MELISSA GIRA GRANT / Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 7:30pm
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The sex industry is an endless source of prurient drama for the mainstream media. Recent years have seen the proliferation of stories focused on the intersection between the internet and sex work and reports on the supposed increase in human trafficking. The panic over “online red-light districts,” which are said to seduce vulnerable young women into a life of degradation, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s live tweeting of a Cambodian brothel raid, and the work of “video vigilantes” like JohnTV typify the fearful, salacious stories about sex work told by news organizations and the high-profile NGOs that see themselves as the saviors of helpless young women.

Rarely do such stories come from sex workers themselves, and rarely do they deviate from the position that sex workers must be rescued from their condition, and the industry simply abolished—a position common among feminists and conservatives alike.

In Playing the Whore, journalist Melissa Gira Grant turns these pieties on their head, arguing for an overhaul in the way we think about sex work. Based on ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker, her narrative dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticizes both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization, and argues that separating sex work from the “legitimate” economy only harms those who perform sexual labor.

Demonstrating how distorted the popular conception of sex work has become, and the scant attention our society pays to the concerns of those who make their livelihood from it, Grant affirms that sex work is work, and sex workers’ rights are human rights.

Melissa Gira Grant is a writer and freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Glamour, the Guardian, the Nation, Wired, and the Atlantic. She is also a Contributing Editor to Jacobin.

 

 

 

 

Books: 
Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781781683231
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Verso - March 11th, 2014