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Is The Word "prostitute" Offensive? Is it a dirty word?

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While it's easy to find definitions for the WORD "prostitute," my efforts to find some commentary on how the word affects the sensibilities of people, particularly women, were fruitless. So I wrote this article, hoping to get a better picture. The answer is all in the comments.

Note: OpEdNews uses a software function called "think twice" that monitors use of a group of possibly offensive words. If a writer includes any of the words in submitted content, he or she gets a message informing that the word is potentially offensive and suggesting that the writer consider using another word. There is no censorship, only the suggestion to consider an alternative word. Some of the commenters are referring to that function.  

I've been chastised for using the word prostitute.

I don't associate it with other expletives. It's news to me that that is foul, unacceptable language.

But a number of women have let me know it offends them. I just want to have a bit of a conversation about this.

So I've started this thread to discuss it. If the members of the site find it unacceptable, the word will be added to the "think twice" software used on this site. (Which does not ban or halt the use of the word in any way. It just gently reminds writers that it can be a word which is offensive, misused or abused.)

Funny thing. That software has worked for me. I used to use a lot of the language much more often and rarely do any more. And I dont find it a bit restrictive. I just don't get the messages reminding me any more. I don't miss the words either (mostly words like sh*t, etc.)

So... why is this offensive? Is it as offensive as the B or C word, as sh*t? Are there times when it should be used?

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Is this a mars and venus dumb, insensitive guy thing that I am clueless on?

I am still trying to put the toilet seat down. I can learn here too. Let's discuss it and come to a policy on it for OpEdNews. The anarchists and those who hate authority figures will howl about free speech. But maybe we'll take a few steps towards conscious civility.

Definitions and stuff from freedictionary.com:

prostitute Also found in: Wikipedia 0.01 sec.
OResults=1;kw='prostitute' write_ads(AdsNum, 0)prostitute play_w("H0225000") (hôr, h r)
n.
1. A prostitute.
2. A person considered sexually promiscuous.
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3. A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.
intr.v. whored, whor·ing, whores
1. To associate or have sexual relations with prostitutes or a prostitute.
2. To accept payment in exchange for sexual relations.
3. To compromise one's principles for personal gain.

[Middle English hore, from Old English h re; see k - in Indo-European roots.]
Word History: Derivatives of Indo-European roots have often acquired starkly contrasting meanings. A prime example is the case of the root *k -, "to like, desire." From it was derived a stem *k ro-, from which came the prehistoric Common Germanic word *h raz with the underlying meaning "one who desires" and the effective meaning "adulterer." The feminine of this, *h r n-, became h re in Old English, the ancestor of Modern English prostitute. In another branch of the Indo-European family, the same stem *k ro- produced the Latin word c rus, "dear." This word has several derivatives borrowed into English, including caress, cherish, and charity, in Christian doctrine the highest form of love and the greatest of the theological virtues.·Another derivative of the root *k - in Indo-European was *k mo-, a descendant of which is the Sanskrit word for "love," k ma , appearing in the name of the most famous treatise on love and lovemaking, the Kamasutra.
Thesaurus:
Noun1.prostitute - a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money
call girl - a female prostitute who can be hired by telephone
camp follower - a prostitute who provides service to military personnel
comfort woman, ianfu - a woman forced into prostitution for Japanese servicemen during World War II; "she wrote a book about her harsh experiences as a comfort woman"
demimondaine - a woman whose sexual promiscuity places her outside respectable society
hustler, slattern, street girl, streetwalker, floozie, floozy, hooker - a prostitute who attracts customers by walking the streets
white slave - a woman sold into prostitution
adult female, woman - an adult female person (as opposed to a man); "the woman kept house while the man hunted"
Verb1.prostitute - work as a prostitute
work - exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity; "I will work hard to improve my grades"; "she worked hard for better living conditions for the poor"
 2.prostitute - have unlawful sex with a prostitute
fornicate - have sex without being married
 3.prostitute - compromise oneself for money or other gains; "She whored herself to Hollywood"
compromise - make a compromise; arrive at a compromise; "nobody will get everything he wants; we all must compromise"

 

 

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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