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Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work Paperback – March 11, 2014
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In Playing the Whore, journalist Melissa Gira Grant turns these pieties on their head, arguing for an overhaul in the way we think about sex work. Based on ten years of writing and reporting on the sex trade, and grounded in her experience as an organizer, advocate, and former sex worker, Playing the Whore dismantles pervasive myths about sex work, criticizes both conditions within the sex industry and its criminalization, and argues that separating sex work from the “legitimate” economy only harms those who perform sexual labor. In Playing the Whore, sex workers’ demands, too long relegated to the margins, take center stage: sex work iswork, and sex workers’ rights are human rights.
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—Chris Hayes, All In With Chris Hayes
“An important contribution to debates around sex and work, and deserves to be read by anyone who wants to get beyond tired and damaging understandings of both.”
—Nina Power, author of One Dimensional Woman
“Thoroughly researched, eminently readable...Keeping the focus on ideas instead of autobiography has an impressively unsettling effect, as we're forced to acknowledge the writer's boundaries, and our own voyeurism.”
"Gira Grant is one of the most interesting policy thinkers in the country when it comes to sex work, and this short book introduces and outlines her thinking on the matter.”
—Mike Konczal, Washington Post
“An informative and extremely worthwhile addition to the existing body of literature on sex work.”
—Stoya, adult performer and Vice columnist
“Learn, listen, take heart—this is the real deal.”
—Susie Bright, sex and culture critic, and founder of On Our Backs
“Well-researched and provocative … A vital text on an incendiary topic.”
—Lily Burana, author of I Love a Man in Uniform and Strip City
“Gira Grant weaves her way through sanctimony and hypocrisy with wit, eloquence, insight, and a dose of necessary outrage.”
—Laura Kipnis, author of How to Become a Scandal
“Makes precisely clear that a culture that polices, silences and marginalizes women who sell sex is a culture that cares nothing about women. Period.”
—Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness
“As self-appointed saviors like Nicolas Kristof command mainstream media attention for their crusade on behalf of trafficked women, Melissa Gira Grant provides a sharp and powerful counternarrative, a layered, justice-minded critique of such interventions as well as a much needed skewering of ‘carceral feminism.’ An important, illuminating and engaging read.”
—Liliana Segura, Senior Editor, The Intercept (First Look Media)
“In [Playing the Whore], Grant critiques the policing of sex workers, the conditions of the industry, and the ongoing discussions surrounding how we see the sex industry as well as the sex workers themselves. [She] hits the major points of these huge topics and takes a powerful stance on the rights of sex workers.”
—River H. Kero, Book Riot
“In [<i>Playing the Whore</i>], Grant critiques the policing of sex workers, the conditions of the industry, and the ongoing discussions surrounding how we see the sex industry as well as the sex workers themselves. [She] hits the major points of these huge topics and takes a powerful stance on the rights of sex workers.”<br><strong>—River H. Kero, <i>Book Riot</i></strong><br><br>
About the Author
Her website is melissagiragrant.com.
- Publisher : Verso (March 11, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1781683239
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781683231
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.05 x 0.37 x 7.78 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #80,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The author writes well, and she does a passable job of providing an overview of the issues raised by sex work, but it is only an overview. The book is surprisingly short and offers virtually no substantive analysis of the topics presented. Most disappointing for me, however, was the total absence of any citations to sources. It is simply inexcusable to present conclusions that are often antithetical to the majority views held by society and not provide any source for the conclusions.
There are much better sources of information on the topics presented available for free on the internet. It would be worth the price to read this capable author's in depth exploration of these issues (with footnotes, please), but the cursory treatment of the subject matter does not justify the relatively high purchase price.
Be prepared to have any previous assumptions, perceptions, or prejudices you may have about sex work and sex workers powerfully challenged. It takes a lot of courage to advocate for the rights of sex workers, particularly in a country like America, where our handling of human sexuality is ridiculous and slut-shaming can be a powerful deterrent,
Much thanks to Guardian columnist Margaret Corvid for referring me to this book.