Sex industry/Sex workers

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gangster
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Nov 22 2004 20:48
Sex industry/Sex workers

Just to provoke the prudes and awkward squad I detect on these boards i think i'll encourage a discussion on this theme.

Well, are prostitutes (male and female) workers? Are they ULTRA exploited?

Or are the 'high class' ones who 'work' the Dorchester on Park Lane middle class 'power dressing' people?

I think an understanding of the sex industry in all its facets is long overdue from a radical perspective... the massage parlours, street work, brothels, web stuff, mags/dvds, sex slaves (people smuggling too) in private and in public venues, etc... Is there a consistent anarchist approach?

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Jacques Roux
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Nov 22 2004 21:03

Good topic... think it doesnt really need the reason of having to provoke people though... why not just pose the question without that?

3rdseason
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Nov 22 2004 21:16

Its a job like any other (being a hooker). Like any other job it depends on pay, safety standards and who your employer is as to how exploited you are. smile

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Spartacus
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Nov 22 2004 21:57
Quote:
Is there a consistent anarchist approach?

fall in love with a hooker that looks like patricia arquette, shoot the pimp, steal is coke, sell it with no help from some amusing stoner who looks like brad pitt, survive a shoot out between body guards, cops and gangsters, run away to cancun and live happily ever after with a son called elvis watching nothing but sonny chiba movies... no, sorry, that's the tarantino approach. damn.

just to not be completely irrelevant here's a site i got sent a link to a few days ago which seems to have some info and not from a hysterical "anything to do with sex is sexist" perspective (though i haven't looked at it close enough yet to vouch for the rest of it's politics): http://www.allwomencount.net/

gangster
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Nov 22 2004 22:11
rkn wrote:
Good topic... think it doesnt really need the reason of having to provoke people though... why not just pose the question without that?

But I is baaad, i is Gangster twisted wink grin black bloc

gangster
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Nov 22 2004 22:19
GenerationTerrorist wrote:
Quote:
Is there a consistent anarchist approach?

fall in love with a hooker that looks like patricia arquette, shoot the pimp, steal is coke, sell it with no help from some amusing stoner who looks like brad pitt, survive a shoot out between body guards, cops and gangsters, run away to cancun and live happily ever after with a son called elvis watching nothing but sonny chiba movies... no, sorry, that's the tarantino approach. damn.

just to not be completely irrelevant here's a site i got sent a link to a few days ago which seems to have some info and not from a hysterical "anything to do with sex is sexist" perspective (though i haven't looked at it close enough yet to vouch for the rest of it's politics): http://www.allwomencount.net/

I'm glad that organisation/website exists, but others may know more about their politics than me. Briefly I think they are taking an Autonomist Marxist position sometimes, 'wages for housework', and cover other stuff. I think there's a few (ex?) Leninists involved. probably doesn't go far enough from an anarcho-feminist perspective, but I'll let our womyn speak from that POV.

WeTheYouth
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Nov 22 2004 22:28

It is ultra exploitation, what can get worse than selling yourself in the chase of a living? It is horrible exploitation in my opinion, i find it wrong, im all for people having sex with whoever or whatever they want, but to use it as a way to earn a living, i find it a disgusting product of capitalism. And we must remember that most prostitutes are working class, im sure i read about a study where most prostitutes are either school drop outs and those living on benefits, and single mums.

LiveFastDiarrea
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Nov 22 2004 22:31

but prostitution has been around much longer than capitalism, so how can it be a result of it?

WeTheYouth
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Nov 22 2004 22:40
LiveFastDiarrea wrote:
but prostitution has been around much longer than capitalism, so how can it be a result of it?

It has been around aslong as there has been capital to gain from the exploitation of the body.

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Jacques Roux
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Nov 22 2004 22:45
Quote:
just to not be completely irrelevant here's a site i got sent a link to a few days ago which seems to have some info and not from a hysterical "anything to do with sex is sexist" perspective (though i haven't looked at it close enough yet to vouch for the rest of it's politics): http://www.allwomencount.net/

GT - thats global women's strike in the UK - a proper bunch of stalinist (-like) freaks who try and hijack whatever they can and manipulate it to their ways.

They maintain that international womens day belongs to them.

Having talked to some of these people - they really arent very nice and not the direction we should be looking in!

Im pretty sure that they are anti-sex worker but i could be wrong as i tend to get my "feminist" freaks confused quite a bit.

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Spartacus
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Nov 22 2004 23:08

ah well, i haven't really had a chance to look into it much (too busy looking at hkflix.com, they actually have an entire genre called "decapitation", and one called revolutionary, best shop ever. anyway). i came across it from an email about opposing anti-prostitute legislation. anyway, they might have some interesting info...

