Sunday, December 17, 2006

Weighing in on Ipswich

I ususally get my news from, but I had the news on while I was cooking today and I'm pissed. Girls? You mean to tell me that they're all under the age of 18? And do we have to place so much stress on the word prostitute? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Stated here much more elquently then I could:

The Ipswich murders: they were women, weren't they?
Matthew Parris

Prostitute is a noun and a useful descriptive term, but is it the right word to use in a headline reporting the death of a woman? “Another prostitute murdered” — yes, she was murdered and she was a prostitute, but she was a woman first, a woman of whom you could have said so many things if you had known her, only one of which was that she worked as a prostitute.

I am not advocating euphemism. Woolly words such as “sex worker” will soon attract the same opprobrium as the terms they replace, and lose their wool. Nor am I suggesting we hide what those women in Suffolk did for a living. It is central to the case, it is what has linked the murders, and in a grisly way it fascinates. Any report should be unsparing and the language honest.

But in the headline, in the opening sentence, couldn’t we at least start by calling a victim what she mainly was: a woman? Some words seem to push a person away, to make them other than us. We ignore our common humanity when in the very naming of a person we launch straight into a descriptive term drawing attention to difference and inviting shame.

Read the whole thing here.

But then again, we prefer the othering, the thought that only discarded women are in danger. They thought the same about the Yorkshire "Ripper" but then he murdered mostly "women" not prostitutes. Words are powerful, and I'm sick of these women being posthumanously (and all the women in the sex industry still living) othered and discarded. (Not to mention all the women not in the sex industry who are also othered and discarded.) Blech. I hate it here.

Fuck you patriarchY!