As much as I detest the crap I’ve had flung at me from the “sex worker activists” on the internet, I have to say I’m disappointed in how much they hurt themselves. Lets be clear here : No one in terms of feminist discussions on prostitution want to see prostitutes abused, exploited, imprisoned, murdered or without basic human rights. The issue to feminists is that there are too many people in this world (even one is too many) engaged in prostitution that don’t want to be. The majority of prostitutes are women and the majority of johns are men. Men are the dominant sex in society and women are an oppressed underclass. Women’s sexual labor and reproductive labor have been stolen from them by men for thousands of years, and prostitution is one of the ways it has been stolen from them. We don’t think that it is possible to remove sexism and opppression from something that has its roots in the subordination of women to men.
So how do the sex worker activists and “sex positive” feminists hurt their own cause?
1) Assume that all those who oppose the idea of sex work are hostile and unsympathetic to what you have to go through. Deny their personal life experience and very real concern for the safety and protection of those involved in the sex trade.
2) Talk about rights in the present tense, and not the future. If you are a prostitute and a blogger online its probably the case that you are doing something illegal. You do not have the “right” to break the law.
3) Do not force “dialogue”. Some of us have personal trauma related to prostitution and resent hearing people talk about it in ways that portray it as something empowering for CERTAIN women. We also resent the comments that people who can’t hack it shouldn’t become prostitutes. People become prostitutes because they lack other options generally, probably even you. Its not anyone’s place to judge whether or not someone should or should not be involved in this industry when thats the case for a good deal of the people in it.
4) Do not sexually degrade those people who aren’t down with prostitution, it just makes you look insecure.
5) Do not forge alliances with men who throw around misogynistic slurs on a consistent basis and show open contempt for women in general. This is particularly odd when it comes from those “sex worker activists” who are supposedly “feminists”.
6) Not everything is about YOU. When Feminists share information about people harmed in prostitution don’t ATTACK THEM for it. You should be the first ones to support them for standing against violence against prostitutes. Is your cause to harass feminists or win rights for sex workers?
7) Become distracted by attacking and harassing a few people online who merely feel that prostitution should never be something that anyone has to do, that its undignified and inherently oppressive when its NOT feminists who are out there murdering prostitutes, raping prostitutes, creating prostitutes, or stigmatizing them.
Many of us were THERE once.