Then there’s Max with some of the permanent scars this crazy world has given him. His damaged knee and huge tattoo.This reminds me, even though the Mad Max franchise had a huge influence on post apocalyptic movies and inspired lots of copycats, the running theme of men as sexual objects is always left out of other movies. In the first Mad Max we see that men and women are in equal danger of rape, in Mad Max 2 Wez has his boytoy, in Beyond Thunderdome men selling their bodies is so normal people assume Max wants to work in the brothel when he says he has “skills”, and in Fury Road they tattoo “genitals intact” on Max’s back, indicating they put him through some very invasive examinations and probably intended to use him as more than just a bloodbag.
I saw Brittany on the same South Atlanta corner that I had originally met her on months earlier. I always keep an eye open for her because her condition seemed pretty grave the last time we talked.
Brittany: I don’t got no more stories to tell. It’s self explanatory when you look at me, Goddammit.
[Yells at man walking by] What the fuck you lookin’ at? You said what? Fuck me? I asked you what you was lookin’ at!
I look more fucked up than I did last time, right?
BW: I think so. The last time we talked, you told me that your face wouldn’t get better because you couldn’t stop drinking.
Actually it had gone down cause I had gone and got my antibiotics and was taking them. but me and him [x-boyfriend] got into some shit and this wasn’t healed all the way so it fractured this side. But now he’s in jail cause he shot the motherfucker I was living with three times.
So, he got out of jail after we talked the last time?
Yeah, he got out. His mom or somebody paid for his bond. I was only renting a room from the guy I was living with. I seen him coming down the street. When he ran in there, I got away and climbed out the window and went to the bus stop. Later on, I seen it on the news and people called me and told me. It was true. He had shot the man three times. Someone else came in the house and he shot them too.
So, he shot two people and that’s what he’s back in jail for now? And he still hasn’t gone to trial for the shit he did to you?
— —- —
I had a sample Hidden South book printed out and laying on the floorboard. Brittany picked it up and started flipping through it. I tell everyone what the pictures and stories will be used for but I knew that seeing the pictures that I took of her, in print, may get a bad reaction.
Damn, you know her [pointing at a picture of another woman from the neighborhood]? You know, that bitch went to jail for murder and got off?
No, I didn’t know that. You’re coming up on the next page.
Brittany:*Turns the page* Why… Why’d you do that? Fuck. Who gets these books? You just picked the ugliest fucking pictures of me.
No I didn’t. That wasn’t my intent at all. You were moving around so much that I couldn’t use most of them. Besides, I love that picture.
I want this book.
That book’s just a sample. I’ll bring you a real one when they come out.
Why does a 13 year-old prostituted child with no experience command a price 100 times that of a 23 year-old with ten years of experience and in what other ‘profession’ does your value decrease the more experienced you are?
Making it illegal and the prosecutions, and the fact that it is driven underground, and the fact that they can’t call the police is actually making their terrible lives worse. They problem with this particular example is, unlike a lot of victimless crimes like drugs and libertarian argument of victimless crimes, with prostitution we’re talking about people. They’re the product and they’re suffering a great deal in a lot of cases.
So, I’m in favor of the legalization of it for a number of reasons. Number one, there’s the philosophical,
highfalutin, up-in-the-clouds, argument that I don’t have the right to tell anyone else what to do, which is a damn good argument. But there’s also the fact that since it is criminalized it gives people who are in this life no options other than a pimp. They have nothing else. It would be nice to think they could at the very least have the option to call the police. To have the option to make a complaint. The option to press charges.
I know you've probably gotten hundreds of these but what's your take on legalizing full service sex work bringing an increase to human trafficking?
There is no evidence from a methodologically sound source that suggests that decriminalizing sex work increases human trafficking.
What we don’t need surveys to determine, however, is that under decriminalization, people being forced, coerced and exploited in the sex trades don’t need to fear being arrested for selling sex in the course of trying to fix their situation, and can’t have the threat of arrest held over them by those doing the exploiting. Given that sex worker led surveys show that in some cases, police are twelve times more likely to be violent towards sex workers than clients are, protecting everyone who trades sex (for whatever reason) from arrest seems like a pretty high priority.
