Man arrested after 24-year-old Romanian prostitute murdered
– Amanda Nunn
Now, there are two things wrong with this headline.
- Yes, the content is terrible; these women placed in unfortunate situations are killed on a daily occurrence, a problem which contributes to the current rape culture we are living in. When will it end?
- The answer is in the second problem, the person who wrote this article, (which you can read here, http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/man_arrested_after_24_year_old_romanian_prostitute_murdered_1_2941187_) is a woman who referred the victim to a Prostitute, not a Sex Worker. See the issue?
In our society today, it’s clear that the majority of the public is very used to using the word ‘Prostitutes’ , however this is problematic, because not only does this devalue the choices women make to do this job, it also diminishes them as a human overall. What are the main problems with identifying these women as Prostitutes?
Well, first of all, when you hear the name prostitute, you visualise someone less than a human, let alone a woman, and when the word ‘Prostitute’ is linked in with sexual violence, it makes people think “She asked for it anyway,”. Observing the media, if I hear a story about how a Sex Worker has been murdered (especially sex workers of colour) the coverage only lasts for several hours, if you’re lucky even sometimes a whole day. Whereas, if you come across a story of a (White) mother, or a normal “respectable” woman who has been killed or raped brutally, the coverage will be endless for days or even months. I’m not comparing the two tragedies, sexual violence is institutional violence- bear that in mind. The point that I’m trying to make is that “respectable” women are treated differently to Sex Workers, why?
Prostitutes are constantly seen as being “sinful, dirty, unclean, unhealthy, and worthless”. I flinch when I hear one of my friends call these women ‘Prostitutes’, not only do we take away their humanity, we take away their dignity and it allows room for slut shaming and destructive concepts about these women which is wrong and this must stop. Religious doctrines, medicine, education, and even violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) also play a major part of shaping people’s views towards these women. (GTA allows you to pick up “Prostitutes” and kill her once you are ‘done’ with her in return for your money back) I have to emphasise on this point several times, because before we can change the views perceived of these women especially in the media, we must start referring them to Sex Workers.
Another point to make out, is that even if a Sex worker is found dead, or kidnapped of some sort, the media fail to place the emphasis on the men who commit these atrocities, as if the women are the ones who brought their death/rape on themselves. This is being addressed right now and it must stop. This good/bad girl binary must end because it’s terminating lives, physically and psychologically, as these ideas spread onto the new generation it will be harder to tackle, which is why this post is making the plea to encourage people like yourself to start calling these women Sex Workers, Not Prostitutes it isn’t hard.
Using the word “Prostitute” has been just as adverse when using the word “Sluts and “whores” it creates space for victim blaming and double standards which are already entrenched in society today. Sex Workers are not hookers, sluts, bitches or whores; they are human beings who deserve respect just like everyone else. The fact that we judge these women using these words is very telling about society and their thoughts on sex which is still evidently a taboo issue for women!
As an intersectional feminist I stand by Sex Workers (of all colours) 100%, I stand by Sex Workers because Sex Work is work – it’s another way of income, one mustn’t judge a woman for making these choices to earn a living. Conversely, there are women around the world who are forced into sex work against their will, and sadly most do suffer a terrible ending in their life, which is what I am against completely but this will not expire until these deleterious attitudes towards women end completely.
Significantly, several sex workers call other sex workers ‘prostitute’, but the difference is that it isn’t used as an insult, it’s used as a method of emancipation, solidarity against the history of the oppression placed behind that word. It’s the same with “bitches” several women call each other bitches negatively, but if it’s used positively, it’s a way of controlling their image, and giving a positive vibe to the word. On the other hand, society does not see Sex Workers in a positive light, so this doesn’t give us the right to use that word towards these women.
I want to end on a question, why do you think the media (such as the newspapers) in the 20th Century stopped labelling blacks as “niggers” “Negroes” or “colored?” It was because of mass protest and force. As I said, the media has a big impact on shaping the public’s mind and thoughts on social groups. This change will not apply to Sex Workers until attitudes are changed, which will only come about by re-asserting proper education. This starts with referring these women as Sex Workers.