The ‘Whorearchy’

The concept of a ‘whorearchy’ – a class system among sex workers – has consistently resurfaced during my research on this topic. Keely spoke about it in ‘Mercy’ and VICE has reported on it at length:

“The hierarchies of sex work are underscored by legal boundaries, which are more permissive toward non-contact activities (like stripping) than high-contact activities (like prostitution)”

Infographic by Monique Duggan

Similarly, research from Amnesty International and the UN’s World Health Organisation has shown that sex workers worldwide battle systematic violence and increased health risks as a direct result of criminalisation and stigmatisation.

Subsequently, we’d like to harness the opportunity afforded by the Internet and social media to encourage the break down of the hierarchies of sex work and their associated stigma. This has informed the layout of our website, which will afford equal platforms or ‘profiles’ to four different areas of the sex industry. Additionally, in an attempt to align with VICE’s brand and history of “uncomfortable sociological examination”, we will include a page titled ‘Gallery’ – incorporating photographs of sex workers, juxtaposed against snapshots of public opinion, including voxpops, pull quotes, video interviews and survey results.



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