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Ramona
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Nov 22 2004 23:40

No no they're pro-sex worker, they're the same people who set up the sex worker's union. They are pretty unpopular amongst many feminists, and having encountered up come up against their incredibly aggressive, domineering attitudes towards other women trying to organise without them (I speak from experience here) I can kind of see why. That said I'm not quite sure how direct the links are between these two groups, so don't take my word for it.

LFD is right, prostitution has been around in many societies without capitalism. I think sometimes people get carried away and see the whole world in terms of before capitalism/after capitalism which is too simplistic, especially when it comes to looking at issues of gendered division, sexual exploitation and general economic exploitation. Non- and pre- capitalist societies have also been known to exploit people too, especially women, when it comes to labour - be it sexual or otherwise.

I think saying that prostitution is a job like any other is a bit wierd - it's not like any other job really. It's based around specific ideas of gender, patriarchy and sexuality, and of age old ideas of ownership and exchange of women - which again have existed before capitalism. It's not quite the same as any other kind of wage labour, even if you look at it from the general risk element involved. I don't think sex work can be seen purely in terms of economics like 3rd suggests, that overlooks far too much of the gendered history of it, and gender and sexual ideologies cannot be explained by economics alone.

So, getting back to the original post... Far be it for me to want to state an anarchist position on anything, but as one anarchist I wouldd say that yeah prostitutes are workers, but trying to just apply some sort of Marxist economic theory to the exploitation of sex workers just cannot encompass the complexities of sex work. We need to address gender and sexuality from a more cultural and historic view point, because as I say, it's not just a case of eradicate cvapitalism=eradicate prostitutiton, as capitalism is not the only world view that promotes ownership of female sexuality.

gangster
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Nov 23 2004 13:17
zobag wrote:
No no they're pro-sex worker, they're the same people who set up the sex worker's union. They are pretty unpopular amongst many feminists, and having encountered up come up against their incredibly aggressive, domineering attitudes towards other women trying to organise without them (I speak from experience here) I can kind of see why. That said I'm not quite sure how direct the links are between these two groups, so don't take my word for it.

LFD is right, prostitution has been around in many societies without capitalism. I think sometimes people get carried away and see the whole world in terms of before capitalism/after capitalism which is too simplistic, especially when it comes to looking at issues of gendered division, sexual exploitation and general economic exploitation. Non- and pre- capitalist societies have also been known to exploit people too, especially women, when it comes to labour - be it sexual or otherwise.

I think saying that prostitution is a job like any other is a bit wierd - it's not like any other job really. It's based around specific ideas of gender, patriarchy and sexuality, and of age old ideas of ownership and exchange of women - which again have existed before capitalism. It's not quite the same as any other kind of wage labour, even if you look at it from the general risk element involved. I don't think sex work can be seen purely in terms of economics like 3rd suggests, that overlooks far too much of the gendered history of it, and gender and sexual ideologies cannot be explained by economics alone.

So, getting back to the original post... Far be it for me to want to state an anarchist position on anything, but as one anarchist I wouldd say that yeah prostitutes are workers, but trying to just apply some sort of Marxist economic theory to the exploitation of sex workers just cannot encompass the complexities of sex work. We need to address gender and sexuality from a more cultural and historic view point, because as I say, it's not just a case of eradicate cvapitalism=eradicate prostitutiton, as capitalism is not the only world view that promotes ownership of female sexuality.

Good post. I agree there's more to the genesis of this issue than capitalism... power would be a good place to start, and remember payment does NOT only come in terms of money... it could be in place of rent, be goods of some description. etc

BUT - as we're in 21st century capitalism and 99.9% (I is not an absolutist) of the transactions include money, then this 'work' involves oppression that means the ROOT of the issue currently is in capitalist social relations surely? Agreed, removing cap. soc. rel. in abstract won't necessarily improve conditions, and that it is maintained by divisive ideology. But I see it as a process of struggle that includes changing attitudes and values for the better in that process... That is why I think organising attempts by existing unions, and the international sex workers one are a good thing, encouraging progressive class consciousness.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 23 2004 18:56
gangster wrote:
But I see it as a process of struggle that includes changing attitudes and values for the better in that process... That is why I think organising attempts by existing unions, and the international sex workers one are a good thing, encouraging progressive class consciousness.

Is this an analysis, or is this just your signature? Mr. T

gangster
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Nov 23 2004 22:04
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
gangster wrote:
But I see it as a process of struggle that includes changing attitudes and values for the better in that process... That is why I think organising attempts by existing unions, and the international sex workers one are a good thing, encouraging progressive class consciousness.

