Allow me this appropriation of Jessica Valenti’s column, who said it first re: abortion:
So you’ll excuse me for laughing off recent suggestions that feminists embrace “anti-sex work” women in the name of inclusivity. You don’t get to feel bad about being banned from the treehouse when you’re in the middle of setting the trunk on fire.
And let’s be clear: these political positions are not about reducing the number of women who sell sex. The anti-prostitution loyalty oath, for example, has been shown make sex workers lives more dangerous – especially where sex work is already illegal. The same is true for state level sex work bans; to the best of our knowledge, hundreds of thousands of women in the United States sell sex despite its illegal status. Anti-sex work policies don’t prevent women from selling sex, they just ensure that women do it dangerously.
If anti-sex work legislators or so-called “abolitionist” feminists were interested in decreasing the number of women who sell sex they’d be enthusiastically supporting worker organizing, living wage jobs (including legal access to work for undocumented women), and truly affordable housing and healthcare. They would fight to end the police profiling of women of color and transgender women. They’d be introducing legislation to protect women’s rights to work free from violence and exploitation no matter what job they do.
But they’re not. And they won’t. So let’s not fool ourselves – these next four years are about fighting for what’s right, not searching for the nonexistent distraction of common ground.