The Grey Area

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 09:29 By Anne Elizabeth Moore and Leela Corman, Truthout | Op-Ed
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2014 0612ladydr fb"Our Fashion Year," our year-long investigation into gender, labor, and cultural production, has followed the threads of the international garment trade from your local fast fashion emporium all the way back to their source, and then some. There, in the factories in developing nations, women who have trouble with the long hours, low pay, unsafe conditions or harassment have few other options besides sex work. But, as we've seen, anti-sex trafficking NGOs often seek to place them right back in the precarious garment industry they often sought to escape in the first place. The question Leela Corman and Anne Elizabeth Moore ask this month is, what else do these organizations do?

It's only the latest in our year-long investigation into gender, labor and cultural production. (You can read our previous three years of strips here.) We've so far followed the threads of the international garment trade in the factories of developing countries, in "Fast Fashion," "Let's Go Shopping" and "The Business of Thrift" (with Julia Gfrörer); and "Zoned," "Red Tape" and "Outta Sight (Out of Mind)" (with Melissa Mendes). Ellen Lindner's It's the Money, Honey and Out of the Factories Part 1 and Out of the Factories Part 2 (also with Melissa Gira Grant) brought us from the garment trade into the sex trade abroad. Next month, we'll look at The Somaly Problem - or, how tiny fibs can have a big impact, and who benefits from it. (As always, our previous strips can be found here.)

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Leela Corman

Leela Corman is an illustrator, cartoonist and Middle Eastern dancer. She studied painting, printmaking and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art and won a Xeric Grant for her first graphic novel, Queen’s Day. Her second, Subway Series, was published by Alternative Comics. Her latest, Unterzakhn, a graphic novel set in the tenements, brothels and vaudeville houses of the Lower East Side at the turn of the last century, was published by Schocken/Pantheon and has been nominated for The Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Eisner Award, and Le Prix Artemisia in France. Her short comics have run in Tablet Magazine, Symbolia, and The OC Weekly. In 2014, her comic "Yahrzeit" won a silver medal from the Society Of Illustrators.

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Anne Elizabeth Moore is a USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow, Weinberg Fellow at the Newberry Library, a Fulbright scholar, and the author of several award-winning non-fiction books including Unmarketable (The New Press, 2007) and Cambodian Grrrl (2011). Co-editor and publisher of now-defunct Punk Planet and the founding editor of the Best American Comics series from Houghton Mifflin, Moore teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She contributes criticism to The New Inquiry, The Baffler, N+1p and many others and writes a monthly comic strip for Truthout called Ladydrawers on gender, labor, and culture. Her latest book from Cantankerous Titles, New Girl Law, was called “A post-empirical, proto-fourth-wave feminist memoir” by Bust Magazine.

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