You probably have opinions about sex work. If you are a certain sort of feminist, you might think it is disgusting, dehumanizing, and completely unacceptable—that pornography is little more than propaganda for the patriarchy, that prostitution is just “rape that’s paid for.” You might then think that sex work needs to be abolished—if nothing else, for the good of the millions of women who are “trafficked” by pimps from poorer to richer nations and coerced into selling their bodies.

Alternatively: You might love sex work. You might be an enthusiastic consumer of pornography and supporter of prostitution. You might think sex work offers a vital service to, for instance, disabled clients; that for the women who do it, it is a fun and empowering profession. You might then think that sex work ought to be celebrated, normalized as an integral part of any healthy, functioning society.

According to sex work activists (and sex workers) Molly Smith and Juno Mac, both of these views on sex work are basically wrong. Sex work is shit—they definitely think that—and is subject to all sorts of problems which stem from the economic context in which it takes place; the legal context in which prohibitions against it are enforced. But at heart, there is nothing special about sex work. If we dropped all the prurient proscriptions and predilections, we could see it unmasked as what it really is: a shitty job just like any other.


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Your job has more in common with Sex Work than you think by Tom Whyman

Nov. 20th, 2018