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Charlotte Swan @CharlotteOU812
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First and foremost I’d like to give a shout out to the BRILLIANT word whorearchy. As a person with a passion for words (why yes, I did use behooves in a recent tweet, thank you for noticing) I love a pun, a play on words and especially completely new words.
Whorearchy is a word that’s used to describe elitism within the sex industry. Merging whore and hierarchy to create a unique word describing something that permeates every section of our industry.
Basically if we boiled it down to one simple sentence it is this:
Whorearchy is the self perpetuated class system of sex work, dividing those with privilege and those without.
Would that t’were so simple...”
I’ve spent a lot of time researching the Whorearchy. I’ve probably mentioned the construction of this thread to a dozen people over the last 3 months. And no doubt they all wondered where it was I mean it’s not that hard to blast privilege, right?
But, dear reader by now you know it’s not enough for me to regurgitate the usual sex work rhetoric. That I have to search deeper, much deeper. It’s never enough for me to acknowledge something. I must understand it. I must know why
And so my search took me deep, probably more deeply that I’d gone before and in the end what I was left with was a truth I know to be right. When you read this, you might at first get your guard up. I may attack something you feel without question deeply.
This is what writers do. We ask you to question yourself, your belief, and your life, all the time searching for own even harder answers.
Everything I write to my sex work brothers and sisters is written with love. This is no exception.
(Stop waffling Charlotte and get on with it!) Yes of course, forgive me. You’re right. Brevity is the soul of wit. So, without further ado, no more asides or call outs. Let’s discuss Whorearchy.
Meet Rita.
Isn’t she lovely?
Rita is a full service sex worker.
She used to be a sugar baby when she was younger, to pay her way through university which of course meant she was much, much BETTER than those old dirty whore prostitutes.
These days, Rita is a “high class” escort. She uses words such as elite, courtesan, international, premiere experience in her advertising.
She might be a sex worker, but she’s determined to charge an arm and a leg for it.
Meet Winona.
Aren’t they edgy and cool?
Winona used to work in a brothel but now they work privately.
Living in a share house, Winona faces some barriers to working.
They find it hard to find money for advertising and can’t afford photo shoots.
A good week for Winona is when they can pay rent AND buy food. I hear ya Winona!
Rita, our high class courtesan tweets about her international bookings and her 5 star hotels She used to post photos of her cash on twitter, but now admits that’s a little tacky Rita claims she is very selective in choosing her clients and claims a low volume of select clientele.
Winona resents all the middle aged white housewife hookers in the industry. Winona accuses everyone of privilege Winona says that they can’t work safely or always make good choices regarding their health because if they dont pay rent they will get evicted.
Rita favourite hobby is to publicly shame workers who offer natural oral. She justifies it by saying that she is educating others and helping the world. But secretly she feels it’s a way of setting herself above others in marketing.
Winona thinks that workers who don’t embrace worker politics are assholes. Winona feels they can’t say no to clients who haggle and they have to offer BBBJ because if they dont they will lose bookings.
Rita thinks Winona should get their act together, start charging more for services and pull their socks up. She thinks Winona is an idiot for offering natural services when they don’t have to. She thinks Winona should join a gym.
Winona believes that Rita is an elitist slut shamer who is out of touch with sex workers and has no empathy for the struggles of others. Winona hates Rita’s tweets emphasising her success and wealth. Winona and their friends like to gossip about Rita and what a hateful cow she is
Rita lies about how successful she really is. She makes good money, but not that great. She hasn’t been booked for an overseas trip in years, and the gifts she tweets supposedly from clients? That’s stuff she either bought herself or bought as a birthday gift for someone else.
Winona likes that with sex work they don’t have to get up at 6am and get on a train and commute to work everyday. In fact most days Winona sleeps in till noon. Winona likes that if they don’t feel like working today and have enough money, they don’t have to
Oh, and lastly...Rita has sucked a TONNE of uncovered dick. She just pretends she doesn’t, then charges clients an arm and a leg for it, telling them their a special client, and she only does it with them. Suckers!
Phew! Bases covered, yeah?
Okay. So who did you identify with? Rita or Winona?
Likely it was a little bit of both.
The simplified version of Whorearchy is that Rita is to blame here for perpetuating stigma and shame. Good point. Correct
And Winona? Blameless? Sure Winona is doing it a lot tougher than Rita right now. But is it fair to say they aren’t endorsing stigma? Or are they in fact contributing to the Whorearchy too? (I did tell you I was going to say shit that upset you, didn’t I?)
I get bored with the way sex work is over simplified in the media Victims of sex work or high classed escorts travelling the world The majority of sex workers are somewhere in the middle. Sometimes they have a good week, sometimes bad. Neither Rita or Winona. Somewhere in between
And that leaves a lot of room for various levels of whorearchy within those variables. Within that vast inbwteen. Lots of judgements, lots of resentments, lots of privilege and endless accusations of privilege.
Now wait up I know it sounds like I’m having some white girl rant against accusations of privilege. I’m not. Honestly. You just need to wait till the end. I promise you I have not lost the plot, yet.
Sex work is not a simple industry, and as much as we would like it to be so. Our issues are not black and white, they are multifaceted. They are complicated. And this is perfectly illustrated in our whorearchy.
Many people start sex work because they have nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, and fear for their personal safety. Thank god there is a job people can do, with no training, no union dues, no interview process, no barriers to starting this very minute.
THANK GOD for sex work! It’s saved many lives.

