Is working as a stripper honestly empowering? I hated the popular belief that sex workers were oppressed and without agency, victims in need of rescuing. When I started stripping in the back bar of a Christchurch brothel at 18, I was in control of my decision to get nude — or so I thought. An arts undergraduate, I had no pressing need for money, the reason usually cited for entry into the sex industry — an umbrella term that encompasses stripping, web-camming, escorting, prostitution and porn.
The fact that these two features of my life may seem completely incongruous and out-of-step to some women, and yet so obviously compatible to others, reflects the ongoing deep divides within the gender equality movement over the sex industry.
Another erotic dancer spoke about earning enough cash to pay for her friends' mortgages and paying for food for "countless children". Another added: "Judgemental people need to watch this, a complete different way of life that before you judge need to understand why. Earlier this year the controversial documentary was found to have breached broadcasting guidelines. The last series was made up of three episodes titled Pain For Pleasure, Trans On Demand and Orgasms For Sale, which documented the lives of sex workers working in specific areas of the industry.
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