Thursday, February 16, 2012

Whores aren't insults, THEY'RE PEOPLE!

Well Cenk Uygur of TheYoungTurks flipped his lid the other day and; in my opinion, insulted sex workers in the process by calling Grover Norquist "a filthy scum WHORE!"

(See video below)

Whores are not insults
Good people with lives and loved ones. They have children, husbands, wives and dreams. I am shocked at how out of their way people will go to defend using a word that describes so many people I care about as an insult to others. I can understand this position coming from someone who DOESN'T claim to support sex worker's rights but coming from someone who does, NO!

(Please follow Milissa Gira Grant on twitter)

This fight isn't just about policy it's about stigma. Part of the battle is convincing the average person that NO a whore WON'T do anything for a buck. This belief has been the basis of court cases like this one, where the rape of a sex worker was ruled as simply theft of services. The rational behind rulings like this is that if she was given enough money there would have been nothing she wouldn't have done anyway so it's just a theft. But it's NOT theft! IT'S RAPE! Thinking like this is what keeps sex workers who are raped from reporting it or seeking justice. I will also add that the common anti (antis are people who take a prohibitionist stance on prostitution and/or support full criminalization or the Swedish Model) practice of co-opting sex worker's stories and using them to push laws that are counter to sex worker's rights is another.

So why the protectiveness of using "whore" as an insult? Well, for one people seem to think I don't understand that the word "whore" has many meanings...which is laughable.

Some of them come off as if I'm attacking Freedom of Speech. Did I attack Freedom of Speech? No. I CHALLENGED speech and it is within my Freedom of Speech to do so. People say the meanings of words change over time and yet expect me not to make a conscious effort to be a part of this process. It's as if they expect me to submit to the way things are in society. Well I have news for them. I am a sex worker's rights ADVOCATE! It is not within my nature to just submit to the way things are in society. I will continue to challenge anti-sex worker legislation. I will continue to challenge the stigma connected to sex work and sex workers themselves. And I will continue to challenge uses of the word whore that empower that stigma. If you are someone who intends on following my work you should probably get used to that...or go elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. That either/or mentality really causes a lot of problems. A place of business has the right to refuse service. I used to see, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," on restaurant menus. Prostitutes have the same right.
    If you "dine and ditch" at a restaurant, the crime is theft. If you beat the cook and force him to serve you, that's theft and assault (and maybe other crimes too). If you then paid whatever's normally charged for whatever you ate, I guess the theft crime goes away, but the other crime(s) remain.
    If you get services from a prostitute and run away after without paying, the crime is theft. If you beat her and force her to give you services, it's theft AND rape (and maybe other crimes too). If you then paid whatever's normally charged for whatever you did with her, I guess the theft crime goes away, but the other crime(s) remain.
    These assholes think prostitutes are unique in that rape is MERELY theft. No, for them, rape is ALSO theft. And that's just from the victim's point of view. How many common thieves would rape someone just to get it for free? How safe are we if rapists are only convicted of petty theft? It's the rape that's important.