Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Legal Situation for Sex Workers in Canada: An Update

By Andrew Sorfleet

Protestors rally to demand sex worker rights
in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Background

In December 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada (Bedford Decision) struck down all three sections of the Criminal Code that outlawed prostitution, on the grounds that the laws violated sex workers' right to security of the person.

In other words, the laws prevented sex workers from employing precautions that would increase their safety on the job. The Court gave the government one year to make new laws.

Enacted in December 2014, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (PCEPA) makes it a crime to:
  • purchase sex;
  • communicate for the purpose of purchasing sex;
  • habitually keep the company of or benefit materially from a sex worker, unless you are in a legitimate family or business relationship -- provided you can prove that you are not forcing or encouraging the sex worker to sell sex; you are not involved together in a commercial sex enterprise; and you are not providing alcohol or drugs.
Sex workers are prohibited from working or communicating near schools, playgrounds, day-care centres.

Also, it is illegal to advertise sex services provided by anyone but yourself, and your advertising must not explicitly offer sex for sale.

According to Justice Minister Peter Mackay (Sep. 9, 2014)

"Let us be clear about Bill C-36's ultimate objective: that is to reduce the demand for prostitution with a view towards discouraging entry into it, deterring participation in it and ultimately abolishing it to greatest extent possible."

http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2759701

2015 Criminal Code of Canada (C-46)

The changes in law enacted by PCEPA (Bill C-36 2014) are now part of the Criminal Code Of Canada.

Although Section 210 was struck down by the Bedford Decision, it remains in the Code because "Bawdy House" is still defined as a place that is kept by one or more persons for"the practice of acts of indecency." Acts of indecency include sexual activity involving more than two people, or that is in public view (such as live sex theatre, or possibly swingers clubs and gay bath houses - unless they are registered private clubs for members only.)

Section 213 (Offences in Relation to Offering, Providing or Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration) replaced the former law, Communicating in a Public Place for the Purpose of Prostitution.

Section 286 (Commodification of Sexual Activity) makes it a new crime to pay for sex. As well, it is now a crime to live with, or regularly be in the company of sex workers (with exceptions for family and landlords etc.).

PCEPA also made changes to Section 164 which outlines rules for search, seizure and forfeiture of materials. The list now includes materials that advertise sexual services. This means police can get a warrant to search your home or business and seize such property as computers and cell phones, if they can show cause to the judge that there are illegal sex service ads.

PCEPA also amended Section 183 (Invasion of Privacy). Police can now get a warrant to intercept private communications, if they can show a judge that there are communications to obtain sexual services. In other words, it is now legal for police to tap sex workers' phones and email accounts in order to find and arrest clients.

(For the full text of the laws, see:
http://triple-x.org/pdf/SexualServices-2015.pdf )


Consequences of PCEPA

January 21, 2015, in Hamilton, Ontario, the first charges were laid under the new law 286.4 (Advertising Sexual Services) in conjunction with charges that involve a minor (under 18 years).

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-police-find-15-year-old-girl-working-as-an-escort-1.2921407


On January 23, second charges for Advertising Sexual Services were laid in Toronto, Ontario for on-line ads also involving a minor.

http://m.torontosun.com/2015/02/01/new-law-allows-cops-to-focus-on-pimps----not-hookers


On March 25, the Premier of Saskatchewan announced that strip clubs will be banned throughout the province. It has only been a year since Saskatchewan lifted a ban on nude dancing in clubs that served alcohol. According to the Premier Brad Wall:

"Let's make sure we're not allowing for any opportunity for organized crime to increase its footprint or for there ever to be an increase in human trafficking that we know is happening."
http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskatchewan-to-make-stripping-illegal-in-bars-again-1.3008951

Then, on March 26, Premier Wall announced that massage parlours in Saskatchewan also presented a problem.

"These kinds of businesses involve potential Criminal Code infractions, which are the federal government's responsibility," he said. "Is there more that the province can do? I think there is, in this general area."
http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/saskatchewan/massage-parlours-also-a-concern-premier-brad-wall-says-1.3010510

The Province of Saskatchewan is taking direction from the Federal Conservatives' explicit intentions with the new sexual services laws.

