Archives de Tag: Sexwork

Under capitalis…

Under capitalism, reproduction is made up of different sectors. The family and prostitution are the main sectors, the backbone of the entire process […] The second process however – the sexual reproduction of labor power – is a corollary and specific process of reproduction. Prostitution is corollary because its function must be to support and complement housework »

Leopoldina Fortunati, The Arcane of Reproduction : Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital; Autonomedia, 1996, p. 17-18

« Sous le capitalisme, la reproduction est constituée de différents secteurs. La famille et la prostitution sont les secteurs principaux, le pilier du procès complet […]. Le second procès cependant – la reproduction sexuelle de la force de travail – est un procès de reproduction corollaire et spécifique. La prostitution est corollaire parce que sa fonction doit être de soutenir et de compléter le travail domestique »

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Federici (en français) sur le sexwork, le stigmate, le féminisme

(question) ok, l’institutionnalisation de la prostitution, c’est quelque chose qui est permis par la constitution européenne. On ne voit pas des femmes brûlées comme au Bengladesh, mais nous voyons en revanche des bordels à la frontière de l’Autriche et de la République Tchèque, et je pense que c’est une lutte très importante, la complaisance avec la prostitution institutionnalisée

Silvia Federici : Je pense qu’il y a une continuité ici avec les années 80 et le processus de mondialisation, et, dans un sens, sa phase initiale – la période qui a vu le développement des rapports capitalistes. Ceux de vous qui ont lu Caliban and The Witch sauront que je parle de massification de la prostitution. Une des premières conséquences de l’expropriation des terres a certainement été la massification de la prostitution. Alors même que la prostitution était en effet acceptée socialement tout au long du Moyen Âge, elle est devenue criminalisée et toutefois, bien entendu, c’était une issue à laquelle les femmes recouraient, suite à la fin, notamment, de l’accès aux communs. On voit le même processus aujourd’hui. Il y a en effet une massification de la prostitution comme du travail sexuel à travers le monde.
Je pense que dans une certaine mesure, dans une certaine mesure, mais je pense dans une mesure limitée, que l’augmentation du nombre de femmes qui se tournent vers le travail sexuel a aussi à voir avec le mouvement féministe. Il a contribué à ébranler cette forme de stigmate moral attaché au travail sexuel. Je pense que le mouvement des femmes a aussi donné le pouvoir, par exemple, au prostituées, de se représenter en tant que travailleuses du sexe.
Ce n’est pas un hasard si à la suite du mouvement féministe vous avez le début d’un mouvement de travailleuses du sexe, à travers l’Europe par exemple. Avec le stigmate, les féministes ont vraiment attaqué cette hypocrisie : la mère sainte, cette vision de la femme, toute à l’auto-sacrifice, et la prostituée, qui est la femme qui réalise du travail sexuel mais pour de l’argent.
Elle se fait payer, ce qui est en effet une violation de a première règle : que tu travaillera pour rien. Et vous avez cette séparation entre la « mauvaise femme » et la « bonne femme ». Le mouvement des femmes a vraiment remis en question cette séparation et en ce sens donné aux travailleuses du sexe la force d’avancer. Ainsi, une part de l’augmentation dans le nombre de travailleuses du sexe… il y a de nombreuses femmes – des étudiantes, mais aussi des mères de famille, que je connais, aux Etats-Unis – qui exercent le travail sexuel à côté, pour compléter d’autres formes de travail salarié qui ne paient pas assez. Ou pour payer leurs études, font du travail sexuel à côté. Je connais beaucoup, beaucoup de femmes qui font ça. En particulier maintenant que vous pouvez exercer le travail sexuel en ligne, vous pouvez en effet l’exercer depuis votre chambre, vous savez ; du sexe interactif, par exemple. Je ne sais pas, si vous voyez cette forme de travail sexuel. Mais le sexe par téléphone, le sexe interactif, tous sont des moyens par lesquels vous pouvez intégrer le travail sexuel dans votre routine, pendant que vous préparez votre repas. Mais ce qui a aussi beaucoup à voir avec l’augmentation du nombre de travailleuses du sexe, c’est aussi les conditions de vie. Au final, le travail sexuel paie mieux que de travailler comme domestique. De nombreuses femmes…j’ai fait du travail, du travail de recherche, sur des femmes qui ont migré comme domestique, travailleuses de la santé…et dans de nombreux cas, après un ou deux ans, si elles peuvent elles optent pour le travail sexuel parce que qu’elles peuvent gagner dans un temps beaucoup plus court beaucoup plus.
Evidemment, au sein du travail sexuel vous avez toutes formes de coercition, toutes formes de brutalité, l’industrie du sexe est une des plus violentes industries. Mais ce n’est pas la plus violente. Si vous travaillez dans une zone de libres échanges votre vie est beaucoup plus en danger que si vous travaillez dans un bordel ou dans la rue.
Je pense qu’il y a un problème majeur – qu’il y a eu un problème majeur dans le mouvement féministe. Le mouvement féministe a été très divisé sur la question du travail du sexe. Et je ne sais pas comment c’est ici en Croatie, comment c’est dans les Balkans, mais je sais que j’ai eu de très nombreuses discussions avec des amies, et certaines féministes, qui ne veulent pas entendre parler de travail du sexe. Elles pensent que le simple fait de parler de travail du sexe revient à valider un type d’activité qui est contraire aux droits des femmes, qui est fondamentalement contraire à l’image transformatrice des femmes.
Et d’un autre côté, il y a de nombreuses autres féministes qui voient le travail du sexe comme un type légitime de travail parmi les options disponibles pour les femmes, et je me situe moi-même dans ce second groupe. Je pense que critiquer particulièrement les femmes qui optent pour le travail du sexe est une vision qui manque de perspective, parce qu’elle découle vraiment d’une position moraliste, dans la mesure où il y a de nombreuses autres formes de travail aujourd’hui qui ont vraiment… qui exposent les femmes à une situation dangereuse similaire. Et peut-être dans certains cas même plus – exposent les femmes à des situations qui les mettent vraiment dans une position de totale subordination, et c’est une position qui les rend vulnérables à la violence.
OK, je vais m’arrêter là. Et j’aimerais bien entendre, peut-être, des commentaires, venant de vous (geste vers l’audience), sur cette question
(silence)
(facilitatrice) des commentaires, s’il vous plait. N’ayez pas peur de la thématique sexuelle
(un autre silence)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpTFJsswWM à partir de 1:10:23

