The way we talk about sex work is changing, but the way we treat sex workers is not

As I reflect on the The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, which was on December 17, 2 Chainz comes to mind.

I listen to “I Luv Dem Strippers” everyday. Seriously. It took me more than a few listens to realize, however, that the lyrics (aside from the chorus) have absolutely nothing to do with strippers. The song is about how rich 2 Chainz and featured artist Nicki Minaj are. One has to wonder how we got to this point? Stripping is the new black and the exchange of sex(uality) for money is becoming a more glamorous narrative everyday.

In the kind of consumer culture where luxurious goods mean everything and nothing at the same time, the way we are talking about sex work is changing. The new rhetoric is not that of hoes and tricks, but of savvy women who deserve all of the finer things in life because their ass looks that good in a dress. In this version of the story, men are not threatened by women’s sexuality because they dictate the disbursement of money.

But anyone who knows anything about sex work understands that this is rarely ever the case. The truth is that sex work is real work. Sex workers come in all shapes, sizes, races, ages, body types, etc. They work to feed their families and pay their bills. And they are not always treated like the independent agents that they are. 

Hundreds of sex workers are survivors and victims of violence that goes unreported, unresolved, and unacknowledged. They are denied access to medical services. They are targeted (and attacked) by law enforcement. And although the strip club has become the new happening scene, it is just one of the places where real work, sex work, and all of the crimes against sex workers are happening.

So in addition to making it rain, please…


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One Comment

  1. Posted December 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Where is that shirt available?

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