Whorearchy is the idea that one sex worker is better than another, normally based on how close they get to clients and how they conduct their work. A sex work hierarchy.
Whorearchy can happen between the sections of the industry ranging from phone sex operators or cam girls to stripping to porn to prostitution with street based workers at the bottom.
Whorearchy within each section happens as well. In prostitution, the idea is perceived as
- High End Escorts
- Independent Escorts
- Brothel Workers
- Street based workers.
The issue of whorearchy stems from the patriarchal idea of what a women’s sexuality ‘should be’ which is put on all women. From childhood, women are taught that we should only be sexual in the marital bed otherwise men won’t respect us.
We won’t be ‘good enough’ to take home. “A lady on the streets, a freak in the sheets”.
If a woman is sexual outside of a relationship she will be punished. By instilling stigma’s people are penalised by way of ostracising and marginalisation. This can be seen in most marginalised groups. It can be effective because we,as humans, are communal creatures.
Meanwhile men are allowed to be as sexual as they want and it’s healthy, they’re a stud. We see this when people “slutshame” women. This thinking isn’t about sex, but control. Fit in or else. We have been so conditioned that women condemn each other too. It’s okay to be a bit sexy, but not too much.
Sex work stigma is based on these double standards and misogyny. What image do you see when you think Prostitute? The thought often is that we are dirty, drug addicted, low class people with little self control.
The common idea that no “”self respecting” woman would choose to be so sexual is then linked to an idea that something must be wrong with her. A woman is also redeemed and accepted back by society if she leaves the profession or denounces it as bad.
Sex workers naturally want to disassociate from being on the receiving end of this. It is normally a subconscious process.”I strip but would never sleep with the guys”, “”I sleep with guys but I don’t do drugs”, “I may do this but I wouldn’t do that”.
By trying to still conform to what society dictates a women should be, it can cause infighting, mistrust, segregation, the continuation of myths and cause harm to each other without realising it.
Removing whorearchy is about solidarity and fighting to protect each other rather than being against. Leaving no one behind or vulnerable.
If you think badly of a street based worker, then you think badly of me. When you talk badly of her, you are talking badly of me. If you treat me with respect then show the same to her.
We are both sex workers. We are the same. The laws that harm her harm me the same as well.