But society tells us it’s bad...
Stigma is a terrible thing. Stigma from outside our industry and stigma from within. At times it can feel that we are surrounded on all sides by our enemies. If only they were half as scary, half as evil as our REAL enemy. Ourselves.
The truth is that the root of Whorearchy is not our judgements on others. It is our judgements on ourselves.


Yup. You read it here first. Your only have yourself to blame.
Whorearchy is all YOUR fault.
Growing up we are all told the same things, unless you were like the only person on the planet raised with love for all things whore and then I salute you and can I lick your face? For the rest of us we all grew up with the idea that sex work is wrong.
The things we are told as children have a lasting impact. I am happy to go into why this is, but perhaps that’s for another thread. But let’s just agree that childhood is the most impactful time of our lives and we absorb the message that sex for money is abhorrent.
We grow up and ‘realise’ this is incorrect. To certain levels of acceptance. But never fully. Never completely.
Somewhere inside each of us, is a voice that ranges from a tiny occasional whisper to a full out screaming rant

“I am a loser, I have no morals, I fuck people for money and that is wrong. To choose this job I must have made some terrible mistakes, I can’t manage my life, this is a terrible burden, a horrible secret, I am defective, I am nothing”
and on we go.
Now all people have feelings at times of low self worth. This is completely normal. And it makes perfect sense that after 3 thousand years of oppressive stigma and brain washing that everyone would struggle with the concept that sex work is fine to do.
Both Rita and Winona struggle with their internal stigma. Both try to justify why they do sex work and how they do it, and to offer excuses to the world and themselves for it. Both contribute to the Whorearchy.
Yep. I went there.
In order for Rita to justify sex work she charges a LOT of money for her services. She might be a whore, but god dammit she has standards! When I see tweets by Rita’s I want to cry. It’s so sad to hate yourself so much that you must shame others to justify your choices.
Winona’s inner stigma though is just as strong. They just choose to express it differently. We all, at times feel we lack choices, that’s an unfortunate fact of life.
Winona feels they have to work the way they work because of lack of money and resources. But someone else in Winona’s exact same situation may feel blessed. The fact is Winona identifies as a victim of oppression and financial inequality to justify being a sex worker.
She accuses everyone but herself of having choices in how to work, but could this just be a way of justifying being a whore?
“I have no choices, I have to suck uncovered dick. This doesn’t make me a bad person, or a slut, I’m a victim. If I had choices, it would be different. All my problems are thrust upon me due to adversity. I don’t have your privilege!”
I’d like it noted that while Winona is screaming for others to check their privilege, they have completely forgotten to check their own.
Not all homeless people choose sex work. Not all people facing poverty and oppression choose sex work ( I mean they should, it’s a wonderful thing. But they don’t) Not all people with a drug habit choose sex work. Not all people who have lost everything choose sex work
And for the very reasons we struggle with. Even though their need is great. The weight of the stigma would be too great for them.
Total honesty. Unless you are forced absolutely against your will, you chose to be a whore. And you know what? You made a GREAT choice. It’s a GREAT job. Well done you smart person!
Now I know this will make me hugely unpopular with some that I choose to question a victim rhetoric which is strong and largely unchallenged within a certain vein of our community but if you can, just hear me out for a little longer. I promise I’m going somewhere better.
Privilege. Oh it’s a word that sits on the lips of all jumps out in defence and attack of other workers hundreds of times a day.
Sex work privilege. To an anti it’s probably an oxymoron . To an advocate it’s a direct reference to the whorearchy. Some workers have choice and that’s privilege. Some workers don’t. They don’t have privilege
Let’s really look at sex work privilege. Let’s stop throwing that word in the faces of others, and ask ourselves to get real for a minute.
White privilege. Doesn’t matter if I’m rich or poor, sick or healthy, crazy or sane. Overlord shit!
Male privilege. Yup. Got that for life too, in case you become a woman. But whether you rich poor, black or white, dumb or smart. Male privilege makes your life better. Forever
The above privileges and some others not listed, are set in stone. They can never change. And because of that when you have that privilege you have a responsibility to those that don’t.
If you have privilege you need to move over. You need to make room. Brings another seat to that table. Be quiet and listen. That is the responsibility of privilege.
But who asks that of ‘elite hookers’? How could the ‘elite’ do that?
Could it be because sex worker privilege is something different?
Something that’s cyclic? Something that is not set in stone, but comes and goes.

Let’s take another looks at Rita and Winona. A year in the future.
Rita became unwell this year. While in Singapore on tour she picked up a virus that had devastating consequences. She became so seriously unwell that she was off work for 9 months. Without an income, Rita’s once dazzling and enviable privilege disappeared.
Rita lost her home, her car and had to sell all her nice designer clothes. She’s working in a brothel because she’s living with her Mum. And as Rita is now in her late 30’ she’s not making a lot of money in the brothel. Most nights she takes home around a $100 if she is lucky.
Winona on the other hand has had a stroke of luck. A client turned into a generous regular. He booked Winona on an overnight which earned them enough money to get professional photos and better advertising. This in turn led to more clients and better opportunities.
Winona now has their own apartment, a strong clientele and some money in the bank. They are seriously wondering now how best to advertise their business and are eager to learn more so they can make more money. It looks like Winona may be on their way to a better life
Obviously this illustrates that many in this industry have varying moments of privilege and not. Because sex worker privilege for most is not based on anything other than the capacity to earn money. BUT there are exceptions!
Now a WOC sex worker will never have as much privilege as Winona. EVER. WOC sex workers face issues of racisim and unfairness that Winona could never imagine. And I guarantee that when Winona was claiming that everyone but her had privilege she wasn’t thinking about WOC workers.
Or trans workers, who not only suffer from the maximum amount of stigma possible but also suffer far greater risks of violence, rape and murder than other sex workers.

What about migrant workers? What about the issues they experience?
If a trans worker or a POC worker or a migrant worker wants to call out other worker privilege then by all means, they can. They should. Because it sucks that POC, migrant and Trans workers cannot make as much money as everyone else due to and only to racisim and stigma.
This stigma and hate is beyond the control of any of us. And we should listen to these workers as much as we can. Making space, and time to listen and struggles and learn.

