Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 9, No. 3, 2010
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Robert J. Lewis
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Nancy Snipper
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Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward



By Whoselaw
This article deeply bothers me. I am with the author on what I think his core message is, which is that acting in pornography has real costs and that, as a result, it’s distressing when people ignore those costs, harm themselves, and, in doing so, also harm professional actors by driving down the going rate for porn work to below cost.

What I can’t forgive is the author’s repeated statement that sex work simply -can’t- harm people who have already been abused because those people have already been ruined somehow: “It’s a great job for someone who is dumb, unambitious and devoid of sexuality. In fact, the only way you can do sex work (as naïve feminists like to call it) is to have no sex left in you. Some perverted uncle or disgusting friend of the family robs a girl of her most intimate and valuable asset and it’s like a light switch goes off.” “When the religious right rails against pornography and portrays it as male predators taking advantage of vulnerable women, I roll my eyes. Porn is simply victims of abuse making the best of a terrible situation. Porn producers aren’t predators. They’re entrepreneurs.” “Lawsuits that include violating a woman’s chastity are a very big deal because the courts understand a woman unanimously seen as a slut is in for a lonely life. Now, if someone already took your chastity and threw it in the garbage, selling it isn’t such a big deal.”

The horrible classification of women that he sets up here – women who are still innocent, who should be protected, and women who are damaged and who therefore have nothing anymore to protect – is horribly dehumanizing to survivors. It’s possible that if you interview women in sex work you’ll hear a lot of this kind of thinking but accepting it and passing it along as a rationalization the way this author did is incredibly harmful. Plenty of people who have done sex work and left have talked of being hurt by it “despite” the fact that they’d also experienced abuse earlier in life. Being abused in the past is a -risk factor-, not a bonus, in terms of being able to get out when one wants to, being able to recognize what isn’t okay, and being able to resist internalizing the things that producers and the rest of society say about your sexual and personal worth. You can’t actually justify telling someone their sexuality is totally worthless by saying that someone’s already told them that before and they believe it.

I can’t speak for every sex worker, and never was one myself, but then again I get the impression that neither was he. And that’s the problem with that article: he thinks he did his research by interviewing a few sex workers and having a failed relationship with an ex-stripper. But then he writes this article devaluing a population that already has a really hard time speaking for itself, in order to protect a bunch of relatively healthy, educated women who have, comparatively, little trouble talking for themselves.

By Spirit of our Time
I agree that the blithe lumping together of sex workers based on no doubt limited experience is one of the problems in the article, though I also think that the quotes you provide as intended by the author as a strange mixture of sarcasm and psychbabble about trauma and downstream sexploitation.

I also think that while drawing attention to the hipster porn phenomenon is worthwhile, your take on where is action is on the marginalization of “sex workers” is bang on. Like other forms of sex play during adolescence, this one has a lot of variation in it, and the vast majority of people who participate emerge with the same level of control they had going in to it, and then some. But there’s already a skew in the population profile here. As much as we like to think of the internet as the great equalizer, flashing yourself in front of your web cam or via your cell for experimental kicks isn’t something that everyone can do. = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting, no down time/top security, exceptional prices
BENEFIT CONCERT FOR HAITI, SALLE GESU, JAN. 20TH (Papa Groove, Ariane Moffatt, Bďa, Kodiak, Echo Kalypso, Doriane Fabrig (ex-Dobacaracol), Claude Lamothe, Ian Kelly, Pépé: Box-office 514.861.4036
Film Ratings Page of Sylvain Richard, film critic at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
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