Disabled Sex Workers

CW: Sex, sex work, pornography

 

When you think about pornography, the very typical idea of white, blonde, hairless, vanilla, heterosexual sex comes to mind. However, one thing that many people tend to forget about is that conventional porn is always ablebodied porn. Recently, Mic did an interview with a few disabled porn stars who are changing the way that sex and disability are viewed and talked about. (You can find that article here.)

Many people tend to think that in general, disabled people are often labeled as asexual, non-sexual, or are infantilized to the point where sex is thought to be out of the question. Couple that with the fact that disabled people might have mobility or sensory issues that lead them to use mobility assistants (like wheelchairs, walkers, or crutches), or are chronically ill or are unable to feel, etc., sex isn’t something thought about for disabled bodies. But the sex workers in this interview feel very strongly about turning this idea on its head. “It would be so exciting to sexualize the wheelchair, and sexualize the disabled body [and] the whole experience of having to get somebody undressed, and all the things that somebody with a disability does,” Andrew Morrison-Gurza says in the interview. (Morrison-Gurza was also the sex worker that organized the disabled-centric orgy in Toronto last year.) Porn stars Billy Autumn, Maya Mayhem, and Lyric Seal also weigh in on using disabled porn to uproot the porn industry and to prove that “Disabled people fuck. (Autumn)”

In class, we recently discussed how sex and disability are often two things that don’t go together in general society, and that disabled people often take the time out of their day to fight for the fact that they are, in fact, sexual beings. Gayle Rubin says that “A radical theory of sex must identify, describe, explain, and denounce erotic injustice and sexual oppression,” and the fact that these sex workers are disabled and make porn that is consumed by the public is an absolutely radical way to denounce the very typical narrative that porn must be cookie-cutter to be consumable (Rubin 149).

Sex workers already have enough of a struggle as is, especially in a society that is so sex-negative. But disabled sex workers have to work around both their disabilities and their lines of work to navigate the daily narratives that tell them that they should not be existing as they are.

 

References
Rubin, Gayle. “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” From Gender to Sexuality. New York City: n.p., 1994. 143-78. Print.

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Pre-Peeled Oranges

While I was perusing Twitter not too long ago, I came across a trending tag that I was a little bit confused about. Seeing #orangegate everywhere for a majority of my afternoon, I completely expected it to be something about sports or Donald Trump’s horrendous fake tan. However, while listening to NPR later that night, I heard that #orangegate was about the outcry of oranges at Whole Foods Market.  Why was there an outcry about oranges at Whole Foods? Because the oranges were pre-peeled.

The Twitterverse had to, of course, blow up because of the idea that this pre-peeling of oranges was useless, time consuming, and wasteful. The person that Tweeted the picture in the first place, Nathalie Gordon, said “If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them.” The biggest complaint in the Twitterverse was that the plastic and human labor used to peel the oranges was what made them so expensive, and that Whole Foods did this on purpose as a means of upcharging the fruit.

However, what many people failed to realize, and what was brought up by NPR, was that these pre-peeled oranges are a “lifesaver” for those with mobility issues (NPR). There was an automatic assumption from those criticizing #orangegate that these oranges had been peeled for the ‘lazy’ and, more specifically, the millenialss that have no time to do anything constructive. There was an assumption that everything is made for ablebodied people. NPR wanted to specifically call out this attitude because the argument was raised “whether a disabled person’s access to fresh foods can be reconciled with reducing environmental waste.” This is such an important conversation, especially in the sense that we have been discussing in class that certain things don’t need to be sacrificed in order for things to become accessible to everyone, rather than just ablebodied people. Also this product allows the ability to maintain an identity without being outed.

#orangegate might have inspired people to be mad over yet another thing that barely affects their lives, but at least it got enough people to open their eyes in the process and see that something as simple as an orange can be a barrier for someone who is disabled.

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