I stand with lap dancers
Another day and another lazy piece churned out in the press by a privileged middle class women who is happy to use the subject of lap dancing to get her fee.
I am not going to link it because it’s the same conflated mess you can find anywhere.
It is not helpful to survivors or current sex workers (who may be the same people!) to conflate migrant sex work with trafficking; CSE with decisions to enter industry; or consensual sex work with abuse. It is offensive to survivors of CSE to claim we cannot make decisions for ourselves. It is racist to suggest that all migrant sex workers are ‘trafficked victims’, and it removes women’s agency to suggest that we cannot make the decision to labour in the sex industry.
Claiming that sex workers cannot consent is incredibly dangerous and damaging.
None of these ‘feminists’ or ‘feminist campaign groups’ condemn those who filmed young women naked without consent in England this year.
Dancers in Sheffield have been abused by such groups as I evidence in the link above. They have been subjected to horrendous gas lighting by those do not like their labour.
The silence of many prominent feminist scholars and groups has been telling. It has been nearly 19 years since I first entered the sex industry and women who sell sexual labour are still regulated by other women, usually middle class women who do not like sex work.
These groups did not reach out to help strippers, or pay their bills, or buy their food shopping. They just want to put them out of work because they believe stripping constitutes or encourages ‘violence against women’.
They ignore the visual rape that is being filmed naked without your consent, because presumably the end justifies their means.
I am currently a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds in the Centre for Religion and Public Life, and I am researching the terrifying relationship between the fundamentalist christian groups and radical feminism.
This is a disturbing issue. Feminist groups and academics sharing materials from openly homophobic, anti abortion groups who declare sex outside of heterosexual marriage as a sin.
The threads on social media about lap dancing reveal the attitude towards dancers, ‘tacky’ ‘degrading’, ’embarrassing’, ‘I bet their parents are proud’, the usual tripe from women who wish to eradicate those women who do not meet their standards.
Ideology does not put food on the table. Sex workers need you to stand with them and to campaign for laws that protect them. Stigma kills. Stigma prevents sex workers from getting the support they may need at uni, or accessing the medical support they need. It causes isolation and shame. It causes divides that do not need to be there.
So the next time you feel tempted to retweet those who make their money from demonising sex workers, instead send money to a sex worker. There are lots of sex workers active on twitter and most have a page you can give money to. Instead of tweeting #enddemand, pay for someone’s groceries or gas bill. Instead of attending the latest ‘conference’ full of un-referenced and deeply problematic slides, ask a sex worker how you can be of service.
To any dancer reading this: much love and solidarity. Stay strong.
Imagine a world where sex workers are supported and protected. That is what we need to reduce violence against women.