Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance, and Redefinition [Book recommendation]
Global Sex Workers presents the personal experiences of sex workers around the world. Drawing on their individual narratives, it explores international struggles to uphold the rights of this often marginalized group.
Sexual preferences are determined culturally in our societies for the most part. It’s a treat we all share regardless of sex, but societal standards (such as what’s desired in terms of body shapes and what’s considered to be beautiful, in what parts of the world and why) can be influenced by the level of education and historical aspects of that society, to oversimplify.
The book makes a very good case for why all forms of sex work should be legal (age, consent and informed decision are already implied) and how, once entirely decriminalised, it can positively affect a vast number of aspects regarding the industries formed around it, including the public understanding of sex work, like the social stigma.
The concept of sex work emerged in the 70s through the prostitutes’ rights movements in the US and Western Europe. Definitions and stances came to light and more and more studies came to address these movements.
Much of what is written about sex work — and particularly prostitution, ignores the voices of those involved in sex work, but lately that trend is being countered and this book takes part in that. It needs to continue since it’s a necessary basis for any researcher who studies these social activities.
Ultimately, this book is not about the details of sexual acts themselves but instead about what some women and men who performs these acts and sell sex for a living consider to be important in their everyday lives. It does not offer much for the reader who is seeking titillation and cheap thrills, or for those who wish to confirm their ideas about exotic sexuality of brown and black women. However, it does give us a glimpse into the priorities, hardships and resistances of people who are marginalised and outcast many societies today – of those women and men who service the vast sections of the world’s male populations and render what many consider vital to the well-being of manhood, yet who are often despised, criminalised and rejected for doing so. ~ Book excerpt
The authors, an Assistant Professor for Women’s Studies and Sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Project Officer at the Network of Sex Work Projects, dedicate quite some space to the politics around the oldest job in the world, how recent developments have changed the perspectives, how the movements led by sex workers themselves through ICT have forced the policy makers to pay attention to their needs, what their struggles are today and why a better understanding of an activity that isn’t going away any time soon can only help us, as a society, become better at dealing with social inequalities, denial of justice, human rights and more.
It will, no doubt, shed light into a world most of the people in the civilised (and not so civilised) societies refuse to look without prejudice and ignorance and it will catalyse many of the thoughts and ideas most sex workers have written about on their blogs and social media accounts.
If you want to find out why we all need better laws, you need this book. You will love it. Is sensitively written and takes into account many of the questions you probably already have and how we all share a good part of the responsibility when it comes to human suffering.