Sex Workers Protest ‘Feminist’ Attacks

October 5th, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robyn Few 1-877-776-2004

Event: Sex Workers Protest ‘Feminist’ Attacks
Date: Friday, October 5th
Time: 6 PM
Location: in front of the Glitter Gulch, 20 Fremont Street
City: Las Vegas
Website: http://www.swop-usa.org, http://www.boundnotgagged.com

Sex Worker Showdown in the Streets of Las Vegas

On Friday, October 5, 2007 sex workers from Nevada and California will meet in the streets of Las Vegas to gather signatures for support of prostitutes rights in Nevada. Sex workers, advocates and allies will gather at 6pm in front of the Glitter Gulch, 20 Freemont Street to counter-protest the self-proclaimed, ‘radical feminist’ “Day of No Prostitution March.”

“Prostitution is a legal industry and the workers should be supported, not subjected to discrimination and stigma from so called feminist fringe groups,” says Robyn Few, co founder Sex Workers Outreach Project USA. “We are here to say, NO SEX WORKER PHOBIA WILL BE TOLERATED TODAY.”

“Anti-prostitution zealot, Melissa Farley has descended upon Las Vegas with manipulative statistics and rhetoric, claiming to help prostitutes by criminalizing their industry. Of course that forces it further underground. Fundamentalist feminists like her are harming, not helping prostitutes,” says Carol Leigh of Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network.

Associate Professor, Barb Brents of the Department of Sociology, University of Nevada, states, “The assumption all women in Vegas are exploited and disrespected because of the sexualized tourist atmosphere is patently false.“

“Women’s experiences working in the sex industry are far more complex and varied than Melissa Farley’s research suggest,” says Lynn Comella, assistant professor in Women’s Studies at UNLV. “If you start with the premise that prostitution is inherently harmful and dangerous to women, it is not difficult to find examples to support this premise, and to ignore those examples that do not.”

Crystal Jackson, graduate student and researcher on sex work at UNLV, and Desiree Alliance member, agrees that this issue is far more complex than the publicity surrounding it allows. “Women have many different reasons for entering the industry. It is important to hear all voices of those involved.”

“We resist definitions that others would force upon us,” says Valerie Feldman, SWOP NORCAL. “How we actively define ourselves, that is the true meaning of empowerment.“

“There is a better use for the millions of dollars the local governments spend catching prostitutes,” says Few, “We have come from across the US to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Nevada to say no to the prohibition of sex work.”

“Sex work is a labor,” says Acire Roche of Sex Workers Outreach Project National Network, “When you put morals on our bodies, you take away our right to choose.”

20 Responses

  1. Give ’em hell, ladies!

  2. I thought folks here might find this story from today’s Pahrump Valley Times interesting:

    Prostitutes dispute Trummell charges

    I leave it to readers to judge how much of this is just lobbying by the Sheri’s Ranch ownership and how much of it is representative of brothel worker’s opinions.

  3. I am so happy to say that I am a lesbian and often times have intimate access to these “feminists” types. Some of them are willing to lend me and ear… When they do.. I point out all the things about the sex industry that empowers women and how pushing for more things to be illegal hurts the women working in it. So all you sex worker’s out there, speak out and speak proud. Open that big mouth!!

  4. I like the phrase “sex worker phobia.” I’m going to use that in the future — with Robyn’s permission. It’s a good one!

    XX

  5. Great press release, but I’d just like to clarify that some feminists are supportive of sex workers’ rights and our cause, so we do have allies in the feminist movement. There are feminists who support the decriminalization of prostitution, and I like to think that most do. Of course, there are some very outspoken feminists who oppose the decriminalization of prostitution and refuse to differentiate between forced and consensual prostitution, thus denying the right to consent… but just because this is an outspoken group of feminists doesn’t mean they represent most or all feminists.

  6. “some feminists are supportive of sex workers’ rights and our cause”

    Some feminists ARE sex workers!

    (Actually, a many!)

  7. Yes, a group of sex workers attended a National Organization for Women (NOW) conference under the banner of “Feminist Sex Workers.” They said they received a lot of support at the conference, and NOW has an official statement supporting the decriminalization of prostitution.

  8. For the most part, I thought the article titled “Prostitutes dispute Trummell Charges” (posted above by iamcuriosblue) was very well written and I appreciated how sex workers were given a voice and the opportunity to discuss their experiences andtheir work from their perspectives. However, there was one thing about this article I found degrading: the part near the beginning where Mark Waite (the writer) said that a Nevada brothel worker named Bree was “selling her body.” This language is demeaning to sex workers and it’s important to understand that sex workers are service providers who sell sexual services and our time, not our bodies.

  9. There are feminists who support the decriminalization of prostitution

    Yep! *raises hand*

  10. I hate the “selling her body” phrasing too. At the end of the day, we all still have our bodies. Nor do I like phrasing like “rent/sell the use of [prostitutes’] bodies.” It really takes away the “work” aspect of sex work — which is work, as I think everyone here will attest.

    XX

  11. Painters and carpenters don’t ‘sell’ their bodies, yet they use their bodies in physically rigorous ways to sell their services.

    It’s interesting that in male-dominated occupations, they language is so different, but in female-dominated occupations one must give up all sense of self within the definition of one’s work.

    And they call themselves ‘feminists’ because…?

  12. I’ve asked some people who use that phrase and are adamant that it’s VERY DIFFERENT from any other service (i.e. flipping burgers) how they categorize non-erotic massage. Like, full-body, client nude on the table, just no, y’know, happy ending. Is genital massage what makes the difference between a legitimate profession and degrading “selling one’s body?” So far haven’t gotten a terribly coherent answer.

  13. Asking the irrational to rationalize their positions so rarely produces coherent results.

  14. There are feminists who support the decriminalization of prostitution

    I’ll second that, too.

