What is Whorephobia and Why You Should Care

What is Whorephobia

Whorephobia is the fear or shaming of sexually liberated individuals, or more specifically, sex workers. Deeply internalized within both individuals and society as a whole, this concept also promotes denying sex workers basic social and human rights. 

Whorephobia, and it’s societal prevalence is exactly why in the majority of countries, sex work remains criminalized, and is in fact, why sex workers are generally at risk. 

A fear or hate for sex workers has caused most countries to outlaw our profession, leading, of course, to unsafe working conditions, lack of access to health and welfare resources, and societal exclusion as a whole.

It’s Not Just About Sex Workers

At a general level, whorephobia is also a thing outside the sex worker community. 

Womxn have almost all experienced whorephobia at some point in our lives. Much like the term “slut-shaming”, making a female-identifying person feel wrong for liking or experiencing sex at our own discretion is a systemic way of controlling our behaviour. 

It’s got deeply bound roots in the patriarchal society we know and love, here to ensure womxn remain the weaker gender – restricting basic freedoms and privileges, enforcing wage and professional inequities, and ensuring we must consider and prioritize our safety rather than men considering their responsibility to do no harm. 

It’s totally fucked up is what it is. 

Why You Should Care

In reality, the suffix “phobia” means you should automatically care. 

People are being feared and hated simply for who they are, out of a lack of basic understanding. 

But let’s get a little more specific. 

The Fucking Patriarchy, At It Again

It’s no secret that we live in a fundamentally patriarchal society. 

From healthcare practices and deprioritization of women’s health issues in modern medical science, to parental leave and general wage discrimination. Our society has been set up, from the very beginning, to restrict the health, welfare, professional development, and movement of female-identifying individuals. 

Sex workers are far more likely to be the target of violent crimes, over other womxn. This is because we are typically seen as easier, more available prey. And often, only when a non-sex-worker is attacked, will there be concerted investigation. 

Until all female-identifying individuals are treated equally, none are completely safe and we continue to be denied full freedom of movement.

But It’s Not Just The Men

While men are generally the ones perpetrating violence against female-identifying individuals, womxn are often more prejudiced than men against sex workers. Womxn are conditioned to want to distance themselves from terms associated with sex-work (whore, slut), and from those who identify, or who society identifies, by those words. 

This keeps most female-identifying individuals from owning and asserting our rights. From setting clear boundaries with sexual partners, to feeling safe occupying space nocturnally for fear of attack, female-identifying individuals have been indoctrinated to believe that we are not in control of our sexual rights and safety. 

This continues to keep womxn oppressed. 

What We Can Do About It

As always, it comes down to education, conversation, and working together opposing legal precedent that restricts the rights, freedoms and safety of sex-workers, womxn in general, and generally marginalized populations. 

An important first step in empowering sex-worker and female-identifying populations, as well as marginalized peoples, is to gain rights and freedoms afforded our male counterparts. To take back the words that stigmatize sex-workers. 

Slut and Whore should be used as ubiquitous terms of power, rather than offensive oppressive language. 

We, as womxn, need to own our sexual pleasure, expression, and empowerment, and talk and stand up freely for our rights in sexual spaces. 

We need to insist not to be made to feel wrong for enjoying and participating in sex, however we wish to participate in it. 

And of course, instead of criminalizing sex work and sex workers, we must fight hate crimes on sex workers. To do so we must make them known and visible. 

Educating ourselves on instances of violence in the sex worker community, and participating in public movements to make these crimes known, is a crucial step toward changing the way our patriarchal society views sex workers, criminalization of sex work, and the rights of womxn as a whole. 

And we can do it. 

The more we as womxn unite as a community and respect, celebrate, and elevate each others’ voices, the more those voices will be heard in a society built from the ground up to keep us ever the submissive. 

It’s high time this ends, sisters, and really, only we, together, can end it.