For female street sex workers in Britain, selling sex means managing risks. Violence from male clients, harassment from community protesters and criminalisation through overpolicing are daily hazards on the street. Using qualitative data and extensive field observations of the street market in Birmingham, UK, it is argued in this paper that street sex workers do not passively accept these risks but, instead, manage occupational hazards by manipulating, separating, controlling and resisting urban spaces. Women actively use space to inform their collective and individual working practices to minimise harm and maximise profits. However, the findings conclude that sites of street prostitution are made increasingly dangerous for women through punitive policing policies, conservative heterosexual discourses and a lack of realistic prostitution policy that addresses the central issues relating to commercial sex.
Mann, S.E. (2014). More-than-survival strategies: Sex workers’ unhappy stories. (Unpublished MA major research project). Athabasca University. Athabasca, AB.
This essay examines the contributions of unhappy autobiographical narratives to the sex workers’ rights movement. Dominating sex worker advocacy discourse is a “happy hooker” image that eschews “negative” and “stereotypical” characterizations of prostitutes and other sex workers. But as the internet becomes more and more a site for sex work activism, some unhappy whores are using online autobiographical practices to resist this disavowal of negative experience. While reluctant or coerced engagements in sex work are often referred to as “survival sex work,” unhappy sex workers’ online writing practices function as a more-than-survival strategy, politicizing and resisting rather than disavowing the harms they experience in sex work. After reviewing literary and geographical scholarship on the political disenfranchisement of sex workers and situating this disenfranchisement in Judith Butler’s analysis of “the bad life,” this paper presents two close readings of sex workers’ online autobiographical practices. The first analyzes the discourse of disavowal of unhappy experience in sex worker advocacy and its harmful effects on unhappy sex workers. The second close reading discusses sex workers’ stories about exiting the sex industry, highlighting sex workers’ use of metaphors of space and place to elucidate their experiences. The essay concludes on sex workers’ strategies for more-than-surviving: using the three politicizing tactics identified by Butler to resist their expulsion to the bad life.
Author: Jodi Beniuk
Citation (MLA): Beniuk, Jodi. “Indigenous Women as the Other: An Analysis of the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry.” The Arbutus Review 3. 2 (2012): 80-97.
In this paper, I discuss the ways in which Indigenous women are Othered by the proceedings of the Missing Women‘s Commission of Inquiry (MWCI). First, I give a basic overview of Beauvoir’s theory of women as Others, followed by Memmi’s analysis of the relationship between the colonized and the colonizer. I use these two theories to describe the way Indigenous women are Othered both as Indigenous peoples and as women, focusing on the context of the twenty-six who were murdered in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The original murders were the result of the cultural reduction of Indigenous Women to their bodies. The negligent police investigations, as well as the misogynistic attitudes of the police, also demonstrate how Othering can operate within these institutions. I claim that the violence against women in the DTES was due to their status as Other. Notably, the MWCI, which is supposed to be a process that addresses the Othering-based negligence of the police, also includes instances of Othering in its structure and practice. From this, I conclude that we cannot rely on Othering institutions or legal processes to correct Othering as a practice. In the context of the MWCI, I suggest building alliances that support those who face this Othering as violence in their everyday lives.
Key terms: Othering; Indigenous Women; Downtown Eastside Vancouver
Read the full article here: http://journals.uvic.ca/index.php/arbutus/article/view/11643/3283
Author: Becki L. Ross, 2010
Citation (APA): Ross, B. L. (2010). Sex and (Evacuation from) the City: The Moral and Legal Regulation of Sex Workers in Vancouver’s West End, 1975—1985. Sexualities, 13(2), 197-218.
