In an article posted a few days ago, the commercial sexual exploitation of children was referred to as ‘sex work’.
I am writing to the Guardian to complain, for all the good it will do. Please feel free to use the below message as a template.
I wish to complain about the use of the term ‘sex work’ in a recent article, describing the commercial sexual exploitation of refugee children in Europe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/fears-for-missing-child-refugees).
It is entirely wrong to refer to commercial sexual abuse as ‘work’, no child can legally consent to ‘sex work’ in any part of the world, including in countries that take a decriminalisation approach to prostitution, and being sexually abused is not ‘work’ by any meaningful measure.
By the Guardian’s own guidelines (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c), ‘child pornography’ should be referred to as child abuse images. Therefore a recording of a ‘child sex worker’ doing ‘sex work’ would be an image of abuse, but the creation of that abuse image would just be ‘work’.
Calling the commercial sexual exploitation of children ‘sex work’ stops it being seen as a sex abuse issue, and reduces it to a labour issue. It also helps to make invisible the adults actually doing the abuse, and the demand for child victims.
These are the emails I am going to send it too:
If you are willing to include a name, address, and phone number, a letter to the editor is possible:
(although the article was posted on a Saturday, and has ‘theguardian’ in it’s website address, it appears to be an Observer article)
I will update in the unlikely event I get a response.
EDIT: The author is Mark Townsend, and he is on twitter: @townsendmark
If you are on twitter, please ask him why he is referring to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation as ‘sex workers’, and remind him of the Guardian’s guide lines for reporting other forms of child sexual exploitation (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c)
Pauling has been contracted by Playboy and “other well known [porn] companies” and spent 9 years working in the industry.
“Donny Pauling recruited 500 1st time porn actresses. He says most were college students.”
Donny Pauling, from a US radio interview, also featuring Dr Gail Dines, available on YouTube:
I will never understand why stripping is seen as degrading.
Like…the job description is literally “I am so hot that you could never get me in real life so you’re going to have to pay me to dance for you.”
Former (for now, hopefully permanent) stripper here. I think a lot of people who don’t have first hand experience of stripping don’t understand that the job is about %10 actual dancing at most. There are some regional differences, club differences, I know girls get tipped more in places like Vegas or Atlanta but if you go just about anywhere else, you do NOT make your money dancing on stage. Stripping is not just being some hot and unattainable things gliding around a pole while awestruck men make it rain.
The majority of your money comes from private dances and from tips. If you are in the industry you know that the best way to ensure your income is to gather regular clients. There are two ways to do this: you can either give them sexual favors or you can play along with their fantasy that you are their girlfriend/will meet them outside the club. Both are objectifying and degrading, not fun. Not sexy.
Aside from having to deal with regular clients, stripping means swimming in a sea of misogynistic assholes. Some men get off on hurting women physically, some men get off on making women cry. You could be a 10/10 and you will still be subjected to abusive treatment by men. No matter how hot you are, there is always some man who feels entitled to list all the “flaws” he sees in your body to put you in your place. Stripping means existing every day in an atmosphere of violence and sexual aggression and having to constantly fend off men who repeatedly try to violate your boundaries.
As rude and entitled as the customers might be, they are nowhere near as bad as club owners/managers can be. Coerced sex is as ubiquitous as you’d expect it to be. Managers can force you to work back to back shifts until you drop or develop a coke habit (so you can buy from them), they can force you to give dances to men that smell like piss and they can retaliate against you if you piss off the wrong client by refusing to fuck. I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a whore, literally any insult you can think of – and I was Top Earner for almost a year straight. And I put up with it because I couldn’t afford to stand up for myself and lose my job.
And when i’m saying this, keep in mind I worked in the most expensive, “high-end” club in a major metropolitan city for years. I was one of the hot, “lucky” ones. This is the high end. On the low end you’ve got clubs that are actual no-bones-about-it-lube-in-the-goddamn-sanitizer-bottles brothels filled with trafficked women from Eastern Europe and Asia.
I’m sure some strippers are gonna say its not degrading yadda yadda, “I’m empowered!” But i’ve never met a stripper who hasn’t had some sort of emotional breakdown on a shift at least once, and that kind of says something.
The privileged sex worker tourists looking to gain some sort of dangerous mystique/male validation/“self-discovery”/whatever the fuck supplemental identity might never experience this, but who cares about them anyway, they are a joke to the rest of us.
tl; dr – take it from a stripper, it is degrading. What I wrote above is pretty stream of consciousness so i’m sorry if it seems unpolished. I just get scared and frustrated when I see things like this and wanted to get this out of my system so I could go take a bath and chill.