Friday, June 08, 2007

10 Reasons Why Non-Sex Workers Should Not Write Papers About Sex Work by Ashkara Sands

1. The only people truly qualified to speak to the experiences of sex workers, are sex workers themselves.

2. Basing a theory on myths and stereotypes and then 'proving' that theory using other myths and stereotypes is not a study - it's a creative writing exercise.

3. Sex workers are living, breathing human beings with hearts and every time you describe them as something other than living, breathing human beings, their hearts break.

4. By far the most 'degrading' aspect of sex work is the associated stigma, discrimination and vilification - a direct result of the disempowering misinformation propagated by the media and the anti-sex work lobby.

5. It is exceedingly arrogant to assume not only that you understand the intricacies of an industry you don't even work in, but that you have the right to speak for those who do.

6. Contrary to popular belief, sex workers are perfectly capable of putting pen to paper and telling their own stories.

7. By denying sex workers the right to have their voices heard in the political arena, and attempting to limit their sexual and financial independence, anti-sex work feminists make a mockery of the fundamental principles of feminism.

8. You don't see sex workers writing papers on the work practices of marine biologists or the psychological wellbeing of accountants.

9. The portrayal of sex workers as degraded victims is, in itself, a form of degrading victimisation.

10. You risk looking like a fool who wrote a paper on a topic you quite obviously knew nothing about

This is a response to Janice Raymond's '10 reasons not to legalise/decriminalise prostitution'. Janince Raymond is a particularly vicious anti-sex work, anti-trans radical feminist.

Visit Ashkara Sands at her website A Whores Haven (see the links on the right)

1 comment:

mayhem said...

OK whoretic -

i luv ya work and get the point of the post but I want to have a tiny weeny little bit of space for some flexibility around this issue.

I wouldn't want to claim expertise or to represent sex work or sex workers and do agree that it is really problematic to do so...

But I still believe - somewhat ardently that it is not only my 'right' but it is also my duty to a certain extend to discuss, engage with and describe issues and the lives of others which concern me - if only because they intersect with mine.

eg I do not and hopefully will never know what the experience of a refugee in a detention centre are but it IS my moral duty to attempt some sort of a description/dialogue about their condition - if only because I believe in freedom of movement, political association and human rights etc.

equally as a troobloobeige aussie I don't know what the experiences are of people of colour - and yet as a hater of monochrome I do and will continue to draw attention to the experiences and existences of people of colour and of colour differentials (or their absences) wherever I am. sometimes this does involve speaking for or clumsy representations of those who are absent or silent from certain discourses and spaces

so for sex workers - as a freewheelin trashy slut - my own interests are threatened by the discourses that threaten and silence and oppress sex workers - so in articulating and defending my own interests - yes - I do mention and describe the lives of 'others' - particularly within the academy which IS elitist.......

(and my own position is marginal and precarious too)

so don't paint all non sex-workers with the same sex-phobic brush - and please try not to go too far down the separatist identity politics line coz you're wayy to clever for that and black pantherism is not the same as self determination