For more than a century, prostitution in Vancouver, British Columbia has been at the centre of legal and political debate, policing, media coverage, and policy-making. From 1975 to 1985, a heterogeneous, pimp-free community of sex workers lived and worked on and around Davie Street in the city’s emerging ‘gay’ West End. Their presence sparked a vigorous backlash, including vigilante action, from multiple stake-holders intent on transforming the port town into a ‘world class city’ and venerable host of the World’s Fair, ‘Expo 1986’. In this article, drawing from interviews and archival material, I examine the abolitionist strategies adopted by Vancouver’s residents’ groups, business owners, politicians, and police to criminalize street solicitation and evacuate prostitutes who, in small numbers, ‘whorganized’ to ﬁght back. The collective disavowal of sex workers as citizens was premised on the ‘cleansing’ of the zone under siege, which became whitened and made safe for bourgeois (queer) capitalism, with lethal consequences for outdoor sex workers in the city.
Keywords: expulsion, homonormative, moral regulation, neo-liberalism, sex work
Author: Aziza Ahmed (@AzizaAhmed)
Citation (MLA): Ahmed, Aziza. “Feminism, power, and sex work in the context of HIV/AIDS: consequences for women’s health.” Harvard Journal of Law and Gender 34.1 (2011): 225-58.
This paper examines the involvement of feminists in approaches to sex work in the context of HIV/AIDS. The paper focuses on two moments where feminist disagreement produced results in favor of an “anti-trafficking” approach to addressing the vulnerability of sex workers in the context of HIV. The first is the UNAIDS Guidance Note on Sex Work and the second is the “anti-prostitution pledge” found in the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This article also examines the anti-sex work position articulated by abolitionist feminists and demonstrates the unintended consequences of the abolitionist position on women’s health. By examining the actual impact of abolitionist positions, in favor of the anti-prostitution pledge and the criminalization of clients, we see that there are negative consequences for women despite the desire by abolitionists to improve women’s health.
Full Article: http://iris.lib.neu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1024&context=slaw_fac_pubs&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.ca%2Fscholar%3Fstart%3D140%26q%3DHIV%2Bcriminalization%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%2C5#search=%22HIV%20criminalization%22
Authors: Jacqueline Lewis, Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale, Frances Shaver & Heather Schramm, 2005
Citation (APA): Lewis, J., Maticka-Tyndale, E., Shaver, F. & and Schramm, H. (2005). Managing Risk and Safety on the Job: The Experiences of Canadian Sex Workers. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 17(1/2), 146-167.
This paper reports results from a study of sex work occupations conducted in a large city in Canada that included women, men, and transsexual/transgender (TS/TG) sex workers. Descriptions of work provided by participants (escorts, exotic dancers, masseuses, and street workers) were used to examine how risk and safety were experienced and managed within the Canadian legal context. Three dimensions of the structure of sex work were identified as factors that influenced the management of risk and safety: its location on- or off-street, its organization on an out- or in-call basis, and whether it was conducted independently or for a club, massage parlor or escort agency. Gender and perceptions of stigma and risk interacted with these dimensions in such a way that men, women and TS/TG workers experienced and managed risk and safety differently.
Keywords: sex workers, escorts, exotic dancers, risk, safety
Read the full article here: http://myweb.dal.ca/mgoodyea/Documents/Health%20and%20wellbeing/Managing%20risk%20and%20safety%20on%20the%20job%20-%20The%20experiences%20of%20Canadian%20Sex%20Workers%20Lewis%20J%20Psych%20Hum%20Sex%202005%2017%201-2%20147-67.pdf
Author: Kamala Kempadoo, 1998
Citation (APA): Kempadoo, K. (1998). Globalizing Sex Workers’ Rights. Canadian Woman Studies/Les Cahiers de la Femme, 22(3/4), 143-150.
Kempadoo examines the trajectories of workers’ participation in sex work and in sex workers’ rights movements in different times and places. In particular, she addresses the specificity of experience as it relates to nation and region, and the effect of economic globalization (WTO, NAFTA) on the sex industries.
Read the full article here: http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/cws/article/viewFile/6426/5614