SWERF = sex worker exclusive radical feminist. Often found alongside ‘whorephobic’.
I think the gist is that if you are anti-prostitution, as radical feminists tend to be, then you hate prostituted women.
That is a bit like saying that vegetarians hate animals.
As a radical feminist, heck, as a person, I find prostitution to be abhorrent. The fact that so many men think they have a right to sex whenever they want it, and use their economic privilege to access it. That the patriarchal society we live in has created a divide between ‘real women’ who are meant to be treated with some degree of care, and ‘sluts and whores’ who men can abuse and degrade with impunity. That society makes it so difficult for women to earn a living that many are forced to sell access to their bodies in order to pay their rent or feed their children. That when not enough women sell their bodies ‘voluntarily’, men simply purchase or steal women and force them into sexual servitude to satisfy the demand.
The level of abuse and harm and even death that is inflicted upon women so that men never have to go without an orgasm is completely unacceptable. That so many men consider women’s bodies to be something that they should have unfettered access to makes my blood boil. That men care so little about women’s right to not be bought, sold, objectified and violated makes me fear for the future of the human race.
What I feel for victims of prostitution is empathy. I want the world to treat them like they matter, to respect them, to care for them. For the abuse and torment that led them to decide that if they were already getting fucked they might as well get paid for it to never have had an opportunity to occur. For them to be able to make a decent living doing a regular job like men can. For them to feel safe. For them to be able to decide who does and who doesn’t have access to their bodies and for their lives to not depend on the actions of men who don’t even see them as real people.
It’s pretty much what I want for all women.
But as for the pimps and the johns… I want them to understand that what they are doing is exploitation. That they are not entitled to the bodies of women. That women are not theirs to buy, sell, rent out or dispose of. That women are people. That purchasing women for the purpose of treating them like sex toys is not acceptable. That the girl you pay to play out your violent fantasies is just as human as the wife or girlfriend who won’t do those things for you.
For those women who think that women should be able to choose to sell sex, let me ask you something. Why don’t you do it? How fun do you think it would be to have sex several times a night with men who think you are nothing? Would any amount of money make it worth it, let alone the relative pittance you would get for putting yourself at a such a high risk of violence?
So no, I have nothing against prostituted women. I would love for them all to have a safe path to freedom and to live without the constant threat of harm. Call me a SWERF, I don’t care. It is a word you made up to judge me an opinion I don’t even have. It means nothing to me. But by using it you show me that you care more about the right of men to purchase women than you do about the right of women and girls to be safe from harm and sexual exploitation.