Whorephobia. The fear of sex workers.

What is a sex worker you ask? Well, it could be your mother, your father, your daughter, your son, your brother, you sister… They could be sitting next to you on the city bus or dancing with you in the bar (Yes, even with all their clothes on).

There are many norms and values that affect the way we perceive sex workers. One being morality, but what is morality? Morality is different for everyone. Even if it is the same for one family, does not mean that it is the same for all in that same family. Each person is able to define and set their own boundaries with themselves and with other people. However, in society today, some people, communities, and institutions believe that they have the power to exert their dominant ideologies onto those who have different morals.

Yet, sex work does not even come down to morality. Sex work isn’t about being immoral. Sex work isn’t about being right or wrong. Sex work isn’t about being a home-wrecker. Sex work isn’t about stealing your boyfriend or girlfriend. Sex work is about choosing an occupation. Just like any other occupation.

Unfortunately, this is the most criminalized and stigmatized occupation that exists in today’s society. It is the most over policed and under protected occupation. In fact, this morning one London ON fellow tweeted this…

Read the report mentioned in the tweet HERE.

Whether you want to believe it or not, whorephobia affects us all. Just as
Thierry Schaffauser writes,

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.

Most sex workers are told that the reason they face so many problems is because of their work; however that is not the case. The decriminalization of sex work is important so that those who occupy this type of work are able to work in safe, secure, and autonomous environments. Sex workers should not sacrifice their own human rights and a right to a safe and secure working environment at the expense of society, as the above article’s title reads, “whorephobia affects us all.”

Note: This post is unrelated to the person’s tweet and the person who wrote the tweet. It was merely captured for to emphasis the fact that this is an occupation that “over-policed.”


  1. We as Indigenous peoples who have current and/or former life experience in the sex trade and sex industries met on unceeded Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver on Monday April 11th 2011. In a talking circle organized by the Native Youth Sexual Health Network we wish to share the following points about our collective discussion so that we may speak FOR ourselves and life experiences:http://www.chezstella.org/stella/?q=en/speaking-for-ourselves

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