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SESTA is just another extension of government abuse, not only of sex workers, but of the American people in general.

Sex worker Armageddon is upon us. At least that’s how it has felt since the Backpage censorship incident, a campaign spearheaded by Black liberal fave and 2020 presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. FOSTA (H.R. 1865), also known as the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” was just given the green light by the House and the vote on SESTA is impending.   SESTA is a separate but related bill, introduced by Republican Representative Rob Portman. It amends Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This would allow the government to prosecute platforms and websites that are accused of facilitating sex trafficking.  A full service sex worker relayed to me: “It’s actually become safer for full service sex workers to travel alone rather than with a partner. If two or more sex workers are present you can go to jail not just for prostitution, but for trafficking as well. They’ll claim you trafficked each other.” The language of both FOSTA and SESTA blurs the lines between coercion and choice, effectively blending the two. This is their end game. Prohibition is nothing new, but people seem to be forgetting that when you subjugate one group of people, overall persecution of the wider population usually follows. We have witnessed this with the election of Donald Trump by white Americans. Many of the people who voted for Trump neglected to think about how his policies would affect them. They were so focused on their racism and on the continuation of BIPOC oppression, they didn’t realize that a lot of the Trump administration's policies would negatively impact them as well. SESTA is just another extension of government abuse, not only of sex workers, but of the American people in general. Because we live in a country where the majority of power and wealth is located in the hands of cis white men, anyone who is not that is at a disadvantage. Any fight, win, loss or stalemate for the liberation of oppressed peoples affects everyone. Our struggle is your struggle, because when the government enforces prohibitive laws that conflate independent autonomous labor with forced labor they are making it clear that this isn’t about sex trafficking or protecting human rights. It is about control.
Related: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT HOW DISMANTLING NET NEUTRALITY COULD IMPACT SEX WORKERS

As the veil began lifting, I started to see that award shows are an integral cog in a misogynistic media machine driven by capitalism. And it started to make me sick.

When I was young and an aspiring actress all I wanted was to have my work honored at an awards show one day. This fairy tale was part self-care, an escape from a dysfunctional home life as well as the difficulties of being a biracial Third Culture Kid constantly negotiating worlds. It was also part revenge against people who bullied me and told me I’d never be worth anything. More importantly than all that, fame was a means to an end: celebrity offers an instant platform, and once I became a successful actress, my ultimate goals were to be a writer and eventual philanthropist. Being famous was an aspiration in itself, but it was my road to being able to promote social consciousness and be beneficial to the world other than just my bank account and accruing material possessions.  I ended up dropping my theatre major and instead focused on anthropology, deciding I would be a writer from the get-go instead of hoping for a celebrity platform to jump-start my writing career. But even though I gave up my silver screen dreams, each year I would strap in for the opulent displays of "award season" no matter where in the world I might have been watching from.
Related: THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV DOESN’T BEGIN OR END WITH WHITE MEN

The news is dominated by sexual assault, but what about the harassment that fuels rape culture?

By Ally Sabatina With the news cycle being what it is—and that being one with a presidential superpredator at its epicenter—it seems every day brings a new not-so-subtle reminder of the United States’ prioritization of cis men. The very least I can do in all of this is write one piece on this day that shifts the focus for cis men to everyone else and rather than talk about the safety of their social positioning, I strive to highlight at least one element of the human experience that allows one to glean that their privileged social position, and their presumed safety, rests squarely on the assumption that no one else can be as safe—or as protected—as them. So when we talk about the ways in which cis men get to swim through life seemingly unmarred by the bulk of their experiences, we have to talk about those they damage in the process. With a news cycle dominated by sexual assault and its resulting trauma, it pays to shift focus to the covert vehicles in which the patriarchy causes harm, including but not limited to targeted harassment, catcalling, gaslighting and their ilk. While I come from the camp that magnitude cannot prove prevalence, solidarity of shared experience is a powerful drug, so if nothing else, I asked a few friends of mine to document the instances in which they felt harassed and/or micro-aggressed outside of what they would usually discern as their trauma.
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