The Sex-Work Fantasy (IAI Academy)

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Is sex-work a job like any other? What lies behind the image of the ‘happy hooker’? Radical feminist activist and journalist Julie Bindel challenges an emerging neoliberal fantasy.

The sex trade is a growing industry, with legalisation increasing across the globe. Even sex-workers are coming out in support, with books and TV shows like The Happy Hooker transforming public perception of the industry.

In this two-part course radical feminist Julie Bindel draws on decades of experience working with sex workers to give her own account of the sex-industry, arguing that criminalising the consumer is the only path to true equality.

In this course you will learn:

- The evidence behind the ‘happy hooker’ idea.

- The impact of legalisation of sex work on those in the trade.

- How Bindel thinks we should stop sexual violence and end-trafficking.

Through video lectures, questions and suggested reading discover the truth about the sex-work industry. Share your ideas and support your learning through our discussion boards and test your knowledge with questions throughout the course.


This course is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the politics of the sex-industry and its place in the fight for gender equality. No prior knowledge is required to take this course.

Course Syllabus

- Part One: Tolerance and Mythologies

Is the myth of the ‘happy hooker’ a delusion? Julie Bindel argues that we need to throw the story out.

- Part Two: The Future of Sex Work

What does the evidence from legalising sex work show? And how should we tackle the suffering of those working in the industry?

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