What Is A SWERF?

By Annie TempleSWERF stands for Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist. You know her. She calls herself a feminist and her life work revolves around eliminating sex work jobs.    She thinks men should all be ashamed for being men (naturally visual beings).    The name explains itself, but it is interesting to note that the SWERF mentality IS slowly dying like causes steeped in hatred usually do.   

How To Identify If You Are a SWERF

  Perhaps you are wondering if YOU are a SWERF. Perhaps you hang around with people in the rescue industry, or you have a good friend who has been saying a lot of things about “prostituted women” lately.    Perhaps you have been CALLED a SWERF and you’re wondering if it is true, and you really are a SWERF. Well, I’m here to tell you how to identify if you are, indeed, a SWERF.     You are a SWERF if you call yourself a “feminist” AND you:

  • Say that all sex workers are victims.
  • Insist on calling sex workers “prostituted women” even though sex workers have asked you not to
  • Refuse to call sex workers “sex workers.”
  • Ignore the fact that men and transgender people are sex workers too.
  • Consider men to be oppressing women when they pay for adult consensual sex.
  • Blame female sex workers who serve male clients for “perpetuating rape.” In other words, “slut shaming.” In other words, misrepresenting consensual sex between heterosexual adults as rape.
  • Hate women who show their bodies to men (especially for money).
  • Hate women who were born with male genitalia (You are also known as TERF – Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).
  • Think that women who work in sex work have no agency, cannot think for themselves, nor speak for themselves.
  • Think that women who work in sex work are weak and oppressed despite that many sex workers cite feeling empowered and having control in their work as top reasons for choosing sex work.
  • Have a job in which your income depends upon fundraising dollars and grant applications based on fudged figures and junk science that you use to paint sex workers as trafficking victims in need of rescue. (You work in the *Rescue Industry.*)
  • Oppress (silence / ignore / demean / deny agency to) women in the name of feminism.
  • Think that you do not do any of the things above, but you still consider sex work to be paid rape and you champion the cause to eliminate sex work, even if it means sex workers are eliminated in the process. (My apologies to non-SWERFs for being so blunt, but I get a bit angry on this subject.)

After reading the above list, if you realize that you are indeed a SWERF, here is what I suggest.

Go to a mirror. Look at yourself. Take a good, long look. Point into the mirror so that you are pointing straight at yourself and sing (to this tune): “STOP in the name of love. Before you stay a SWERF. Think it o-o-over. Think it o-o-over.”(Full lyrics at the bottom of this post.)  

The above exercise will: a) bring joy and love into your life; b) help you to lighten up a little (you don’t have to be a militant man-destroyer all the time); and c) allow you to use that brilliant mind of yours to recognize that there is a very good reason for the phrase “Nothing about us without us.

You are ethically obliged to let sex workers determine what they need and get it for themselves.   Once you realize this, you will begin your transformation from SWERF to ally.

Send me an email and ask me how you can be an ally of sex workers. I will tell you straight up, concrete ways that respect the agency and dignity of sex workers how you can help increase health and safety in the sex industry.    It’s not rocket science. We have the knowledge and the science to back it.

We can teach you what you need to know. But first you gotta resign from the SWERF camp.  

Your SWERF friends might suddenly reject you and everything you stand for. If that happens, you will know from experience how their hate oppresses people. Fortunately, your conscience will be clear because you will no longer be one of the oppressors.    

“Stop! In The Name Of Love”
(Before you stay a SWERF)

Lady, Lady
I’m aware of where you go
Holding protest signs outside my door
I watch you walk down the street
Chanting that I am a piece of meat
But this time before you plug your ears
Leaving me silenced and hurt
(Think it over) Haven’t you now learned the truth?
(Think it over) I don’t need to speak through you.

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Think it over
Think it over

You say you stand
For human rights
So why do you
Ignore my voice?
I’m not trying to steal your boyfriend
I just want to pay my mortgage
But this time before you spout the lies
And use your governmental ties
(Think it over) I know what is best for me.
(Think it over) Why don’t you go save the bees?

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Think it over
Think it over

I’ve tried so hard, hard to be patient
Hoping you’d stop this exploitation
Religious right and you are together
Don’t be an oppressive fool forever

Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF
Stop! In the name of love
Before you stay a SWERF

Lady, think it over
Think it over, lady
Ooh, think it over lady…

What do you think? Did I cover all things SWERF? What am I missing? Please share your comments below. 

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The Naked Truth provides sex-worker-driven, accessible resources, tools, and supports that prioritize health, safety, ethical business practices, and training for sex workers and our clients; and promotes a voluntary system of self-regulation in the Canadian sex industry.

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