Leo Dale

Why the word ‘prostitute’ has to go

Why the word ‘prostitute’ has to go

16 September 2018

The following article in the Sydney Morning Herald is written by my friend and colleague, Georgie Wolf: 

“I met recently with a few female business associates for lunch. You know how it goes: funky Melbourne café, extra-hot lattes, notebook PCs balanced on knees and handbags slung over chairs. We did the usual round of kisses and “how’s your husband?” while commuters walked to their office jobs.

Did I mention we’re sex workers? You’d never know to look – that morning, like any other, we were just well-dressed ladies tapping on iPhones.

Then one friend checked the news. “Oh, my God,” she said. She waved her phone screen at us and we froze. The headline read, “Bizarre New Clue in Prostitute’s Branding Iron Torture Murder”.

The word “prostitute” sounds like an unpleasant medical procedure: “Hey Bill, did ya see the Doc for your prostitute exam?” Our preferred term – “sex worker” – is boring by comparison, evoking scenes of blue-collar labour (perhaps with less clothes than your average tradie). But if we are serious about reducing violence against all women, we must move on from the word “prostitute”, especially when discussing assault or murder…..”

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Leo Dale

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