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Porn and Politics with Angela White

At a young age, porn star and candidate for the Australian Sex Party, Angela White was a victim of bullying for being incredibly sexual. “My sexuality was something that people saw as a problem when I was a teenager,” says White, who will be running against anti-prostitution campaigner, Kathleen Maltzhan.
 
“For example, the two names that I was called the most in high school were ‘lesbian’ and ‘slut’.” At the age of 14, having been introduced to pornography by a friend, White discovered a place where she could finally be free to express herself sexually.
 
“I wanted to get into pornography from about the age of 14,” she explains. “I did the right thing and waited until I was 18. When I turned 18, I sent some photos off to a company I wanted to work with, and then what do you know? Two weeks later I was on a plane to Miami, Florida in the States to shoot pornography.”
 
Despite being an avid supporter of the Australian Sex Party for some time now, White is relatively new to Australian politics. Currently in the midst of finishing her Honours degree in Gender Studies in which she undertook “qualitative research into female experiences in pornography”, White made the shift from porn to politics after hearing about Maltzhan’s campaign to criminalise part of the sex industry.
 
“As a sex worker, I’m really concerned about the rights of sex workers, obviously,” says White. “[Criminalising the industry] actually pushes sex work underground and makes it dangerous for the workers.”
 
The goal is to decriminalise all sex work, but as White emphasises, this does not mean the deregulation of it. There is much stigma attached to the industry, and it’s part of her ambition to break down these myths.
 
“When I finally told my mom that I wanted to do pornography, she was really worried. She didn’t want me to because she believed that the people that I was going to work with that they could kidnap me, or rape me, or whatever, and obviously, none of those things happened,” explains White. “Sex work is actually work and it’s run like any normal business.”
 
Often, people who make the choice to be a part of the sex industry are either shunned, or have their decisions made out to be nothing more than false consciousness and as such, are disregarded. This, White explains, only further victimises and stigmatises sex work.
 
“I think that a lot of myths about the industry are out there and so people don’t know any better, people don’t ask sex workers, or people don’t have insight into the industry,” says White. “There are all those myths that sex workers are drug addicts, or sex workers are stupid or that sex workers are victims. When really, when you’re inside the industry and you’re part of the industry, you realise that all that is, is just a myth.”
 
Looking to the future, the Sex Party hopes to establish an advocacy organisation to protect the rights and interests of sex workers. The hope is to get funding from the State but keep the organisation independent.
 
“Why it’s so important that it operates independently is because sex workers need to be able to advocate on their own behalf,” explains White. “Policies are made about sex workers without actually talking to the sex workers; without actually talking to the people the law effects. This is terrible because obviously again, it gives sex workers no voice…we can’t have equality if people are silenced.”
 
With the recent banning of Bruce LaBruce’s film, LA Zombie, the issue of Australian censorship laws have come into light, which is another policy the Sex Party is seeking to change. No stranger to the stringent laws, White has had at least one of her porn videos restricted from Australian screens.
 
“It was really upsetting because it was actually with one of my best, best girlfriends and we made a video where we did candle wax play,” says White. “We’re talking about two girlfriends - two consenting adults - expressing their sexuality and wanting to play with candle wax but it was censored and not allowed.”
 
At a time where the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage, it’s a wonder why it hasn’t been legalised yet. The Sex Party, like the Greens, is pro same-sex marriage, as White explains: “The Australian Sex Party doesn’t believe anybody should be discriminated against on the basis of sex, gender or sexuality… we need to keep religion out of politics and we need to keep politicians out of our bedrooms.”
 
From the decriminalisation of sex work, personal drug use, and a better deal for Victoria’s clubs and pubs, “the Australian Sex Party is actually the only party who’s serious about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.”
 
Angela White is The Australian Sex Party Candidate for Richmond.