Because everyone and their mother is talking about Bella Thorne's OnlyFans, us here at Shaggbox think it is important to add to this conversation. It's time to discuss allyship and sex work.
Before we get started, it is important to acknowledge the fact that the Shaggbox team has spent 10+ years working in the adult industry and working alongside sex workers. However, the adult industry is very broad, and working in the sex toy sector comes with different challenges and privileges when compared with sex work. We encourage anyone in the sex work industry to engage in this discussion, and are very open to constructive criticism. We are constantly learning, and adapting our behavior to best support the people who make our work possible.
These are the top 4 things we keep in mind, to advance healthy and safe sexual liberty and support sex workers.
1. Educate Yourself
Learn about the ways you might be unknowingly perpetuating the harmful notion that sex work "isn't real work". Acknowledge the fact that sex work IS work.
Learn about the importance of sex work in addition to the specific ways sex workers are marginalized. The best way to do this is to actually listen to, and respect, the experiences of sex workers.
Learn about the history of allyship and the meaning of this work. Understand that this is not a title you can bestow upon yourself.
2. Don't Support Harmful Brands
Just like any other industry, you vote with your dollar. It is extremely important to research before purchasing products from the adult industry because there is NO FDA or CDC regulation. This results in sex toys being made with harmful chemicals banned in children's toys and dog toys. It also results in a failure of testing sex toy designs, meaning there are toys on the market that can catch fire from faulty wiring or get lost in your body. We also see false advertising about sexual wellness every single day. SO many brands (literally every major retailer) have misleading advertising about toy safety.
The reason this ties into allyship is because these dangerous sex toys are often less expensive to make, and thus get sold at a lower price point. This disproportionately affects low-income communities, communities of color, and of course, sex workers. Just like any other industry, you vote with your dollar.
3. Don't Support Harmful Policies
Stop supporting politicians who actively push for legislation that makes it more difficult for sex workers to safely do their jobs. Stop supporting politicians who are racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, or sexually violent.
While voting with your dollar is essential to making meaningful change - voting during elections is extremely important as well.
Support politicians and legislation that understands sex work IS work, and strives to provide all workers with more protections and rights.
4. Be Mindful and Speak Up
If you can't afford to purchase services from sex workers (which is the best way to financially support sex workers) there are still things you can do to show your support for the community.
Call out jokes that dehumanize sex workers and call out slut-shaming language.
Be vocal about your allyship and attend slut walks, protests, and demonstrations when possible.
Intersectionality is also a key element to allyship. Resist racism, aleism, classism, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia.