miss_s_b: (Innuendo: cybersex)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am quite willing to believe that some sex workers are exploited, coerced, and mistreated. Human trafficking is a terrible thing, and should be stamped out. Modern slavery likewise. But when somebody says that the ONLY reason for a sex worker to go into sex work is coercion and/or desperation, that makes me a bit uncomfortable to say the least.

The idea that no woman (because when people say this, it IS usually about women) could go into sex work voluntarily springs from some very sexist (and quite modern) assumptions:
  1. Women do not like sex as much as men*
  2. Therefore if a woman Does It with a man she must be doing it for some reason other than enjoyment
  3. Love is an acceptable reason, money isn't
You all know how I hate it when we are treated as members of our group first and individuals second, so I'm not going to labour that point, but... some people have high sex drives, some people have low sex drives, and those things are not always congruent with gender.

It is entirely possible that some women go into sex work voluntarily, and enjoy it when they get there. In fact, more than possible, it's true; you can find myriad testimonies from such women on the internet and elsewhere. And to dismiss them with "oh well they don't know what they are saying", which is normally the next step for people who think all sex workers are coerced? Surely I don't need to point out how patronising and sexist THAT attitude is?

TL;DR version: I am a sex positive feminist and I don't think feminists who aren't know what they are talking about.



*Anyone who thinks all women have lower sex drives than all men needs to be introduced to me, and then to have a gentle chat with some of my partners, only one of whom comes anywhere close to having my general level of sex drive.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 01:45 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
There's also the point that even if some sex workers *don't* like their job... well, I don't like mine, either. Pretty much everyone who has a job is being, to an extent, coerced and exploited -- the whole reason you have to get paid to go to work is, after all, because you won't do it for free.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If you are going to use the word "all" then you are right but so what? What if it is most? Yes some women have high sex drives, but how many women go into prostitution because of that?
I can't imagine even a highly sexed woman would relish walking the streets late on a cold night and having sex with anyone who walks by who she hopes will pay her? That sounds like exploitation to me. What about those for a little bit extra offer unprotected sex risking AIDS and unwanted pregnancy for the sake of satisfying a drug habit.
I am not proposing to clamp down on prostitution or demonise prostitutes, but I do not accept the sexual Utopia you seem to be painting either.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
This does appear to be the equivalent of assuming that people in the clothes business must all be working in sweatshops. There are people in many trades who are exploited. Picking one particular profession and insisting that most of the workers are exploited is not helpful.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 02:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] raven-oreilly.livejournal.com
I've only recently started reading more about this subject and find it very interesting. I can't argue with your point of view either.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zoeimogen.livejournal.com
Many years ago now, I had a similar discussion with a couple of pro-dommes. (For the uninitiated, a pro-domme is a woman paid to be the dominant one in BDSM) They pointed out that to all intents and purposes, they were sex workers.

They might well not have done it without the pay, but they didn't do it just for the money. They did it because they enjoyed it and because they were good at it.

Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014 10:58 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
They might well not have done it without the pay, but they didn't do it just for the money. They did it because they enjoyed it and because they were good at it.

That describes my attitude to my current job (software not sex work!) exactly. I probably wouldn't do this exact job if I didn't need the money, but given I do, I'm very grateful to be able to earn my money in a way I enjoy, and which I know I do well.

Date: Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
There's also an unstated and extremely dubious idea that paying people usually not very much to do all sorts of other unpleasant things is not exploitative: relatively few people enjoy cleaning enough that they would clean someone else's bathroom for free. Or like bringing food to strangers enough that they would do that all day for free—but it's supposed to be okay to expect women to do that for not very much money, and for the customers to be allowed to demand that they smile, or make sexual remarks without the server being allowed to say "that's inappropriate" and walk away. You could make an argument on that basis that many restaurant and other retail staffs are exploited and unwilling sex workers, but nobody is trying to outlaw Macdonald's or random clothing retail chains on that basis.

Date: Friday, January 10th, 2014 11:14 am (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
There do seem to be a small number of people who basically want to abolish work.

I think that many of them are people doing jobs they always wanted to do, enjoy doing, and have control over their own work; and imagine that most work is like that.

When people say things like "no-one should be financially coerced into something they don't want to do" (which I have heard, in so many words) then they're not living in the same universe that I am.

Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
ext_390810: (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
Prompts me to think about the mindset of the authoritarian, and are they doing it just because it's easier than acknowledging the world is complex?

'People do X for a variety of reasons. Some (but not all) of those reasons are Wrong, and to deal with those issues, it's easier to stop anyone doing X.'

Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (surprise)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
"TL;DR version: I am a sex positive feminist and I don't think feminists who aren't know what they are talking about.
"

Um, while I agree with you 100% that not all sex workers are coerced into it and should be free to choose what to do with their own bodies, I sometimes have issues with what's called "sex positive feminism"- namely that it is often used as a way to shame people who are uncomfortable participating in certain sexual acts. Maybe it's just the blasted internet, but I'm tired of being called a prude or a "kink shamer" simply because *I personally* do not want to do certain sexual acts with my *own body* (I have no issue whatsoever with other people doing things with their own bodies.)

There's also the issue that some people might find certain aspects of sex triggery, for whatever reason or trauma they might have previously gone through- the idea that sex should be a thing that is done (because yay sex!), even if the participant finds it unpleasant (coercive partners come to mind) is an opinion I see crop up quite often in the sex-positie community, sadly.

Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2014 08:32 pm (UTC)
ginasketch: (snape)
From: [personal profile] ginasketch
Wish you'd tell the rest of them that. Sigh.

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