  15. […] Sex Workers Protest ‘Feminist’ Attacks « Bound, Not Gagged “‘We resist definitions that others would force upon us,’ says Valerie Feldman, SWOP NORCAL. ‘How we actively define ourselves, that is the true meaning of empowerment.’” (tags: sexwork rights activism lasvegas feminism awesome) […]

  16. Men are allowed to sell their “bodies ” under signs clearly marked Day Labor. These men are not citizens of the USA. When will women wake up and realize the discrimination and hypocrisy.

  17. Okay I’ll be the one to state the odvious.
    Were to begin ripping this piece of state sponsored media mechanism control of whores.
    Yes, it’s a horror nightmare piece.

    Lets see 80% of 45 is 36 want to get out of the business. Great, with no qualifications of why? Like maybe their tired of having to be away from home, away from their family and children, their communities. The commute alone could be hell, costly and time consuming. How many are tired of being hounded by likes of Melissa Farley asking them stupid questions?

    It is just irresponsible reporting to not give any perspective on how many people are working the brothels, how many people are working in the whole state of Nevada.

    And hookers, please stop making unqualified statements that reinforce the negative stigma that whores are the vectors of disease and therefore need to be tested. Testing doesn’t stop the transmission of disease. If you want to pay to have your pussy stamped with the seal of approval by the man every week and put your finger prints down for the man every 3 months and pay the man to do it, to gain your right to work, you go right ahead, but don’t advocate your conditions for the rest of us without our permission.

    “…it’s clean, we’re tested. All the girls are clean, and to me it’s not worth losing your sheriff’s card over it working outside,” Bianca said.

    “Prostitution is everywhere. It’s in every single city in every single state in the U.S.,” Bree said. “Nevada is just smart enough to take that, legalize it and make money off of us.”

    “Any man pays for it one way or another. Whether you’re paying for it with a wedding ring, whether you’re paying for it with dinner and a show in order to have sex, you pay for it either way,” Bree said.

    Well apparently your paying for it sister and you want us to pay for the right to work like you. Not.

    “You get in trouble one time and you can’t get your sheriff’s card, and I would never be allowed to come back to work,” Bianca said.

    Tell me why the majority of workers are working outside the brothel system again?

    I love this part the most:

    ‘Suzi, 22, a petite Oriental woman from Texas’.

    Does George Bush know that there are oriental women in his home state working in whorehouses in another state? Doesn’t that constitute weapons of mass destruction in Irag?

    We, all workers, would do well to spend some time together to come to understand the economy that matters to us. Stop defending our existance.

  18. “…please stop making unqualified statements that reinforce the negative stigma that whores are the vectors of disease and therefore need to be tested. Testing doesn’t stop the transmission of disease. If you want to pay to have your pussy stamped with the seal of approval by the man every week and put your finger prints down for the man every 3 months and pay the man to do it, to gain your right to work, you go right ahead, but don’t advocate your conditions for the rest of us without our permission.”

    Thank you for making this statement Maxine. I had similar thoughts when reading. Obviously, health and safety is a priority for all sex workers. Education, prevention and professional commitments to safer sex practices need to be industry standards, But only testing the women who get money for sex in no way serves to prevent the spread of disease. It really just upholds the idea that we are vectors and that money causes transmission. These are very dangerous attitudes, especially for non-pro’s because the government is promoting the myth that they’re less at risk for contracting STI’s.

    We need a very real and sincere look at how diseases are transmitted and what behaviors make people vulnerable to contraction and we need effective education to help all humans minimize their risks. Sex workers should be viewed as key allies in having these important conversations- not viewed as the problem.

    “We, all workers, would do well to spend some time together to come to understand the economy that matters to us. Stop defending our existance.”

    Yes, I absolutely agree. We need to have regional peer-review boards that have authority in creating whatever laws and policies are created to decriminalize/legalize/regulate sex work, similar to other professional associations like the AMA for physicians, etc. We need to organize locally to ensure that sex workers are able to be active in establishing the community standards by which they’ll be expected to provide their services. The most important things are to ensure that sex workers’ voices are given full validation as experts in determining policy and a strong commitment to resisting oppression by acknowledging the diverse needs of sex workers and creating multiple accessible models, not limiting workers to only working in brothels, always having to have management, etc.

  19. Health and safty are not my priority, being self determined is.
    Being self determined in my own health and safty is a prioirty too.
    I don’t want to bother with peer review boards.
    I’m more interested in getting the police and the state sponsored exploiters off my ass instead of spending my time
    policing other workers.
    I also don’t agree that community standards are desirable. They haven’t done anytihng for me beside maintain their white suprmist plantation owner control over my body.

  20. All you’re listing are the things that need to change. It’s very difficult to get people on board with a plan if you can’t list a vision for how things will work when we’ve achieved the obvious goals of self-determination over our own bodies and an end to state-sponsored violations of our right to self-determination.

    But beyond bodily freedom, the bottom line is that we want to run businesses and provide services to the public. All services, businesses and any other profit-building pursuits are regulated in the civil sector. There will be regulations about how, where with whom and when we provide services- whether we want regulations or not. So it;s best that we establish strong alliances among the workers to position ourselves to be able to demand our rightful place at the table to determine what those regulations will be. And guess what- we’ll be dealing with ‘community standards’ in local regions that will set the course for how sex work is able to function from county to county and city to city.

    I’m not going to stick my head in the sand and pretend that my every last demand for absolute freedom to provide sexual services is going to be granted. This will be a long, incremental battle and every step of the way we will be struggling as workers to participate in determining what laws define our profession. Professional associations are one way to unite and build strength among independent workers and it is a viable option for those who wish to participate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: