It’s the economy. (No shit.)

18Jul09

There have been a flurry of articles recently about the economic downturn and the sex industry. Apparently, journalists have decided that there is a trend of more and more women turning to sex work when other economic opportunities wither. (I’m not sure if this is a real trend or not.)

Two things strike me about these articles and news stories. The first is the kind of paternalistic, pat-on-the-head nonsense that fills these stories. Oh, these are women who have college degrees and husbands. They are not those kind of girls. They’re just doing this because they lost their jobs or their husbands did. My god, as if no one had ever done sex work for the money before! As if no one with a family and a degree had ever done sex work before!

And no shit people do sex work for the money. As much as I love my job, I wouldn’t do it for minimum wage. It is sometimes dangerous, stigmatized, and can be treated as illegal under the law. Even the forms of sex work lowest paid make more than minimum wage.

The other thing I’ve noticed, for example this charming Salon piece, is how shockingly hard sex work is. I’m not sure if it’s the reporting, or if people are honestly feeling this way. I know that’s the stereotype. Easy, effortless money. It’s called sex work for a reason. This tripped me up, too, when I first started. My naivete got the best of me. Sex work requires a set of skills.

The problem with sex work is not because of the usual song and dance as highlighted by these articles. It’s the stigma and isolation that people turn to it in.

This is why sex work organizations are important. If more and more people are turning to sex work in the current economic climate, it’s important they do so with the supportive atmosphere and resources such as skill shares offered by sex work organizations. Being broke and alone is a fucking shitty thing. Being broke, alone, and burned by sex work is a far shittier thing. Being no longer broke because of a successful foray into sex work is an awesome thing.

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One Response to “It’s the economy. (No shit.)”

  1. I love how people are always so shocked, shocked! that sex work is actual work.


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