According to Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, House of Commons Debate, June 12, 2014:

"The bill would also criminalize where a person procures another person's prostitution or if the benefit is received in the context of a commercial enterprise that offers sexual services for sale, such as a strip club, a massage parlour, or an escort agency in which prostitution takes place. We know those types of businesses are often run by criminal organizations, such as gangs and the Mafia. That is the kind of behaviour we want to criminalize. It is not what the women who are exploited are doing, but the people who are actually exploiting them."

As you can see, sex workers in Canada face a time of great uncertainty.

In solidarity,

Andrew Sorfleet, President
Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of British Columbia


About the Author

Andrew Sorfleet has worked in the sex industry for over a decade and has been a sex workers' rights activist since 1990. He is currently president of the board of Triple-X Workers' Solidarity Association of B.C.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

JOB POSTING: Program Officer Officer with SWAN Foundation (Budapest, Hungary)

Job posting via: SWAN Foundation for the Human Rights of Sex Workers

Posted on: March 20, 2015

Job description


SWAN Foundation seeks a full-time program Officer to coordinate human rights and HIV-related initiatives, foster community-led initiatives and assist Executive Director in management tasks. The program officer will be based in Budapest, work closely with the SWAN Advocacy Officer and Media/Communications Officer and will report to the Executive Director.

The focus of the position is:

1) Support the Executive Director in fundraising, developing and implementing programs on sex worker health and human rights.

2) Support sex worker leadership and sex workers' ability in the region to advocate, in collaboration with allies, on policies and legislation that affect them.

Ensure communication between the SWAN Secretariat, working groups, officers and SWAN members on ongoing and future SWAN programs.

Position: Full time

Length: 9 months with possibility to extend contract

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Starting date: as soon as possible

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Program-Related Functions in close collaboration with Advocacy and Communications Officers;
  • Support sex worker communities across the region to become meaningfully engaged in SWAN and to contribute to the development, implementation, and monitoring of policies, programs, and practices around health and human rights;
  • Coordinate information sharing, disseminate guidelines and tools (including SWIT) and generate relevant report to members;
  • Develop, plan, and organize program-related workshops, trainings and events;
  • Contribute to writing and editing project materials and position papers;
  • Stay abreast of developments and initiatives in the fields of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in CEE/CA and on the look for advocacy opportunities through research and attendance at conferences and/or meetings;
  • Contribute to improving and further promoting documentation of human rights abuse by state representatives;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

General Management functions under Executive Director:

  • In conjunction with other staff/consultants, develop grant making strategies, priorities, and guidelines;
  • Write/draft grant proposals;
  • Engage in communication and perform site visits with/to prospective and current member organizations;
  • Monitor grants through progress reports, ongoing communication and site visits.
  • Donor communication;

Working Experience:

  • Experience working with sex workers from and at least three years' involvement in the health and human rights of sex worker or other overlapping communities
  • Experience in being responsible for a project and seeing it through to the end;
  • Experience in social organizing or activism
  • Experience working in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former Soviet Union (fSU);
  • Prior knowledge of or willingness and ability to learn quickly about advancing social justice through community organizing, legal advocacy, research, or policy reform work.

Skills Required:

  • A good understanding of issues around sex work in EEC/CA, an understanding of HIV-related services and issues closely connected to sex work (drug use, LGBTQ rights, gender based violence, migration, etc);
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with strict deadlines and to follow projects through to completion;
  • Ability to trouble shoot and to constructively address concerns or problems as they arise in a positive manner;
  • Very good written, verbal skill in English and 1 other language from CEE/CA;
  • Good computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office, and experience with internet research;
  • Good listening and communication skills with sensitivity to cultural communication differences and ability to encourage and support others;
  • Effectively work as a team member and independently, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals;
  • Show discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Willingness to travel;
  • Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with colleagues and the general public;
  • Knowledge of Russian is a very strong asset;
  • Experience in sex work is a very strong asset.

How to apply

Please email resume and cover letter with 2 contacts for people who would be able to give reference for you, with salary requirements by April 6th, 2015, to: SWANsecretariat@swannet.org. Include job code in subject line: Program Officer 2015-2016.

