choice, coercion, circumstance, deliberate
September 25, 2019 3:48 PM   Subscribe

"I didn't know it at the time, but that fall my body was the site of international debate about sex, work, poverty, and consent." Lorelei Lee writes for N+1 on the consequences and complexity of criminalizing of sex work. content warning: sexual assault
posted by ChuraChura (10 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

This is a wonderful piece of writing on several levels. Beautifully written and compellingly argued.

I think that when people say "sex work is work" this gets misunderstood, sometimes, to mean that they're saying "sex work is work and therefore it's good." No, sex work is work and therefore it's bad! In, you know, basically the same way as all jobs are bad because capitalism is fundamentally exploitative. Maybe "morally neutral but sucks" is more accurate.
posted by babelfish at 4:31 PM on September 25, 2019 [21 favorites]

"Even as we reach for the less terrible of two terrible ideas, we’re constantly reminded of how little say we have at all. Neither liberal feminists nor libertarians, radical feminists nor the religious right, can hear us speak in our own words. "

I remember taking a community psych class in college. One thing they emphasized was that in order to help people, you need to listen to what they say their needs are, not come in and tell them what they need.
posted by gryftir at 5:47 PM on September 25, 2019 [26 favorites]

So so so good.
…. Most of the sex workers I met in San Francisco were working-class queers and trans men and women. They helped me understand that what I was doing at work was putting on a show about gender. They taught me that the implements of traditional “femininity” — rather than being, as I had heard my whole life, symbols of weakness or ways to fail at gender — were tools we could wield without having to own them. “Femininity” was a combination of things we sometimes felt innately, sometimes constructs we created to make money, and sometimes constructs we created to create ourselves. Untangling my gender from my “femininity” made my queerness a part of me that I could love. Loving my queer, poor, brilliant sex-worker friends helped me know that I was whole and unbroken — allowed me to believe that I, too, was deserving of love.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:25 PM on September 25, 2019 [17 favorites]

Increased criminalization has resulted in declining labor conditions for people who trade sex. It has inhibited our ability to speak openly about these conditions. And it has made it harder for us to process our experiences—of coercion and exploitation, solidarity, love, and strength—in our own words, or even at all.

This is really good, thank you for posting it.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:59 PM on September 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I kind of wish I had a good comment on this piece, but I’ve got nothing to add. It’s just really good.
posted by Sterros at 9:00 PM on September 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also, thanks for giving the author credit in the post.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:45 PM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

My ex is one of the co-authors of this excellent book on the subject. As babelfish says above, "sex work is work" is widely misunderstood. They debated including a meme annex, one of which would have been...

small brain: sex work is sex and sex is bad
medium brain: sex work is sex and sex is good
large brain: sex work is work and work is good
galaxy brain: sex work is work and work is bad
posted by imperium at 5:18 AM on September 26, 2019 [15 favorites]

That's an amazing piece. If you're here in this thread, and you haven't read it? Read it.

"The things that sex workers do to stay safe are almost always the the things civilians want to pass laws to stop."

posted by uberchet at 10:26 AM on September 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

Miss Lorelei Lee is on both Twitter and Instagram , and she is awesome.

Back when the Armory in SF was an active BDSM porn studio, there was a larger than life sized print of this picture in the main stairway.

There is no elevator in the Armory, and so every time my job required setting up a catering bar on the Upper Floor, we would have to carry all the ice and beer and glassware and booze up four flights of stairs by hand.

And every time passed that photo, I smiled and was inspired.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:11 AM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thanks for posting this, it is the best thing I have read on this topic.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:31 PM on September 28, 2019

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