I generally restrict myself to reblogging the words of sex workers on sex work, because non-sex working feminists speaking for sex workers is a fucking plague. but I really want to say something about how feminists who are critical of “sex positivity” need to stop lumping in self-organised sex workers’ movements in with that. because I’m seeing that a lot lately and it’s a total strawman. all the sex workers I know have smart and subtle analyses of sex work that go way beyond “it’s empowering, stop being so sex-negative”. a lot of them reject sex positivity discourses absolutely, are lesbians, are radical feminists, work day jobs in domestic violence prevention, or are otherwise committed to a feminism that’s not just about sexy individual choices. of course they are: when something is part of your own life you don’t think about it in clumsy absolutes.
they often choose not to share any negative feelings they have about sex work or bad experiences at work with non-sex workers, because it makes them more vulnerable, and because destigmatising sex work is not a distraction from sex workers organising as labour, it’s part of that project. it is, it is. when the unionists I’ve known can go in one breath from talking about how the bosses don’t respect their labour to joking in a super dehumanising way about the “delicacies” on offer at the brothel run by their scary organised-crime contacts, you know that sex workers’ dignity and humanity has to be established before anything else is possible.
and that begins with listening to sex workers about the reality of their working lives, not to dickheads like me trying to claim “knowing sex workers” or, worse, “having read a lot of books on the topic” as a form of expertise.