Discussions of sex work often get mired in a couple basic questions: is it "good" or "bad"? Are sex workers empowered or not? But sex workers are a diverse group—their experiences aren't all good or bad. On this show, we try to reframe the issue by exploring the legal and financial realities of sex work.
For example: How does a dominatrix do her taxes? What kinds of healthcare do sex workers need? How would decriminalizing sex work change peoples’ lives?
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference. Early last Thursday morning, the murdered bodies of two young black teen girls who were sex workers had been dumped on the side of the road in Jacksonville, FL.
Not so good morning, America. I woke up yesterday to discover that on Monday night the police had cleared Zuccotti Park. As of this morning, Zuccotti Park remains largely unoccupied and quiet, thanks to a judge's ruling that the city needn't allow them back in. At a press conference yesterday, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision to effectually shut down the protest, which had lasted 61 days and counting, saying that the "health and safety conditions became intolerable." In a statement made yesterday morning, Bloomberg said: "I have become increasingly concerned ... that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community." Hey, disease is no joke, Bloomberg seems to be saying. Politics aside, you've all heard of the black plague, right? Who wants that to happen again!!? Certainly not our mayor! Sounds pretty rational, until you consider how sanitation and the interest of public safety, including fear of the risk of communicable disease, is a rationalization our country has relied on historically to control its population, particularly minorities.
Tits and Sass is a blog written and run by sex workers who saw a void when it came to a smart, witty response to the public image of the sex industry. The ideas promoted about sex workers in the public eye have as much an impact on the realities of the lives of sex workers as the law. For this reason, one of the site's co-creators, Charlotte, says, "we're not letting any more dead hooker or stripper bones jokes pass by without comment."
Contributors come from different backgrounds and locations across the country. They work as strippers, porn performers, pro-dommes, and prostitutes—work that supports the 100% volunteer operation. "[Tits and Sass] is our space for calling out pop culture fails, celebrating sex worker culture, and talking shop."
Bitch had the opportunity recently to ask the site's creators a few questions about Tits and Sass. Their answers (and an NSFW photo) after the jump!
Are there any explicitly feminist crime TV shows? Prime Suspect, which ran on UK television channel ITV from 1991 to 2006, is surely a contender, starring Helen Mirren as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, a female detective breaking into a male-dominated world. It dealt explicitly with issues such as institutional sexism and racism in London's Metropolitan Police force.
It's being remade for US television, with Maria Bello taking on the role of Tennison.
Not that I would expect post-modern, transnational feminist film work to come out of the slimy "it's not misogyny/racism, it's ironic!" Vice-magazine's video site, VBS.tv, but the thirty-minute documentary "Prostitutes of God," on devadasi sex workers in India, is dangerously western-centric, anti-sex work, and completely misrepresents the sex workers it focuses on.
Only there's a twist to this one-sided voyeurism--the film subjects are taking the filmmakers to task for misrepresenting their lives. Enraged about the compromised representation of their gods, their work, and their lives, the sex workers made a response video.
Sadly, $pread, the all volunteer-run quarterly written by and for sex workers, posted yesterday that they can no longer sustain their magazine:
We regret to inform you that...$pread will close its glittery doors soon after the dawn of the New Year...We apologize for those of you who have only recently come to know us, and to all our longtime supporters. After all these years, five all-volunteer years to be exact, we have come to the conclusion that an all-volunteer magazine is simply unsustainable in the current publishing climate. Short of a donation of $30,000, we will be unable to sustain the magazine past January.