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Tag Archives: Sex Worker Narratives

Jones, Angela. 2016. „“I Get Paid to Have Orgasms”: Adult Webcam Models’ Negotiation of Pleasure and Danger“. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42 (1): 227–56. https://doi.org/10.1086/686758.
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This article makes several important contributions to the burgeoning literature on sex work in a digital era. The scholarly literature that has documented the use of the Internet by sex workers has focused almost entirely on prostitution and has yet to make adult webcam modeling a focal point of analysis. This article critically examines the ways in which entry into adult webcam modeling is facilitated by an expectation that sex work in cyberspace maximizes pleasure, primarily because it minimizes the risk of dangers associated with street-based sex work. I conduct content analyses of discussions on a popular online forum for webcam models to explore the themes of pleasure (erotic and affectual) and danger (capping, doxxing, and harassment) in adult webcam modeling. I argue that adult webcam models experience sexual and affectual pleasures in the course of their work and that they are able to experience these pleasures because the computer-mediated sexual exchange acts as a psychological barrier, and that the computer in turn becomes the primary tool that performers use for emotional management. My analysis focuses on how sex workers reconcile the pleasure in their work with the exploitation that is also found there. Here, these camgirls use neoliberal ideas to minimize the perception of danger of their work so that they can experience high levels of pleasure. I further open up a new dialogue about neoliberalism and sex workers by focusing on the neoliberal subject in this new form of sex work.

Full text available here.

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Cohen, Bernard. 2018. „Police Enforcement of Street Prostitution as a Quality-of-Life Offense: New York City, United States, and Frankfurt am Main, Germany“. Deviant Behavior 0 (0): 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2018.1431096.
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The present paper compares how police in Hunts Point, South Bronx, New York City and Frankfurt am Main Germany manage street prostitution as a quality-of-life offense. Methods utilized for this research include observation and “conversation” in public spaces with prostitutes, police, and community members. This paper deals with characteristics of street prostitutes, police enforcement, actual interaction between police and street actors, and impact of these methods on prostitutes. For decades, broken windows policing has been utilized to counter quality-of-life offenses in urban neighborhoods such as NYC, and evidence regarding its effectiveness has often been questioned. In attempts to address prostitution, two variant policing models were identified and examined through the framework of broken windows theory: Punitive/Criminalization Policing and Containment/Laissez-Faire Policing. Broken windows policing probably lowered the incidence of quality-of-life offenses including street prostitution. However, broken windows theory does not take into account socially constructed myths that persist about prostitution, nor the realities that counter them. This paper addresses these myths and how they may inform policing practices, resulting in negative corollary effects which must be eliminated.

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Historically, academic literature on sex work has documented the changing debates, policies, and cultural discourse surrounding the sex industry, and their impact on the rights of sex workers worldwide. As sex work scholars look to the future of sex workers’ rights, however, we are also in a critical moment of self-reflection on how sex work scholarship engages with sex worker communities, produces knowledge surrounding sex work, and represents the lived experiences of sex workers’ rights, organizing, and activism. In this short Communication, proceedings from a recent sex work research symposium entitled, Sexual Economies, Politics, and Positionality in Sex Work Research are presented. Held at the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, this symposium is a response to the need for sex work researchers, sex workers, and sex worker-led organizations to come together and critically examine the future of research on sex work and the politics of documenting sex workers’ rights.

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Over the past decade, data have identified male sex work as a potentially viable economic decision; despite this, male sex workers (MSWs) continue to be perceived as group with access to few assets and resources. Using data from a pilot skills–building intervention for MSWs in Lima, Peru, an analysis of the economic characteristics of 209 MSWs is presented. The majority reported livable incomes with median earnings of US$250 per month, 83% earning above the urban poverty line. Interestingly, non-sex work was also an important source of income, especially for the high-earning MSWs. Spending data revealed that a large portion of income went to necessities (55%), luxuries (11%), and gifts (11%), with less toward savings (5%) and studies (1%). Such data on MSWs’ earnings and spending, which suggest that a lack of overall income is not the MSW’s main impediment to escaping poverty, could direct future poverty alleviation and health improvement programs in this key population.

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This paper highlights important environmental dimensions of HIV vulnerability by describing how the sex trade operates in Nairobi, Kenya. Although sex workers there encounter various forms of violence and harassment, as do sex workers globally, we highlight how they do not merely fall victim to a set of environmental risks but also act upon their social environment, thereby remaking it, as they strive to protect their health and financial interests. In so doing, we illustrate the mutual constitution of ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ in social network formations that take shape in everyday lived spaces. Our findings point to the need to expand the focus of interventions to consider local ecologies of security in order to place the local knowledges, tactics, and capacities that communities might already possess on centre stage in interventions. Planning, implementing, and monitoring interventions with a consideration of these ecologies would tie interventions not only to the risk reduction goals of global public health policy, but also to the very real and grounded financial priorities of what it means to try to safely earn a living through sex work.

 

Pitcher, Jane. „Intimate Labour and the State: Contrasting Policy Discourses with the Working Experiences of Indoor Sex Workers“. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2. März 2018, 1–13.
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Drawing on an interview-based study with indoor-based sex workers of different genders in Great Britain, this paper explores the disparity between dominant policy representations of sex workers and the working lives of people selling intimate services. I argue certain policy discourses reinforce narratives of vulnerability and coercion when discussing female sex workers and responses to perceived ‘problems’ of prostitution and neglect the needs of male and transgender sex workers. I contrast messages in policy discourses with the experiences of sex workers across indoor sectors. My study found considerable diversity in working experiences, influenced by factors such as work setting, personal circumstances and aspirations. While some people may view sex work as a short-term option, for others it represents a longer-term career. For some, sex work may offer greater job satisfaction and control over working conditions than other jobs available. Nonetheless, external constraints sometimes make it difficult for them to work safely. I argue state discourses fail to reflect the diverse experiences of sex workers and undermine their agency, perpetuating disrespect and excluding them from human and labour rights. I suggest the need to consider policy approaches shaped according to varied circumstances and settings, drawing on the expertise of sex workers.


Drawing upon over a decade of research in our respective communities, we argue that the intergenerational socioeconomic insecurities and violence prevalent in the lives of North American street-involved women, their families, and others in their social circles constitute a set of shared precarities. Taking both socioinstitutional and interpersonal forms, shared precarities obviate the women’s rights to access the lived experience and social status of motherhood. Yet they also engender maternal subjectivities reflective of the ambivalence, temporal ambiguity, and interconnections between family and state structures that characterize the women’s child custody arrangements. These maternal subjectivities, and the shared precarities that give rise to them, emphasize how individual members of marginalized communities cope with violence generated by the legitimation of particular family forms and devaluation/criminalization of others.