FKA Twigs asks fans to provide financial support to sex workers and dancers

40th Brit Awards at The O2 Arena, London, UK

We’ve heard about the far-reaching economic impact of the coronavirus impact nationally and internationally. Here in America, we not only have a deeply ineffectual response to the actual pandemic, but the federal government is also doing a tremendously sh-tty job of the economics of the pandemic. Big businesses have gotten massive taxpayer-funded bailouts and loans, while most taxpayers just got a one-time check which was, like, supposed to support us for six months? Anyway, I didn’t even consider the fact that strip clubs and “gentlemen’s clubs” are being adversely affected by the pandemic too. In her early days, she worked in a strip club and she still uses elements of those performances in her musical acts. So Twigs is trying to find a way to give back. From her Instagram:

i was 19 when i learnt my first pole move, i learnt a back hook spin from a stripper when i was working as a hostess in a gentleman’s club. for those of you who don’t know, hostessing is when one person pays another person for their time, anything from a conversation over dinner to sex work, and the club gets a cut of the fee. my lived experience as a very young woman in these environments has not only informed the strong and formidable woman that i am today, but also a lot of my work as a music and visual artist – sometimes even subconsciously.

i feel like now is the time for me to step forward, pay respect, and shine a light on the challenges facing sex workers, especially during these uncertain times. sex workers I know and have met have discipline, craft, talent and work ethic – not only do they deserve better long-term, but their income has been wiped out by the lockdown and many are invisible to the financial aid available to others.

there’s a bigger journey in challenging public attitudes, tackling stigma, and fighting for rights and protections – but today I’m inviting you to join me in helping with cash donations to SWARM, Lysistrata and ELSC. these organisations are providing direct financial support to strippers and sex workers, we’ve kicked off the the fund with £10,000 and you can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/sexworkermutualaidfunds

this week, SWARM @swarmhive Lysistrata @lysistratamccf and ELSC @ethicalstripper will also be taking over my social media channels.

[From FKA Twigs’ Instagram]

I always thought that strip clubs and prostitution were recession-proof industries, and maybe they are, with one big exception: when the recession is happening because of a global health crisis/pandemic. Bars and restaurants have closed or been temporarily shut down, and in an industry adjacent to that, an industry which is based on physical contact and physical closeness, will of course be affected too. It’s actually nice to see Twigs take this up as a cause and use her voice to celebrate people who are deeply marginalized in most societies.

FKA Twigs attending the  NME Awards 2020 at the O2 Academy Brixton, London

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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18 Responses to “FKA Twigs asks fans to provide financial support to sex workers and dancers”

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  1. BraveLilToaster says:

    I respect her vision on this, but I think it’s a really out of touch and horrible time to ask for money, no matter the cause.

    • MM2 says:

      Really?! I am donating more money than ever right now to all kinds of causes. Black Lives Matter, so open your purses & redistribute the wealth, especially right now. This comment is really out of touch.

    • SomeChick says:

      People who can’t afford to donate shouldn’t, of course. There are many folks in need right now, and it’s great when those who can help out, do. As they say, we’re all in this together.

    • rmcgrudiva says:

      I believe in the adage “Do what you can when you can and how you can.” Right now, I’m able to give to the causes I believe in, but I can’t march. I’ve got some extra food, so I can donate it. I can send postcards and texts, but I can’t knock on doors. I have been worried about sex workers, so I’m glad to see this as an outreach.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Maybe she could form an alliance with Spielberg.

  3. TheOriginalMia says:

    Good on her. Remove the stigma from these women. They are doing a job. They’re struggling just like everyone else.

  4. Meg says:

    I dont understand the feminist support of sex workers. Please dont yell im honestly asking-arent we fighting to not be defined by our bodies as sex objects? so supporting sex workers seems opposite if that.

