In 2011 I started a campaign website on behalf of the people who work in the various sex industries called WeConsent.org. Below is some information about it from the site itself, why it started and what it aims to achieve.
WeConsent promotes and campaigns on behalf of people who work in the erotic industries to enable them to have the same equal rights, security and acceptance that non erotic industry workers enjoy. We see all sex work as legitimate and of equal value. We just wish the rest of the world agreed with us…
We will achieve this by direct campaigning in the media, at events and at university debates/lectures. This site also aims to inform visitors of the real facts behind the debates, with the hope that this will make them less polemic and more informed.
Who we are for:
WeConsent is first and foremost a networking and support site for people who work in the erotic industries to get to know about each other and to enjoy the events special promotions that this site offers. The vast majority of us in the erotic industries choose this line of work over other options that were available to us when we started and are proud of what we do. We know what it means to consent to work the way we do and we strongly believe that we do not deserve the stigma and negativity aimed at us by many people who dislike our work. Such work can be an excellent career choice for those who have chosen to work in the erotic industries. We also believe that it is only through our bonding together that we will feel truly confident and proud of our work in public.
Until now, the different areas of sex work, whether it be sex work, pornography, sex industry research or any other type of sex job have been kept separate, which means that we don’t know much about each other, even if we share the same pro-sex ideals. It also means the policymakers and media companies can rely on our silence when they make decisions that directly affect our well-being in a negative way. Just imagine, for instance, how many more signatures a petition to government to decriminalise sex work (formerly known as prostitution) would have if the whole of the sex industry and their fans were consulted…
Of course some people who work in the erotic industries don’t chose to do so – which is really upsetting – but we believe that the police and policy makers should be able to focus on helping these people out of the industry by not wasting their time on those of us who do consent and enjoy their work.
The erotic industries are not as scary as they are represented in the media, which is why the majority of people in them consent to and continue to work in them. We don’t need saving we need support.
This will be a place to discuss anything about your work, why you do it, why you chose to become a sex worker, what you like and dislike about it (any funny stories are especially welcome) As well as how it is represented in media or law. This site is about celebrating your choice to work in the erotic industries.
One of the aims of this site is to provide an ongoing discussion about the negative representations of sex work in newspapers and on TV. Every time you see something that you disagree with we want you to post it up to the forum to encourage discussion. This is your space to laugh as well as to rant. It is also your space to offer ideas for better alternatives on how you want to be shown. Once we have enough members, search engines will send the media and policy makers to our forum to read what we think of their work. They will hear our voices directly and eventually we will become a force to be reckoned with…
If you don’t work in the erotic industries yourself, we would still like you to get involved if you support our work. it’s always good to hear from people who appreciate what we do, and how much talent it takes to do it well. So if you like what we do, tell us! Feel free to join in any of the discussions, we hope you find them as fulfilling as we do.
So come and join us to say ‘ We like sex so much we do it full-time’ and above all, WE CONSENT!
A ‘one stop shop’ for information regarding the erotic industries:
This site aims to be a ‘one stop shop’ for all information pertaining to the erotic industries. We provide a single source for erotic industry members, journalists, policy developers, researchers – and just as importantly – the public, to learn about the debates surrounding our work and its effect on the wider culture. One of the main aims was to provide a place where journalists, researchers and policy makers could come to acquire first hand knowledge of the facts surrounding the our work and to read the words of sex workers themselves (which are often difficult to source).
On this site you will find all relevant recent social science, psychology and cultural research on our work, regardless as to whether they are supportive of us. We also offer some information on the main anti-sex campaigners – ‘moral entrepreneurs’ – and the flaws in their arguments. You will also find a running commentary on any anti-erotic industries media and news in the UK and eventually, worldwide. This commentary will be debated between site members and the hope is that visitors will be able to hear what sex workers think about how their work is represented first hand.
How it all started:
It was whilst researching for the Porn Does a Good Public Service debate (which we won!) at Cambridge University in January 2011, that my husband Tim said ‘I hate it when you have to do these debates, that you have to justify yourself when normally you are happy creating films. It’s like you haven’t emotionally been here for the month you have been writing your speech.’ It was true, I always found preparing for press appearances and university debates stressful, even though I always did well because no one knew the argument like I did. On the night of the debate both of my co-debaters confided the same. We knew we were right – as the empirical studies and theory supported us – however it often felt like entering the lion’s jaw anyway.
At about the same time I read a tweet by the famous sex worker, Belle du Jour that read ‘One of these days, when people stop being abusive towards sex workers, I can get back to being interesting/funny. Let’s make that happen!’
Then something twigged. If the likes of Belle du Jour and I, the ones who had read reams of academic theory supporting their sex work found it draining, what must it feel like if you haven’t read up on the subject? I knew I could argue a vicious anti-porn protester into the ground with facts, but that is because I had the time and inclination to read scores of books on the subject. If you are young escort, or already busy working and looking after a family, you may just have your own experience, your own gut feeling that what you are doing was good, to go on.
At present, in 2012 erotic industry workers are facing an ever-increasing push into the sidelines from both the political left and the right. Our freedoms are being threatened, and we are constantly being derided by bad science and prejudiced policy aimed at saving us from ourselves. When what we really need is a solid community of like-minded individuals that we can talk freely amongst, alongside a resource that gives us the tools to fight our corner effectively. This is why I have created this site, So no one else has to do the legwork in order to face the ‘ moral entrepreneurs’ – those with a career to build on convincing the public of the evils of sex work – or to feel they do so on their own.
Together we can tell them where to go…