Green Room

NOW: “Whore” is an unacceptable, sexist term except when it’s not.

posted at 12:38 pm on October 9, 2010 by

When someone from the Jerry Brown campaign thought calling Meg Whitman a “whore” was a nifty campaign tactic, the National Organization for Women didn’t miss a beat.  They promptly denounced the Brown campaign, demanded the campaign advisor be fired, and that Jerry Brown apologize for the smear.  They took a principled stand against the use of such a pejorative term against women politicians:

So what’s wrong with equating politicians with prostitutes? After all, it’s a quick and vivid way of accusing legislators of selling their votes (and presumably their principles) for money. Countless political cartoons have portrayed supposedly greedy and ethically-challenged politicians in fishnet stockings and garters. Since when did this amusing metaphor hurt anyone?

The problem is, the accusation conjures up an image almost exclusively of women — typically streetwalkers, but sometimes high-class escorts… Also, the term seems to flow so easily off the tongues of men seeking to degrade successful, powerful (perhaps “uppity”?) women. Not long ago Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) called Linda Robertson, an adviser to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, a “K Street whore,” and he was rightly criticized for doing so. Whore, prostitute, hooker — it’s time to retire these sexist terms that only encourage our society to see women as commodities to be bought and sold.

Just kidding! That was what they said when Glenn Beck called Mary Landrieu a “high-class prostitute” for selling her healthcare reform vote in the infamous “Louisiana Purchase” deal.  Instead, they quickly endorsed Brown.

The use of the word “whore” is now highly specialized.  Calling a politician selling a vote a whore is evidently out of bounds for most of us.  And so is calling prostitutes whores, unless you actually are one.  The new, politically correct term is “sex worker.”  The San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival presented a one-day class titled “Whore College” which covered “effective marketing, stress reduction and legal issues” for women making the oh-so-empowering choice to sell sex.  We also can’t use the word whore in context of a woman indulging in frequent, casual sex.  As decades of feminism have taught us, that’s all about the “sexual empowerment” too.  Liberal feminists have wailed for years about Freud’s “madonna/whore” complex where any woman exercising her right to what she fondly supposes is consequence-free sex is classified as bad or unworthy of commitment.

Just as “the N word” is reserved for use by black entertainers, “whore” and similar insults are reserved for use by feminists.  Sometimes as an exercise in hipster irony – blogs by feminists that incorporate the word “whore” in their names abound – and sometimes as an exercise in shunning a woman who dares to have a differing opinion.  As Lori Ziganto notes,

Alleged feminists are some of the worst offenders, spewing sexist and outright misogynistic garbage at conservative women.

NOW has certainly proved that.

** I hit Publish too soon and made a few minor corrections.

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Liberals paint themselves as champions of minorities, but they are only truly interested in those who choose to politically ally with them. If you are a woman, a Hispanic, or an African-American (as I am) and you reject their ideology, they suggest in varying measures of subtlety that somehow, you wish you were born a white male and/or are obsessed with seeking white men’s approval. It’s reliable as the sunrise.

Just yesterday, I posted a message on the Huffington Post after it was implied I was a white racist “teabagger” who engages in whispers about “poor minority lazy people getting something for nothing.” When I replied that I was twice as black as Barack Obama, and perhaps the racist voices he heard were only in his head, the response from the person I counterpointed was to suggest that I was comfortable being a “token.”

I would link my response to his first accusation and his insulting retort, but a HuffPo “moderator” deleted the comment. No, not his comment — mine.

L.N. Smithee on October 10, 2010 at 2:21 AM

But, but, but… dissent is the highest form of patriotism! Anyway, kudos for going to that cesspool and challenging them on their core beliefs.

Laura Curtis on October 10, 2010 at 2:33 PM