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Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk

by

Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A provocative history that reveals how sex workers have been at the vanguard of social justice movements for the past fifty years while building a movement of their own that challenges our ideas about labor, sexuality, feminism, and freedom

 

Fifty countries treat sex work as a legitimate job, and it has been legalized (with restrictions) in eleven others. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that continues to criminalize prostitution and, as Melinda Chateauvert reveals, these laws have put sex workers at risk. Documenting five decades of sex-worker activism, Sex Workers Unite puts prostitutes, hustlers, call girls, strippers, and porn stars in the center of civil rights struggles. Although their presence has largely been ignored, sex workers have here been recast as key activists in struggles for gay liberation, women’s rights, reproductive justice, union organizing, and prison abolition. By foregrounding labor, Chateauvert reframes sex work as work and argues that sex-worker rights are ultimately human rights. 

Review:

"Sex workers are the next marginalized, stigmatized group due for liberation, argues activist and professor Chateauvert. The book combines accounts of labor organizing, cultural activism, civil rights demonstrations, and aid or 'harm-reduction' efforts into an uneven history of sex workers' resistance to their systematic disempowerment by society. The author's goal is to find 'a model of organizing... focused on transformative justice,' but the real obstacles lie in the pervasive 'whorephobia,' which subjects sex workers, if not to imprisonment or violence, then to harassment, fear, and shame. According to Chateauvert, the worst perpetrators of whorephobia are police, feminists, and 'straights' — those who valorize heterosexual monogamy — who insist on casting all sex workers as criminals or victims, rather than seeing those who pursue such work voluntarily as scrappy survivors. Her portraits of individual activists and advocacy groups are well drawn, proving that humanization through story, not philosophical debates about personhood and privacy, will win this campaign. However, the book would have benefitted from a better argumentative structure, less jargon, and more effective knitting together of claims and evidence, quotes and sources. Yet, while respect might be slow in coming, Chateauvert makes a strong case that 'engaging in sexual commerce should not be grounds for disenfranchisement.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Activist Melinda Chateauvert has been involved in many grassroots campaigns to change policies and attitudes about gender and antiviolence, sex and sexuality, race and rights. She is undergraduate studies director in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she teaches courses on political movement organizing, the civil rights movement, and gender and sexuality.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION 1

 

CHAPTER 1 8

“THE REVOLUTION IS FINALLY HERE!”

Sex Work and Strategic Sex

 

CHAPTER 2 21

“THOSE FEW CAME ON LIKE GANGBUSTERS”

Prostitution and Sisterhood

 

CHAPTER 3 47

“MY ASS IS MINE!”

Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics

 

CHAPTER 4 83

“RESISTING THE VIRUS OF REPRESSION”

Disease Vectors and Sexual Experts

 

CHAPTER 5 117

“ASSEMBLY-LINE ORGASMS”

Organizing the Sex Market

 

CHAPTER 6 152

“FUCK THE PIGS!”

Public Sex and Police Violence

 

CHAPTER 7 184

SLUTS UNITE!

Disrupting Whorephobia and Slut-Shaming

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 214

 

NOTES 216

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 245

 

INDEX 249

Product Details

ISBN:
9780807061398
Author:
Chateauvert, Melinda
Publisher:
Beacon Press (MA)
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.29 x 6.3 x 1.05 in 1.22 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » Sex Industry
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$26.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Beacon Press (MA) - English 9780807061398 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Sex workers are the next marginalized, stigmatized group due for liberation, argues activist and professor Chateauvert. The book combines accounts of labor organizing, cultural activism, civil rights demonstrations, and aid or 'harm-reduction' efforts into an uneven history of sex workers' resistance to their systematic disempowerment by society. The author's goal is to find 'a model of organizing... focused on transformative justice,' but the real obstacles lie in the pervasive 'whorephobia,' which subjects sex workers, if not to imprisonment or violence, then to harassment, fear, and shame. According to Chateauvert, the worst perpetrators of whorephobia are police, feminists, and 'straights' — those who valorize heterosexual monogamy — who insist on casting all sex workers as criminals or victims, rather than seeing those who pursue such work voluntarily as scrappy survivors. Her portraits of individual activists and advocacy groups are well drawn, proving that humanization through story, not philosophical debates about personhood and privacy, will win this campaign. However, the book would have benefitted from a better argumentative structure, less jargon, and more effective knitting together of claims and evidence, quotes and sources. Yet, while respect might be slow in coming, Chateauvert makes a strong case that 'engaging in sexual commerce should not be grounds for disenfranchisement.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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