Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.


Making Sex Work – Feminism vs. The Sex Industry
October 12, 2010, 12:32 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Porn, Sex | Tags: , , , , ,

I just came across this awesome video while reading Serpent Libertine’s blog. It’s a message to anti-porn, anti-sex work feminists and it basically expresses my own thoughts on the issue in a far more succinct and articulate manner than I am capable of. I’d love for people to check it out and spread the word.

There seems to be an overwhelming upsurge of militant feminists who are very much against sex work to the point where they want it abolished. I don’t own the term “feminist”, I can’t say they’re not feminist… but I could like to suggest that they’re bad feminists. Bad feminists, down! I said DOWN! BAD! No schmackos for you! Uh, anyway, as one of the women in the video put it, and I’m sorry if I misquote her:

“This is my body, this is the only thing I alone am ever going to truly own and I should be able to use my body as I see fit, regardless of whether you or anyone else sees it as morally or ethically wrong. The right to choose what happens to one’s body and the right to control what happens to one’s body is a fundamental right that I and others are extremely passionate about. The moment we say ‘no you can’t do this with your body’ is the moment we step foot on a slippery slope that ends up with people – not just women, men included – being denied their most basic right, the right to body autonomy.”

Yes! Fucking… yes!

Edit: If you’re interested, there’s also a follow up video dealing with some of the arguments people have made about the topic. It’s pretty great, I’m in love with the awesome lady who does these.

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9 Comments so far
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this is an awesome post… sex work is as valid a choice as any other and should be part of the liberation feminism talks about. rights, choice – so important!

Comment by lemongrassgirl

Thankyou and I completely agree!

Comment by Nio

Good point in the 2nd video about legal sex work being much cheaper to police leaving lots more money spare to fight slavery.
If I was a prostitute I’d call myself a sexycologist :) because I’d know heaps about sex and it would stress the value of my skills and state the obvious that I’m sexy :) I fondly imagine that if you had a group of customers you liked and/or enjoyed seeing you could have a lovely life.

Comment by Jake

Yes that video is awesome!

I hate to say it but I’m starting to hate “feminists” that are against sex work. They seem to be full of bitter vile and hate towards those of us that choose to engage in this type of work.

Monica Shores recently wrote an excellent article for the HP ( ttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/monica-shores/prostitution-experts-vers_b_756845.html) and she linked to this page ( http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/Nikki/WhyIMade.html ) which was written by two women that call themselves feminists but as anyone can see, this “article” is full of hatred. I don’t know who these women think they are fighting for but had I been forced into sex work I would never want those bitches fighting on my side.

Its a shame that they can’t get over their issues enough to see the truth.

Thanks for posting! I love your blog, your art and your ISM videos, they really made my day!

xxx

Comment by Sequoia

I hear ya.

Early on, I had very conflicted feelings about sex work so I can sympathise, somewhat, with how some of these “feminists” might feel. Sex is a very loaded subject in our culture, especially female sexuality.

However, I would never, ever try to impose my personal feelings on other people and make it law. Never. And besides that, when I confronted my own fears and conflicted feelings about sex work, did some research, listened to what actual sex workers were saying, fucking educated myself, my mind was truly opened.

I do believe sex work can be a feminist issue, but I think feminists should support sex workers and their right to autonomy. Not take this fucking paternalistic, fearful, nasty and illogical stance they’re taking. It does not empower women to set laws and rules regarding what they can and cannot do with their own bodies and minds. (Um, obviously I’m only talking about female sex workers here, not other genders because of the feminist slant of the discussion!)

I don’t think these “feminists” are listening, or if they are they don’t care. As one of the speakers said at the end of the second video;

“Even though a lot of the anti-porn feminists think that they’re, you know, fighting for a cause… that’s all they’re fighting for. They’re fighting for causes, they’re not fighting for us.”

Anyway, sorry to ramble at ya. I don’t get to talk about this stuff much away from the internet so I take what I can get! Thanks for the link to that great HP article and thanks for the positive feedback – I think you’re awesome so the compliments mean a lot!

Comment by Nio

Nice post, thanks a lot. I do agree that each person has to be able to make his/her persoanl choice. I might not like to be a sex-worker but that does not allow me to criminalize it. I think the essence of feminism and the other new movements is actually individualist ideas and that they all try to put aside prejudice and give value to humankind.

