I get a lot of news feeds and sex-related Google alerts everyday, because – dude, its my job(s). I monitor goings-on for potential Fleshbot posts and I also look for stuff for upcoming Global News Shorts in $pread. Most of the time, I skim stuff to see what it might be relevant for, and that’s it – but sometimes the reporting style gets in the way, and I get angry. Such was the case with this piece: Stripper sues club over unpaid overtime.
Let me first point out that I’m fully aware that I sometimes take myself too seriously and the phrase “sex worker” is still comic relief to many people – a whore’s a whore, no matter what she calls herself. Ok, gotcha. BUT. Goddammit: don’t act surprised when “this longtime stripper also knows a thing or two about the Alaska Wage and Hour Act.” This is a version of there-there little angry woman to the umpteenth degree.
Change for sex workers is slow, but really truly, it is happening, even if some people think its funny: Strippers in Australia last year pulled together a union that provides things like maternity leave and sick pay. A phone sex worker in Britain won a wrongful dismissal case last spring with the assistance of her union, the International Union of Sex Workers, which is a part of the GMB. There is a group of women here in New York who have filed a lawsuit against a major strip club for back wages and non-payment of “funny money” wages (men can buy funny money, essentially tokens, with a credit card, then the girls cash it in later for actual money – theoretically at least).
Its not totally inconceivable, actually, that a stripper would have knowledge of labor law, but it still seems funny, because sexual entertainment isn’t a real job, right? The sex industry is the “oldest profession” or whatever so its kind of absurd that its dismissed as anything but a profession, and that so many people believe that women do sex work because they are such wanton creatures that they can’t help themselves. Sex is hotter than labor, yeah okay, that’s fine. But the twain shall and do meet, and its messy.