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Today, I noticed this article by sex workers’ rights advocate Thierry Schaffauser on Facebook; it brings up an important and rather disturbing issue which he calls “whorephobia”: the hostility prostitutes receive from other women who are not involved in the sex industry. All too often, female sex workers are treated with far more disdain by other women than by men; I, too, know what it feels like to be called names such as “homewrecker” and “slut”, among other derogatory epithets, by other women. This is discouraging as well as hurtful, as one would expect a sense of solidarity; unfortunately, this is not the case. Here is Mr. Schaffauser’s article in its entirety as well as the link:
– Marie Brown (Silky)
Whorephobia affects all women
If men are the ones who attack physically, women are sometimes more prejudiced than men against sex workers. In most languages, the most common sexist insults are “whore” or “slut”, which makes women want to distance themselves from the stigma associated with those words, and from those who incarnate it. The “whore stigma” is a way to control women and to limit their autonomy – whether it is economic, sexual, professional, or simply freedom of movement.
Women are brought up to think of sex workers as “bad women”. It prevents them from copying and taking advantage of the freedoms sex workers fight for, like the occupation of nocturnal and public spaces, or how to impose a sexual contract in which conditions have to be negotiated and respected. Whorephobia operates as a way of controlling and policing women’s behaviour, just as homophobia does for men.