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A Whore’s Manifesto: An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers

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Sex work was once thought to be anathema to women’s liberation. Now, to some, we represent the tenacity of women’s struggles under patriarchy and capitalism—that is, at least, the white, straight, cis, able-bodied sex workers who don’t engage in actual sex with clients. These are the workers who get the glossy media profiles and get touted as feminist icons. But the red Sex work was once thought to be anathema to women’s liberation. Now, to some, we represent the tenacity of women’s struggles under patriarchy and capitalism—that is, at least, the white, straight, cis, able-bodied sex workers who don’t engage in actual sex with clients. These are the workers who get the glossy media profiles and get touted as feminist icons. But the red umbrella is wide and covers so many: escorts, sugar babies, strippers, session wrestlers, cam performers, fetish models, DIY queer porn stars, and the full range of gender, race, and ability. Our work and our identities are as vast and variable as the spectrum of sexuality itself. We do the work. In the streets, in the clubs, in hotel rooms, and in play party dungeons. We make dreams come true so we can afford a place to sleep. We do business in a marketplace that politicians and police are constantly burning down for our “own safety and dignity.” We have high heels and higher anxiety. This isn’t a collection of sob stories of heartbroken whores. This is a testament of life at ground zero of sexual discourse, the songs of canaries in the coal mines of sex, gender, class, race, and disability. We may dance on the table, but we still demand our seat at it. Sex workers of the world unite. This is A Whore’s Manifesto.


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Sex work was once thought to be anathema to women’s liberation. Now, to some, we represent the tenacity of women’s struggles under patriarchy and capitalism—that is, at least, the white, straight, cis, able-bodied sex workers who don’t engage in actual sex with clients. These are the workers who get the glossy media profiles and get touted as feminist icons. But the red Sex work was once thought to be anathema to women’s liberation. Now, to some, we represent the tenacity of women’s struggles under patriarchy and capitalism—that is, at least, the white, straight, cis, able-bodied sex workers who don’t engage in actual sex with clients. These are the workers who get the glossy media profiles and get touted as feminist icons. But the red umbrella is wide and covers so many: escorts, sugar babies, strippers, session wrestlers, cam performers, fetish models, DIY queer porn stars, and the full range of gender, race, and ability. Our work and our identities are as vast and variable as the spectrum of sexuality itself. We do the work. In the streets, in the clubs, in hotel rooms, and in play party dungeons. We make dreams come true so we can afford a place to sleep. We do business in a marketplace that politicians and police are constantly burning down for our “own safety and dignity.” We have high heels and higher anxiety. This isn’t a collection of sob stories of heartbroken whores. This is a testament of life at ground zero of sexual discourse, the songs of canaries in the coal mines of sex, gender, class, race, and disability. We may dance on the table, but we still demand our seat at it. Sex workers of the world unite. This is A Whore’s Manifesto.

46 review for A Whore’s Manifesto: An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This book was simply amazing. It was emotional, uplifting, unnerving, and inspiring.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Content warnings: sex, sexual abuse, anti-sex worker comments, graphic sexual language and scenes, sexual trauma, nude images and illustrations of feminine-presenting bodies, strong language This was a powerful read. It took a lot out of me to read. I really connected to the poems surprisingly, more than I thought I would. It is not just a commentary on the lives of sex workers, the anthology discusses society and patriarchy’s view of bodies and sexuality. There is an absolute double standard Content warnings: sex, sexual abuse, anti-sex worker comments, graphic sexual language and scenes, sexual trauma, nude images and illustrations of feminine-presenting bodies, strong language This was a powerful read. It took a lot out of me to read. I really connected to the poems surprisingly, more than I thought I would. It is not just a commentary on the lives of sex workers, the anthology discusses society and patriarchy’s view of bodies and sexuality. There is an absolute double standard when it comes to sex, society’s view of sex and sexuality is very black and white. And I think this anthology talks about this very well. I applaud the writers who contributed to the anthology because that wouldn’t have been easy to do. It was intriguing to see the correlation of experiences of different sex workers. It is sad that sex workers are scorned so much, even by so-called feminists.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lucsbooks

