Friday, April 20, 2012
Prostitutes Deserve Better
I've written a few times about the whorish nature of the GOP and particularly the disgraceful catering to the rich and powerful demonstrated by the Religious Right, which has abandoned all fidelity to the Gospel of Christ by feverishly embracing a different gospel that entitles greedy, wealthy, powerful white men already engulfed in the kind of social privilege that Christians ought to fight against. But I've begun to rethink my use of the word "whore" to describe those individuals who benefit from, encourage, and defend the immoral avarice of the super-rich political and corporate robber barons who influence the GOP -- and who do so because it benefits them politically, enriches them financially, or nourishes their pathetic grasping for power. It seems like a dirty "lie back and spread 'em," and so "whore" seemed appropriate. I got to thinking, though, of the prostitutes I've known, a couple of whom were dear friends, and what I know of the economic and social conditions that are usually precursors to their behavior. The masculinist privilege embraced by the Religious Right, as well as the oppressive, unjust socio-economic policies that guarantee the continuing marginalization of the already hurting, contribute enormously to a climate that makes young women, desperate for that which only love can bring, turn to sex work as a desperate solution and a cheap substitute. The prostitutes I've known were kind, noble women who felt forced by the unimaginable deprivation they felt to do what most of us would consider incomprehensible, and they were in those circumstances largely because of the toxic nature of sexism -- the masculinist patriarchy embraced by nearly every figure in the Religious Right -- and the grinding economic oppression championed by those same "protectors of womanhood," whose protection seems to extend only to their virgin daughters and non-working wives. The policies these men and the women who cater to them enact hurt women; hurt women, then, sometimes feel that sex work is the answer, and even if that "decision" is made through a haze of drugs and alcohol, it's no less a desperate response prompted by circumstances of true desperation. I prefer to call women who sell their bodies "sex workers," even "prostitutes," and I find that "whore," while certainly accurate, to be unnecessarily inflammatory. Now, however, as I see others use the word "whore" to describe the slathering masses who, in their bid for power and legitimacy, enable the plutocratic takeover of America's political system, I've decided to not continue calling them whores. And that's for a single, simple reason: The prostitutes I've known and loved deserve better than to share an ugly word with men whose behavior is infinitely more sinful and destructive than theirs.