Kate Holden darren james 2010(1)

A Thin Line

Posted on June 29, 2012

An interview with Kate Holden: a writer, who happened to take heroin and work in the sex industry for a while.

What was your interpretation of sex workers before and after you were one yourself?
I was brought up as a feminist. I studied feminist studies at university and if you’d asked me before I was a sex worker, I probably would have said that I think it is inherently degrading. It’s a whole lot of men shoving their penis’ into women against their inclination and then paying them as if that makes it ok. Not to say that’s wrong, but I think the problem with that attitude is it’s very general. The reality of a woman like myself, in a first world country with legal protection, is so much more specific. I actually didn’t feel exploited in general. I went everywhere from the streets to a really good brothel, so there were certainly points in between that I would have held to the first attitude I had [laughs], but overall by the time I finished, I thought that that attitude was wrong. I’m now much more on the side of pro-sex work feminist activists. A lot of sex workers are incredibly brave, strong women, who do an incredibly challenging and difficult job and rather than making them victims, I think that makes them real heroes.
I believe legal protection, in tandem with social acceptance, is really important. I’m incredibly frustrated by the hypocrisy that goes on around dialogues of sex work. It’s still a subject that makes people very uneasy. People want to think of sex workers as “other”, whereas it’s actually completely surrounding us and it’s “our” people, “our” community that does it and uses it. To constantly focus on the women themselves who work in the industry is very unhelpful and an almost anti-feminist thing to do.

Read more of Kate Holden’s fascinating story in Overcoat Issue Two: Work.

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