If I’ve said it once, I’ve probably said it 123,675.2 times: The Sex Industry is not a monolith. People will often argue this point with me endlessly, but that does not actually make it a monolith, and when one is looking at the topic from a harm reduction based realm of activism, making it a monolith is actually very counter productive for one very simple reason: If the assumption is the industry is a monolith, and the problems therein are also monolithic, well, you’re not really going to be able to help much of anyone, because needs and concerns vary wildly.
The point, you see, is it is not all the same, and treating it as if it were fixes absolutely nothing. Decriminalization (within the US) is a good example. Strippers, pro-Dom/Subs and pornography performers/pornographers do not have the pressing issue of their jobs being illegal like prostitutes do. And that is the mere tip of the iceberg as it were. While all aspects of the Sex Industry might be sex based, the many layers of the industry are very different, and the people involved? They do not want or need the same things. How do I know this? Well, I ask, and I listen…which is what anyone interested in actually helping should do. Oh, wait, there is one thing almost all sex workers can agree on: safety. They’d like their jobs to be safer. Safer working conditions, safer ways in which to deal with clients/customers, safer sex practices, more recourse with law enforcement, and yep, sure enough, safer from the judgments and hate thrown at them by society in general. That seems to be something everyone wants.
After that, it gets pretty diversified. Needs are different. A contract porn performer is not going to need the same things a street based worker is going to need. A stripper will have different concerns than a male escort. There is no one plan, one course of action, one set of needs that can be applied in a monolithic fashion to people in the sex industry, because they do very different things for very different reasons in very different settings and with varied levels of acceptance, autonomy and legal standing. You can’t help with anything until you determine what actual wants and needs are, and making the sex industry a monolith does not assist in that.
Hence, my repeated mantra of not a monolith.
Just something to ponder…
- The Sex Workers Rights Thing: An Overview by Ren August 18, 2008
- Sex Work Activism: Topic One, Harm Reduction. by Ren August 19, 2008
- Sex Work Activism: Two- Decriminalization by Ren August 20, 2008
- They don’t really like you, you know… by Ren August 6, 2009
- I Can Never Tell by Guest Blogger October 8, 2010