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Sex Workers as Labor's Vanguard / Heather Berg

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It's not a mistake thinking discrimination is directly enabled by state policy both because banks are trying to get ahead of possible trafficking charges, but also because sex workers are not a protected category in anti-discrimination law. So these laws cuts off sex workers' ability to get paid, to get their money, not just to have negative images online. What that does, and it shifts depending on the sector, it forces sex workers to take more risks and give more money to third parties. Anyone who is paying attention knows that these are really urgent and scary problems for sex working people. And I don't know if saying this will convince the whore-phobic left to do anything, because it hasn't despite of sex workers repeated attempts to do so.

Heather Berg, Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University St. Louis talks about her Boston Review article "Freedom, not Benefits: Sex Workers are the Vanguard of Labor. The Left ignores them at its own Peril."

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Heather Berg

Heather Berg writes about sex, work, and social struggle. Her book Porn Work (UNC Press, 2021) takes readers behind the scenes to explore what porn performers think of their work and how they intervene to hack it. It tells a story of crafty workers, faltering managers, and shifting solidarities. Her second project, "Sex Workers Against Work," is an intellectual history of the sex worker left. It engages anti-capitalist sex workers' critiques of straight work, unpaid sex, and state violence and explores their experiments with alternatives.

Heather Berg's personal homepage


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