NZ women challenging the neoliberal narrative of ‘empowerment’ in prostitution

Morning Star 29 April 2019
Family First Comment: Renee and Chelsea are unusual; few people in New Zealand are prepared to speak out. The mainstream media and even the majority of the university-led feminist movement are supportive of the line touted by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) that “sex work is work.” Renee and Chelsea agree that those who sell sex should not be prosecuted, but they go further by advocating for the implementation of the Nordic model. “If, as NZPC suggests, it is up to individual women in prostitution to ward off violent men by making ‘as much noise as possible to attract attention,’ then it is up to journalists and academics to address the systemic violence of prostitution by doing the same.”

IN NEW ZEALAND, pimping and the keeping of brothels is considered a normal business. Renee and Chelsea are women who want to change that.

The passing of the Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) in 2003 made New Zealand one of a minority of countries to fully decriminalise prostitution. Renee campaigns from outside the industry, and Chelsea as a woman who makes her living within it.

Renee first began to protest against full decriminalisation of prostitution in 2015, when she worked with a woman named Rosalie Batchelor, a prostitution survivor, who was trying to set up a safehouse for other women wanting to exit the industry.

For Chelsea, it was anger at the “happy hooker” media narrative that drove her to “vent online about the realities of the sex industry as a prostitute.”

She explains: “The environment within the brothels is one which doesn’t allow self-expression. You are pressed to ‘play the game’ and tell men what they want to hear, go along with their fantasies, not be a real person.”

Renee and Chelsea are unusual; few people in New Zealand are prepared to speak out. The mainstream media and even the majority of the university-led feminist movement are supportive of the line touted by the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) that “sex work is work.”
READ MORE: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/new-zealand-women-challenging-neoliberal-narrative-%E2%80%98empowerment%E2%80%99-prostitution

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