IT'S OUT IT'S OUT IT'S OUT!
I'm not sure there's a rock big enough to not know that Hustlers is out! The film shows Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) and Dorothy/Destiny (Constance Wu) as two enterprising dancers who navigate one area of sex work in New York pre- and post- financial crisis with amazing moments from Cardi B, Lizzo and Jacq the Stripper, who was also a consultant on the film [Variety]. If you were working in the 2007 - 2014 span, you were probably also on multiple text and signal threads with friends reminiscing (THE MUSIC ALONE! THAT CAMEO!) The movie is based on a true story recounted by Roselyn Keo [Time], Wu's character, which has been disputed by Lopez's character, the real-life Samantha Foxx/Barbash, who plans to write her own version of events [PopSugar]. But none the less, the film is already getting Oscar buzz [Billboard].
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But there's also the other story: The one of how this film will sit in the story of sex workers' representation. While it will never be everything to everyone, Tits n Sass penned their review [Tits & Sass] here, opening with a description of what so many of us were feeing: "the mixture of anticipation and dread."
Another person to follow on this conversation is @thegizellemarie , who was one of the incredible activists and voices behind the #NYCStripperStrike, a fight against unfair practices in NYC Strip clubs that touched on colorism and anti-organizing practices:
And while talking about liberation for dancers, just last month the city of Minneapolis passed a city ordinance improving labor rights in strip clubs, propelled by the awesome work of SWOP-Minneapolis:
But Hustlers isn't the only sex worker story in mainstream media. The Deuce's Maggie Gyllenhaal (who plays Eileen, a sex worker who moves into directing porn), talks about the third season of the show on NPR [NPR].
(Hilarious personal note on how tiny the world is: Maggie was also my ex girlfriend's college roommate.)
Private Companies involved in Public Policing of Sex Workers
Since one of the biggest problems with having cops be the front line of identifying victims of trafficking in the sex trade is that sex workers spend most of their time avoiding cops at any cost, one of the biggest trends has been enlisting every other fucking person to do it. King County (Seattle), WA has resoundingly committed to profiling-by-everyone-as-policing-tactic by requiring Uber and Lyft drivers to be "trained" on spotting trafficking [the Stranger].
This is the same week that another multi-racial family was stopped and detained [Reason] by "trained" airline staff who were on the lookout for trafficking.
In Australia, another field which has long been known to discriminate against sex workers, the banking industry, has finally come under fire for denying sex workers' bank accounts [Business Insider]. The move has been called 'corporate slut-shaming.'
Decrim is Coming
But in all the muck, some pieces came out which are worth spreading around. DecrimDC's and HIPS's Tamika Spellman talks about why decriminalizing sex work makes the whole Black community safer, [The Root] attorney Jared Trujillo talks to Now This [Now This] about the importance of the issue, and the editorial board of the Columbia Chronicle came out to say that sex workers deserve more [The Columbia Chronicle]
And an unexpected ally? Margaret Atwood, author of the Handmaid's Tale, talks about how women should have the right to strip [Daily Mail] and how many find it empowering. The 79-year old author, though, says she's not up for entering the field at this point in her life. That's fine – less competition.
Sex Work and Healing
Sex work can be many things - including an experience of healing trauma and pain. Sex workers often hold vulnerability in way that other professions are never asked to, but are rarely seen for the skilled practitioners they are required to be. VICE dove into the conversation on how sex workers are often acting as therapists while simultaneously being shunned [VICE] from the profession and Dominatrix Karmenife X explains how the work touches personal healing, white supremacy, and misconceptions of the industry [Wear Your Voice].
But of course, healing isn't just one sided, and while sex worker provide healing, it's a community often left out of the conversation on self-care [Allure].
And looking for something to send your therapist? These two experts and sex worker advocates just published a piece on sex worker-affirming therapy and it's not behind a pay wall.
The Feds and the Internet: Fifth Verse, Same as the First (Four)
Despite the damage done by the closing of Backpage and FOSTA/SESTA, the feds are still committed to going after websites [Gizmodo]. This also comes on the heels of a released memo which said Backpage was working to fight trafficking on their site [Reason].
An upcoming Democratic presidential debate in October will focus on LGBTQ issues, and the NewNowNext editors are pointing to the possible questions [NewNowNext], including one on FOSTA/SESTA. (I'm not holding my breath?)
And this upcoming week (Sept 20) will see the next phase in the lawsuit challenging FOSTA/SESTA. Stay tuned!
Sex Worker Pride
This year NSWP kicked off Sex Worker Pride on September 14 [NSWP]. The holiday now makes four in addition to Sex Worker Rights Day (March 3), International Whores Day (June 2nd), and the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17). Below are just some of the awesome and amazing and inspiring tweets from around the globe of how people celebrated, but you can search #SexWorkerPride to see more:
These make me so happy! Happy Sex Worker Pride, y'all. Back to the grind.