    Trigger warnings: sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, sex work... More than the theme of this book, I ended up requesting it because I was already familiar with Clementine’s work. Clementine does not contribute with any poems of her own but her introduction completely sets the mood and pace for the rest of the book. Every poem, photo, drawing demand respect rather than asking for it. The title itself has the perfect balance between political and eye-catching and the first thing you get to Trigger warnings: sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, sex work... More than the theme of this book, I ended up requesting it because I was already familiar with Clementine’s work. Clementine does not contribute with any poems of her own but her introduction completely sets the mood and pace for the rest of the book. Every poem, photo, drawing demand respect rather than asking for it. The title itself has the perfect balance between political and eye-catching and the first thing you get to read is Clementine’s introduction, setting the rules and the tone for the rest of the poets as well as what the reader should look for in each poem. This book promises honesty from the start and sometimes that can be uncomfortable or even unpleasant to read. Sex work has traditionally been looked down by “polite” society even though practically everyone is a consumer in various degrees. The reality that a lot of the people working in the industry belong to minorities and disenfranchised groups while most of the clients are white cis men that make the rules is felt throughout every page with different results. While sometimes that leads to a feeling of power over the “johns”, a lot of the times sex workers, not being protected by law or recognized as meaningfully employed are an easy target for violence and discrimination in addition to the abuse they already face thanks to their race, gender, sexual orientation and so many more.. I was looking forward to learning and see the world through a different perspective but I was wholly unprepared for how much I loved this collection. Of course, books with different contributors are always a gamble, because you will not connect with every one of them but there were only a couple of poems that I found more difficult to understand. And let me tell you, I don’t think I ever enjoyed an anthology more than this. At the very end, there is a small blurb for every one of the poets which I found genius because not only it helped disband some of the preconceived ideas we might have about the authors, it also provided some of the poems with context and allowed me to look for more of their works. All in all, this is a very short book with a pretty heavy theme and pretty heavy poems but I find that works like this are more and more necessary in a society that is obsessed with sex but embarrassed by sexuality. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Thorntree for this ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    I received an ARC via Edelweiss. I hadn't realised before starting this collection by sex workers that it was poetry not essays or prose, so was well out of my comfort zone but ended up really delighted to be there. I found this anthology moving, elucidating, and enjoyable, and I'd definitely recommend it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5 When I saw this book offered up to reviewers I was really interested in getting a copy. I felt that a book like this would contain works that really come from the gut. Visceral emotions. And I wasn't disappointed. The subtitle of the book is "An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers" and one of the first things I learned in this book is what constitutes a 'sex worker.' It seems pretty obvious, right? But I'll This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5 When I saw this book offered up to reviewers I was really interested in getting a copy. I felt that a book like this would contain works that really come from the gut. Visceral emotions. And I wasn't disappointed. The subtitle of the book is "An Anthology of Writing and Artwork by Sex Workers" and one of the first things I learned in this book is what constitutes a 'sex worker.' It seems pretty obvious, right? But I'll admit that I hadn't thought much about this and I hadn't pictured phone sex workers, internet camming, and 'sugar babies' (I had to think for a bit about what that meant - and then it never occurred to me that some thought of this as a job) as sex workers. I had definitely thought more along the lines of physical touch. The book is primarily poetry, which I guess isn't a surprise, but I was definitely wishing that there was more artwork/photography included - there was one drawing and one photo. The drawing was a little too obvious for me (an idea I've seen many times [given its nature, I won't say too much about it, other than it is genitalia]) though the photo was interesting and artistic. I am not typically a fan of poetry - it's just a literary form I've never been real fond of - but there were some poems here that I thought were really well done and powerful. Starting with the first piece, "naked on the internet" by Vivienne L'Crave, which was really raw and powerful and definitely set a tone for the rest of the book. Though I'm happy to say that not all the works here were as gritty or dark as this. Gigi Genet's "AFTER ANIMORPHS" is shorter, but no less dark and powerful. I also really liked Lux Aeterna's "Gods & Monsters" and all the pieces by someone referred to as 'Strawberry' and the two poems by the editor, Kay Kassirer. Kassirer's "Work Follows Me Home" is probably my favorite poem in the book. It might be the shortest work in the book, but it packs a lot into it. In short fiction, "The Retiree" by Kristy Lin Billuni stuck out for me as one of the few works here with a bit more upbeat tone and deals with a subject that I quite expected to read more of - women looking for work after leaving the sex industry. "Reluctance" by June Sayers was a little strange to me, but I liked seeing the intelligence of the sex worker. Still, she's a 'for hire' worker and despite very likely being the smarter, wiser of the pair, she's the one trying to do the impressing. While not everything impressed, that's not unusual with an anthology. Fortunately there weren't any real written works that were duds. Kassirer has done a really fine job of putting this collection together. Looking for a good book? The Whore's Manifesto is a collection of poems and stories written by sex workers and is a powerful assortment that makes it pretty clear that this is a line of work that doesn't offer up very many positives. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julene