Is this an analysis, or is this just your signature? Mr. T

The dialectic includes both grin black bloc

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 00:16

I claim that prostitution is not a job and that many common and positive ideas about prostitution is deliusions. Click below for a more detailed statement.

http://www1.shellkonto.se/nilswarm/crimethinc/content.php?article.78

3rdseason
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Nov 25 2004 15:21
Wendal wrote:
I claim that prostitution is not a job and that many common and positive ideas about prostitution is deliusions. Click below for a more detailed statement.

http://www1.shellkonto.se/nilswarm/crimethinc/content.php?article.78

That article is hysterical and generalises loads. eek

Hardly anybody *has* to be a prostitute. It's a choice.

You should read this book called "Whore Carnival". Its got interviews with loads of sex workers and its written from a feminist perspective. They all talk about how they want to be recognised as a legitimate preofession and they don't want your sympathy.

I think many prostitues woud find the claim that almost all of them are on drugs or in extreme poverty or sexually abused especially upsetting. That article is counter-productive and just reinforces negative stereotypes.

I'm not saying all prostitutes feel that way but neith do they all feel the way that arrticle describes and many of them would probably be offended by that article.

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 16:16

My text is based on something like 1000 pages of nonpolitical material about prostitution or slavery so its not just some speculations taken out of the air.

Quote:
Hardly anybody *has* to be a prostitute. It's a choice

There is something like 60.000 pre-teen children in sexual slavery in thailand. People have come to poor vilages and promised the parents to give their kids work and education. then they take them to the city. Look them inside a room and let the Johns pay to rape them. An 11year old sexual slave usualy get raped 10-12 times each day sometimes without a break. The goverment were first giving the girls condoms to protect them from AIDS but they stoped with that since the amount of costumers and the rubber teared up bleeding scars in their vaginas that meant that when they later had unprotected sex they would have an even bigger chance to get infected by the Johns. In thailand there is a myth that having sex with virigins gives back life-energy(i dont personaly accept that definition of sex tough) so the younger the child is the more Johns will the pimp be able to sell her to. I hope that you at least can accept that what these girls are exposed to is slavery not a choice. I now that the regime of Thailand can not. They are now planing to legalise prostitution, a legalistation that the prostitutes(there is at a minimum 300 000 mature prostitutes in Thailand) has agreed to fight.

3rdseason wrote:

I'm not saying all prostitutes feel that way but neith do they all feel the way that arrticle describes and many of them would probably be offended by that article.

Of curse they wouldnt. Noone wants to be a victim, exspecially not if you are one. That is beacuse in our society we usualy dont blame the opressor but instead we blame the opressed. Another view on victims that point out that the foult is on the abuser would make it easier for people to acept that their are vicitims. Prostitutes are not the only example of that. People being bullied in school, raped or robbed will usualy not be able to accept their situations exspecially not while they are in the midle of it. If a person can convince themself that have choosed on their own to be sexualy abused then it would make it easier for a while to cope with their situations. When someone then say that their are victims* so fo coarse

they will be ofended by the article. It might also be worth to point out that when a psychiatrist digs deep enough into a person to discover the roots of a problem then the person will get hostile and start to hate the psychiatrist. Im not saying that i try to be a psychiatrist what i simply mean is that truth hurts.

One of my friends has been a prostitute. He got raped several times and is now locked away in a mental asylum. Not much of a carnival if you ask me.

*= Which for most people means "Its your fault" with a litle help by the newspeak created by Big Brother.

captainmission
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Nov 25 2004 17:01
Wendal wrote:
My text is based on something like 1000 pages of nonpolitical material about prostitution or slavery so its not just some speculations taken out of the air.

But the article makes the claims through massive generalisations. Its the same tactic used by feminist that have previously posted here, find the worst example of degredation and exploitation (child sex slaves in thiland for instance) and claim it happens in all forms of prostitution everywhere., irrespective of any economic or social differences. With out local looking at the background of why people are working in the sex industry we're not going to understand it. For example prositution in manchester is based heavily on drug addiction. 30 miles away in liverpool (where there's more legal tolerance and regulation) this is a lot less of an issue. Provision of proper drug rehab programs is going to do alot more good for people caught in exploitative posistions than statement about the evils of prostitution.

also i don't get the claim that 'prostitution is not a job'. By similar reasoning I could produce 1000 pages of nonpolitical material about forced labour in burma, n. korea or the prison systems or the explotative nature of sweet shops to 'prove' that any form of labour isn't a job. But what would be the point in it? Surely that prositution is a particularlly exploitative form of work often born out of dire economic circumstances mean it should be viewed as a form of work and we should support prostitues attempts to defend there own interest rather than making absolutist moral statements?

