Feminism Within Sex Work Using ‘I Statements’

From the ‘Sex workers self determined analysis of our work’ workshop at the Feminist Futures Conference, my section of the presentation, on ‘Feminism within sex work’ … using “I statements” (as per the Participants Agreement).
Melbourne, May 28th 2011 – Jane Green
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I have control within my work.
I do not sell my body.
I sell my attention span for finite units of time.
There are boundaries within that exchange.
I set all of the boundaries.
I decide on the how, when and where of my work.
I decide on the content, context and nature of my work.
The major impacts that constrain this, that interfere with my right to self determine my working environment (which is essentially my right to sexual expression within a transactional setting) is,
i) state intervention, in the form of police and regulatory authorities, with the harrassment & corruption I have come to expect of them, and
ii) whorephobia, the bigotry which when engaged with, especially en masse, makes those who deal in it feel validated in silencing sex worker voices & perpetrating/continuing bigotry and oppression.
I am financially independant and self directed in my life.
My sex work has allowed me to live my life, the way I have wanted to live it, on my own terms,
– to pursue higher education
– to value and spend time my logical family
– to live out the substance and texture of my dreams
– to be politically active and advocate for sex workers
– to listen to and raise the voices of my peers to government, & to you here today
The power gained through defending my rights and defining my boundaries as a sex worker, inform me in other work & life decisions.
The skills I have around negotiation, assertiveness & boundary setting have been beyond valuable during my life, that I learned them in a setting where they were essential to both my safety and my income has only made them sharper & more useful.
My body is my business.
Sex workers are making their own decisions about their own bodies.
Every sex act I choose to engage in is consensual.
In fact I have thought about it so far in advance that to think otherwise would be absurd.
This is work.
It may not fit into 9-5 or any other neat box but this is work.
This is my work.
Let me make this clear – I LIKE MY JOB
Any negative impacts from my sex work, any abuse that I suffer, comes from the stigmatization & vilification informed by people who believe that I do not have the basic human right to,
a) have that job, or
b) enjoy that right
THAT IS CALLED WHOREPHOBIA

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