My thoughts and hopes for the new Project Respect blog.
This blog will be a place where women in the sex industry can make their voices heard, with all their strength, subtlety, humour and humanity, and somewhere for people outside the sex industry to listen to voices of women that are too often silenced, erased, discounted, distorted.
The sex industry relies on stories to sell sex – stories the industry tells men, stories men tell themselves – and too often the stories told to make money are confused with the full story of women’s lives. The media reflects these half-truths, half-lies, accepting a less confronting, less human projection of the many, diverse women in the sex industry.
Women’s lives are crushed into a single, safe stereotype - the desperate junky, say, or the happy hooker. Who lives so one-dimensional a life that she can be compressed down to one sapless image? This blog aims to reflect the complexity of life for women in the sex industry, the diversity of views, the passionate beliefs, the changing ideas each person has, the dynamism and authority that every person brings to understanding their own life.
We want to hear about the good, the bad, and the puzzling: the best time you’ve every had in sex industry, the person you’ll never forget, the wrongs that make you passionate about changing them, the dilemmas you can’t talk to other people about, the tips for other women that you hope will make their life easier.
Which is not to say that all the writing will be about the sex industry. One of the damaging erasures about women in the sex industry is of their life, and importance, beyond the minutes they spend having sex with a customer. It should be self-evident that women are more than what they do for money, but too often this is not the case. Here, women will write – and draw and photograph - about what is important to them, drawing on the full richness of the world they are part of.
Women here won’t always agree with each other, or, indeed, with the views of people at Project Respect. We welcome a wide range of views and thoughts. Until the great diversity of views of women in the sex industry are commonly heard elsewhere, we hope this can be a place where women can explore their ideas, share their thoughts, and help build a more realistic understanding of the range of views and experiences of women in the sex industry.
We’ll have other people speaking too – Project Respect volunteers and members, men reflecting on how they see the sex industry, other interesting writers. This will be an experimental process – it will evolve over time. But at its heart, this will be a space for women who have been in the sex industry to talk about what matters to them.
We hope you’ll join us, in writing and reading, speaking and listening, in create space for women to tell their truths, and be heard.
Founding Director, Project Respect