Portland Sex Worker Community
STOP THE STIGMATIZATION OF SEX WORK!
Started 1 petition
Stop Stigmatizing Sex Workers!
WE ARE ASKING THE CUPCAKE GIRLS OF PORTLAND, OREGON TO STOP STIGMATIZING THE SEX WORK INDUSTRY. YOUR ORGANIZATION DOES NOT REPRESENT US. STAND WITH US, NOT ABOVE US. The Oregonian recently came out with an article titled "Strippers, prostitutes, porn workers look to Cupcake Girls for support, sweets". In this article, praise is given to a non-profit organization called "The Cupcake Girls" who supposedly "bring non-judgmental support, consistent caring, community resources, peace, love & cupcakes to women in the adult entertainment industry". The Cupcake Girls recently held an event at a local salon to offer free services to women in the sex worker industry. Despite what the article says and despite The Cupcake Girls self-congratulatory tone on their facebook page, many local sex workers are IRATE and OFFENDED. You can read the article in it's entirety here. Zoee Garza, a recently retired stripper, took to her facebook page with this response: "I recently hung up my heels and I could not be more pleased at the prospect of never seeing the pink box of cupcakes that The Cupcake Girls often bring into clubs ever again. The Cupcake Girls are a non-profit created by Joy Hoover to 'help' strippers, prostitutes and porn actors. They are allegedly non-judgmental. This article proves differently. The Cupcake Girls recently threw a cupcake party with some free hair shit to make their little pets (Portland sex-workers) feel loved. "We're here to make them feel like somebody cares about them" said Shannon Balcer, owner of Venus Allure Salon and Spa "I don't think they often get that recognition." Huh, why don't you think that? Gosh it must because you're speaking about sex workers and everybody knows that sex workers are utterly unlovable. What a pretentious, disgusting presumption. Kelly House, the under informed author opens with "A young women leaned back in her chair...settling into a rare moment of pampering." Wait- what? Why would a stripper, for example, not be used to being pampered or having her hair done. As with any professional, dancers make a point to have enough money to sustain their business. In an industry about image and entertainment you had better believe money is set aside for massages, pedicures, dye jobs. That assumption does not even make sense. "The chance to be pampered and primped, with no expectation of anything in return." Anything...like sex? Ah-ha so it seems the non-judgmental rouse is over! That reeks of someone (ah, a whole group of people) that is judging the idea of offering sex or even the idea of sex for compensation. Alas, you forgot who you set out to help, SEX-Workers. Here's another thing you probably forgot to realize, we don't need your help. I can only speak to the stripping community but it's full of emotional support. My friends in the industry love me and understand the trials and tribulations of the work. I don't need a babysitter and am willing to pay for my own manicures and counseling. There was also no mention of male sex-workers in the article which leads me to believe that you think that men can handle the decision to be in sex work and women can't. That is sexist and this whole thing is doing nothing for feminism. I am mostly so sick of the "sex-workers are not loved" stereo-type. It is de-humanizing, dangerous and a bold faced lie. We are loved by mothers, sisters, husbands, friends, fathers, brothers, children, wives, puppies, lovers. It is a grotesque idea to believe that even a singular person isn't loved and cared about, let alone a whole group of people." Zoee is just one of the many sex workers who are fed up with the stigmatization of the sex worker industry. We are an empowered community, made up of all genders, NOT just women, who.. believe it or not, enjoy what we do! We do not deny that oppressive structures exist in the world. The issue here is not whether or not they exist, but that the conversation of whether they exist within the sex worker industry should not coincide with the conversation that sex work in general is oppressive. Because it's not. We don't feel oppressed so why are we being made to feel this way? The sex work industry is not the reason for why human trafficking and violence occurs. The reason that these horrible crimes exist is partially because society continues to stigmatize sex work. When we have organizations like The Cupcake Girls Portland, continuing to paint the average stripper or sex worker as a victim, we might be convincing a small population to "care" but what we are really doing is allowing society to continue to think that people who do sex work are pathethic and can't do anything else. When this stigma is continuously perpetuated, bad people taint the industry because they know that ultimately no one is going to care. A member of The Cupcake Girls states in the article: "It's really about what the women want,".. "We're just here to help them." If that were true, the voices of sex workers would be heard and empowered. They would be standing with us, fighting against sexism and fighting for sex worker rights. Why aren't they responding to the many sex worker who disagree with them? Why are they assuming that we don't already work within our community to take on important issues? We are asking that sex workers in the Portland community sign this petition if it resonates with you. We are also asking that allies and those who are not in the sex industry to sign and share as well! We are asking those who sign to only write their stripper and/or sex worker name unless you feel comfortable doing otherwise. Let The Cupcake Girls know that they do not represent you!