In our previous piece on SWERFs, we covered exactly what sex worker exclusionary radical feminism actually is.
Now that we’re armed with knowledge, what can we actually do with this information? The answers are fairly simple, whether you’re a cam model or an ally that wants to help.
What Can Cam Models Do to Combat Anti-Sex Worker Culture?
You’re probably on YNOT Cam because you’re interested in becoming a cam model or because you already are one. Congratulations either way on figuring out your lifestyle! Whether or not you personally identify as a sex worker, there are some very important things you can do to make the industry (and yourself) safer in the face of adversity.
First and foremost, remember that self-care is vital. In a world where you may be publicly shamed for doing your job, you may decide to keep your work a secret. This in itself is stressful, as is being “out and proud” as a cam model. Taking care of your mental health is a very important first step.
Join Your Local Sex Workers’ Rights Organization
Many people are unaware that there are a handful of sex worker organizations worldwide that focus on the destigmatization of sex work, protecting sex workers’ rights and advocating for survivors of sex trafficking, as well as those vulnerable to sex trafficking.
A few really great organizations include:
- Sex Workers Project (US)
- Sex Worker Alliance (Ireland)
- Sex Workers Outreach Project (US)
- POW (England)
- Desiree Alliance (US)
- Stella (Canada)
- International Union of Sex Workers
You can find many more international sex worker coalitions via Bay Swan.
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Education promotes healthy dialogue and a deterioration of unjust stigmas. In that vein, The Poetry Brothel instagram is delighted to introduce a segment that will be dedicated to sex worker advocacy. Every week we will share information that pertains to the movement! Have you heard of them? The Sex Workers Project, The Sex Workers Outreach Project, and Desiree Alliance are striving to decriminalize sex work in order to provide safer work opportunities for and protect the rights of sex workers. The admirable efforts of these groups have created a system of support for people who’ve been silenced. #sexworkersproject #sexworkersoutreachproject #desireealliance #sexworkerrights
What Can Allies Do to Combat Anti-Sex Worker Culture?
A sex worker ally is simply someone who isn’t a sex worker themselves but who wishes to use their own privilege to raise up the voices and concerns of sex workers worldwide without shaming, bashing or low-key projecting abusive behaviors onto sex workers for doing their job. There’s quite a bit allies can do to help!
Listen to the concerns of cam models and sex workers without interjecting or over-questioning their feelings. The best way to spread empathy is to listen honestly and providing a shoulder to lean on to your sex working friends and family. Validation and saving space are things that any good friend should do, especially when it comes to supporting marginalized loved ones.
In a similar vein, standing up for sex workers around SWERFs or around those who may just be ignorant to the lifestyle provides a huge example. When we unabashedly protect oppressed people, we set a standard that can influence others on the fence.
Standing up for others isn’t easy, but it is necessary. Sex workers speak up for themselves all the time and are often met with humiliation and dehumanizing words and actions. When one uses their own voice to stand up for those who are often ignored, you’re setting a very important and very brave example. This includes utilizing social media, as well as in-person situations that require a non-sex workers’ support.
This is not exclusive to allies, of course. Sex workers and allies alike can vote for substantial change in their communities that will benefit members of the community and society as large. Voting for federal and state representatives that openly support the protection of sex workers is one way to stop the legal oppression of sex workers in your country if possible.
Vote, speak up, join fighting organizations, listen and take care of yourself. We live in a world that is ignorant at times, but we are indeed part of that world and can change it for the better!
Em Casalena is a queer sex positive writer and professional protective mom friend. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via Nick Winchester.