    This anthology out of Canada is an excellent and diverse range of writing and art from sex workers. It is a similar book to the one Amber Dawn recently published, "Hustling Verse." During the Q&A after the reading at Babesland in Seattle, I asked the editor, Kay Kassirer, if she knew Amber's book, of course she did. They came up with the idea separately and she called Amber who was very gracious about two similar books being published around the same time, to her it meant more writers would This anthology out of Canada is an excellent and diverse range of writing and art from sex workers. It is a similar book to the one Amber Dawn recently published, "Hustling Verse." During the Q&A after the reading at Babesland in Seattle, I asked the editor, Kay Kassirer, if she knew Amber's book, of course she did. They came up with the idea separately and she called Amber who was very gracious about two similar books being published around the same time, to her it meant more writers would be published, a win-win! Julia Laxer introduced me to the book on Facebook. The writing in "A Whore's Manifesto" is sharp and honest. It's a fast and engaging read that shows a range of the what this world is like for women and trans women who do the work. On the back of the book one of the paragraphs states: "But the red umbrella is wide and covers many: escorts, sugar babies, strippers, session wrestlers, cam performers, fetish models, DIY queer porn stars, and the full range of gender, race and ability. Our work and our identities are as vast and variable as the spectrum of sexuality itself." The word manifesto in the title speaks volumes to intersectionality and women bonding for safety. Uniting and speaking out is a force. The book is mostly poetry, but the few stories are where I found the most lasting power. In "The Retiree" by Kristy Lin Billuni, she is leaving the business to go back to the art world and applying for a job in an art gallery. When told she will hear more after a background check is done she is left deflated assuming she will not get the job. I won't do a spoiler, but the ending of this story is great. One of my favorite stories, "Margaretha" by J. Mork, the woman is a nanny who is making a change. When the father , she refers to as the "jerk husband," asks her if she can babysit while they go on vacation, she answers: "I can't" I said. "I'm going to be working nights. I'm becoming a dominatrix." I got up to go to my car and they never called me for childcare again. I left them to their messy family life." Later, closer to the end: "I want to travel. I want to know new people. I want different experiences than are offered to most women in the United States."

  7. 4 out of 5

    -RadioactiveBookworm-

    Though I didn't take very many notes while I was reading this book, It really packed a punch. Not sure what I was getting myself into, I read haunting stories of coming into your own skin, sexual assault, hard work days and distant memories. Personal poems and short paragraphs and occasional pictures all meshed together, this book is definitely something that's going to stick with me, whether on my shelf or just in my mind. Check out my full review here! https://radioactivebookreviews.wordpr...

  8. 5 out of 5

    CR

    This one was very good. It was a collection poems and short stories. It contained women's feels and insight to their lifestyle and I loved every second of it. This is one of those titles where you read a few pages put it down and come back to it later to read a few more. It's a book to take your time with it and enjoy each story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James

    Valuable for its unique perspectives. I don't usually read poetry, but this was worthwhile reading. The prose portions were my favorite, especially Reluctance by June Sayers. Also, don't miss the short bios at the end of the contributors.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julyjuly

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Melanson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peyton Hammond

  15. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abradon Williams

  18. 4 out of 5

    Demelza

  19. 5 out of 5

    Salome

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maiborn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ang

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Lin Billuni

  24. 5 out of 5

    sam corr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cordeliana

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Martin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Forrester

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stuti Agrawal

  31. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  32. 5 out of 5

    Janel Brubaker

  33. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Kleeberger

  34. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Lucas

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  36. 4 out of 5

    Chantel Katharina

  37. 4 out of 5

    Mona

  38. 4 out of 5

    Connie

  39. 5 out of 5

    Helen Geng

  40. 5 out of 5

    SA

  41. 5 out of 5

    Court

  42. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  43. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  44. 4 out of 5

    Drin

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kevix Mark

  46. 4 out of 5

    Teamama

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