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You can either strike it down the hard way, with a stone, or you can pluck it softly, handle it gently. In the end, the mango will be eaten, anyway! Ambedkar 2 to a meeting in the district of Kamathipura in Mumbai. But Kamathipura —today the scene of rapid gentrification, once home to some 10, sex workers 4 in one of the largest red-light districts in India — was an unlikely stop.
In the nineteenth century, Kamathipura was a place of recreation for soldiers, sailors, and migrant workers drawn to colonial Bombay by the burgeoning cotton trade. They also hoped he would exercise his clout to help them protest police brutality. The devadasis, muralis, and jogtis of Kamathipura, rather than highlighting their unique forms of marginalization, instead sought to position themselves alongside other Dalits, and align the problem of police brutality with other Dalit concerns.
Even as the women endeavored to undo their exceptionalization, however, Ambedkar imposed on it a caste-inflected moral critique.
Prostitution, at best, was vaguely folded into other forms of housework—all marriages were also relationships of prostitution, or else prostitution filled the sexual deficits within marriage—but not analyzed as a form of labor with analytically distinct features.
Federici attributes this naturalization to the lack of wage; thus, the aim of Wages for Housework is not to make reproduction obsolete, at least in the short term, but rather to break the tie between femininity and reproductive labor.