Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Melissa Gira Grant: 'I got into sex work to afford to be a writer'

Sex work is real work.  Most people in the anti-Trafficking Movement do a great deal of harm to those employed in the sex industry and virtually nothing that benefits sex workers.

Every thing they do makes life more dangerous for sex workers and it harder for people, particularly women to work in the sex industry or to leave the sex industry when they no longer wish to be employed in it.

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

Melissa Gira Grant was one of the first webcam girls, before becoming a journalist. She talks to Liz Hoggard about the proposed changes to the UK's prostitution laws

Read an extract from Melissa Gira Grant's new book, Playing the Whore

Interview by The Observer, Saturday 15 March 2014

American journalist Melissa Gira Grant wants to change the way we think about prostitution and sex work. Rather than dwelling on the "sex" part, Grant suggests we focus on "work". By doing so, she argues, sex workers become neither corrupters, nor victims who need rescuing, but workers who need access to healthcare, a safe work environment and protection from abuse and exploitation.

A former sex worker herself (she was one of the first "webcam girls"), Gira Grant, 36, believes it's possible to be anti-sex work but pro-sex workers' rights. She has written extensively about sex, politics, labour and technology for the Guardian, Glamour, Wired, Jezebel and the Washington Post, and published Take This Book, an ebook on the Occupy Wall Street People's Library, and Coming and Crying, an anthology of true stories about sex.

And now, just as prostitution is at the forefront of the news again with the proposed introduction to the UK of the Nordic model of criminalising clients and pimps instead of prostitutes, she is publishing her new book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.

Born in Boston, she studied comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts and is a graduate of the National Sexual Resource Centre's Institute on Sexuality, Health, and Inequality at San Francisco State University. Today she lives and blogs in Brooklyn.

The sex industry is an endless source of fascination for the mainstream media. But rarely do dispatches come from sex workers themselves. What do you believe your new book adds to the debate?

When I first started looking for things to read about sex work in the late 1990s, most of the books that had been published were memoirs, though there were a couple of great anthologies of political essays written by sex workers that I just found so valuable. But in the past few years there haven't been as many books like that, so I wanted to write something about sex work post-2000, to update that literature. Most of the stories about sex workers that I came across in the press focused on sex workers' behaviour – or, even worse, treating sex workers as a problem to be solved. It made me think that what needed to be done was invert the question, and take the people who were shaping and controlling the lives of sex workers (police, press, policy makers) and to put the focus on them. And to ask questions about their motivations, beliefs and values, and also what they stood to gain from the kinds of stories they shared about sex work, and the kinds of policing and sex policy they were introducing around sex work – particularly with the absence of sex workers involved. These people I focus on are presumed to be the experts on sex work, even though in most cases they haven't done sex work themselves. It happens all the time that politicians will convene and debate laws about sex work without actually having sex workers participate.


Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/15/melissa-gira-grant-sex-work-afford-be-writer

See Also:

Truth Out: The Work of Sex Work: Laura Flanders With Melissa Gira Grant

Rabble Ca: No, I will not stop having 'feelings' about women’s lives and human rights

The Nation: Why Do So Many Leftists Want Sex Work to Be the New Normal?

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