Everyone else? Hold up a minute
Because it’s not the migrant workers, or the trans workers or the POC workers that I see here calling out privilege in sex work. Nope! And Fuck me they should be!
Nope it’s the Winona’s screaming that the Whorearchy makes her feel like shit about herself.
Trying to quantify who in this industry has more privilege and who doesn’t (apart from the groups I’ve listed) is counter productive and destructive. Because we choose in this industry to use it as both a weapon and a shield. We choose to attack, and we choose it to hide behind.
And in doing so we cannot unify or support. Our internal stigma reinforces outside stigma. We cannot triumph if we don’t let it go.
We all choose sex work (unless we don’t). Everyone. Stop judging, undermining, shaming and hating other sex workers. Stop gossiping about them. Stop laughing about others behind their back.
Stop blaming the Whorearchy for your failure to thrive.. Could any way... be possible...that you may be using this justify your own internal stigma, your own internal shame?
And if you really feel you didn’t choose sex work, none of these choices are yours and you’re just doing this for somewhere to sleep at night or food on the table. Well then I’m glad sex work was there for you. It always will be. For everyone.
I hope things improve for you AND I know you have much more important things than Whorearchy to think about right now, so this thread won’t affect you.
BUT when things DO improve for you. When you have some choices to make. I hope you’ll choose to not listen to your internal stigma. That you’ll just love yourself. And know inside you are good enough. Whatever your work choices are.
Internal Stigma. You are not alone. We all have it. But choosing to express it in a way that attacks and harms other sex workers, whether you shame or despise is tearing at the fabric of our community.
You don’t have to justify being a sex worker. You don’t need a storyline. You don’t need an excuse. A reason, a validation.

You can just be a sex worker. No reason, no excuses
Doing sex work to pay for your PHD makes you no better than a sex worker choosing to work to feed her children, and in turn the single mother is no better than the worker who chooses sex work to pay for a drug habit. WHY? These are all valid reasons to work.
They must all be supported. Without question
I mean it’s just a job right?
See selling sex is so complicated!
If we introduced industry standards like other industries, we could insist that all workers charge the same, and all workers offer the exact same service. That would kill the whorearchy in seconds.
But we can’t do that, because it cuts out all those workers who are doing survival sex work. Remember them? Its those workers who need to be able to enter anytime they need and not be subjected to industry standards that cannot be met in desperation.
And this is why there is no answer to Whorearchy. Nothing can ever be introduced to change it.

UNLESS...we all accept our part in it, and we all decide to let it go....
The whorearchy is just a bunch of people at various points in their life, trying to externally justify why they chose to do a job that they were conditioned by society is dirty, shameful and sad.
Think about the sex workers you know who are chill The ones who don’t play into the whorearchy I can name a few awesome ones right now Regardless of what they charge or what services they do and don’t provide, they are open and loving and at peace with themselves and others Why?
Because they stopped the self hatred. They killed the voice inside that told them they were worthless, that told them they had to justify their choice to suck dick for a living.
We can not control or change others. What they say or what they do. We can only control our response. The next time you see a worker shaming others. Call attention to their self hatred. Tell them it’s okay, we are all in this together.
I know that there are many workers out there struggling with the effects of FOSTA/SESTA and many other issues that make it hard to work. I do not think that life is fair or equal for everyone. Even though it should be.
And I know that when we are down and out and struggling that we look to those who are not and we resent them.
But the idea that the Whorearchy is created only by those who justify their work with the image of eliteness is incorrect. It is created by every single worker who tries to justify their work, or their work choices by external means and compare and resent others in the industry.
If you get upset and angry at workers who perpetuate Whorearchy what does that say about you? What does it say about your feelings of self worth? We choose to feel what we feel. Our feelings are always a choice.
Whorearchy is self perpetuating. If you keep listening to the spiel that others are better than you, and you react to that, you just support it. Next time you see someone emphasising the whorearchy. Acknowledge their inner self stigma. It’s all it is.
Even better, when we no longer put weight behind the elite lie, when we openly laugh in the face of that crap, rather than take offence. When we collectively take the power back, won’t that discredit the marketing?
Won’t that kill the beast? When marketing yourself as a courtesan makes everyone else roar with laughter? And clients will catch on to this, they are more driven and influenced by us than we realise. Let’s make all that upper stuff uncool. Yes?
I know some people will read this and feel challenged. But to move into the 21st century and take our place as people freely able to do sex work as openly and as easily as any other job on the planet, we need to adjust our thinking. Whorearchy prevents us from unifying.
We have much bigger dragons to slay? Don’t you agree?
Let go of that deep, hidden, internalised shame. Let it go. You are loved. I love you. I think you’re amazing! Who cares what your work choices are. And why. Just do what suits your life, work in a way that’s best for you and not what you think answers your stigmatic inner voice
If you find that my writing touches, or inspires you may I ask a favour? Currently I write everything on my iPad. Donating to my computer fund would help me so much.…
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