Anonymous said: Hi, Lori. I just read a Melissa Gira Grant interview on Guernica, and it left me demoralized. She outlined that women who were against the sex industry need to look at their anxiety/think about it, & how we should forgive men who pay for sex especially if we're in relationships with them b/c they're good people. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth b/c it was basically treating feminists as the problem, & protecting "johns". I know you mentioned capitalism is he problem, but I was
wondering what your opinion is on this (if you don’t mind sharing it)? I don’t like the idea of moral absolutes - that if you recognize problematic aspects of the sex industry that you must hate sex workers. The most insulting part is this idea that we should embrace infidelity and men who pay for sex wholeheartedly. You’re written some multi-faceted things on here, so I was wondering how this kind of piece factors into your particular view? Thank you so much for taking the time to read.
Let’s take a look at what Melissa actually said in the interview that Guernica decided was going to be limited to talking about sex work + feminism.
I think the anti-prostitution feminists need to do some consciousness-raising amongst themselves about their feelings. But that’s a different political activity. Asking ourselves, how do we feel about the fact that our boyfriends, our husbands, our male partners might hire sex workers? They should have that conversation, but they shouldn’t attach it to policy conversations that affect people.
Uh oh, looks like you put words in her mouth such as to change the meaning of her statement completely, conveniently allowing you to elide her point about criminalization! Boo fucking hoo, how awful that you were demoralized to hear you’re a major part of the problem. Guess what? If sex workers had mainstream feminist support as we did in the early 70’s, sex workers would have the same legal protections as women seeking abortions + DV survivors— not much, but a hell of a lot more than what we have now. We’d also have community spaces full of women who are supportive instead of spaces like my women’s studies program where I constantly fear for my continued enrollment lest someone figure out What It Is That I Do + ‘rescue’ me by telling the Dean, who might then expel me for violating the student code of conduct.
THIS— ALLLL of this, including your twisted reading of MGG’s words— is what’s at issue here, not this strawman that “if you recognize problematic aspects of the sex industry[…] you must hate sex workers.” Take your “oh gee golly gosh, whatever could the problem be” bullshit and keep it the fuck out of my inbox.
Lori Adorable, I owe you a drink.
(Also, what’s w/ folks taking this to her Ask box when I’m right here? *waves* *uh, on second thought…*)
“The most radical thing I could think of to do was to make it ordinary.”