3rdseason
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Nov 25 2004 18:36
Wendal wrote:
Quote:
Hardly anybody *has* to be a prostitute. It's a choice

There is something like 60.000 pre-teen children in sexual slavery in thailand. People have come to poor vilages and promised the parents to give their kids work and education. then they take them to the city.

Yes I know about this. Yes it is awful. But that is only a really tiny percentage of the prostitution which goes on worldwide. Also, I would say there is a distinction between being a prostitute and being a sex slave.A prostitute can choose to leave his/her job at any time and gets paid (often quite well compared to other jobs) for what he/she does. A sex slave is forced to have sex, is not paid and can not leave.

Quote:
Of curse they wouldnt. Noone wants to be a victim, exspecially not if you are one..... If a person can convince themself that have choosed on their own to be sexualy abused then it would make it easier for a while to cope with their situations.

Now that is just plain nasty and patronising!! Soif a prostitute said to you that he/she wanted good working conditions and to be respected as a normal person and not pitied you'd tell them they were in denial that they're being abused because they are afraid of being a victim???!!!

Thats fucked up! sad

lucy82
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Nov 25 2004 20:43

the article is also simplistic. For example, where it talks about sexual abuse of children and the process by which that child then becomes a prostitute as an adult, it ignores the fact that childhood sexual abuse often occurs in the context of multiproblem homes where the sexual victimization of children is only one of the problems. The effects of other family characteristics, such as poverty, unemployment, parental alcoholism or drug problems are not easily disentangled from the specific effects of sexual abuse.

There is a correlation between sexual abuse in childhood and prostitution in adult life but it is a hell of a lot more complex than this article makes out.

and yes, ultimately, exploitative as it might be, prostitution is a form of work I agree with capt mission, we should support the demands of sexworkers in defence of their own interest.

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 22:28
captainmission wrote:
Wendal wrote:

also i don't get the claim that 'prostitution is not a job'. By similar reasoning I could produce 1000 pages of nonpolitical material about forced labour in burma, n. korea or the prison systems or the explotative nature of sweet shops to 'prove' that any form of labour isn't a job.

Quote:

Îf you did i would say that you are correct. Forced labour is not work it is slavery and is forbidden all around the world. The only thing that make those things possible to exist is corupted goverements or those exploitive deals that poor countries does with multinational companys that want to build sweatshops in their lands. There are millions of slaves in the words original meaning today and not only in the so called third world. An example of sexual slavery are trafficking.

There are also some examples of forced labour in America for example. There was a company that a few hundred soon to be slaves from Asia into a factory in Los angeles. Then they took their passports and closed the gates.

Hawe you ever though about that pro-prostitution groups always uses individuals instead of statistic to show how good the sexual slaves are feeling?

As i mentioned before i read a thick study about the situations of prostitutes in Norway(not realy a third world country) and it still showed that they feel realy bad.

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 22:38
captainmission wrote:
we should support prostitues attempts to defend there own interest rather than making absolutist moral statements?

The only moral statement i have done here is that rape and slavery is wrong. Do you mean that it is ok to pay to rape?

The prostitutes best intrest is to get teraphy, suport and a way to survive without suffering the abuse that are curently a part of their everyday life.

Wendal
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Nov 25 2004 23:14
3rdseason wrote:

Now that is just plain nasty and patronising!! Soif a prostitute said to you that he/she wanted good working conditions and to be respected as a normal person and not pitied you'd tell them they were in denial that they're being abused because they are afraid of being a victim???!!!

Thats fucked up! :(

No. I would say that there is no way that can get those desires fullfilled in prostiution. As you can se in my text most prostitutes in Oslo/Norway(to take an example) prefer street-prostitution to state-prostitution or hotel-prostitution. And i can tell you that it aint beacuse beacuse street-prostitution is a lot fun.

The bourgiose has loads of delusions about those two forms of prostitution and the fact that the prostitutes prefer the kind that most people look at as rock-bottom says a lot about what alternatives inside prostitution has to offer.

I dont get the fucking idea with trying to keep prostitution alive!

Whats wrong with helping abused people by creating possibilities for them to support themself outside slavery, kick an addiction and get suport and love?

I rather teach female prostitutes how to rob and murder the Johns than "helping" them to organise in unions.

Male prostitutes in Scandinavia does sometime do a hustle that they call "fånga guldfisk"(catch goldfish). What they do is that one prostitute is taking a John with him and then later his friends shows up and they rob the john.

The John will usualy not press charges.

Another way to help prostitutes is to have coarses in dumpsterdiving, shoplifting and D.I.Y survival through squating, farming or hobo-ing.

