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Good Girls, Bad Girls
Sex Trade Workers and Feminists Face to Face

Bell Laurie
Publisher:  The Women's Press, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1987  
Pages:  232pp   ISBN:  0-88961-112-2
Resource Type:  Book

Looks into issues like racism in pornography, reclamation of the label "whore," the concerns surrounding censorship and the myths and stereotypes that have made sex trade workers outcasts.

Abstract:  Pornography and prostitution are issues which generate fierce controversy. Often overlooked, at least until recently, have been the people who are employed in the 'sex industry': the prostitutes, strippers, and models. Good Girls, Bad Girls is different: it captures on paper the exchanges that took place at a conference which brought together sex trade workers and feminists. One of the strongest messages to emerge is the anger which women in the sex trade feel towards feminists who they feel dismiss them and their experiences, and who advocate measures such as censorship. The discussion also brings out the different currents of feminist thought on these issues, notably in Varda Burstyn's essay "Who the Hell is 'We'?" Burstyn says that "The consensus that might have appeared before or that operated as a kind of 'public face' feminism is crumbling in a very health way. We are all learning that if we're going to have a 'we' that really works for feminists and for feminist supporters, it has to be more inclusive."

Comprising of a number of papers, from a conference entitled "Changing our images: the politics of prostitution and pornography" held in Toronto in 1985, Good Girls/ Bad Girls is like "a long-overdue discussion between sex trade workers and feminists in Canada." The book looks into issues like racism in pornography, reclamation of the label "whore," the concerns surrounding censorship and the myths and stereotypes that have made sex trade workers outcasts. It is divided into three parts: "Feminists Speak," "Sex Trade Workers Speak," and "Sex Trade Workers and Feminists Speak." Part one contains six papers including "Sexual Politics: Contradictions and Explosions" and "Pornography and Prostitution in the Philippine." Part two consists of nine essays, with titles including "Watching Myself on Stage," and "C-49: A New Wave of Oppression," while Part three includes pieces like "Realistic Feminists," and "Who the Hell is 'We?'" Remarks of conference participants are also recorded in "From the Floor."At the end there are short biographical notes about each of the presenters as well as a glossary which includes information about the C-49 Bill.

Table of Contents


Part I: Feminists Speak
1. Too Much Heat, Not Enough Light
2. Sexual Politics: Contradictions and Explosions
3. Gender Neutrality, Prostitution and Pornography
4. From the Floor
5. Racism in Pornography in the Philippines

Part II: Sex Trade Workers Speak
6. The Reclamation of Whores
7. Unveiling
8. Stripping: Who Calls the Tune?
9. C-49: A New Wave of Oppression
10. Community Organizing
11. CABE and Strippers: A Delicate Union
12. From the Floor
13. Lesbians and Prostitutes: A Historical Sisterhood
14. Watching Myself on Stage

Part III: Sex Trade Workers and Feminists Speak
15. From the Closing Session: On Racism and Organizing
16. Pornography: What Do We Want?
17. Who the Hell is 'We?'
18. Under the Gun
19. Working Girls
20. Sex Trade Workers and Feminists: Myths and Illusions
21. Realistic Feminists
22. Layers



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