Friday, March 20, 2015

SPACES Study (Vancouver) Report is Out

Guest post from SPACES Study research team:

Hello Sex Industry Professionals,

The first report out of the SPACES (Sex, Power, Agency, Consent, Environment & Safety) research project is ready. Many of you were interviewed last spring by Raven or Francesca and discussed your health and safety tips and strategies on how the industry can be improved.

We interviewed 116 Service Providers, Clients and Third Parties. Read and comment on the report at www.spacesstudy.com

Our next steps are to finish analysis; contact some participants who want to comment and develop materials based on the findings; and hold a conference for everyone to discuss what participants had to say and how to implement interventions to improve health and safety in the industry and increase autonomy and self-governance for those involved.

Email us if you have any questions or concerns,

Warm Regards,

The SPACES Team

Phone/Text: (604) 365-5612

Email: spaces.study@ubc.ca

Web: www.spacesstudy.com

Good For Her announces the nominees for the 10th Anniversary Feminist Porn Awards


Toronto, ON, March 20, 2015: On Friday March 20th, 2015 Good For Her proudly announced the nominated films and websites for this year’s 10th Anniversary Feminist Porn Awards (April 15th- 17th)!

Feminist Porn Awards 2014
Our judging criteria are:

  1. Quality – We love to award films that look great. We believe it is possible to make a great-looking film even with a limited amount of resources. We consider such factors as editing, framing, lighting, sound and overall production value when making selections. Attention to detail is appreciated! Story-crafting, acting, music, and direction are all factors that reveal how much care was put into the production of a movie.( Earnest feminism is not enough.)
  1. Inclusiveness – We recognize in a niche-based industry like porn not all films are for all audiences and aren't able to include everyone. But we also love it  when films make an effort to explore sexualities that are often marginalized or ignored by mainstream porn.
  • It’s our goal to highlight and celebrate films that appeal to a diversity of audiences.
  • We like to include films that contain kink, BDSM, and consensual non-consent in a fictional context. We believe that these can be valid feminist fantasies. We do not view consensual BDSM as violence or abuse.
  • We don’t include or support films that rely upon sexual stereotypes. There are way more fantasy options out there and we love it when people are creative.
3. The “it” factor: Movies that showcase a unique perspective are especially appealing, whether this is about the story being told, the interactions between characters or technical aspects like framing and editing. We are always most impressed when we encounter something novel, innovative and exciting that causes us to think about sexuality in a fresh way.
4. Hotness: Bodies are well-lit, framed and shot to perfection, desire radiates off the screen, and all parties involved appear enthusiastic. Plenty of orgasms don't hurt either.
Who are these films for? The movies and websites that we select are for everyone. We wish to introduce all kinds of people to all kinds of different films. We strive to provide pleasurable viewing options for a diversity of audiences so that they can see themselves and their desires reflected on screen. This includes everyone EVERYONE from suburban soccer moms to downtown radical hipsters and all folks in between!


The 2015 Good For Her Feminist Porn Award nominees are:
Films

Title Director




(S)he Comes Petra Joy
Alias and Knives John Bee
Art of Spanking Erika Lust
Between the Headlines Lily Cade
BIODILDO 2.0 Christian Slaughter
Bitch Pandora Blake
Bound By Borders Tobi-Hill Meyer
Doing it Again Vol. 2: Fearless Revealing Tobi-Hill Meyer
Don't Touch Me Lucie Blush
FTMFUCKER Volume 1 James Darling
Fuck Dolls Zahra Stardust, Emerald
FUCKING MYSTIC Courtney Trouble
Galactic Cannibalism Naomi Rutledge
Hearthrob Marathon Zahra Stardust, James Darling, Wolf Hudson
Heavenly Spire Volume 1 Shine Louise Houston
Hello Titty Skyler Braeden Fox and Idan Sagiv Richter
Homance
cocopop, Maxine Holloway, and
Siouxsie Q
I Wish I Was a Lesbian Erika Lust
If You Dare Lucie Blush
Instructed Pandora Blake and Ms. Naughty
It's My Birthday and I'll Fly if I Want to Morgana Muses
Jessica Drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Plus Size Jessica Drake
JL + DD: Jiz Lee and Danni Daniels Jiz Lee and Danni Daniels
Lesbian Curves 3: Soft Girls and Strap Ons Courtney Trouble
LOVE HARD Gala Vanting
Marriage 2.0 Paul Deeb
Mien Gala Vanting
Momentum Vol. 1 Michelle Flynn
Pachisi The Madame
Pansexual Orgy Pt. 1 Trick
Playing Truant Pandora Blake
Pulsion Ovidie
Put the Needle on the Record Shine Louise Houston
Queen Bee Empire Samuel Shanahoy
Romantic Queer Vintage Trick
Ryan James: Single Handed Ms. Naughty
Shutter Goodyn Green
Tease Ms. Naughty
The Agency Nimue
The Crash Pad's Guide to Fisting Shine Louise Houston
The Fantasy Project Ms. Naughty
The Mechanic Anna Brownfield
The Sexual Liberation of Anna Lee Jacky St. James
The Starrlust Experience Madison Young
Trans Lesbians Courtney Trouble
Trans Men Adventures Michelle Austin
Twitterbating Evie Eliot
Waiting For Godot Gala Vanting
Wall of Fire Lisa Ganser
Wanna Ride? Nikki Silver
Xconfessions Vol. 2 Erika Lust