To be empowered as a sex worker in an industry that relies on the dehumanization and constant influx of the ever-younger bodies of mainly women and girls is a privilege. As an anti-violence worker and sex industry researcher, hearing people talk about how violence-free their experiences in the sex industry have been is encouraging. But even sex industry advocates know that this experience represents a very small minority of people in the sex trade. To use these few stories to promote a policy that has been proven to further marginalize and endanger women and girls globally is inhumane, oppressive, and counter to the purported goals of a human rights organization.
Where is this ‘Trafficking doesn’t happen when things are decriminalized’ rhetoric coming from? I work in a decriminalized system and have personally worked with trafficked women within that system???? So no, bullshit. Sorry, friend, but y’all need to cut it out with the misinformation to try and rose tint the goddamn truth.
How do you feel about the closing of Rentboy.com? How do you feel about the arrest of people based on their commitment to providing safety information and resources to their own community?
How do you feel about the timing of these arrests, six days before most people have to pay their rent, leaving more than ten thousand sex workers out in the cold? How do you feel about the difficult choices that they will have to make, between making do without income, or working in ways that are riskier in order to make ends meet? Is that what you want for us, when you say you want to get the pimp lobby? If it’s not, then explain to me please how this is a step in the right direction for you? How do you balance the immediate, violent consequences of this bust against your lofty long term goal? I’m listening, are you going to answer me?
okay, I’m really confused how to think about sex work after Amnesty International decided to support the liberalization of it.
On the one hand is it part of body integrity. If they want to have sex with someone for money they should have the right to do so. Also: There will always be sex work and the best way to protect sex worker is being able to regulate it.
On the other hand is the danger of sexual exploitation. They don’t want to have sex but need the money. And that is not acceptable.
//edit: Formerly I used the term “prostitute” for which I’m sorry for.
READ THIS, PASS IT ON, SHUT THE PROHIBITIONISTS DOWN
Dismissing this sex workers’ labour rights activism as ‘unrepresentative’ is a purely rhetorical move, which substitutes medium for message. Furthermore, abolitionists’ obsession with identity is remarkably facile compared to other discussions around representation and universality which have a long history within feminism, giving rise to the concept of intersectionality when black feminists challenged their white sisters for ignoring their concerns. The family and the police were two of the institutions black feminists highlighted as experienced radically differently, due to currents of structural and political racism which put black communities at odds with state agents protecting white ones, and against which the black family has often been a haven, instead of (or as well as) a site of oppression.
To represent can quite literally mean to ‘be present’ for someone else. It is clear that white feminists have not been present for women of colour, and the agendas of the mainstream feminist movement continue to centre white concerns. However, critiques of White Feminism do not target every feminist with white skin – instead, they focus on the substance of mainstream feminist politics which prioritises the issues and needs of white women. In contrast, abolitionists concentrate on the identities of sex worker activists and in the process discredit a broad and unified movement for sex industry decriminalisation. (Ironically, this fixation on identity, as well as a persistent refusal to acknowledge their own privilege, may be why these same feminists are often resistant to, and offended by, intersectional critiques of White Feminism because they mistake these for a politics of skin colour).
To represent is to be chosen to carry a particular message, and in this case it is clear – sex workers across the world do not want to be criminalised. Abolitionist rhetoric, which comprehends the representative only as sign or symbol, silences sex worker activists with something incredibly important to convey. Against these advocates, the abolitionist wields the ‘survivor’ – ex-sex workers (mainly women) who have been exploited and abused. Their voices give abolitionist politics a veneer of authenticity, and are ventriloquized to shout down other survivors both outside and within the industry who advocate for decriminalisation. A sex worker, then, is only representative if she is making the right representations.
Or, perhaps more accurately, a current sex worker is unrepresentative if she is making any representations at all. As sex workers’ rights activist Molly Smith has pointed out, abolitionist rhetoric uses survivors as a proxy for current marginalised sex workers, implying that if they had a voice, they too would support abolitionist laws. This fetishisation of the ‘voiceless’ silences abolitionists’ opponents, as it enables them to be rejected as ‘unrepresentative’ on spec. There is a cruel sleight of hand in operation here – for current sex workers, the condition for dismissal is being able to speak at all. Sex workers active in sex industry debates, Smith says, are dismissed as ‘not representative’ because they are not voiceless enough.