Dec 5, 2017

The oldest profession in the world ... reclaim the word 'whore' with Whoretography

Very nice and very good initiative by Camille Melissa, a sex worker herself. Respect!

A prostitute, a whore, a slut (I love the explanation on Urban Dictionary: "A woman that sleeps with everyone but YOU!!!!!"). None of these words have a positive connotation. Spending my childhood in Amsterdam and visiting an uncle who had a bicycle shop near the red light district for me being a prostitute is a profession. The oldest profession. Same with a call girl. Sometimes it's a choice, sometimes it's not. Talking about this people explain to me that these are often foreign girls, human traficking, abuse ... but that is a total different problem. Like kids forced to work in underdeveloped countries. I guess it also has to do with a taboo on sex, so if you have a job in the sex industry, whatever job, it's bad.

“Whoever controls the image controls the message. We must celebrate the fact that sex workers are now image makers; we must challenge the exclusion of sex workers from online visual spaces” – Camille Melissa

Whoretography is the intersection of imagery, technologies, society & the sex worker rights movement.

You can support her here.

And this made me furious, shame on them:


Here you will find details of the places, platforms and institutions that Whoretography has been rejected from in an effort to take my photographic reseach work main stream, I am posting these to highlight the stigma associated with being a sex work researcher and getting my artistic work in front of a greater audience.

My account on Linkedin was rejected after I updated my qualifications. In listing my Master's Degree, I wrote a paragraph about my research question, which was 'Is it possible to reclaim the word whore through creative practice as research?' and then discussed my desire to pursue a Ph.D.
My account was immediately suspended. Apparently, the puritanical peeps at Linkedin take offense to an artist in their corporate mix.

I was rejected for a Ph.D. application at a leading university in Melbourne (one at which I have studied before) I pitched for a photography Ph.D. exploring issues related to sexuality, surveillance, and identity that are part of contemporary photography and sex work.  Whilst they acknowledged that my research sounded fascinating and unique I was rejected on the basis the doctoral level research in photography should be conceptual and formal not social and political and if I was serious about pursuing a Ph.D. I would need to change my research.

Airbnb suspended my account after I booked accommodation to attend a photography conference and I was discussing my research with (not the name of my research, I omitted that) my Airbnb host.  Apparently Airbnb is a community for all, except sex work researchers.

iBooks rejected the initial version of the Whoretography Magazine citing objectionable content - I thought perhaps I had made an error with the format of the book but was told some of the visual content was deemed to be offensive.

You can buy the book over here.


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