We showed up in their hotel rooms. We posed on their beds. We told each other who was a good guy and who was a sociopath, knowing full well that if a GWC raped us, the police would do nil. A girl I knew was working as a bondage model. The photographer threatened to kill her. She wept. He let her go. When she went to the police, they shrugged her off. The photographer later murdered a model.
— Molly Crabapple, The World of the Professional Naked Girl
The concept of “Violence Against Prostitutes” is so pervasive it even has its own Wikipedia article. Law and Order: SVU cannot go a season without a sex crime against someone who works in the sex industry (even if it’s just the virtual sex industry, such as in the episode “Avatar”). There’s an international day to end violence against sex workers, but if a young girl who dresses “provocatively” gets raped, she’s still “asking for it.” There are days my friend comes home crying from her job at a sex shop because a costumer threatened her, thinking that because a women is open about sex she is still a “sex object” (keyword: object) and thus it is okay to treat her without respect, and I’m scared to date because society tells women who have ever worked in sex no one can love or respect them. Beyonce includes a speech in her song Flawless by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stating the lines “We teach girls they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” In the quote above, artist and activist Molly Crabapple reflects on the dangers of working as an erotic model: But even as working as a stripper, burlesque dancer, model, or even porn star (Stoya, or Sasha Grey, anyone?) become less taboo to talk about, violence and abuse in the industry is still considered expected at best, and accepted at worst.
In my mashup, I want to explore not just the theme of violence against women, but, specifically, the idea of violence against woman due to sex work or sexual reasons (such as rape victims who act or dress a certain way “asking for it”). I plan on using images from television, movies, advertising, and video games from past and present that serve to encourage this idea, as well as clips from videos that display female sexuality as empowering.
While I am still not wholly sure about how I want to use, display, and manipulate these clips past some vague ideas (I am the type of person who does better while things like this when I actively play with images and video versus trying to imagine things outright), I do very much have ideas for the soundtrack. Inspired by Beyonce’s aforementioned song Flawless, I was to mix (a) speech concerning woman’s sexuality with Emilie Autumn’s song Let the Record Show, which is sung from the point of view of a murdered stripper (or prostitute, depending on who you ask). Since I have experience editing music for previous projects, I should be able to do this fairly seamlessly.
I want to bring to viewer’s minds the idea that these women are people, not deserving of violence, and worthy of rights–and the dangers that occur when popular media shows that such violence is okay.