Cartoon: Support Workers’ Rights! (But not THOSE workers.)

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(Supporters got to see this cartoon back in April!)

An article on The Hill about sex workers lobbying congress.

Sex worker advocate organizations and congressional staffers who spoke with The Hill said that stigma was one of the primary factors keeping those voices sidelined.
“No politician wants to or until very recently wanted to be seen as facilitating sex work or encouraging sex work,” said Mike Stabile, director of public affairs at the Free Speech Coalition, an adult industry trade association.
Khanna told The Hill that his colleagues “didn’t even want to take meetings because of the possible images or pictures” with sex workers that could have been taken.

I don’t have much to say about this cartoon. Given the overwhelming Democratic (and Republican) support for Fosta-sesta in Congress, it’s clear that the Democratic party won’t be doing a thing to help sex workers as workers.

I thought of the image of a fleeing Senator leaving a hole in a wall like Wile E Coyote, and it made me laugh. Apparently the editors of Dollars and Sense Magazine were amused as well; they’re including this cartoon in their annual labor issue.

Character design was more important than usual for this cartoon. In particular, the senator had to have a silhouette so distinctive that readers would recognize his shape in the final panel, after only having seen him in three panels. The three women didn’t need to be as recognizable, but they still had to be pretty recognizable, since our view of them in panel 4 is a little obscured.

Plus there was the problem of fitting all three of them within the senator’s silhouette in panel four, which I solved by giving them radically different heights. It’s only now, looking at it, that I realize that I gave the yellow-shirt woman Calvin’s proportions and the green-shirt woman Hobbes’ proportions.

My main goal in drawing them – after recognizability and fitting them all into panel four somehow – was to not have them all have the same body type, and to draw them as ordinary people rather than how some cartoonists draw sex workers.


This cartoon has four panels. An additional tiny “kicker panel” appears below the bottom of the strip.


A senator stands in his office, facing three constituents. In the background we can see a fairly fancy looking desk with a lamp on it, a window with tall drapes, and a tall executive-style chair behind the desk.

The three constituents are all women. They’re dressed in casual-nice clothes. There is a tall woman with black hair tied back in a low pony tail, who is wearing a long green shirt and boots over her jeans; a short woman with short black hair wearing slacks and a yellow button-up shirt; and a medium-sized woman with blonde hair, who is wearing a light blue cowl-neck shirt and a mid-calf length skirt with a dot pattern.

The senator is smiling big and spreading his hands as he talks to the three women, who are all facing him.

SENATOR: As a Democrat and as your congressman, I know the importance of worker’s rights.


A close-up of the senator. He holds a hand over his heart and looks terribly sincere.

SENATOR: It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer or an employee – Democrats will always stand with workers.

MEDIUM WOMAN (speaking from off panel): That’s good to hear.


Back to a the same shot as panel 1, showing all four characters. The senator has gotten out of “make a speech” mode and is now in “friendly small talk” mode.

SENATOR: So what do you all do?

TALL WOMAN: We’re sex workers.


We are looking at a brick exterior wall of a building. There is a hole in the wall the exact shape of the senator character running. Through the hole, we see the three women peering out; two of them look amused, one looks a little pissed off.

TALL WOMAN: Look at him go!

SHORT WOMAN: And they say Congress doesn’t move fast.


The tall woman is talking to the other two women.

TALL WOMAN: I’ll ask him a follow-up question at his Thursday appointment.

This cartoon on Patreon.

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2 Responses to Cartoon: Support Workers’ Rights! (But not THOSE workers.)

  1. 1
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Thanks– that’s a good sharp point.

    People do tend to frame sex workers as not exactly being workers. They’re seen as victims or just irresponsible or something. I remember Xaviara Hollander writing that prostitution is (among other things) physical work.

  2. 2
    Adrian says:

    It’s physical work, and performance, and emotional work. Emotional work is seriously undervalued in all kinds of caregiving. Good child care workers do it because they really love the children (every single child, even the most annoying ones.) And they never get tired and their backs never hurt from lifting toddlers and they never drag themselves to the end of an 11-hour day just because they really need the money.