Reading List: Sex Work and Sex Workers

Emily Perper is word-writing human for hire. She blogs about her favorite longreads at Diet Coker.

This week’s theme is sex work and sex workers. Such a complex subject is best explored through a variety of forms—essay, investigation, photo essay and interview.

1. “When the Fight Against Slut-Shaming Overlooks Victim-Blaming.” (Sometimes Magical, June 2013)

The author chastises so-called feminists for embracing sex positivity while remaining complicit in whore-shaming, using Biblical characters as examples. She makes the important distinction between those engaging in sex work of their own free will and those forced into sex trafficking. Both groups deserve dignity and respect, she writes, and have the potential to be great allies to one another.

2. “LinkedIn doesn’t care if we’re assaulted”: Sex Workers Speak Out.” (Gaby Dunn, The Daily Dot, May 2013)

LinkedIn’s latest policy update forbids sex workers of any kind to create profiles, send messages, or network at all. This risks the safety, security, and financial well-being of sex workers, degrades their professions and furthers the stigmatic status quo against them. Dunn interviews sex workers, sex rights activists, and LinkedIn representatives.

3. “This Is Not Just A Story About Prostitution.” (Coburn Dukeheart, NPR, August 2013)

Alicia Vera is a photojournalist. Eden, her friend, is a prostitute. With tenderness, Alicia documents a week in Eden’s life, as she goes to court, goes about her business, and talks to her mom about her job. (The link above is to NPR’s coverage; here is Alicia’s site, which has photos NPR could not publish. NSFW.)

4. “Johns, Marks, Tricks, and Chickenhawks: The Rumpus Interview with Veronica Monet.” (David Henry Sterry, The Rumpus, July 2013)

Veronica Monet traded the corporate life for a job as an escort, then a courtesan, as well as a vocal sex rights activist, speaker, author, minister and more. She discusses what led her to sex work, the pros and cons of the profession, and whether she recommends sex work to others.

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Photo by Alicia Vera

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