah, for me the two are unrelated. I started stripping because I needed money, needed a job. It had nothing to do with trying to “reclaim myself”, and honestly if I was going to try to “reclaim myself” I don’t think stripping would do that for me. Like at all.
Just to clarify on my reblog about Miami, there isn’t anything wrong with working in a brothel or selling sex. Just that if you are tying to make it as a stripper who doesn’t want to do that, an environment where it is common can be very hard. I found this to be especially true at Tootsies, where not only was I expected by nearly everyone to provide services I am not comfortable with, but that customers also had no qualms about touching where ever they liked without permission.
Does anyone have any experience with dancing in Miami? I’ve been looking at Tootsie’s Cabaret it looks huge! I’m getting my surgery (breast augmentation) in January so I was thinking about going down a week/a few days early to dance in some clubs down there while I still have ‘natural’ breasts. Thank you ahead of time for the feedback! xoxo
I worked briefly in Miami a while back. Tootsies was a straight up brothel. Dirtiest club I’ve ever worked, and I’ve worked in a lot. I have worked mostly high-contact places and can deal with a lot of bullshit, but Tootsies was straight-up traumatic. The way the stage is, you are coochie level on a little runway right in the guys face, with nowhere to go. I had guys trying (and succeeding) to touch my vagina right in front of bouncers and they didn’t do shit. Maybe I was unlucky, but I’ve met many dancers who felt the same way about that place. Shame, it is a beautiful club but not worth it.
Go to Scarlett’s. One of the few clean clubs in Miami. Staff were dicks but I’m sure they have new people by now. I made a killing with my small natural breasts. Almost every girl has implants so natural breasts stand out.
“My mistrust [of men] is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man—the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonization of the feminine in everyday conversation, the accusations of overreaction, the eye rolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets in my presence.”—
I wrote an article for The Toast on the phonological constraints that allow you to identify Bandicoot Cumbersnatch, Bendandsnap Candycrush, and even Wimbledon Tennismatch as synonyms for the same long-faced British actor, by analyzing all of the names from the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator.
You should go read it there first to see what the constraints are and how I got them, and then come back here for a bonus in-depth investigation into how we can model them using constraint rankings loosely inspired by Harmonic Grammar (don’t worry if you don’t know what that is).
On the morning of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murder earlier this year, with the mainstream media raising the specter of riots, blogger Jay Smooth made a prediction: ‘The fundamental danger of an acquittal is not more riots, it is more George Zimmermans.’
There were no riots. There have been more George Zimmermans.
Black Author wins The Matrix Copyright Infringement Case
This little known story has met a just conclusion, as Sophia Stewart, African American author of The Matrix will finally receive her just due from the copyright infringement of her original work!!!
A six-year dispute has ended involving Sophia Stewart, the Wachowski Brothers, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers. Stewart’s allegations, involving copyright infringement and racketeering, were received and acknowledged by the Central District of California, Judge Margaret Morrow presiding.
Stewart, a New Yorker who has resided in Salt Lake City for the past five years, will recover damages from the films, The Matrix I, II and III, as well as The Terminator and its sequels. She will soon receive one of the biggest payoffs in the history of Hollywood , as the gross receipts of both films and their sequels total over 2.5 billion dollars.
Stewart filed her case in 1999, after viewing the Matrix, which she felt had been based on her manuscript, ‘The Third Eye,’ copyrighted in 1981. In the mid-eighties Stewart had submitted her manuscript to an ad placed by the Wachowski Brothers, requesting new sci-fi works..
According to court documentation, a FBI investigation discovered that more than thirty minutes had been edited from the original film, in an attempt to avoid penalties for copyright infringement. The investigation also stated that ‘credible witnesses employed at Warner Brothers came forward, claiming that the executives and lawyers had full knowledge that the work in question did not belong to the Wachowski Brothers.’ These witnesses claimed to have seen Stewart’s original work and that it had been ‘often used during preparation of the motion pictures.’ The defendants tried, on several occasions, to have Stewart’s case dismissed, without success.
Stewart has confronted skepticism on all sides, much of which comes from Matrix fans, who are strangely loyal to the Wachowski Brothers. One on-line forum, entitled Matrix Explained has an entire section devoted to Stewart. Some who have researched her history and writings are open to her story.
Others are suspicious and mocking. ‘It doesn’t bother me,’ said Stewart in a phone interview last week, ‘I always knew what was true.’
Some fans, are unaware of the case or they question its legitimacy, due to the fact that it has received little to no media coverage. Though the case was not made public until October of 2003, Stewart has her own explanation, as quoted at aghettotymz.com:
‘The reason you have not seen any of this in the media is because Warner Brothers parent company is AOL-Time Warner…. this GIANT owns 95 percent of the media… let me give you a clue as to what they own in the media business… New York Times papers/magazines, LA Times papers/magazines, People Magazine, CNN news, Extra, Celebrity Justice, Entertainment Tonight, HBO, New Line Cinema, DreamWorks, Newsweek, Village Roadshow and many, many more! They are not going to report on themselves. They have been suppressing my case for years.’
Fans who have taken Stewart’s allegations seriously, have found eerie mythological parallels, which seem significant in a case that revolves around the highly metaphorical and symbolic Matrix series. Sophia, the Greek goddess of wisdom has been referenced many times in speculation about Stewart. In one book about the Goddess Sophia, it reads, ‘The black goddess is the mistress of web creation spun in her divine matrix.’
Although there have been outside implications as to racial injustice (Stewart is African American), she does not feel that this is the case. ‘This is all about the Benjamins,’ said Stewart. ‘It’s not about money with me. It’s about justice.’
Stewart’s future plans involve a record label, entitled Popsilk Records, and a motion picture production company, All Eyez On Me, in reference to God. ‘I wrote The Third Eye to wake people up, to remind them why God put them here. There’s more to life than money,’ said Stewart. ‘My whole to the world is about God and good and about choice, about spirituality over ‘technocracy’.’
If Stewart represents spirituality, then she truly has prevailed over the ‘technocracy’ represented in both the Terminator and the Matrix, and now, ironically, by their supposed creators.
Stewart is having discussions with CBS about a possible exclusive story and has several media engagements in the near future to nationally publicize her victory. June 13th 2004. Sophia Stewart’s press release read: ‘The Matrix & Terminator movie franchises have made world history and have ultimately changed the way people view movies and how Hollywood does business, yet the real truth about the creator and creation of these films continue to elude the masses because the hidden secret of the matter is that these films were created and written by a Black woman…a Black woman named Sophia Stewart. But Hollywood does not want you to know this fact simply because it would change history. Also it would encourage our Black children to realize a dream and that is…nothing is impossible for them to achieve!’
Greg Thomas, Editor
Courtesy of CNN IReport ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-358749