Websites





brightdesire.com

courtneytroublefanclub.com

crashpadseries.com

dreamsofspanking.com

lilycade.com

queerporn.tv

xconfessions.com


Good For Her is proud to be celebrating ten years as producers of the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards, the largest and longest running celebration of feminist porn in the world. Since 1997, Good For Her has been creating a nurturing environment where everyone can feel comfortable learning about sex and pleasure. Good For Her takes pride in providing quality sex toys, erotic and educational books as well as DVDs and workshops that empower and celebrate the diversity of everyone’s sexuality.

The Upcoming Feminist Porn Awards Events are:

Erika Lust and Xconfessions a Night of Indie Erotica Wednesday April 15th at the Royal Cinema
Public.Provocative.Porn. Celebratres 10 Years! Thursday April 16th at the Bloor Cinema at 506 Bloor Street West Toronto Canada
Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards Friday April 17th at the Capitol Event Theatre Theatre at 2492 Yonge Street Toronto Canada

Images from 2014 can be found on our Facebook page:


175 Harbord Street
Toronto ON M5S1H3
416-588-0900

Media Contact: Jennifer DePoe 416-588-0900 x 5 jennifer@goodforher.com





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Watch a Canadian Sex Worker SCHOOL An Australian TV Anchor

View the 6.5 minute clip here.

Canada is getting some attention on the world stage for its implementation of laws that criminalize clients in a sex work transaction, as well as continuing to criminalize sex workers who work in areas "outlawed" by the Conservative government - the so-called "Swedish Model."

The anchorwoman in the above clip uses oppressive language and clearly demonstrates a SWERF* perspective on the issue.

However, Kerry Porth - a sex worker rights activist with connections to PACE Society, Triple-X.org, PIVOT Legal Society. Living In Community and multiple national and international collectives - handles the woman's questions masterfully, without allowing the woman's derogatory insinuations to distract her from speaking the naked truth.

Click here to listen to Kerry Porth's responses. By the end of watching it, my husband and kids were looking at me, wondering why I was clapping so enthusiastically at my computer screen.

Here are some of the anchorwoman's misconceptions about sex work and why she needed to be schooled so badly:

"I suspect that most people find the idea of a man buying a woman's body abhorrent and wrong."

First of all, we are not selling our body. Is a hairdresser selling her hands? Is a construction worker selling his muscles? To imply that sex workers are selling their bodies is to insult sex workers. It assumes that sex and sexuality is a male creation that denigrates women. It assumes that women lose something when they exchange sex for money. It ignores that men are sex workers too. And it takes away sex workers' agency - as if we have no control in the transaction, and are simply victims of male exploitation.

"Isn't prostitution an inherently dangerous occupation because it involves being alone with a stranger who more often than not is going to be stronger than you?"

How about showing people houses for sale? Or providing lessons in people's homes? For that matter, how about having someone show up to purchase something you've listed on Craigslist? Sex work is no more dangerous than any of these activities.

In fact, sex workers are more likely to engage in more rigid screening of their clients than people in these other scenarios. What makes sex work dangerous, is having to hide it. Not being able to report to the police. How many clients are going to report an underage girl who appears to be abused to police when they could be jailed for seeking out sexual services? NONE.

