No Mo’ “Hoes”

Source: lesmis.com

Whore, Prostitute, Skank, Ho’Bag, Tramp, Hooker, Lady of the Evening, Hussy, Ho.

Can we seriously just stop?When I was 13, I thought being a prostitute would be the coolest job ever.  I had just learned what a prostitute was by listening to the soundtrack for Les Miserables (Fantiiiine! Lovely Ladies!) and I thought the prostitutes were the best part of Act I.  They get to wear makeup and feather boas, they sing a kickass up-tempo romp of a song full of naughty jokes!  The prostitutes took care of each other – the Original London Cast Recording of “Lovely Ladies” features a line where a woman on her period confides in a colleague who, in turn, bolsters her confidence. 

Maybe this is a narrow view of 19th Century French prostitutes, but I WAS THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!  My knowledge of sex could be reduced to two points that I picked up from church and musical theatre: 

1) it was fun and
2) it was absolutely forbidden. 

The idea of being free to have sex, break the rules, and make money in the deal sounded totally sweet.  I wanna remind you, I was thirteen.

So what’s wrong with being a prostitute anyway?  NOT talking about girls who are forced into prostitution or non-consensual sex slavery.  What’s wrong with choosing to be a sex worker?

I think it breaks down to the fact that we’re still uncomfortable with women having sex.  Still can’t get over the fact that women have sex.  I hate to play the “Yo Momma” card but … you wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for the fact that your mom had sex.  Look around you and pick five people at random:  none of those people would exist were it not for their moms having sex.  Call you mother and ask her about it!  No, maybe you shouldn’t do that.  Let’s just have it one more time for the cheap seats? { YOUR VERY EXISTENCE IS THE RESULT OF A WOMAN HAVING SEX! }  Women have sex.  Get over it.

So now that we’ve established that women have sex and it’s not the end of the world, what exactly is your problem with prostitutes?  The fact that they take money in exchange for sex?  Clutch pearls and gasp!  They’re just mechanically performing a service involving their bodies for cash!  How cold, how emotionless, how callous!  Okay, so anyone who performs a physical service for someone they don’t love in exchange for cash has to stop!  Let’s get rid of manicurists, massage therapists, hairstylists, chiropractors, yoga instructors!  How dare you sell your body’s services for cash?  That’s so immoral!  Mercy on your soul!!!

Here’s a solid gold question:  How come we keep slinging “whore” around as an insult to women we just don’t like, women who don’t act the way we want them to?  It doesn’t make any sense.  NO, REALLY, it doesn’t make any sense.  Think about the last woman you called a whore:  why?  Because of her clothes?  Wearing yoga pants in the airport doesn’t mean a woman accepts cash in exchange for the performance of sexual acts.  That’s ridiculous!

Unless you caught her with one hand on a wad of bills and her other hand on a stranger’s member, you can not use the word “whore” to describe her.  Unless she was wearing revealing clothing, AND handed you a business card with her name on it, her cell phone number and the heading “Sexual Services Performed for Cash,” she is NOT a “whore.”  Unless you stumbled across her LinkedIn profile and saw she was wearing a low-cut blouse, AND listed her professional skills as “handies and blowies” and graduated from Mount MenForMoney University, then maybe she is a whore, but so fucking what?

Hey.  I get it.  Comedy, right?  It’s a joke!  We’re all feminists here (dear blog I hope we are).  We don’t have anything against sex workers, we support all women in their choices and celebrate womyns’ sexual liberation!  When I call my friends “whores,” I mean it as a joke!  It’s not like people ever miss the point of jokes, or that using “whore” as an insult  reinforces the idea that it’s bad to be a whore oh wait…

Bottom line, if I hear you using the word “whore” “slut” “ho” or “skank” to tear someone down, I’m going to assume two things about you: 

Obviously,
you don’t respect women.  If you don’t respect whores, you don’t
respect women having sex, how can you respect your own mother (who,
we’ve already established, has had sex)?  I will respect you a little less because you don’t have respect for women, and people who don’t give respect don’t deserve to GET respect, GOT IT?

Secondly, you’re an idiot.  You don’t understand what the word “whore” means if you’re using it to describe a woman in a V-neck shirt, you’ve merely heard a word, didn’t bother to understand the concept, and parrot it back.  Your word choice is so uncreative – searching for an insult and that’s all you come up with?  Read some Shakespeare, pick up some insults, speak ENGLISH. 

Okay so maybe you’re not ready to put on the red light yourself, Roxanne, that’s fine.  Nobody’s asking you to BECOME a prostitute, just to respect other people’s choice to do what they want with their life.  And to stop throwing that word around like it’s an insult!  Pick a new word!  Any word!  Tell me your new go-to insult word in the comments!  (I like “raccoon” personally).  I’m not crazy.  I just don’t think it’s cool to tear other people down by calling them a whore.  Maybe next time, cool it with the judgemental attitude and don’t jump to the “whore” insult, and you may just find that girl who you didn’t like is in fact… a Lovely Lady.

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4 thoughts on “No Mo’ “Hoes”

  1. How young girls internalize this, even by their teens, is scary. Just yesterday I was cruising /r/advice (confession: I am perennially nosy and LOVE reading people's submissions to advice columns; I don't even care about the "advice," I just like to hear about stranger's problems!) and there was one from a high school girl going on and on about how "this slut" this and "this slut" that…it just made me really, really sad.

    1. I write an advice column now! I have the same obsession with reading advice columns, but I love untangling problems for people. Okay, but YEAH! People calling each other "whores" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the word. Actual real whores (by choice, remember, not by force) are kind of awesome. They're just doing a job. I want us to stop vilifying whores and to stop using the words as insults.

  2. Ah, slut-shaming. Pretty much the last port of call when some dude has run out of intelligent (and intelligible) arguments, and ironically the words slut/whore/skank etc are often used to sling mud at someone who WON'T fuck them. The fact that some women have seemingly bought into this ridiculous concept that A) certain things make a woman a slut/whore etc and B) that being a "whore " is a bad thing in the first place…well it enrages my teeny tiny little angry asian soul.

    It's a JOB. Just like being a waitress or a bartender is a JOB. Maybe some fragile male egos cannot deal with the fact that a woman *gasp* exchanges physical services for cash, because that takes an element of power away from the dude. These are probably the same dickwads who think that the cute barmaid is asking if they want a top up because she *likes* them.

    1. Arrghhhh wiggly Muppet arms of happiness! Yes! You get me! I love this!

      RE: It's a JOB & women taking an element of power away from men: OMG I wish I had gone there. Can you imagine a world where sex work is respected? Glorified? I mean, shit. Everyone talks about going to the strip club like going to church, but they treat the women there like garbage because the women have the power – you can't touch them & they take your money! The "Lovely Ladies" song makes it sound like women are W*I*N*N*I*N*G in prostitution: they get to have sex and get money OH MY LORD it just sounds like the best thing ever?!?

      *pant pant* I didn't want to ramble incohorently in response to your comment, but you hit it so eloquently it just took all the sense out of my sails. THANK YOU. All I can say is THANK YOU.

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