A better life crimethinc-style. wink

For those who desire more of a middle-class life help to kick addiction, heal the scars, protection from violent pimps and help to get a job would be more helpfull. As i have showed with the example from Sweden in the early 19th centuary discriminiation of women in the labour market is one of the big problems that forces women into prostitution.

Jason Cortez
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Nov 26 2004 13:17

zobag wrote


Quote:
No no they're pro-sex worker, they're the same people who set up the sex worker's union.

They set up The Collective of English Prostitutes and the International Collective of Prostitutes, not The international Union of Sex Workers you seem to be reffing to. The latter are the ones who suceeded in setting up a branch of the GMB(yeah, shit union in many respects, but still better than nothing) for sex workres. It's main work has been with lap/pole dancers, strippers etc around traditional concerns such as pay and conditions, trying to get clubs to sign up to a code of conduct for treatment of workers. As far as i know the GMB haven't really addressed prostitutes as such

Jason Cortez
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Nov 26 2004 13:45

Some useful stites:

walnet.org/csis/papers/redefining.html;

[url]www.iusw.org/ -[/url]

[url]slash.autonomedia.org/article.pl?sid=02/ 12/18/1826201&mode=nested [/url]

[url]dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/ Sexuality/Issues_and_Causes/Sex_Work/ [/url]

I suggest Wendal, you have a look and see. Prosititutes generally see what they do as work, i would agree that sex slavery is different and can't be treated as employment, but the reasons most people go into prostitution are ecomonic. Gender of course plays a massive part in the relative options available.

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Ramona
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Nov 26 2004 16:15

Thanks Jason! It all gets a bit confusing...

3rdseason
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Nov 26 2004 17:35
Wendal wrote:
I rather teach female prostitutes how to rob and murder the Johns than "helping" them to organise in unions.

You fucking idiot! I dont usually throw random insults on this board but that deserves one. angry

So now everyone who has paid for sex deserves to be murdered???!! Ive got good friends who've been to prostitutes before. They are really nice people. They aren't extremely sexist or abusive towards women. They just paid for sex once or twice. End of story.

lucy82
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Nov 26 2004 19:52
Quote:
Forced labour is not work it is slavery and is forbidden all around the world. The only thing that make those things possible to exist is corupted goverements or those exploitive deals that poor countries does with multinational companys that want to build sweatshops in their lands.

if its forbidden all round the world how come these multinationals (you mean people like nike, right?) are flourishing nicely on this "slave" labour?

and is the UK government not corrupt? cause if it wasn't it'd never allow the sweatshop of homeworking, where low paid women work like fuck and who are mostly in no union, just trying to make minimun wage, would it? roll eyes sweatshop work is a job, a low paid exploitative job, but a job.

in comparison prostitution can be relatively well paid. Unlike slavery.

i

Quote:
I rather teach female prostitutes how to rob and murder the Johns than "helping" them to organise in unions

i agree with 3rd season that because people buy sex as a product its just silly to say they should be robbed and murdered by sexworkers.

look, i agree some prostitutes do face a lot of shit. i went for a job working with Manchester Action on Street Health once. Some of the experience of streetworkers, in terms of abuse, violence and danger is horrendous. But that isn't the whole picture. The selling of sex goes on in other ways (like people having nice flats and earning shit loads of money doing it, for example). Are they involved in what you consider to be forced labour in the same way that some women getting her head smashed on the boot of a car by a punter is involved in forced labour? If not, why not? The product for sale is the same, the difference is about economic value and perceptions of class.

Quote:
The bourgiose has loads of delusions about those two forms of prostitution and the fact that the prostitutes prefer the kind that most people look at as rock-bottom says a lot about what alternatives inside prostitution has to offer.

Actually, sexworkers do sometimes work in good working conditions. you can call me deluded bourgiose if you want too. Dumpster diving, shoplifting, and squatting aren't the answer to everything. You wanna try suggesting them as a serious alternative to sexworkers who yeah, mostly are doing an exploitative job but maybe don't wanna squat or go skipdiving when they don't see it as political and have other, more successful ways of making money?

its also interesting that this discussion is about female sexworkers and like male sexworkers don't exist. Which is kinda a daily mail version of reality...

Wendal
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Nov 26 2004 20:04

I must go and help out at a club so i will read through your material more closely and make a replys as soon as i can.

lucy82
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Nov 26 2004 20:42

ah, just saw male prostition was mentioned in the original post..

having now read it grin

not ultra exploited

not power dressing

and yeah, understanding is overdue. Don't ever think there will consistent anarchic opinion for which i'm glad.

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