non serviam: musings of love, language, living, and rebellion

Racialization: The Feminist Argument for the Criminalization of Sex Work: Al-Saji’s Mirror

So, I am writing a paper for my Feminist Philosophy class entitled, “Racialization: The Feminist Argument for the Criminalization of Sex Work: Al-Saji’s Mirror,” wherein I metonymically propose that “the liberal discourse of “women’s equality with men,” not only enables patriarchy, but directly—if not deliberately—contributes to the oppression of ‘women by women’ through the ideological mechanics of male domination.”

Due to the scope of this paper (1500 – 2000 words) I am restricting the discourse to “hetero and trans” sex workers. Notwithstanding, indigeneity, ability, and race alter this framework drastically.

I am drawing from (journalist and former Sex Worker) Melissa Gira Grant’s article “The War on Sex Workers” and Alia Al-Saji’s “The Racialization of Muslim Veils” to articulate what Al-Saji’s identifies as cultural racism by associating the veil with gender oppression; “other-ing” Muslim women. I am seeking to articulate the class racism of liberal feminists by equating sex work with violence against women as a means of controlling the behavior of “other(ed)” women. In both cases, the so-called victims of oppression are stripped of any agency to speak for themselves.

“Rather than representing the Muslim women (read: sex worker) these images [of oppression] fulfill a different function: they provide the foil or negative mirror in which western constructions of identity and gender can be positively reflected.” ~Al-Saji~

At this point I go out on a limb with a re-telling of Snow White and the Mirror on the Wall through which Snow White’s step-mother, the Queen (who I believe represents patriarchy and class distinction) attempts to use the mirror on the wall to produce the positive reflection of herself (western women) by simultaneously criminalizing her step-daughter (who I am framing as working class) for being sexually desirable as the fairest in the land.

Of course, I sprinkle some ‘bell hooks’ pixie dust over the essay, garnished with references to both pro-sex work and anti-sex work dialogue, served with a nicely chilled flute of my own self-stylized poeticism. 

Any feedback? Good idea? Incoherent? 

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One response

  1. GigiLeFreque

    “…served with a nicely chilled flute of my own self-stylized poeticism.”
    Indeed.

    16 May 2013 at 9:42 PM

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