Even though I command a certain degree of social capital with my credentials— I hold a PhD— I nevertheless experience the stigma of my former work more often than most might think. But being a sex worker mother isn't just a painfree way to balance childcare commitments with regular work—there are significant downsides, especially if you're a member of a marginalized group. To protect the identity of the sex workers interviewed for this piece, all names are pseudonyms. And state-sanctioned social stigma is compounded for sex-working mothers and makes its way into our interpersonal interactions, too. Perhaps you think of your own mother. When white middle-class sex workers focus on the empowering aspect of sex work, without acknowledging state-sanctioned violence or societal stigma, this can create a false dichotomy between empowerment and victimization. Regardless of whether sex-working mothers are out to their children, many of the nine mothers with whom I spoke cited agency and more time spent with their children as the greatest benefits of sex work. Chicago-based Lola Luscious, 29, was a struggling single mom when she began sex work.
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