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Notes Towards Day 23: Thinking about Sex Work

Anne Dalke's picture

the music suppliers are letting us down....!
so, from Anne: Jacob & Lily's "Ruby":
"Ruby don't go downtown, Ruby come in and stay.
It's a cold rain outside and your bed's a ways away....
Now no one's daughter your trying harder just to stay alive...
I 'm gonna stand right on this corner...

    Masculinity as Disability...and a Bust with a Bust?!

I. Coursekeeping
what's upcoming after Thanksgiving:
workshopping a la Lynda Barry;
writing conferences;
final performances;

II. For today, we agreed to view and discuss
Julia Query and Vicky Funari's Live Nude Girls Unite!
  "a truly queer film" (??) portraying
* the unionizing of the "Lusty Ladies,"
* the coming out (as a lesbian and as an exotic dancer) of one of them;
* and her conversation/relationship with her mother.

II. To get @ the first of these, write
for 5 minutes in response to this prompt
(following the mantra from Kate Bornstein's
"Ten-Minute Gender Outlaw Exercise" in The Gender Workbook):

The trick is that the answers have to be phrased in questions...
it keeps the questions open, which is where I think they belong....
The point is to get to a question you want to think about some more,
one that really tickles your brain--something you can ponder on
for the balance of the day. Once you get to that question, you stop."

Is sex work inherently degrading?
Is sex work a liberating expression of
free choice and sexual independence?
Is sex work "just" a job?
Why does it have to be one or the other?

III. Let's go 'round, hear your responses
either to these questions, or to the film:

how did you feel, watching it?
what did you notice, about how it was made?
what did you learn?
what questions do you have?

in particular: how does the generational divide strike you?

IV. what gets highlighted, if you put Query
& Funari's film into conversation with

** Ross Kauffman & Zana Briski's film, Born into Brothels, which
uses photography "to capture the imaginations of children, to
empower them, building confidence, self-esteem and hope."

** Kamala Kempadoo's essay, "Women of Color and the Global Sex Trade,"
which asks us not only to consider sex work as an income-generating activity,
but also to think about women's sexual agency, needs, desires.

**the material on feminist documentary-making we discussed last week?

which of these--and/or what else--do you find
most useful as a frame for discussing the film?

V. what questions would you have asked
Funari, had she been able to join us today?

Happy Thanksgiving!