Since all our desires and actions still grow up under white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy, we need to problematize not only choices to participate in the sex industry, but also choices not to. Whores, too, are something that women are not only supposed to not be, but also, not be mistaken for. This division translates into a mandate to not only be virtuous, but also to appear virtuous, to again demonstrate our affiliation with the privileged half of the good girl/bad girl binary.
Compulsory virtue, then, is also something that informs and constricts women’s every move, i.e., “I could never wear/say/do that, someone might think I’m a whore ! ” Beyond the internal constrictions women experience lie external risks, as well. As with other pariah categories, one does not have to actually be a whore to suffer a whore’s punishment or stigma. Getting mistaken for a whore can land one in jail, as Priscilla Alexander and Norma Jean Almodovar point out. Recent laws, such as one passed in January, 1996 in San Francisco, give police officers the power to arrest someone for appearing to intend to exchange for money. As with most laws governing sex work, women are disproportionately targeted and arrested, although the total number of men who participate in prostitution is far larger than the number of women.
Jill NAGLE, Whores and other feminists, Routledge, 1997; “Introduction”, p. 5