    • BraveLilToaster says:

      @Meg-The support comes from regulating this industry to stop wage exploitation by their employers, improve public health, give them legal recourse if they experience violence or abuse while working(and many of them do), and ultimately, to decrease the incidence of human trafficking and femicide directly tied to this industry.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Actually, treating women equally regardless of what they do with their bodies is the opposite of that. Supporting the hierarchy among women where those closer to the ‘virginal’ ideal are at the top keeps girls and women as a group sexually objectified and defined by their bodies. The stigma has also played a large role in victim-blaming and violence against women and girls. It’s good that she’s using her platform this way.

    • Shirt scene says:

      Hi Meg. I think it depends on a couple things:

      1) How you view feminism in general. For me, feminism means women of all kinds can determine their own lifestyle and livelihood – even if that doesn’t fit with others’ views of what women should do.

      2) How you view sex work in general (separating out forced or survival sex work for which are abhorrent for obvious reasons). Some people choose this work. This makes decriminalization so important. These people deserve to be able to support themselves and their families in a safe and legal way, just like everyone else who has a job or owns a business. My view is if one wants to economically earn in a responsible way, in a way that reinforces their self worth, then who am I to tell them they are wrong?

      That said, there are definitely plenty of feminists who wholeheartedly disagree with me. The only thing is, sex work isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, whether we like it or not.

    • detritus says:

      It’s more about dismantling the system, not hurting the vulnerable within it.

      I am a radical feminist. I don’t believe that sex should ever be exchanged for money or favours as it’s furthers the negative social scripts surrounding hetero sex – namely that it’s for the man. That it’s not an equal event for both parties but something done to someone else.

      We don’t have groups of men claiming the right to play chess with women who don’t want to, but we have incels. Sex work is tied with misogyny and the male gaze, but the players with the power aren’t the ones accepting dollar bills. It’s the owners of the clubs/brothels and the patrons that are problematic.

      Dancers are a bit different, and it’s frustrating because cam work, dancing, ‘full service’ work and more all falls under sex work. They all have different risks and rewards and play into societal expectations on different levels.

      So similarly to how you would never call a woman who has her hair dyed blonde, is fake tanned, boob job and wears heels and full makeup not a feminist (Dolly P comes to mind), even if those actions could be linked the the male gaze, you can’t attack sex workers for not being feminist.

      We each have to make our own choices in life, in a sexist and bigoted society, and sometimes picking out what is a ‘deformed desire’ (to use the academic term) is exhausting and not worth it.

      • Anners says:

        This was fascinating and helped me to understand my own thoughts and feelings on this. Thank you.

  5. Faye G says:

    Good for her. Also, the adult industries are not exactly recession proof. When the 2008 recession hit, clubs still had customers who would pay the entrance fee and buy drinks, but wouldn’t tip dancers or pay for lap dances. So yeah, the clubs stayed in business but dancer incomes were way down. We shouldn’t stigmatize anyone for their choice of profession, I’d be open to donating to this cause.

  6. WontonWoman says:

    Hi, full service sex worker here. I can only speak from my own experience during COVID-19, but, in general, yes sex workers have been completely wiped out by it.
    Being in Australia, where sex work is legal, I’ve had a completely different experience to those in say, the US. As far as the Australian government is concerned, I’m just another small business owner who has lost income, and therefore entitled to social security and stimulus payments to help.

    I’ve returned to work now (with lots of govt regulations in place) but did shut down for 2 and a half months. Even with govt support, it was still hard.

    The ones who have been most affected here are migrant workers, who can legally work here, but aren’t entitled to claim benefits, and SW who are “off the books” so to speak, and those that don’t want to have to go into a government office and explain they’re a sex worker, due to stigma etc.

    The big deal about FKA Twigs offering up this statement is not so much the potential financial aid that will flow through, it also goes a way toward de-stigmatizing an already beleaguered group who are just trying to make a living.

  7. Anna says:

    Really appreciate her for this. Feminism includes us all. Sex work is work and should be protected and compensated as such.