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…. <snip>
wow, thank you… I’m really grateful to you for writing this because I know people will actually listen to you and respect you because… you’re not a sex worker. I mean, that’s the truth. you’re a respected blogger and you’re not a worker so people are gonna listen to you and I feel like I’ve been screaming into a void lately.
It’s something that’s been really bothering me too. I think one of the most hurtful tumblr moments I’ve had in the last couple of months is one tumblr who I otherwise really like summating sex workers lives as nothing more than “brutal and degraded”. I don’t understand why she can’t comprehend how misogynistic, vile and cruel that is or how wrong, but the sex workers arguing it aren’t worth listening to… because, why? Because we’re whores and therefore too degraded to know our own reality or something? or because we’re forming sentences on the internet we must be too super duper special privileged or something (also not true).
they often choose not to share their negative experiences or their negative 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.
feeling this. There’s so much I would share if I felt remotely safe to do so, if I felt remotely like my words would not be taken to assign the totality of my experience and perceptions to me and my words - my actual life experience - not be taken to be told what I and other workers need and should want and then have my experience defined for me by outsiders who just read a lot of fucking books and that is exactly the sum total of experience they have with sex work at all.
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.
The latest thing seems to be to dismiss ALL sex workers rights groups as run and operated by pimps. It’s the most hurtful, diminishing bullshit, especially when the org I’m associated with (and have worked for) absolutely FORBIDS owners/operators/pimps from being involved at ANY level, it is strictly and 100% run by and for WORKERS. ONLY. And oh my god, the work so many of the amazing people I know have put in to fight for our rights, on their own time, voluntarily, the submissions and proposals for funding that have been written down time in brothel back rooms, pooling resources to edit and refine and draw on collective talents, skills, expertise, knowledge… the risks taken, even in masks and hats, to protest outside government houses, to organise responses at the drop of a hat to new announcements… blah I’m rambling but this is an emotionally invested subject for me, it’s my real life and to see my voice and that of my peers constantly be dismissed and silenced simply because we are seen as the enemy to these feminists own agenda is grotesque.
Me believing in sex worker labour rights is not a statement as to my personal feelings about sex work (which are complicated and conflicted as they pertain to me), not a statement about my actual experiences (which are personal and which I should be under any onus to disclose in order to be taken seriously as someone with real experience of something feminists like to blather on a lot about having compassion and empathy for the women involved in, except when we talk a line counter to their approved and very narrow version) and NOT NOT NOT a statement about SEX AND SEXUALITY, of all things, christ (though sometimes that does come into play, and intersect, like the sexuality of people with disabilities for example, but I digress…).
And me believing in sex worker labour rights ALSO COMES from having worked in a LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS through a LOT OF DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES in my own life AND interacting with the sex worker rights movements means I have also met many workers from other countries working in completely different conditions and so having encountered/formed relationships with/worked with etc workers of many different backgrounds, including the junkie street walkers with abused pasts and the poor brown women working out of necessity from non-western countries that everyone likes to trot out as a reason why sex workers rights is bogus, nevermind that these women WOULD HANG YOU ALL OUT TO DRY if they ever read or heard the way you all talk about them because, actually, they ARE human beings, REAL people, not just tokens for you to hang your agendas on and their experience of sex work is way more complicated than you will ever allow and also did u noe that upper class escorts can also be junkies and have abused pasts?? but may not be talking about because of all the stigma attached, exacerbated by their sex work status? but yeah, I believe in sex workers rights because I BELIEVE in the essential and basic humanity of all people in the sex industry and our right to dignity, compassion, respect and empathy and the incredibly complicated ways we interact with our work and how it variously serves us or limits us and that it limits us largely because of the societal stigma intersecting with a lot of prejudices and labour rights for us way more recognises the role sex work variously plays in our lives waaaaaaaaaay more than brutal and degraded exploitation or sex work should always be for fun and pleasure angles do.
And seriously, if you think for one second that sex workers rights organisations are entirely populated by super happy super educated super privileged super remote white cis people who’ve always had awesome joyous experience then sit down and shut up forever because you are ACTIVELY diminishing and erasing the work of so many people who fall far outside those experiences and how the fuck dare you, really and truly.
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