transcription Ellis Suzanna Slack, traduction Morgane Merteuil.

Federici about sexwork, stigma and feminism

(question) ok, the institutionalising of prostitution. something that the European constitution is complying to…We don’t see burning women in Bangladesh but we certainly see bordellos in the border of Austria and the Czech Republic and i think this is a very important struggle with the compliance of institutionalised prostitution…

Silvia Federici: I think there is a continuity here with the 1980s and the globalisation process and, in a way, the early phase – the period that saw the development of capitalist relations. Those of you who have read ‘Caliban & the Witch’ will know that I speak of the massification of prostitution. One of the main first consequences of land expropriation was certainly the massification of prostitution. At the very moment when prostitution had actually been accepted socially throughout the Middle Ages, it became criminalised and nevertheless, of course, this was one of the avenues that women resorted to with the end of, basically, the access to the commons. We see the same processes today. In fact, there’s been a massification of prostitution as sex work across the world.

I think that to some extent, to some extent, but I think to a limited extent, that the increase in the number of women who are turning to sex work has also had to do with the feminist movement. It has given a contribution to undermining that kind of moral stigma attached to sex work. I think the women’s movement has also given power for example, to prostitute -to represent themselves a sex workers.

It’s not an accident that with on the wake of feminist movement you have the beginning of a sex worker’s movement, throughout Europe, for instance. So that the stigma, the feminists, they really attacked that hypocrisy: the holy mother, that vision of women, the whole self-sacrificial and the prostitute, which is the woman who does sexual work but for money.

And she gets paid, so she is in fact in violation of the first rule: that you work for nothing. And you have that separation of the ‘bad woman’ and the ‘good woman’. The women’s movement has really challenged that separation and in that way given power for the sex workers to move.

So part of the increase in the number of sex workers…there are many women -students, also housewives, I know, in the United States – who do sex work on the side, to complement forms of wage labour that don’t pay enough. Or to pay your tuition, to do some sex work on the side. I know many, many cases of women who do that. Particularly now that you can do sex work electronically, you can actually do it from your bedroom, you know; interactive sex for instance. I don’t know if you have this form of sex work. But sex by phone, interactive sex; these are all ways you can integrate sex work into your routine, as you’re cooking your food. But much of the increase in the number of sex workers has to do also with the conditions of living. In the end, sex work pays better than working as a maid. Many women – I’ve done work, research work, on immigrant women who migrate as a maid, as healthcare workers..and after in many cases after one or two years if they can they may opt to do sex work because what they may earn in a much shorter time is much more.

But of course as part of sex work you have all forms of coercion, all forms of brutality, the sex business is one of the most violent businesses. But it is not the most violent business. If you work in a free export zone your life is as much in danger as if you work in a brothel or on the street.

I think there is a major problem – there has been a major major problem in the feminist movement. The feminist movement has been really split on the question of sex work. And I don’t know how it is here in Croatia, how it is in The Balkans, but I know that I have many many discussions with feminist friends, and often they are on the opposite side, because I have some friends, and some feminists, who do not want to hear about sex work. They think to even speak of sex work is to validate a kind of activity that is contrary to women’s rights, that is contrary to basically the transformative image of women.

And on the other hand, there are many other feminists who see sex work as a legitimate type of work among the options that are available to women, and I place myself in that second group. I think that to particularly criticize the women who opt for sex labour is very short sighted, because it really stems from a sort of moralistic position, given that there are many many other forms of work today that have very…..expose women to the same dangerous situation. And perhaps in some cases even more – and expose women to situations that basically put them in a completely subordinate position, and it’s a position that makes them vulnerable to violence so..

OK. I will leave it at that. And i would like to hear, maybe, some comments, coming from you (gestures to audience), on this question.

