The sex industry is an endless source of prurient drama for the mainstream media. Recent years have seen a panic over “online red light districts,” which supposedly seduce vulnerable young women into a life of degradation. But rarely do these fearful, dispatches 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 on their head, arguing for an overhaul in the way we think about sex work. She dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticises both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalisation, and argues that separating sex work from the “legitimate” economy only harms those who perform sexual labour. Melissa argues that sex work is work, and sex workers’ rights are human rights.
Melissa Gira Grant a writer and freelance journalist covering sex, tech, and politics, in the streets and everywhere else. She’s a contributing editor at Jacobin, and her reporting and commentary appears in The Nation, Wired, The Atlantic, Glamour, The Guardian, In These Times, The Washington Post, Dissent, The American Prospect, Reason, Slate, Jezebel, and Valleywag, among other publications. Playing the Whore is the result of ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker. Follow her on Twitter @melissagira.
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