Virtual Gallery Body of Workers Lets Sex Workers Celebrate Themselves
A digital art space founded by sex workers for sex workers.
Spearheaded by sex worker activist Yin Q, Body of Workers is a censorship-free online environment where sex workers can express themselves through art.
Showing in the virtual art space is free for sex workers who want to exhibit their work. Non-participants have to pay a fee to view the gallery, which helps to maintain the site.
For sex workers by sex workers
Many of the sex workers participating in these events expressed an interest in a more permanent place where they could share their experiences. Especially as social media companies continue to use the SESTA/FOSTA anti-sex trafficking laws as an excuse to silence sex workers.
“My thoughts were to create a space online through art. A space for sex workers by sex workers,” Q told Hacking//Hustling.
A much-need virtual environment
Q further likens Body of Workers to a much-needed virtual environment for those in the business and their allies:
“It's a place behind the stripper stage, the den, or basically the bar where sex workers meet up. Where we come together to support each other, to talk smack, to share all of our stories, to share resources, to talk about health needs, refer lawyers. There's so much we do that's been done online that's been targeted and taken away from us.”
What Body of Workers is not is a promotional venue as advertising violates its community standards in addition to underage imagery, non-consensual activity, human trafficking, or race play.
Though qualified sex workers can limit their work to paying visitors and provide links to their social media sites for those interested in their services.
Vulnerable and dignified art
Body of Workers isn't a peep show or an opportunity to gawk. If anything, the artwork reveals more than stripping ever could.
For instance, “Evening Breeze Thru The Window” by trans queer artist Squiggles and Sluts is a moment of tenderness and longing drawn during a thunderstorm.
While Mistress Phoenix's “Backstage Preparation” self-portrait is starkly honest, unabashedly proud, and deeply revealing.
Meanwhile, 0ther's “Homunculus” perfectly describes the objectification aspect of power exchange play.
Come one, come all
In what seems like a predominantly unwelcome world, Body of Workers is also unapologetically accepting—stating that you can participate whoever you are or how you identify.
But there's another noble aspect to Body of Workers. Their pursuit of visibility and tolerance includes no longer making what they do illegal.
As the site eloquently puts it: “Decriminalization of sex work would make the world a safer and more equitable place for women, trans, queer, migrant, and other marginalized workers.”
Body of Workers is a step in the right direction, boldly and bravely showing the faces of the too often faceless.
Image sources: Body of Workers