I am a word nerd. I love digging around in the English language to find ridiculous words. I don’t get all uppity when new words are added to the dictionary, e.g., “selfie.” If it’s in use, it should be in the dictionary, so people know what it means and how to use it correctly.
However, I do take issue with words being used incorrectly. I really hate when “nonplussed” is used to mean indifferent and “peruse” is used to mean casually flip through, since those words actually mean the opposite of those wrong definitions.
I also dislike it when just plain wrong words are added to the dictionary, e.g., “irregardless.” That’s not a word; it’s an abomination. It is a double negative in word form, or as I call it, a word bomb. I can’t hear the rest of your sentence, because a word bomb has just exploded in my face. Adding the prefix “ir-” cancels out the “regardless” so it actually means that you do care a great deal about a point that is very relevant. The words you’re looking for are either “regardless” or “irrespective,” never both at once.
And don’t even get me started on “begging the question.” That phrase does not mean what you think it means.
Anyway, we’re already off track. Language, and the improper us of it, will do that to me.
“Whore” is one of those words that’s bandied about a lot today, yet it’s rarely used correctly. It has taken on a few new meanings since the days of the Whore Of Babylon, a.k.a. “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth.” That’s a mouthful of a title.
Originally, it exclusively meant a prostitute, i.e., someone, typically a woman, who sold their body for sex. The whore charges $20 a blow.
The first shift came when it was broadly applied as a pejorative to all women, regardless of profession, as a way to call them promiscuous or indiscriminate. That whore will bang anyone.
Then, it became gender neutral, so that it could apply to men as well. Bob is a whore who will bang anything that moves. Sometimes, it’s even used as a kind of veiled jealousy. He’s such a whore in his $500 shoes.
Lastly, it has two new definitions:
- a person who likes or does something excessively
You’re such a Facebook whore.
- a person who compromises their principles for personal gain
He used to do pro bono, but now he’s just a corporate whore.
Urban Dictionary, the zeitgeist of modern language, lists the following related words for “whore:”
Based on the original definition, only a few of those are correct: “hoe,” “ho,” “prostitute,” “hooker,” and I’ll add another, “skeezer.”
According to that, calling someone a “slut” or “bitch” is now comparable to calling someone a “whore” (or “hoe”), when they are really different things. “Whore” is a profession; whereas a “slut” (or “tramp” or “skank”) is a person who is seemingly promiscuous. Most women who are called whores aren’t actually whores at all, i.e., they do not charge for sex.
I was a whore at one point, in the original, biblical sense of the word. I never took offense to the word, since it was true. I took money (or drugs) in exchange for sex. It was a long, long time ago, and honestly, nowadays, I find it difficult to believe that I was once a literal crack whore. It could be because, at the time, I had a profound drug addiction, so I wasn’t exactly in my right mind, nor was I going around documenting my life. I didn’t have a whore blog, because blogs didn’t exist then, but seriously, whoreblog.com is a great idea.
The memories I do have are fuzzy at best. They’re the recollections of someone high as balls on crack cocaine. I wish I could remember more. I wish I could regale you with more stories, since I haven’t shared much at all about that time period other than how I quit, but everything is a jumble. It’s all surrounded by a cloudy haze of all the drugs I could get my grubby hands on; the kind of excessive, Tony Montana drug use that almost killed me when I overdosed.
Drug-addicted whores are a self-defeating, vicious circle of depravity. You need drugs, so you prostitute, but in order to get through the awful experience of prostitution, you need more drugs. It gets to the point where you lose everything, even your sense of self, but you’re too fucked up to care, which is what got you into the mess in the first place–not wanting to care. I almost died a homeless drug addict whore. I almost died at the very bottom of my life. I couldn’t have sunk much lower, except to die.
Fortunately, I didn’t die then. That would have been a pathetic end. I would have been incredibly pissed off at myself forever for dying in circumstances like that. But, I didn’t. I haven’t died permanently yet (just a few times temporarily). Instead, I got clean. I stopped being a whore.
I was lucky that I was able to step away from that life. However, I didn’t live in the middle of a war zone. I didn’t have kids to feed. I don’t live in a country where women have no rights to eduction or gainful employment. I can read and write. I didn’t have a pimp who would kill me if I tried to leave. I had someone to call.
Most whores don’t have the options I had. Many are still down there, not caring if they live or die, just as long as they get their next fix. I used to be one of them.
So, don’t call someone a “whore,” because you think they’re promiscuous. Besides the fact that people are promiscuous for a whole hosts of reasons and none of them good, you’re denigrating all whores and all women when you misuse the word. If you must, call them a “slut” or a “tramp” or a “slag” instead, but it would be really nice if we could stop slut shaming altogether. It would be nice if, instead of shaming women for their choices, we could try a little understanding, or hell, maybe even offer some help.
The next time you call someone a “whore,” think about what that word–that concept–really means. Think about what it would be like if you had to sell yourself for money. You, on a street corner, willing to go with a stranger to do terrible things for money with no one to back you up. Think about all the collective crap that irrevocably led to being on the street and the real whores who have no options; the ones who were abused and neglected so seriously in their formative years, that selling themselves for money seems like a reasonable thing to do.
Nobody chooses to be a whore; it’s just happens. Sometimes, we can justify it to ourselves and others to make it not seem so bad, but no one ever wants to be a whore. It’s just one of the many terrible destinations life can take us if we’re very unlucky. We all do what we need to do to get by in this world. Besides, there wouldn’t be whores at all if there wasn’t a demand for them.
Also, please, consider donating to Children Of The Night who rescues America’s children from prostitution, or an organization like it in your community. Not all of us have a choice.