It’s easy to say that pornography is empowering for women, or that it degrades them. Oversimplifying, certainly, but easy.
The truth is it’s much more complicated than that.
I was 19 when I realized I could go to college without the debt that my friends were already beginning to complain about. I could take care of myself. It was when I held in my hand $100 for one hour of nude modeling, something I never even realized a chubby girl could make money doing. I was juggling three jobs that paid me only twice that amount per 40-hour week doing physically stressful work for minimum wage.
At the time, it was simple mathematics. Keep reading »
What with the recession, welfare cuts and increasing financial inequality it can be difficult to know how to make ends meet. I’ve got some advice for you which might seem controversial: empower yourself through porn.
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A new report conducted by the Urban Institute on the economics of sex work in the United States turned up some interesting results in the financial life of a pimp. The Institute interviewed imprisoned former pimps and asked them how they allocated their funds. The graph above reflects the percentage that participating pimps reported spending on each category. The economics of pimping were found to mimic other businesses (minus the expenditures on illegal substances and weapons). Researchers say that main difference between prostitution and other small business was that many of the pimps admitted to manipulating their employees into working for them, either by pretending to be romantically interested or by taking advantage of their weaknesses. Disturbingly, the pimps seem to have spent more on drugs and alcohol than condoms for their employees. [Washington Post]
Women in tech have got more to worry about than sexist attitudes and an abysmal dude-to-lady ratio: at a tech trade show in Germany on Sunday night, there were pole-dancing robots. The bots, which were designed by artist Giles Walker, rent out for $40,000 apiece. Two of the bots shook their silicone tits at the CeBIT Expo on Sunday night at an event where the British and German Prime Ministers appeared, oddly enough. I support pole dancers, but even in robot form they aren’t appropriate entertainment for a tech event. Who thought there would be a way to sexualize women at random tech events in a way even worse than booth babes? [Fast Company]
If you’ve done any reading on the Internet about the business of sex work, chances are you’ve come across Melissa Gira Grant. She’s written about sex, politics, labor and tech everywhere from the UK’s Guardian to The Atlantic to Jezebel and Valleywag, making her one of the top intellectuals to turn to when America needs an explanation about why we’re so weird about sex.
A former “web cam girl,” Grant just published her latest book, Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work, which is unlike any book about sex work or feminism that I’ve ever read. In it, she critiques law enforcement’s treatment of actual or perceived sex workers; labor issues surrounding sex work; and the tendency for governments and some outreach workers to treat all sex workers as “victims” in need of being “rescued.” However complicated you might have thought issues pertaining to sex work were before, Grant’s excellent book is extraordinarily illuminating.
Grant recently spoke to me about “whore stigma,” feminism, police, and the media’s struggle to accurately cover sex workers. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »