Home > Reflections > Whore

Whore

What do you call
a man who likes sex?

A man.

What do you call
a woman who likes sex?

A slut.

What do you call
a woman who is paid for sex,
whether or not she likes it
at all?

A whore.

A month ago,
a woman called me “puta,”
demonstrating for her daughters
what she believed a whore
looks like.

I didn’t
care one little bit
what she thought of me,
but the image of one daughter
staring at me and trying to
decide what, exactly,
made me a whore
is burned into
my memory.

I have had
a galaxy full of conversation
with that daughter
since then.

“Who,”
I ask her,
“do you believe benefits
by calling women
whores?

“Do you think
women win? Do
you think you are
really better than someone
who makes money from one
use of her body, when there are
countless reasons she might do so?

“Are you smarter
than someone, anyone,
who grants temporary access
to her body, to feed herself, or her
family, or to not be killed, or
because she enjoys it?

“Are you kinder,
or more compassionate,
or wiser, or more likely to
save the world, because you
do not?

“Or are you just luckier,
in some ways, while still being
a pawn in a world where only a handful
benefit from calling women whores,
and very few of them are women?”

Once upon a time,
I called myself a “pimp.”
Around me, it was used
in lieu of “badass,” a pimp
being someone who owned.

1012356

At the time,
I didn’t think about
what pimps owned,
or thought they did.

(It turns out
you can never
own the human
spirit, no matter what
you do to the body
that houses it.)

Now,
now I think of
that woman casually
training her daughters to think
of women as whore or not-whore,
and I cringe that I could ever,
ever, have likened myself
to someone who makes
his livelihood
threatening,
controlling,
hurting
women.

If I had
just one moment
to speak one sentence
to that daughter,
I would say–
no, shout–

I would rather be a whore
than a pimp.

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Categories: Reflections Tags: , , , ,
  1. September 28, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  2. September 28, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Great post and I totally agree with you!

    • September 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks! I was walking toward the same major street when I thought of that and decided it was time to write about it.

  3. September 28, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I have a post with the same title about that word. I was a whore at one point, in the original, biblical sense of the word, so I really am not fond of it bandied about randomly.

    • September 28, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Do you mind if I link that post here? I just read it and am going to spend some time thinking on it.

      I could’ve written 10,000 words on this whole concept of “choice” so grievously misunderstood by those who’ve had the broadest range of them, but … this was what I could say without getting into thousands of words, with the little I do understand now.

      • September 29, 2015 at 8:09 am

        Of course, you can link. I didn’t because I didn’t want to be presumptuous.

        I, too, would rather be a whore than a pimp.

        • September 29, 2015 at 6:39 pm

          Feel free to link anytime, every time. I don’t publish strangers advertising their own pages through barely concealed (advertise-y) comments, but for bloggers I love to read … links are welcome.

          I hope others find your post through this comment:
          http://fishofgold.net/2015/06/12/whore/

  4. September 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    This was so well said. Bravo.

  5. September 28, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I am so glad that you have children. I want more people in the world to be thinking like you do.

    • September 28, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      ♥ I hope, hope, hope that I send into the world–a little way down the road–two men who love women, and who demonstrate that love in their words and actions.

  6. September 28, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Brilliant!

    • September 28, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Thank you! One of your posts was actually woven through my reflections the last month … so I thank you for that, too.

  7. September 28, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Enjoyed this!

  8. September 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    And I’m sitting here thinking… man I wish someone would pay to sleep with me. I’d be so rich. Sore, sure. But rich. Then again someone would just pimp me and I wouldn’t make any money. Im awfully marketable and my pimp would know that and totally cut me out of the take. I dont think a pimp or a whore is a very good profession after all. Just to be sure we are all on the same page. It is totally cool to trade house chores for sex with a spouse right? Your own spouse, not someone else’s. That is just wrong. You people need to get your mind right and quit making me consider strange things. Geez.

    • September 28, 2015 at 7:50 pm

      I’m glad to have you considering, even if some of those turns are strange!

      • September 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        Just a little S.O.C. to liven up the debate

  9. September 28, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I also worry what that mother calls her daughters, and her sisters, and her mother when she is peeved. And how she thinks of herself.
    I am firmly on your side of the pimp/whore equation.

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      I worry about that, too; I wish I could counter it directly, if only for a moment. Would that I could go back in time and take that moment instead of thinking “really?” and moving along …

      I also have to say: Typing the word “whore” felt terrible at first, but as I typed, I found it easy to release everything I’d heard the word meant and focus on what it actually means, with no moral layering whatsoever over it.

      I read this article after reading Goldfish’s post early. One particular section jumped out at me:

      But “in very few of these cases was a ‘trafficker’ responsible for that constraint.” Rather, “it was a complex set of life crises or near-crisis points that compelled them into the sex trade.”

      So my question is: How do we move societally from knee-jerk denigration that changes nothing (for the better) and move instead toward keeping people from complex sets of crises from which they can find little recourse? If we could answer that, I believe the impacts would be profoundly positive for people everywhere.

      • September 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        My response to your question is perhaps naive and certainly idealistic but I think we need to start viewing this world as a community. Something we share. If we can eliminate the us and them, and starting focussing on a much broader us than we are used to then I believe any number of prejudices will be eliminated and injustices addressed.
        In the interim we can only do our best in our own sphere of influence.

      • September 28, 2015 at 8:48 pm

        The final comment in that article was interesting – that 87% of prostitutes want to quit and have nobody holding them back, but they’re not “banging down the doors” of agencies established to help them. Maybe a future step should be to engage them in a discussion of what they want? One thing I learned from teaching kids in a very poor rural community was that you need to show kids how to dream about the future, and then how to turn those dreams into plans. Most kids who grow up poor, abused or neglected just don’t know what their options are – and they’re inherently distrustful of The Man. But I think if you were to create a situation where they could work together to build their own solutions, it would probably be way more effective than setting up institutions of one sort or another to tell them what to do.

        • September 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm

          I feel like focusing on teaching kids to dream addresses one tiny fraction of a much larger equation: one in which parents’ choices, and the crushing weights of their worst choices, dictate their entire futures. While there’s always the possibility that one can bootstrap her way up to gold, puppies and sunshine forever, the truth is only a minute portion of those in the poorest communities do. That’s not because they’re dreaming too small. It’s because the ladders out of their communities are not only brutally short but crumbling.

          After a trip I took to San Francisco for my education law class, I was never again able to misperceive that people have (nearly) equal educations or equal opportunities. I saw that some were blessed straight out the gate, and that those who weren’t were greatly battered … by the shoddy, crumbling schools they attended, the half-interested long-term substitute teachers, and the dark color of their skin.

          I do think it’s important to teach people to dream. I think it’s also important to stop penalizing people for choices they could have made better a decade ago, or choices their parents could have made better a decade ago, and find a way to ensure that anyone willing to work for it can find a way toward a better future. Not just those with the right connections/parents/geography. When we exalt the idea of choice without context, it is the poorest of the poor and the most destitute of the destitute who suffer, while those with comparatively abundant options say things like, “Your failure, your fault.”

          (This is 40% a response to your comment, I should acknowledge, and 60% a response to comments I’ve hard the past many years. I absolutely believe in the goodness of your heart and in the importance of dreaming and learning how to fulfill those dreams, just as I absolutely shudder in frustration when I remember all the people who told my mom with great conviction, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t have married him!” was any kind of solution for my mom. Time travel isn’t possible yet, folks. So what now, with these choices already made? How do we enable real choices for all, no matter what choices they or their forebears made before?)

          • September 29, 2015 at 9:05 pm

            I want to respond properly but can’t right now – am in a deadline frenzy and trying to get ready for our trip next week. Will try to respond here; hope to talk properly in SF – does next week Saturday still work for you? I hope so! But no hard feelings if it doesn’t – I’m looking forward to exploring the city anyway… 🙂

  10. September 28, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Perfectly said. I come from a culture and place where the simple act of wearing a sleeveless blouse or capris can get you branded as a whore, never mind shorts or dresses. Where a non-virgin bride is a whore even if she lost her virginity to her soon-to-be husband. Hell, a virgin who dates, has guy friends or goes to mixed parties is apparently also a whore. A boy who has a girlfriend is dismissed affectionately with ‘boys will be boys’ while a girl who dates is a slut with no moral values. When my marriage was being arranged, I heard many many horrible things from people (well meaning people perhaps):
    ‘My son drank in college, but boys will be boys! But I’ll never chose a daughter-in-law who has ever touched alcohol! Girls with no values do that’
    ‘My nephew had his flings but poor boy, what could he do with the girls throwing themselves at him? A boy can only resist so much!’
    ‘We want our son to marry a doctor or lawyer, but we won’t allow her to work after marriage, what will people think?’
    ‘Girls who go to co-ed schools are all whores’
    ‘Girls who go abroad to study are corrupted!’
    ‘The divorce wasn’t my son’s fault, the girl was a whore! Did you know she actually had male friends??’
    ‘Women have weaker moral fibre: they can’t resist temptation! That’s why it’s up to husbands to control their wives.’
    ‘I don’t mind if my daughter-in-law goes out with friends, as long as it’s during the day, respectable girls do t go out at night without their husbands.’

    I didn’t drink, date, smoke or have any (close) male friends but every time I heard something like that, I wanted to take off my shoe and beat the speaker with it. ‘I am not a meal you’re ordering at a restaurant,’ I wanted to scream, ‘I am a person god damn it!’ But that’s the irony isn’t it? In that culture, I’m not a person. I’m a piece of property to be owned, controlled and put in a shiny cage. Women are lesser beings they tell me, they aren’t fully human, they are weak, their thoughts, ideas and emotions don’t matter.

    I’m lucky really that I ended up with such an amazing man for a husband, otherwise I just might have gone insane.

    • September 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      I am so, so glad you ended up with your husband, but gah! So sad, and frustrated, for young women now trapped in these ideas that they are only as good as the people around them decide they are, no matter their own individual merits and great beauties.

  11. September 29, 2015 at 4:27 am

    I only have one word for this….YES

    • September 29, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      (One of the great things about my BLM readings almost a year ago was how easy it is for me to ignore trolls. Someone just trolled with an “oh, a woman was an aggressor but it’s men who are to blame?” and I knew better than to waste one single second trying to inform someone whose primary interest is in arguing.)

      • September 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm

        I simply ignore them. I am glad you do also.

  12. September 29, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Very well written and definitely made me think quite a bit this morning. I’m angered by the general lack of respect men have towards women lately. Is there a reason that men can’t hold the door for women anymore? Why do men not open the car door for women anymore?

    I’m not one to talk as I’ve had my mistakes in the past, but there is one clear difference, I learned from them. Words hurt, people learn from our words, which completes the circle. I’m trying to be the man that I want my daughter to end up being with the rest of her life. I hope I’m doing the best I can at that because sometimes, I doubt myself.

    • September 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      I don’t think mistakes in the past cancel out you right to speak as who you are now. If so, I should be silent a million times over! I think those mistakes inform better choices in the future, and thus are important parts of becoming someone it feels a little better being. 🙂

      It’s the absence of questioning that concerns me.The fact you’re asking these questions makes me feel like your daughter’s got good things in store, and now.

  13. September 29, 2015 at 5:19 am

    This was an excellent post. I have tons I’ve been meaning to write about an incident about a year ago where an ex called me a “slut” and it cut me to the core. I’ve been putting it off because it hurt so much to think about.

    • September 30, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Argh, argh, argh. Would that I could converse with him!

      I do hope you write about it, and finding it freeing to have done so.

  14. September 29, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I have said this more or less many times in my life to my younger brothers and in defense to friends in college as they listen to music that glorifies men for such things and demoralizes women for it. The double standards were harsh! You did an elloquent expressing this! I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award: https://myastheniagravisladycas.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/its-award-season-the-sunshine-blog-award/

  15. September 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Hello,

    I’ve nominated you for the Dragon Loyalty Award…

    To find out more see here…

    http://robertmgoldstein.com/2015/09/29/the-dragon-loyalty-award/

    Rob Goldstein

  16. September 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    The woman calling you “puta” was just as much of a street harasser of women as any man, we just rarely hear the perspective of woman-to-woman street harassment. I think you should post your story of woman-to-woman street harassment on Hollaback. http://www.ihollaback.org/share/

  17. Jane
    September 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I want to lick your brain!

  18. September 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    another GREAT post and another good find in Fish of Gold! you’re on a roll baby lol

  19. September 30, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Great post. For myself It raised more questions than answers though.

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