stiamo tranquilli…

La guerra contro i lavoratori dell’industria del sesso [EN]

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Nel ripercorrere i suoi passi nel mondo dell’industria pornografica, con un saggio pubblicato su n+1, l’attrice Lorelei Lee elabora interessanti e controverse riflessioni su lavoro, stupro, politica, legislazione.

Even in those early years I knew the work was not how anti-sex-work feminists described it. I knew it was as good and as terrible as other, lower-wage work I’d done. I knew, too, how quickly people stopped listening when they began to feel pity. So I pretended. I pretended all of it was a kind of adventure. That what I gained from it was more than rent. I dismissed how much that rent meant to me. I pretended that I was not so poor, that I had not grown up poor. That I had not cried out of fear of not knowing where the money would come from next. That I did not steal food from every restaurant I ever worked in. That I never ate the food people left on their plates. That I did not watch movies about “college kids” with a gripping, painful yearning in every part of my body. That I did not come home from every sex-work job giddy at the possibility of ordering more takeout Chinese food than I could eat, giddy at having enough money to commit the thrill of waste.


And yet I knew that needing the money did not feel the same as not choosing. I knew that taking off my clothes in middle-aged men’s basements and condos did not feel the same as being raped felt.


I heard that all the time. “We’ve all got bills to pay,” or, “You’ve got to make rent somehow,” or, my favorite, “Well, we’re all whores in one way or another.” That one made me angriest. People assumed my job was terrible and then patted themselves on the back for telling me my job was less terrible than they assumed. It reminded me that my job would always, in one way or another, mark me as different.


I’ve been told that my story is unrepresentative — that anyone who does not want to be “rescued” from sex work is too much of an outlier to base policy decisions on. I’ve also been told that I’m “very articulate for someone with your experience” — that I’m too articulate and thus too privileged to be allowed to articulate myself. I’ve also been told that I’m too traumatized, or too brainwashed, to understand my own experiences. One member of the California State Assembly listened to everything I had to say and then replied, “You seem smart, but they aren’t all like you.” Let me be clear: Every sex worker I have ever met is as smart as I am; many are smarter. I have learned more, collectively, from my coworkers than from any of the formal education I’ve bought with my hard-earned sex-work dollars.

Over the years, and especially since #MeToo, I’ve had many conversations with my coworkers about what it means to trade sex under circumstances that are coercive but not forced — circumstances under which we did things intentionally but did not choose in the sense academic feminists usually mean. How do we describe our lives without neglecting the fact that we have experienced both violence and joy at work? How do we talk about those extremes without ignoring the pragmatic day-to-day of it all, the profound boredom of washing and folding sheets between sessions, of listening to wealthy middle-aged men boast, of surreptitiously checking our watches while fucking, of all the tasks that we are paid for that have nothing to do with sex and have so much in common with other forms of service work? How do we talk about our experiences without letting their meaning be stolen?

In foto Au Salon de la rue des Moulins, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Fonte Wikipedia.

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