Kerry also points out what seems obvious to us but not to the powers that be...clients who are scared of being jailed or outed because of these new laws don't want to give their real names or call from unblocked numbers. THIS is what makes sex work unsafe. Your stupid, fucking laws make sex work unsafe, Mr. Peter McKay.

"...wouldn't it be better that you concentrate your efforts on helping women exit this industry altogether?"

This statement assumes that all sex workers want out of the industry. UNTRUE! Many sex workers, both on and off street, enjoy their jobs for many reasons including flexibility, control over one's own work environment and rates, a higher income than they would get in other occupations, and more.

The other glaring problem with this statement, and Kerry explains it beautifully, is that exiting is next to impossible for many reasons:

  • What jobs are there waiting for us when we leave, where we can make comparable income and not end up living in abject poverty?
  • How will we pay for our mortgages, car leases, and feed our kids while we are "learning to make it in the square world"? (Simply put, how will we get by?)
  • If addiction stands in our way, why is it so hard to get into detox?
  • Who's going to raise my kids while I work full-time just to barely make ends meet?
  • How else am I going to supplement my social assistance income without the government finding out and taking it away from me? (Social assistance DOES NOT cover monthly expenses for anyone.)
  • How can I afford daycare on the wages offered in the jobs available to me?
These are just some of the reasons sex workers do sex work. They are the same reasons anyone works - to survive and thrive in a capitalist economy. End of story.

"Ultimately, doesn't decriminalising prostitution tell a community that it's okay to commodify a woman's body?"

I LOVE Kerry's answers to all these questions, but especially to this. She says it perfectly, so I will quote her here: (drumroll please)

"I would argue that our society commodifies women's bodies. If we're really concerned about that perhaps we should go after the movie industry and advertising. Women's bodies are used to sell just about everything from cars to power tools, so I don't know why we would just pick on sex work as evidence of commodification of women."

This interview serves as an example and a reminder that most people's messed up views about the sex industry truly come from a place of ignorance. And if we, like Kerry Porth, set the record straight whenever possible, we can use education to banish the ignorance.

Some people will refuse to consider common sense - especially SWERFs and TERFs** who make their living off and build their fundraising efforts around silencing sex workers and relegating them to victim status - but others will have an "AHA" moment. 

Those who truly listen to us and see the common sense in what we are saying are our future allies. School them well and they will help us spread our message of human rights for all. #rightsnotrescue

In love and solidarity,

Annie


*SWERF = Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist
**TERF = Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist

How would you respond to these comments and questions? Please tell us in the comments below. xoxo

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Naked Truth YouTube Channel Is Born!



For some time, I've been toying with the idea of creating a YouTube channel for The Naked Truth. I have so many stories to share and opinions to express!

So, last night, I finally did it. I created the first video for The Naked Truth YouTube Channel.

This 4 minute film shows me, Annie Temple, getting ready for a show while talking to my colleagues about our "cookies." It is based on a true story, however bad my acting debut may be. (LOL)

The Naked Truth YouTube Channel is FOR sex industry workers and the people who love us. Although it may have an educational component, the goal is to entertain, connect with, and relate to sex industry workers.

Future videos will include other skits related to true sex industry stories, rants, interviews with sex worker rights activists, and whatever else we might come up with along the way.

If you like this video or think the channel has potential to be amazing, please subscribe and share with your friends.

If you would like to submit a short film to our channel, email annie@nakedtruth.ca.

In love and solidarity,

Annie

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sex Worker Feminism In Honour of Intnl Women's Day

By Annie Temple

At one time I was a staunch radical feminist – angry at the “patriarchy,” offended by men and their sexual natures, and victimized by any uninvited sexual attention I received from them. 

Anger can be a powerful feeling for awhile, but it always ends up turning bad. 

