Playing the Whore Book Summary - Playing the Whore Book explained in key points
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Playing the Whore summary

Melissa Gira Grant

The Work of Sex Work

3.4 (150 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Playing the Whore by Melissa Gira Grant is a critical analysis of sex work in modern society. Through interviews and research, Grant challenges stereotypes and advocates for the rights and autonomy of sex workers.

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    Playing the Whore
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Rather than protecting prostitutes, the police often make a sex worker’s life more dangerous.

    Society often sees things as black and white. It’s often assumed, for instance, that the police will work to keep all people safe from harm and that all prostitutes are criminals. But reality is rarely so clear-cut.

    Often, the work of police ends up making the lives of prostitutes less safe.

    According to a 2003 survey by the Sex Worker’s Project, an organization that offers legal and social support for sex workers, over two-thirds of sex workers in New York City are harassed by police, usually on a daily basis.

    On top of that, 30 percent of sex workers have received violent threats from police officers and most feel that they can’t depend on the police to help them out when clients become violent.

    For example, after a prostitute was gang-raped, the police refused to investigate and, due to her profession, didn’t consider her worthy of protection.

    This attitude results in many emergency phone calls from prostitutes being ignored by police, and, as a result, many sex workers have simply given up trying to call for help.

    And the statistics on the mistreatment of sex workers by police only get worse from there.

    In 2005, the Sex Worker’s Project found that 14 percent of the interviewed prostitutes in New York City were victims of police violence. Further, 16 percent reported that police officers had attempted to initiate sexual activity.

    These problems aren’t restricted to New York City.

    In West Bengal, a survey of 21,000 sex workers revealed that the overwhelming amount of violent attacks on prostitutes were committed by the police, not clients.

    This debunks one of the most common myths of prostitution: that clients present the greatest risk. In actuality, the police often pose much more of a threat.

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    What is Playing the Whore about?

    Playing The Whore (2014) busts the myths still surrounding the topic of sex work and explores how and why society continues to shame the chosen profession of the sexually liberated. Unfortunately, society’s attitudes and laws often endanger, rather than protect, those who work in the sex industry. Discover why that is and why it’s time to change our perspective on one of the oldest professions in the world.

    Playing the Whore Review

    Playing the Whore (2014) by Melissa Gira Grant is a thought-provoking exploration of the politics and realities of sex work. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It challenges societal perceptions and assumptions about sex work, offering insightful analysis that compels readers to reconsider their views.
    • Combining personal experiences, interviews, and historical context, the book provides a nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the industry.
    • Grant's meticulous research and informative storytelling create a compelling narrative, ensuring that the subject matter remains engaging and anything but boring.

    Best quote from Playing the Whore

    If I call them, they dont come. If I have a situation on the street, forget it. - Carol, a New York City sex worker

    —Melissa Gira Grant
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    Who should read Playing the Whore?

    • Sexually liberated people tired of being judged
    • Conservative people curious about the opinion of a sex worker
    • Social workers looking for a different perspective

    About the Author

    Melissa Gira Grant is a writer, journalist and former exotic dancer. She advocates for human rights, especially the rights of sex workers, and does voluntary work for gender equality organizations and sex work groups. Her articles have been published in The New York Times and The Guardian.

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    Playing the Whore FAQs 

    What is the main message of Playing the Whore?

    Playing the Whore explores the experiences and perspectives of sex workers, challenging commonly held beliefs and advocating for their rights.

    How long does it take to read Playing the Whore?

    The reading time for Playing the Whore varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Playing the Whore a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Playing the Whore is a thought-provoking book that sheds light on the experiences of sex workers. It offers valuable insights and challenges societal perceptions.

    Who is the author of Playing the Whore?

    The author of Playing the Whore is Melissa Gira Grant.

    What to read after Playing the Whore?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Playing the Whore, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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