Having said all that, I have still a question that I have been thinking about for a while now and that is about sex-industry and its meaning. I mean sex-workers should be protected by law and just like the other citizens they should not have any safety problems. But what about sex-industry? Is that the same as just a personal choice? Can an institution trade people and treat them as they do with commodities? How much a sex-industry (not a sex-worker) is against personal freedom? Does it not apply the same oppressive rules on women that Patriarchy does? I want to emphasize that when I talk about sex-industry I exclude the sex-worker (persoanl choice) from it. I mean a sex complex is not created by personal choice of the sex-workers. A sex-industry is to benefit a particular class or group of people. To what extent it is against personal choice?

All these are questions and by no means I want to state anything. Like I said I do respect personal freedom. My question is about the difference between sex-workers and sex-industry.

Comment by Moji

Hey thanks for the thoughtful comment!

I think that question of a sex industry is a complex one… I’ll try to articulate my own thoughts about this but I apologise if I don’t end up addressing your thoughts properly.

Most industries, as far as I can see, exploit people to one degree or another. Unless you drink fair trade tea and chocolate exclusively, chances are you’re eating and drinking products that have come about through exploitation of people, if not exactly “commodification” – our demand for cheap food and luxuries does drive a slave labour trade which is truly horrifying.

Now I am sure as heck not defending this exploitation but I don’t want to live in a world without industry – I’d simply like us to more heavily regulate the industry and stop demanding and feeling entitled to so much cheap crap. Well, that’s not simple at all but you know what I mean.

Hmmm, I’m not really getting to my point here. Basically, I think that the sex industry will always exist and that there will always be commodification and exploitation, however if we legalize this stuff, it then opens the doors for better regulation of the industry and allows for more ethical players to enter the industry (as can already be seen with all the ethical and female friendly porn companies popping up.)

As for the personal choice question… well, I think industry of all types can be very cruel when it comes down to people’s sense of individual rights in general. I felt more exploited and commodified when I worked in a call centre for a credit card debt collecting agency than I ever have working for the small “ethical erotica” company I currently make my “pay the rent, bills and be able to eat” money at!

Of course it does become complicated and muddied when it comes to issues of women’s sexual freedom, expression and the patriarchy. But the sex industry is already very much like that… I think if we as a culture develop more positive attitudes to sex work, we will be able to hold the industry more accountable, not through censorship but by demanding better, more ethical sexual “produce”.

I have no idea if I addressed your questions! It’s a complicated, tricky topic that I’m only still getting my head around!

Comment by Nio

“sex-workers should be protected by law and just like the other citizens they should not have any safety problems. But what about sex-industry? Is that the same as just a personal choice?”

YES! In a capitatlist culture (such as we live in the U.S.) its all about creating business, right? I don’t think the sex industry is really any different that any other type of industry. Dime store feminists* (a phrase which I’m borrowing from my friend Eryn) can argue about oppression all day long but if you separate your feelings about sexuality and realize that sex is just another human need (not unlike food) that business and commerce are going to capitalize on, then it makes much more sense. Granted sexuality can be a lot deeper than that, but thats another rant for another day.

“Can an institution trade people and treat them as they do with commodities?”

We’re not treated as commodities and I am speaking as a worker. Folks can argue the objectification argument all day long, but that does not explain fan bases for porn stars or regular clientle for escorts.

“How much a sex-industry (not a sex-worker) is against personal freedom?”

Umm…none? Its the freest schedule I have ever worked under.

“Does it not apply the same oppressive rules on women that Patriarchy does?”

I used to think it did, in terms of beauty standards, but when I started my blog and building a unique fan based I realized that its a bit more complicated than that.

“A sex-industry is to benefit a particular class or group of people. To what extent it is against personal choice?”

Well, it really depends on how you were introduced to the trade, but I would hope people would realize that there are two groups of sex workers: those that choose and those that are coerced and criminalization of the work only drives the industry much more underground, thereby hiding it, thereby making it more difficult to help the people that did not make that choice.

Sorry to ramble!

Comment by Sequoia

I love having your perspective here, being as you’ve much more experience and less half baked theories than me! Thanks Sequioa!

Comment by Nio




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