sex work

arvan's picture

Simone de Beauvoir Institute - A Feminist Position On Sex Work

(h/t Cybersolidaires)

Simone de Beauvoir Institute’s Statement:

A Feminist Position on Sex Work

The Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University supports the recent decision by Ontario Superior Court judge Susan Himel with regards to Canada’s prostitution laws.

We support this decision as feminists, and in particular as feminists who have taken a position of leadership with regards to sexuality.  The Simone de Beauvoir Institute is the oldest women’s studies program in Canada, established in 1978.  We were the first Canadian university women’s studies to offer a course on lesbian studies (1985), we helped organize La Ville en Rose, an international conference on lesbian and gay studies held in 1992, and were active in the implementation of the first undergraduate course on HIV/AIDS at any Canadian university (1994). Since 2006, we offer an elective course entitled “Framing the prostitute,” which considers the ways in which debates about prostitution are constructed – within feminist, policy, and activist sites.

For more than three decades, then, the Simone de Beauvoir Institute has provided leadership with regards to questions of sexuality. Our position in support of the Himel decision continues a long tradition of deep reflection and action with regards to sexuality.

mngreenall's picture

AIDS Universal Access and the Lancet's equivocation

 

Universal access and excluded groups

mngreenall's picture

Absolutist abolitionists

The sorts of things that are said about sex work

Clarisse Thorn's picture

[porn] The Lone Villain Rides Again

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism

Last week, I posted an interview with Tim Woodman, who’s a fetish porn director and an experienced BDSMer to boot. His interview raised fascinating questions of consent and industry standards within pornography, especially BDSM porn. Lots of people had questions and comments, so here’s a followup interview. Ladies and gentleman, once again … welcome Tim Woodman!



Clarisse Thorn: On the original interview, Alexa commented, “I agree wholeheartedly with the positions articulated on this in the interview, and I think it’s not going to stop unless some names get put out there in the public sphere so we can know who these assholes are. Tim can make these kinds of assertions all day long, but unless he attaches some names to it and calls them out, he’s not doing anyone a service and appears to be serving his own interests. Not that I doubt him at all (quite the opposite, in fact), but I’d like to know who they are so (A) I can avoid doing business with them, and (B) can let others know to avoid having anything to do with them, either as a consumer or potential talent.”  What do you think?

Tim Woodman: Several responses to my previous interview asked me to ‘name names’ and call out the companies whose practices I disapprove of. Nothing would delight me more, but I was also pointedly reminded by an attorney friend just how much headache could be involved in a libel suit. I would likely win, but only after great expense.

I would, however, be very happy to recommend some companies whom I can vouch for personally as being conscientious and very good about respecting models’ limits and still producing quality content. The absolute best person I know in this industry is Lorelei, from bedroombondage.com – whatever your kink, whatever you want to search for, if you start at her page, you will only find links to high-quality companies run by good people.



arvan's picture

Sex Worker Rights - A Public Service Announcement from FIRST

Celebrating the strength and diversity of sex workers.  A Public Service Announcement from FIRST

Sex workers face extreme levels of stigma and social exclusion, often fearful of the social consequences of speaking openly about their work.  When they do, they risk being stereotyped, with few people looking beyond the label of "sex worker" to see the unique lives each person leads.  This video is an attempt by this experiential community to highlight the strength and diversity of those who are currently or have been engaged in sex work.  We would like to thank those who participated in this video, as well as acknowledge that there were a far greater number of people who could not due to the social consequences they could face in their relationships, careers, and day to day lives.  For more info check out the FIRST Advocates Website at firstadvocates.org.  This video was created by Rachel Malek for the FIRST Coalition.  Inspired by the I Am a Sex Worker video produced by the Sex Work Awareness Project.

FIRST is a coalition of feminists advocating for rights and equality for sex workers, and the decriminalization of the consensual adult sex trade.  For more information visit firstadvocates.org.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

[porn] A Lone Villain working within an Evil Empire

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism

I met Tim Woodman and his partner this past weekend at an S&M party. Tim — whose business cards style him a Professional Villain — produces and stars in porn, so we had an interesting conversation about consent and porn practices. Porn has never been my thing, though I emphatically oppose censoring it. I’ve worked with and made friends with many sex workers, and sex workers’ rights are very important to me. And, of course, I’m an S&M activist who believes that there’s nothing wrong with BDSM (or any other kind of sex) as long as it’s 100% consensual — that BDSM deserves wider acceptance as a form of sexuality.

So it makes me sad when I hear stories and rumors about the fetish porn industry that imply that some actresses did not fully consent to the porn shoots they did. And I think that it’s important for porn consumers to push for responsible practices from the companies producing the movies they watch. It can be hard to tell whether a given company has responsible practices, though. I know that some porn companies have their actresses give interviews after the shoot, in which the actresses talk about what they experienced during the porn shoot. This seems like a step in the right direction to me, but Tim says some of those interviews are fake, which breaks my heart. It’s the kind of allegation I wouldn’t trust from an anti-porn idealogue, but Tim has real knowledge and contacts in the business — and he’s not pro-censorship — so he’s got a better perspective.

After listening to some of Tim’s thoughts, I asked him to do an interview with me. And here we are:



Clarisse Thorn: Can you introduce yourself to my readers, and describe some of your feelings about working in the fetish porn industry?

