In her interview with Radical Girlsss to mark the EU’s Anti-Trafficking Day 2020, Rachel Moran, whose own book Paid for: My Journey through Prostitution we consider a must-read for everybody, was asked about what advice she would give young women today. She talked about the modern challenges posed by social media and the way young women are constantly bombarded with images and messages about sexuality, as well as the importance of arming ourselves with information, learning from the feminists who have gone before us.
“We, all of us – young women and middle-aged women like myself – we need to respect our elders, and that’s something that I don’t see us doing often enough. Because there are women who’ve come before us, who have written extremely important texts and, honestly, if I had read – I’m not sure when Sheila Jeffreys’ The Idea of Prostitution was actually published, I think it might have been during the ‘90s. But I can tell you had I read that book before I got into prostitution, I wouldn’t have gone near prostitution. You know, because it lays out so very clearly the dynamics of what prostitution involves.
I would say get yourself into a situation where you’re not an easy person to be duped. I’ve listened to interviews with pimps online and one line that particularly stuck in my mind was when this former pimp was just explaining to these other guys who were listening to him, you know, all about the pimping game – as he put it – and how it worked and all this. And the line that stuck with me was when he said ‘you have to remember, not every woman is pimpable’. And I was thinking, oh yeah, they would be the women who have their act together and see you coming before you arrive, and how I wish I had been one of those women. So this is something that takes effort, it’s something that you have to actively work towards. And, you know, most of us, we don’t go through our lives thinking that we’re going to have to fend off the intentions of somebody who wants to exploit us in that way, but women need to be aware that there’s no shortage of people out there who want to exploit you in that way because there is no shortage of men, whose demand for female strangers’ bodies creates that marketplace.
So just to give yourself a good solid grounding in the world around you and in the way that you are positioned in it. Another couple of books that I really think women ought to read, by older feminists: Janice Raymond produced a book called Not a Choice Not a Job about 5 or so years back, and that was a really important piece of work. Also, Julie Bindel just a couple of years back, she published The Pimping of Prostitution. So all of these books, and Kathleen Barry of course, she’s written a couple of books – Female Sexual Slavery and […] The Prostitution of Sexuality. That was her second book and that’s actually a really important book. It’s a very delicate, intricate kind of an argument. And I think those five books certainly should be on every young feminist’s reading list.”
Following this interview, we got in touch with Rachel to ask about her recommendations for Iroko’s reading list, and she responded with the titles mentioned above, as well as some others that she considers important reads. Click here to see our full reading list, including Rachel’s eight recommended titles, which we update regularly both with texts that are important to us and some that are recommended by our abolitionist and feminist sisters.