Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Whore Stigma

“Sometimes I will say I sell drugs so that people don’t know what I really do.”

“Don’t let the shame or stigma get the better of you and never let others take advantage of you.”

The “whore stigma” is, first of all, the belief that it is horrible and terrible to be a whore. Secondly, anyone who earns a living doing something naked or sexual is a whore. And thirdly, any person who behaves in any way considered sexually inappropriate by “society” is acting like a whore.

The whore stigma is used against every sex industry worker at one time or another. It is used to control women’s sexuality. Little girls learn not to behave “like a whore” and it is the greatest shame upon them to get a reputation as one.

With such contempt directed at whores, it is no wonder that society’s laws often don’t protect those of us who work in the sex industry. But what it does to some of our relationships is equally disturbing.

Our parents disown us. Our partners try to control us. Our straight jobs fire us. The whore stigma is a big ball of judgement passed onto us. And it hurts everyone involved.

Even customers are subject to the whore stigma being cast as low-lifes, deviants, and abusers just for accessing our services. Many sex industry workers have taken back the term, wearing it proudly. Regardless, the word “whore” is a landmine of emotion for anyone who has ever been called one.

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