West Virginia University Reed College of Media Assistant Professor Alison Bass’s upcoming book focuses on sex work and the law, a topic that made headlines recently when federal agents shut down the popular male escort website Rentboy.com. The crackdown has drawn attention from high-profile organizations like The American Civil Liberties Union, and the decriminalization of sex work has become a topic of interest for mainstream media.
“Getting Screwed: Sex Workers and the Law,” publicly debuts in early October. The book weaves the true stories of sex workers together with the history of prostitution and the latest research into what one author calls “a gripping, clear-eyed look at a marginalized subculture.” Bass makes the argument that decriminalizing prostitution would alleviate many of the problems associated with commercial sex.
In recognition of the book’s launch, Bass will read an excerpt and facilitate a question-and-answer session on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m., in 130 of Colson Hall.
She hopes her new book will explode common myths and change people’s perceptions.
“I wanted to use the stories of sex workers ranging from high-end escorts to street walkers to illustrate important policy issues in a way that could make a difference in society,” said Bass. “The disenfranchised and the marginalized in our society don’t have a voice. And, to me, that is part of the mission of journalism.”
Bass says this free, public event will be of interest to anyone intrigued by the history of prostitution, sex work in today’s society, and evolving attitudes towards sexuality and marriage.
An award-winning journalist and critically acclaimed author, Bass’ first non�fiction book, “Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistle Blower and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial,” won the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award in 2009.
In addition, Bass was a long�time medical and science writer for The Boston Globe. Her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Psychology Today and on Public Radio International’s website.
Bass has been an assistant professor at the College of Media since 2012. She teaches investigative reporting and writing, multimedia journalism, and health and science journalism. Visit her website at www.sexworkersandthelaw.com.
CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, WVU Reed College of Media
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