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Challenging Feminisms: Sex Worker Rights Activists and Feminist Identity

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Abstract:

U.S. sex worker rights activists have a complicated relationship with feminist ideals and feminist organizations. As a marginalized group, sex workers who engage in activism are continuing the historical feminist attempt to overcome the idealized dichotomy between power and danger (Vance 1984). Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 19 activists during 2011 - 2012, and ethnographic data from a 2010 national sex worker rights conference, I explore how sex worker rights activists contest meanings of sex, autonomy, and gender. Arguing for labor rights and protections rather than prohibition of prostitution, sex worker rights organizers reflect on the meanings of feminism in their lives and work. Some activists willing take on the label, others are more circumspect and do not take on “feminism” as a label. I argue that the ways in which U.S. sex worker rights activists problematize feminism offer insights into contemporary feminist issues and the multiplicity of feminisms that exist today.
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Association:
Name: Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.pacificsoc.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p708031_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Jackson, Crystal. "Challenging Feminisms: Sex Worker Rights Activists and Feminist Identity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon, Mar 27, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p708031_index.html>

APA Citation:

Jackson, C. A. , 2014-03-27 "Challenging Feminisms: Sex Worker Rights Activists and Feminist Identity" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p708031_index.html

Publication Type: Formal research paper presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: U.S. sex worker rights activists have a complicated relationship with feminist ideals and feminist organizations. As a marginalized group, sex workers who engage in activism are continuing the historical feminist attempt to overcome the idealized dichotomy between power and danger (Vance 1984). Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 19 activists during 2011 - 2012, and ethnographic data from a 2010 national sex worker rights conference, I explore how sex worker rights activists contest meanings of sex, autonomy, and gender. Arguing for labor rights and protections rather than prohibition of prostitution, sex worker rights organizers reflect on the meanings of feminism in their lives and work. Some activists willing take on the label, others are more circumspect and do not take on “feminism” as a label. I argue that the ways in which U.S. sex worker rights activists problematize feminism offer insights into contemporary feminist issues and the multiplicity of feminisms that exist today.


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