(silence)

(facilitator): comments please. don’t be afraid of the sex topic.

(another silence!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enpTFJsswWM à partir de 1:10:23

transcription Ellis Suzanna Slack

In West Bengal,…

In West Bengal, the sex worker collective Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee surveyed over 21,000 women who do sex work. They collected 48,000 reports of abuse or violence by police— in contrast with 4,000 reports of violence by customers, who are conventionally thought of as the biggest threat to sex workers, especially by campaigners opposed to prostitution.
Police violence against sex workers is a persistent global reality. As the economy collapsed in Greece, police staged raids on brothels, arrested and detained sex workers, forced them to undergo HIV testing, and released their photos and HIV status to the media. These actions were condemned by UNAIDS and Human Rights Watch. In China, police have forced sex workers they have arrested to walk in “shame parades,” public processions in which they are shackled and then photographed. Police published these photos on the Web, including one in which a cop humiliated a nude sex worker by pulling her hair back and brutally exposing her face to the camera. When the photo went viral, the outcry reportedly prompted police to suspend these public shaming rituals, though they continue to make violent arrests and raids.
One could hope that the photos and videos like these could make the pervasiveness of this violence real to the public. But to truly confront this type of violence would require us to admit that we permit some violence against women to be committed in order to protect the social and sexual value of other women.

Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore, Verso, 2014, p. 5-6

Paradoxes of Neoliberalism is a video by the Barnard Center for Research on Women, featuring interviews with Sealing Cheng, Lisa Duggan, Dean Spade, Elizabeth Bernstein, Miranda Joseph, Sandra K. Soto, Teresa Gowan, and Kate Bedford. As Professor Cheng describes in the video’s opening sequence, the economics and politics of neoliberalism are riddled with paradoxes and contradictions. Commentators draw on their research to focus on three central paradoxes of neoliberalism: its combination of emphasis on value-free economics and intensive moral regulation, its uneven distribution of risk and security, and its simultaneous creation of heightened social inequalities and intensified human rights discourses and humanitarian interventions. They trace these contradictions across domains ranging from war and peace to investment and trade to financial markets to prevailing understandings of empowerment and freedom. Recorded Fall 2012.

Paradoxes of Neoliberalism was published in issue 11.1-11.2 of The Scholar & Feminist Online, “Gender, Justice, and Neoliberal Transformations.” See the entire issue at sfonline.barnard.edu/gender-justice-and-neoliberal-transformations for additional resources.

http://vimeo.com/72002039

We travel for days up the mountains, across rivers, through dense forest. We follow the paths that others have taken. Small winding paths of dust or mud depending on the season.
I carry my bag of clothes and all the hopes of my family on my back. I carry this with pride; it’s a precious bundle not a burden. As for the border, for the most part, it does not exist. There is no line drawn on the forest floor. There is no line in the swirling river. I simply put my foot where thousands of other women have stepped before me. My step is excited, weary, hopeful, fearful and defiant. Behind me lies the world I know. It’s the world of my grandmothers and their grandmothers. Ahead is the world of my sisters who have gone before me, to build the dreams that keep our families alive. This step is Burma. This step is Thailand. That is the border.

If this was a story of man setting out on an adventure to find a treasure and slay a dragon to make his family rich and safe, he would be the hero. But I am not a man. I am a woman and so the story changes. I cannot be the family provider. I cannot be setting out on an adventure. I am not brave and daring. I am not resourceful and strong. Instead I am called illegal, disease spreader, prostitute, criminal or trafficking victim.

Why is the world so afraid to have young, working class, non-English speaking, and predominately non-white women moving around? It’s not us that are frequently found to be pedophiles, serial killers or rapists. We have never started a war, directed crimes against humanity or planned and carried out genocide. It’s not us that fill the violent offender’s cells of prisons around the world. Exactly what risk does our freedom of movement pose? Why is keeping us in certain geographical areas so important that governments are willing to spend so much money and political energy? Why do we feel like sheep or cattle, only allowed by the farmer to graze where and when he chooses? Why do other women who have already crossed over into so many other worlds, fight to keep us from following them? Nothing in our experiences provides us with an answer to these questions.

Instead of respect for our basic human rights under the United Nations Human Rights Council we are given “protection” under the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. We are forced to live with the modern lie that border controls and anti-trafficking policies are for our protection. None of us believe that lie or want that kind of protection. We have been spied on, arrested, cut off from our families, had our savings confiscated, interrogated, imprisoned and placed into the hands of the men with guns, in order for them to send us home… all in the name of “protection against trafficking”. It’s rubbing salt into the wound that this is called helping us. We are grateful for those who are genuinely concerned with our welfare … but we ask you to listen to us and think in new ways.
After “raid or rescue” we will walk the same path again, facing the same dangers at the same border crossings. Just like the women fighting to be educated, fighting to vote, fighting to participate in politics, fighting to be independent, fighting to work, to love, to live safely… we will not stay in the cage society has made for us, we will dare to keep crossing the lines.

Empower Fundation, The impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on Sex Worker’s human rights in Thailand