I felt terrible all the time. Especially in my romantic relationships.
I’ve known many women who were the same. Women who scorn certain female celebrities because their husbands are fascinated by them. Women who break up with their boyfriends for surfing porn on the internet. Women who insist on accompanying their partners everywhere so they can keep an eye on them.
I used to cry and yell if I saw my man even glance at another woman - especially if I thought she was more beautiful than me. I would be filled with insecurity, anger, and jealousy. 
Once I found a big stack of “girlie” magazines under one boyfriend’s bed and threw them all away when he wasn’t looking. I loathed the women who displayed themselves to men.
Then I became a woman who displayed myself to men. Hard up for funds, young, a small-town girl trying to make it on her own in the big city. It was easy to rationalize. I already hated men and loved to dance. I’d skinny-dipped in my hometown, so stripping was the natural next step.
I reasoned that I could make money off men’s perverted sexual natures. But my feminist education told me I was the one being exploited in such an exchange. I felt conflicted by my feminist beliefs – ashamed for “perpetuating women’s oppression” by going over to the other side of “bad” women and men. 
But did I feel exploited? No. Not at all.
I began to develop some feminist theories of my own, based on my experience. When I proposed to expose them in a university setting, my instructor gave me some great news...these theories had already been around for awhile, just hardly anyone knew about them.
And there began my transformation. I read literature by Norma Jean Almodovar, Veronica Monet, and Scarlot Harlot
My world opened up and my shame dropped away - shed as easily as my clothes were the first time I stripped.
I found words and experiences I could identify with. I learned there were feminists out there whose theories about sex did not lay blame, condemn, and criticize. I realized the reason my feminist education hadn’t jived with my sex industry experience was because it was written by women who’d never found empowerment through sex work – women who’d never even been sex industry workers.
Women like NinaHartley, on the other hand, reinforced my own perceptions about how men love all women’s bodies, not just the ones shown in popular culture. Exotic dancers are flesh and blood which means zits and cellulite. They have bloated days and bad hair days. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and yet they are admired equally by their audiences. Barbie has nothing on this narrow-hipped, freckle-faced, short girl with small breasts.
Suddenly, I had permission to enjoy my job. I didn’t have to compete with other women anymore. And men. Suddenly, I could love men again. It was a moving and freeing experience.
I began to feel more confident, more empowered. I hadn’t realized what a burden it was trying to control the men in my life. Letting go of my anger allowed me to let go of my anguish as well.
Now I take for granted that I am a woman and therefore men admire me. Instead of feeling victimized by men’s attentions or jealous of their attentions towards other women, I feel joy and understanding. Men aren’t evil, perverted beings. They are strong, coarse, sexual beings. Their capacity to see beauty in women’s bodies is a natural gift, not a perversion. Men are pretty damn great just the way they are, actually.
Camille Paglia helped me to discover that I am not an object in men's eyes. I am a warm, soft, feminine body – not a collection of dead parts. They might look at any pretty face to be sure (so will I), but it is the woman showing through that draws them. It is the person within that will ultimately bring a man to his knees.
Armed with this knowledge, I realize how my formerly insecure behavior and disgust for the opposite sex was actually making me feel less attractive. It was souring my relationships. And it was making me unhappy.
Likewise, learning to accept and value men just the way they are and embrace other women regardless of how beautiful they are, has made me feel more attractive. My friendships with women are stronger, my relationships with men deeper, and my sense of self truer.
This complete turnaround in perception changed my life. Still a staunch feminist, I seek equality through harmony rather than conflict with men and other women. I feel like this is part of what it means to be a woman – offering nurturing and unconditional love.
“Girlie” magazines are now a part of my library, having found I enjoy them more than the ones targeted towards women. I’ve also found that pornographic movies are a great way to get your man in the mood even when he’s hopelessly tired from work. Not surprisingly, my new attitude has improved my sex life too.
This realization has also impacted the lives of women who know me. Women who have embraced my philosophies have thanked me for freeing them from themselves. They’ve learned to embrace their natural sensuality as women and value man’s natural response to it.
Feminism like this unites women rather than polarizes them on one side or the other. “Bad girls,” like sex industry workers, can be part of the debate and share their valuable lessons with all women. “Good girls” can look on other women with camaraderie rather than competition.