Tim Woodman: As a self-defined “Professional Villain”, my life is a paradox. I produce fetish porn videos depicting rape, torture, and sometimes murder, but my career depends on my reputation within the industry as a good guy, whom women will enjoy working with and would be willing to work with again. Fortunately, I have been in the BDSM lifestyle even longer than I’ve been in the industry, and I already know the rules. If you want to play in the BDSM scene, you can’t break your toys!

The rules about BDSM porn are not different from the rules about BDSM in the real world. Consent is never implied, and can always be withdrawn. Negotiation is critical, and must be done thoroughly beforehand.

arvan's picture

Talking About the Taboo: 2nd CSPH Annual Conference

CSPH 2nd Annual Conference

October 10th

1:00-5:00 Pm

Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again, The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health welcomes you to our 2nd annual conference, “Talking About the Taboo, Discussing Difficult Issues in Human Sexuality.”

For the first time ever, The CSPH will provide sexuality education to adults in a safe and open environment. By bringing together all aspects of sexuality, the pleasure, education, advocacy and medical worlds, we hope to take subjects that are traditionally “taboo” and elucidate them, showing that the taboo can be fun, interesting and educational and most importantly, able to be discussed in thoughtful, provoking ways.

Talk to an Expert:

“Talking About the Taboo” will feature many sexuality experts willing to share with you their work in the field of sexuality. From medical providers, rape crisis counselors, to dominatrixes, you are sure to find someone to teach you something new! Listen to our panel, take a small group class or chat it up with our experts throughout the event.

Play with a Toy:

Check out our vendors, who will be showing off the latest and greatest in sexual aids. These top of the line, 100% safe toys and products can help to enhance your sex life in many ways.

Hear our Panel:

This year’s conference brings us some of the most noteworthy participants in the realm of sexuality. Be sure to stick around for what is sure to be an informative and lively panel addressing current issues surrounding sexuality. Our guest panelists will include:

Dr. Charlie Glickman,

Princess Kali,

Audacia Ray,

Sinclair Sexsmith,

Dr. Logan Levkoff

Anita Hoffner

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Sex worker sob story totally misses the point

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn: Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism

Forget the voices of sex workers who genuinely enjoy their jobs and are tired of being cut out of the discourse on the sex industry. Forget arguments about how the Craigslist shutdown will end up harming sex workers who are genuinely trafficked or abused. No, let’s focus on Phoebe Kay, who’s mad because Craigslist made it easy for her to sell sex, and she didn’t like doing it. Therefore, she argues in a recent Salon piece, it is entirely right and proper that Craigslist has been pressured into removing its “erotic services” ads.

Wait, what?

Ms. Kay’s experience does sound unpleasant — just as any job a person doesn’t want to do will be unpleasant. And I do sympathize. She writes that before she even started working, she “felt like vomiting” and adds, “There was no question this gig didn’t come naturally to me.” Hey, I’ve felt like that about jobs before. Usually those feelings are a strong hint that I shouldn’t take the job! Ms. Kay, on the other hand, went right ahead — but it’s not her own fault, it’s Craigslist’s fault.

She notes that she’d sent out “hundreds” of cover letters to other jobs before trying her hand at escorting, but one wonders if she tried McDonald’s. Or was that too degrading to contemplate? What about selling the car she mentions in the article, or asking the parents she mentions for support? I’m not trying to mock the “desperation” Ms. Kay says she felt, but it’s hard to believe that a woman with such an obvious safety net truly felt that she had no choice at all. Not to mention, there are plenty of escorts who got into the business because they were strapped for cash, but who don’t disown the choice they made, even if they had a bad experience in the end.

arvan's picture

Laura Agustín on Sex Work Facts v. Fiction

Laura Agustín, author of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry is seen here discussing sex work in reality and the impact of misconceptions and misinformation on sex workers.  She discusses migrant sex workers, trafficking and the conflicts caused by both.

Laura Agustín writes as a lifelong migrant and sometime worker in both nongovernmental and academic projects about sex, travel and work.  You can contact her here.

arvan's picture

APNSW HR Regional Sex Workers Forum: Summary Report

APNSW HR Regional Sex Workers Forum
Dates: July: 29, 30, 31 and 1st Aug 2010
Venue: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Summary Report

Some 15 national representatives from 14 countries of APNSW Sex Workers Forum attended a four day workshop entitled the APNSW Human Rights Regional Sex Workers Forum in Kuala Lumpur from July 29, 30, 31 and Aug 1st. National representatives were selected by APNSW members in their respective country.

The national representative from Japan, Yukiko Kaname, although unable to attend, was able to participate live via skype/email and translated with the help of Marisa Ingleton (Australia, Scarlet Alliance).

The sex workers forum was developed to guide broad directions of APNSW in terms of policy and programme. The objectives for the workshop were:

· How to run APNSW and institute governance structured based on APNSW manual, which is a living document. In the coming days we will decide who will be chairperson and three sex workers reps to form the APNSW Programme and Policy Committee (PPC) who will assist the APNSW secretariat in decision making on behalf of the larger sex worker forum. The selected chair and Selvi from APNSW BOD automatically sits on the PPC.
· Understand APNSW’s five year strategic plan (2009 – 2014) and what activities we can now tick off.
· Explanation of the policy shift which has lead to APNSW has lead to new funding including a regional consultation to be held in October in Pattaya (2010)
· Assessment to find out what communication tools we can work together.
· Sharing of country Sex Work and HIV issues at the national level (via film/documenting activity)
· To meet donor requirements of outputs


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