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Does anyone know the article about "prostitute", "sex worker" etc not being the correct terminology

(110 Posts)
WeDONTneedanotherhero Sun 02-Nov-14 19:51:07

It was shared on here years ago, I can't remember who wrote it but it very clearly explain why the terms "prostitute", "sex worker" etc are not acceptable terms to use.

Could someone share the link please, thanks.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Sun 02-Nov-14 19:51:58

Not sure what happened in the title hmm

FloraFox Sun 02-Nov-14 22:58:01

I don't want this to go unanswered but can you remember anything else about the article?

pinkyredrose Mon 03-Nov-14 09:48:03

I thought 'sex worker ' was acceptable?

Lovecat Mon 03-Nov-14 11:18:59

I think (I can't remember the exact thread or the article) but the term 'sex worker' was iffy because it made it sound like a career choice rather than considering the surrounding factors (poverty/lack of opportunity/outside pressures) that may have led the woman to sell herself. Not to mention the possibility of trafficking etc.

Could be totally misremembering this, mind you...

I have to say there was something on the news this morning about someone in HK being arrested for murdering 2 Indonesian 'sex workers' and the phrase really jarred with me when they said it on the radio. Possibly because the fact they were from Indonesia in living in HK made it likely they weren't doing it out of an entirely free choice...

KarmaViolet Mon 03-Nov-14 11:45:45

Rebecca Mott has a lot to say on the topic:

rebeccamott.net/2014/03/26/pimp-words-are-everywhere/

rebeccamott.net/2013/10/02/it-is-not-sex-work/

rebeccamott.net/2014/08/14/i-cant-cry/

I do know women who call themselves sex workers (many of whom, while they sell sexual services, don't actually sell sex) so I tend to bodge together "sex work and prostitution" to indicate that not all prostituted women accept the term sex worker and not all sex workers view themselves as prostituted women.

WeDONTneedanotherhero Mon 03-Nov-14 12:59:06

Thanks for those links Karma.

No, Flora, all I remember is that it was linked on here and there was a black and white picture of a woman and it was really well written. I should have saved the link, ahhhh, hindsight

Lovecat Mon 03-Nov-14 13:57:58

Weirdly enough this has just come up on my FB feed from Radfem UK:

exgynocraticgrrl.tumblr.com/post/101375202274/rachel-moran-on-the-terms-sex-work-and-sex

Was that it?

FloraFox Mon 03-Nov-14 14:01:39

I can't think of it We which is annoying me because it does ring a bell.

I agree Lovecat it is horrible to hear that phrase thinking about those poor women.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 04-Nov-14 11:54:45

I think (as with other types of terminology) the correct terms to use are the ones peferred by the person-in-that-category. You don't get to define another person against his/her wishes, so if the person you are speaking to prefers to be called a survivor of prostitution rather than a sex worker, you give her the courtesy of knowing her own life better than you do. And the same applies if she identifies as sex worker rather than prostitute or victim.

FloraFox Tue 04-Nov-14 12:06:06

Unfortunately in attempting to please everyone, you would please no-one. A survivor abolitionist is offended at the notion that sex is work because it negates their experience even if applied to other people. Similarly a woman delighted with her experience in prostitution would likely be unhappy with the use of "woman in prostitution" even if applied to other people.

I do not recognise sex as work and "sex worker" is an unsatisfactory term that includes pimps so I won't use that term.

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 12:17:19

This is a conundrum. What terms do we use then ? I prefer the purely factual ones. Prostitute = has sex for money. Pimp = procures others for sex for money. Lap dancer. Stripper. Pornographer. Etcetera.

They all contribute to the sex industry.

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 12:18:35

However, since I am none of those things, what I "prefer" is possibly way low on a list of what is acceptable generally.

FloraFox Tue 04-Nov-14 12:56:17

AnyFawker you are as entitled as anyone else to contribute to what is acceptable generally. There are two positions which are founded in ideology and there's nothing wrong with that. This notion that only certain people who fall into one category can determine the terminology everyone uses is just a political tactic.

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 13:07:32

Perhaps. I guess my female default position is to not want to offend anyone grin

SolidGoldBrass Tue 04-Nov-14 16:44:50

Given that, in a polarised debate, using either/any term will upset people, I tend to think that (as I said above) you use the term preferred by the person you are addressing when you are in a person's company, and the term you consider most appropriate when you are speaking generally.
Unless anyone has any good suggestions for a term that is neutral and acceptable to all apart from the seriously hardline on either side (or the sort of people who prefer to nitpick at terminology rather than counter with a valid argument).

YouAreMyRain Tue 04-Nov-14 16:54:36

AF since when? wink

FloraFox Tue 04-Nov-14 16:59:19

No I wouldn't do that. It would be a betrayal of what I believe and of the survivors who have asked for that term not to be used.

YouAreMyRain Tue 04-Nov-14 17:03:07

It's a tricky one. I suppose "sex worker" seems neutral enough until you think about it. I would normally agree with the principle of letting the people in that position decide their own label, but in terms of the sex industry, so many women are exploited and unable to see that until after they exit.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amethyst24 Tue 04-Nov-14 17:12:48

I agree, Buffy - I can totally understand how a woman in that position would lump "prostitute" in with a whole load of other, more derogatory terms and think,"no, I don't want to be defined like that".

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 17:19:26

Oi, Rain . I don't mind offending people who piss me off. Some of the groups of people we are talking about here have done nothing to me in that regard... wink

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 17:23:14

How about "working girls" ? There is a lovely poster who comes on here on occasion to join debates around the sex industry. I am not going to use her nickname here but she uses a combination of "WG" and a female Christian name.

Personally, I don't like that term.

AnyFawker Tue 04-Nov-14 17:24:02

...and I am sure another poster in the same line said she didn't mind the term "prostitute" when applied factually and unemotionally

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