Let's give up the notion that some are “good” and some are “bad.” We are all doing what we do best to make a life for ourselves. 
Let's respect each others' choices so we can focus on the more important work of promoting gender equality. 
#feminism #empowerment


About the Author

Annie Temple is the stage and writing name of Trina Ricketts. Trina has 17 years experience as a striptease artist and 15 years as a sex worker rights activist, but she's been a rebel all her life. In 2000, she founded NakedTruth.ca to support other entertainers by reducing isolation, educating about health and safety, sharing information about gigs, challenging stereotypes, teaching etiquette to customers, and organizing in-person events for charity and to promote ethical businesses in the industry. Some of the groups and functions that Trina is associated with are Exotic Dancers for Cancer (now BoobaPalooza), The Naked Truth Adult Entertainment Awards, Trade Secrets Guide, BC Coalition of Experiential Communities, Canadian Union of Naked Trades, as well as several community sex worker supportive organizations. Trina is a mom of three, a lover of writing and dancing. Currently she continues to run NakedTruth.ca and recently she founded Digital Activist Media - a project to investigate digital activism strategies and share them with other change-makers. Trina's activism efforts have expanded to include many issues, but her main activities involve sex worker and health freedom rights.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pubic Hair Trends in Pornography and Mainstream Culture

By Amalie De Maistre
Guest Blogger

This blog analysis is based on a retweet from @FeministPornArchive, originally tweeted by @Fleshbot; “Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen! Take a look at hair in porn in this week's Encyclopedia of Smut (Massimo).”

This retweet links to a blog written about the history of pubic hair trends, going back from thousands of years ago in various art-forms, but specifically focused on the 'porn eras' between the 1960's and 2012 (Massimo).

The topic of pubic hair is an important one, especially for those in the adult entertainment industry. Annie Temple, an exotic dancer, sheds light on this in her poem:

T’was my first time up on stage
No one showed me how to shave
Mullet Pussy
I was trim all up in front
But my bush covered my cunt
Mullet Pussy...


Vast amounts of money and time get invested into pubic hair; trends have ranged from wearing merkins, getting electrolysis, to modern-day Brazilian waxing rituals with “vagacial” aftercare procedures (Hartmann). 

There are many people who grew up in the 1980's who have been removing their pubic, leg, and armpit hair since puberty without actually knowing that this trend was created by porn culture.

I have heard people state that pubic hair removal promotes pedophilia to make genitalia look pre-pubescent, and have also seen people cringe when they observe 'too much' body hair, deeming it to be unhygienic or unappealing. 

This practice of observing and imposing ideals with respect to body hair affects those working within the adult entertainment industry and also those in mainstream society, as people are faced with these culturally constructed norms around 'proper' grooming of their nether-regions.

Massimo has a refreshing blog writing style with high-spirited banter, making light of topic matter that is often considered crude or embarrassing. The comical writing style in Massimo's blog-post provides context to the trends around body hair because although pubic hair is something people invest time and money into, it's often not talked about. 

Pubic hair concerns are kept within the private domestic sphere or within the back rooms of salons; however, porn culture influences trends in the public mainstream sphere. Once trends are visible to the public, cultural expectations follow suit.

The “Pubic Wars” is a term Massimo used to describe major porn companies competitively pushing the envelope, to start showing “bush” in the 1960's and even more-so in the 1970's. As genital imagery became the prevalent focus for the 1980's and 1990's porn consumer, the pubic hair got shorter and eventually removed altogether in order to provide the consumer with easier visual access to the genitals (Massimo).

Body hair removal was a technical industry strategy to see the genitals better as well as a response to shrinking bathing suits (Massimo). The popular term 'manscaping' indicates that pube-removal is a norm that is non gender-specific (Massimo). 

Hair removal also benefits performers as it prevents hair from getting in mouths during oral sex scenes (Massimo). In Massimo's humorous yet down-to-earth way, he questions whether 'manscaping' is done to make the penis look larger, which in my opinion is the case.

History repeats itself as porn's focus on genitals in the 1980's and 1990's revisited the previous porn trends from the mid to late 1800's. Why didn't Massimo explain the disappearance of the genitals and pubic hair in porn between the Victorian era and the 1960's? 

Perhaps a more complete historical analysis starting from the mid-nineteenth century would have provided a better overview of the discourse pertaining to the appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of genitals and hair in porn (Fenton 1999, Williams 31).

Massimo stated that shaved genitals look more youthful, but in contrast described “pubephiles,” as those who love the variety of pubic hair, which apparently is making a comeback in porn. 

