Pornograffitti – The Sex Workers Battle

I’m sure our ancestors would’ve thought that living in 2019 would mean being free from prejudice and taboos. Yet, even if we think we are living a glamorous life between likes and shares, things are actually pretty much scary. 

I am one of the millions of women who use social media every day, both for business and leisure and I got a little weirded out when I came across a video showing some British women working in the sex industry protesting against all of those who are working day and night to shut their jobs down. 

I must admit it took me a while to take a look at the whole picture and I’ve been listening to both sides of this unfortunate story and I had the chance to interview one of the sex workers who took part to the movement. Olivia Livewire is a fire performer, model and alternative burlesque dancer. That’s right, working in the sex industry does not just mean being famous porn stars, but this field includes hundreds of thousands of different kind of jobs not much different from being an actor, a painter or a musician. This is why the campaign started by Bea Dux has been named “Sex Work Is Work”, because involving sex, nudes and artistry should not declassify a job. 

If prejudice was not enough, we meet other opponents in this story. Feminists groups have been fighting against sex workers for a while now describing their lives as “controlled” by male chauvinist society. Olivia says:

"It pains me that people who identify as feminists are going against other women! We should be raising each other up and look for ways to support each other in any and all industries."

I couldn’t agree more, but things are more illogical than that. For what I remember feminists used to fight for women’s rights, basically to let us be able to do all the things men are allowed to do. They should, therefore, fight for freedom and freedom means being able to choose whatever career we want without being judged. So what these so-called feminists are doing instead is creating another social scheme, identical to the one men created for women in the past, where doing certain types of jobs is ok while working in the sex industry does nothing but fueling men’s dirty desires.

Well, well, well, let me clarify something for you. A pressurised office with standard roles, managers, meetings and powerpoint presentations is not everybody’s dream, most of the time not even of those who live that kind of life. Do you think having a clerk job means you are not abused? Do you think it is safe and healthy? I seriously doubt any stripper will have headaches caused by a screen you have to stare at 8 hours per day, which makes around 2.680 hours per year and 107.200 hours in 40 years of your life. Is there really a distinction between having a “good” or ” bad” job? Being a big powerful manager is no better than selling hot dogs on the street if you don’t like what you’re doing or if you do not have a hint of integrity. I have met women whose mouths only liked to say “I’m a manager” every five minutes just to soak in their belief of being someone, while they were actually only among the most shallow, jealous and incompetent idiots on earth. Those disgraces to feminism with their faces covered with the wrong foundation colour (but still bragging for it cause it’s Dior!) do not read newspapers nor books because they “don’t have time”, they vote because they “have to” and they do it for the party their husbands and their friends suggested. Scary uh? This is happening people, I have witnessed it with my own eyes and I absolutely refuse to believe these buffoons are seen as better people than sex workers.

The truth is we should stop labelling people, everyone’s story is different and there is no “right” or “wrong” to be sticked on someone’s head because of the field they work in. Instead, we should find the bad seeds in each existing work field and punish those who use violence of any kind while protecting the abused ones. Decriminalisation is one of the sex workers’ strongest thesis but for some reason, people out there just think that if you work in that industry then you asked for it, like if you’re being raped it is because you’re wearing a tight mini dress. Being a free person should mean you can make your own choices without restrictions as long as you’re not hurting someone and I seriously doubt making a calendar can cause a tumour.

Another big issue comes from the main characters of our times: social media. It is no secret sex workers have been protesting at Instagram’s headquarters because they found their profiles suddenly shut down. I know that churchy voice in your head might say this makes sense or it is fair, but let’s think about this. The social media platforms usually have a standard message when they delete posts which they consider inappropriate, they usually bring up the fact that children may come across such material. Olivia thinks:

“There are many posts on Instagram which are marked as "sensitive content" which you have to tap to view, as well as profiles which you have to be 18+ to view. If violence, gambling and other inappropriate content can have these things on their profiles then why can't we? We just get deleted!”

So I thought about my daily life on social media and as a big fan of Dita Von Teese (professional burlesque performer and model), I can’t help asking myself “why does not Instagram delete her pictures?”, after all, she posts nudes all the time! So if all the sex industry is marked as “inappropriate” even celebrities working in it should receive the same treatment as their colleagues, but they don’t. 

Contrary to what the whole world thinks, in Italy, we have had hard times with religious power many times during history, I cannot even count how many times cities have been excommunicated by the Pope himself! And yet, we have given the world a great amount of artists painting or sculpting nudes all the time. So forgive me if I’m a little shocked to sense all this sudden prudishness and need to cover our bodies in 2019. Naked bodies are shown pretty much everywhere on tv, ads etc. but for some reason, the 21st century features a whole new army of constantly offended people who frown at a picture of naked breasts but then entertain themselves on PornHub all night. 

Hypocrisy is never a good solution for anything, nor it is fighting something which does not cause any harm to anyone. Actually, I find myself admiring those sex workers who are genuine in what they do, who do not feel frustrated by their lives and who help society re-evaluate our real evolution as human beings. Are we moving forward with prejudice and taboos or are we just going worryingly backwards? You choose the answer you want to believe.

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