– Laurie Penny, Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism (2010). (via steelydanfromyokohama)
If we are to properly understand women’s oppression in the West today, objectification and sexual performance must be understood as work. The sexual sell is real labour, propping up a socially mandated measure of erotic capital. From the working hours devoted to the purchase and strategic applicaiton of clothes and hair and beauty products, to the actual labor of dieting and exercise, to the creation and maintenance of sexual persona, self-objectification is work, first and foremost. Female sexuality, which every day becomes increasingly synonymous with objectification, is work. And it is impossible to talk about sexuality as work without talking about sex work itself. (17)
The marginalisation of the labouring bodies of sex workers is an extreme form of the labouring bodies of all women. (18)
Sex work is an economic question, not a moral one: in a world where shame and sexual violence are still hard currency, the normalisation of the sex industry is a symptom not of social degeneration, but of the economic exploitation of women on an unprecedented scale, in a feminised labour market where all working women are expected to commodify their sexuality to some extent. The violence done to the bodies of sex workers and the moral marginalisation of prostituted women impacts all women, everywhere.
The ubiquity of female sex work as fact and as social narrative affects women who are not sex workers, because under late capitalism, all female sexuality is work (20).