Massimo attributed 'smut conscious feminists' as another reasons for pubic hair making a return to the screen. Massimo's argument about 'smut conscious feminist's' refusing to partake in porn culture's pubic hair removal connects feminists to the anti-pubic hair removal side of the “war.” 

Many feminist porn producers, performers, and consumers benefit from the technical aspects of showing the genitals, and would disagree with Massimo's sweeping generalization.

Massimo also mentions that the fallen economy has impacted hair removal trends, and this is unbelievable with the many advertisements for vagazzling and male grooming products like the Braun cruZer (XX). 

During economic recessions porn and sex consumers seek more entertainment and companionship to deal with the stress, therefore adult entertainment workers have more business (Reporter). 

There is a market for everything in the industry, and accommodations need to be made for consumers who desire hair. Will the mainstream public follow suit with the new hairy trend?

References:

Braun, "How to get a perfectly groomed groin with the cruZer body genital hair remover." Braun-The Perfectly Groomed Groin. N.p.. Web. 13 Feb 2015. <http://www.braun.com/global/male-grooming/adviser/body-grooming/perfectly-groomed-groin.html>.

Fenton, Bailey, prod. Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation. Prod. Randy Barbato, and . IMDb, 1999. Film. 2 Feb 2015. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0498445>.

Hartmann, Margaret. "The Vagacial: Now Your Vagina Needs A Facial Too." Jezebel. Jezebel, 02 11 2010. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://jezebel.com/5469743/the-vagacial-now-your-vagina-needs-a-facial-too>.

Massimo, Ottimo. "The Encycopedia of Smut:The Body Hair Appendix." Fleshbot Porn Blog. Fleshbot.com, 27 09 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://straight.fleshbot.com/5937841/the-encyclopedia-of-smut-the-body-hair-appendix>

Reporter, Daily Mail. "Recession-hit Russian Men Turn To Prostitutes For... A Chat And Shoulder To Cry On." Mail Online. N.p., 04 05 2009. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1177164/Recession-hit-Russian-men-turn-prostitutes--chat-shoulder-on.html>.

Temple, Annie. "Yonilicious: Mullet Pussy." Yonilicious.blogspot.ca. NakedTruth.ca, 18 04 2007. Web. 13 Feb. 2015. <http://yonilicious.blogspot.ca/2007/04/mullet-pussy.html>.

Williams, Linda. "Speaking Sex: "The Indiscreet Jewels"." Trans. Array Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible". Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996. 1-33. Print.

XX, Mrs. "Vagazzling: Vagazzle Body Art Crystals in Sparcling Designs." CrazyBee.ca. N.p.. Web. 13 Feb 2015. <http://www.crazybee.ca/index.php/products/vajazzling>.

WISH Vancouver Seeks Executive Director

334 Alexander Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 1C3 604- 669 - 9474

www.wish-vancouver.net

http://www.facebook.com/WishDropIn

Located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the WISH Drop-In Centre Society is a registered nonprofit society that operates a Drop-In Centre, the MAP outreach van and programming for
women engaging in sex work. This includes literacy development, supported employment,
Indigenous cultural programming and peer support. WISH has an annual budget of
approximately $1.5 million, 40 staff members and 65 volunteers.

We are seeking an experienced Executive Director who has the ability to take on the overall
responsibility for the management and administration of WISH, its programming and initiatives
coupled with an unwavering commitment to the women who access our services.

This will include working in a senior management role for 5 years, extensive experience in financial
management, annual audit preparation, grant proposal writing and associated fundraising
vehicles, and compliance with all funding contracts. The ideal candidate has worked in the
Downtown Eastside or similar community, has a thorough knowledge of government and nongovernment agencies, has the ability to represent WISH through media and public
presentations, and is ready to work to make women safer and less vulnerable to violence.

In addition, the successful candidate will have a strong awareness and sensitivity to complex
issues faced by women involved in sex work and the systemic issues that affect indigenous
women, making them the most vulnerable of marginalized women. She will share our
dedication to working within an anti-oppression framework and have a strong commitment to
the rights of sex workers. She will also have a dedication to nurturing a fair and equitable
workplace where staff are respected and supported in their work and volunteers are highly
valued for their contribution.

If you can check all these boxes, please contact us at wishdropincentre@shaw.ca for an
application package with further details of required skills, competencies, experience and
abilities.