“A whore is a whore is a whore”
A quote used by a sex worker and writer, famously known for her book ‘Ladies of the Night’ Ms McNeill.
Known for the publication of the controversial concept called ‘The Whorearchy’. For those who don’t know – the Whorearchy, in essence, is the defined hierarchy of sex workers.
In her Blog post, Ms McNeill illustrates her disregard for the whorearchy. Ranking sex work is symbolic of the negative and detrimental way in which sex work is viewed by society.
Despite what many have reviewed as a scathing way of rejecting the whorearchy, Ms McNeill is not alone, many sex worker share this stance.
Australian sex workers and activists have blamed the creation of the whorearchy on the direct desire of some to stay within or as close to social norms as possible. As an example, there is arguably a general perception that workers who provide just one or a few sexual services are seen as ‘better’ than those who provide the more demanding pornstar experience.
So how does the whorearchy rank sex workers? Well a simple interpretation is that escorts are ‘better’ than brothel workers. But why should it be the case that those who charge more for sexual services are seen as better than those who charge less? It doesn’t mean that those who charge more provide ‘better’ services?
The whorearchy lends itself to racial, ableist, misogynist and gender-based discrimination. For example, workers of colour are more susceptible to being patronised than caucasian workers. Same goes for transsexual vs. cis-gender workers, non-western vs. western workers and, workers with disabilities vs workers without.
Ms McNeill and other sex workers believe that the whorearchy is used by policy makers and fellow workers to justify counterproductive sex worker criminalisation laws which inherently perpetuate the mindset that certain workers are more deserving of rights and/or respect because they are closer to a ‘normal member of society’.
Furthermore, anti sex worker laws denigrate a sex worker’s ability to safely conduct their business. If they can’t meet their clients beforehand because they risk arrest, they’re forced to enter uncertain situations and simply hope for the best. What these laws also suggest is that being respectable in the eyes of society is a prerequisite for having rights that protect your livelihood.
The whorearchy is a hindrance to the normalisation and potential decriminalisation of sex work. Ms McNeill for instance, even goes as far as to theorise that if sex workers and onlookers did not create and perpetuate the whorearchy and instead banded together to advocate for their rights as a group, prostitution and other sex work would have long been legal.