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CSULB Sex Positive Week shows the ‘whore revolution’

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Sex worker Mariko Passion performs in the one-woman musical, “Modern Day Sex Slavery.”

Sex worker Mariko Passion performs in the one-woman musical, “Modern Day Sex Slavery.”

Stefan Agregado | Daily 49er

Stefan Agregado | Daily 49er

Sex worker Mariko Passion performs in the one-woman musical, “Modern Day Sex Slavery.”

Patrick Moreno, Staff Writer

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Lesbian sex, human trafficking, the magic body rub and stripper heels were all fair game in Mariko Passion’s one-woman musical, “Modern Day Sex Slavery,” held in the Beach Auditorium Tuesday afternoon.

As part of Sex Positive Week on the Cal State Long Beach campus, San Francisco-area sex worker, Passion, performed a musical with minimal sets and a two-person crew.

The musical experience of “Modern Day Sex Slavery” started when Passion described the beginning of any sexual transaction in a massage parlor with “the magic body rubs.” Much as the actress described the disarming way a massage serves to placate the client, the more mild semi-sexual massage of a silken body-pillow helped the audience ease into the later, more serious issues of the performance. 

From this gentle beginning, the story followed the path of Passion through stripping in her early career, and into her actual sex work, before offering historical context and a thematic closure. 

After the body rub, Passion sat atop a pink ottoman on stage and donned 9-inch black, platform-heels with latex straps. 

She explained to the audience, “When Americans use that phrase to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, these are the bootstraps I think of.” 

Her comment was met with a murmur of laughter, but this comedy based on truth was tragic. As she descended the stairs, a hush fell over the crowd. The stairs were steep, as were her shoes, and everyone clapped when she made it down. 

Utilizing newsreel footage and old radio broadcasts, the performance took an uncensored look at the sexual racism that has affected Asian women, especially post-Vietnam. A newsreel showed two American G.I.s, who described the casual way a Vietnamese woman was struck from afar by a sniper, and then ordered killed by their commanding officer. However, before they shot the woman, the men described the use of an entrenchment tool and a tree branch by their company-men, to brutally penetrate the woman as she begged for water.

The brutality of the newsreel footage was presented in contrast to the extra submissive and helpless Vietnamese character Passion played, supposedly waiting on her abusers to save her. It was at this point that Passion realized the anti-sex slavery movement is oftentimes unfairly anti-male. She believed that this implied that all paid sex is tantamount to rape; a fact, which she said, is untrue. Passion does not want her audience or the media to view all sex workers as being “Socially relegated to their trade,” and she insisted, “I do this by choice, whether she likes it or not, I inherited this from my mother, and all the ways she raised me trained me to be a hostess just like she was.” 

In total rejection of male-centric sex-trafficking theories, Passion spoke of a “whore revolution,” and a kind of owning of the trade as a means of more evenly distributing the also male-centered wealth in this country. In an act of beautiful defiance, she stood in strength at the front-center of stage and spat, “That’s what the whore revolution is all about! Payback, literally, motherfucker!”


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