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Lecturer Dr Kate Lister to discuss the media’s role in the stigmatisation of sex work at Journalism and Media Week 2019

By Zoe Peck

How does the media perpetuate harmful stereotypes around sex workers? And what role can journalists play in the dismantling of the stigma surrounding the adult-industry?

Answering these questions will be Dr Kate Lister, an author and English lecturer at Leeds Trinity University who will be presenting five years’ worth of research on historical and contemporary media representations of sex workers as part of the university’s annual Journalism and Media Week (November 4 – 7 2019).

Dr Lister won the Sexual Freedom award for publicist of the year in 2017. She also curates the online archive Whores of Yore, a sex-positive study of historical sexuality.

She said: “[Sex workers] are a group of people who we almost excuse violence against them, and you can see that in the newspaper reporting when they don’t use their name they just say ‘prostitute’.

“You’ve robbed them of their name, you’ve robbed them of their humanity and implicit in that is the idea that they were asking for it…

“Collectively we view them as less than, and that has absolutely got to stop.”


Her book, A Curious History of Sex, will be released on February 6 2020. It has been described as “a cornucopia of giggles, gaffs, titillation, temptations, and exceptional expertise in all things historically sexual.” Proceeds of the book sales will be split with BASIS Yorkshire, a charity that provides safety, information and support to sex workers in Leeds.

The event is free to attend for students and staff, though registration is required.

Tickets can be purchased online or on the door for £10.

“Challenging the Stigma of Sex Work in the Media”: A Talk By Dr Kate Lister:
Wednesday November 6 2019, 6 – 9pm, Leeds Trinity University.

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