The Sun and its slideshow of “ugly” sex workers

// 1 December 2008

The Sun has posted a gallery of photos of women arrested by the Tennessee police – to demonstrate how unattractive they perceive them to be.

The headline given to this story is “All American beauties hooked”, and the Sun proceeds from that lovely start to basically point their fingers and laugh at the women arrested for being prostitutes.

I’m not entirely surprised that The Sun didn’t point out how vile it is that women in prostitution were arrested and further persecuted by the police force. However, it’s surely a new low to quote the police officers ridiculing the women they’ve just arrested:

One police officer laughed: “It’s amazing that some of these women could make a living.

“There must be a lot of desperate guys out there.”

Under one photo, the Sun even adds the horrible line “Sells sex… for money?” Another is simply labelled “rough”. One is labelled “scary”.

WTF?!

(Thanks to RM for sending in the link)

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 1 December 2008 at 9:23 pm

The Sun sinks to new depths in blatant and contemptible misogyny. However, The Sun and primarily the editor because it was the editor who allowed this misogyny to be published are not the only ones. The male Tennnesee police officers who expressed their hatred for these prostituted women are guilty as charged of blatant misogyny and contempt of women.

What were these men expecting? Images of nubile young teenage women perhaps? Or perhaps they were expecting prostituted women to be identical to what pornography promotes. Prostitution or rather male demand for women and girls to be made available so that men can masturbate into their bodies causes devastation on these women’s lives.

If anything The sun’s reporting shows the extent to which misogyny and hatred of women has sunk – it is so widespread and normal it is invisible.

So, editor of The Sun how about we have images of the Johns who think it is their right to rape and commit other forms of sexual violence against women they deem dehumanised. Because it is the Johns who are responsible for forcing women to enter prostitution. I wonder if the men who buy women and girls are all young and nubile or rather are they ordinary ‘respectable’ men from all walks of life whose only similarity is the fact all these innumerable men hold women and girls in contempt and think women and girls exist solely for men to commit sexual violence against.

Prostitution wrecks havoc on women’s and girls’ lives and in case The Sun and male Tennesse police officers have forgotten – all these women are human beings. I have yet to see any photos taken by police officers for their criminal records which show the person charged as being ‘photogenic.’ Instead such photos always depict the individual as hard-faced. One reason is because the police photographer takes such photos in a very harsh light. But who cares because it is men who decide whether a woman meets their male standards and it is men who decide certain women are not human but instead dehumanised and hence can be treated as refuse – to be discarded. But then it is men who believe the patriarchal lies concerning prostitution because men who buy prostituted women expect and demand the women not only be sexually compliant but also physically attractive; have no physical evidence of male violence inflicted on their bodies; be passive; massage the male egos and of course always but always express gratitude for male sexual organs being forced into their bodies and claim ‘the man was a sexual athlete.’ The male ego is limitless in accepting as fact the innumerable lies about prostituted women. In answer to the police officer who claimed ‘there must be a lot of desperate guys.’ Fact is these ‘guys’ are not desperate they are simply systematically engaged in destroying prostituted women lives’ because their sexual gratification takes precedence over seeing and treating women as fully human rather than men’s sexual recepticles or disposal units for men’s bodily fluids.

Sarah // Posted 2 December 2008 at 9:03 am

right on.

Steph Jones // Posted 2 December 2008 at 9:13 am

Absolutely appalling, but sadly not suprised.

I’m going to complaint to its editor Rebekah Wade (rebekah.wade@the-sun.co.uk / editor@the-sun.co.uk), and would suggest others doing so too.

Kez // Posted 2 December 2008 at 9:39 am

I’d like to see a photo spread of unattractive “customers” with similar snide captions – “how much would you need to be paid to sleep with THIS?” sort of thing.

Well actually I wouldn’t like to see it. But that’s OK, because I’m never likely to, am I?

Fran // Posted 2 December 2008 at 10:04 am

I complained. Hopefully others will too.

Maia // Posted 2 December 2008 at 10:49 am

This is awful. I looked at the ‘slide show’ and what struck me was the absolute misery and hopelessness in those people’s eyes.

Apart from the fact that the police officers and The Sun have done a disgusting and shameful thing, is what they’ve done even legal?! In some instances they have even published people’s names. Don’t they have any legal right to privacy?

This is really a new low.

Paulette // Posted 2 December 2008 at 11:05 am

Some are tired, frazzled, bags under-their-eyes, unruly hair, old and some deemed unattractive are merely black? Incredible…

Sabre // Posted 2 December 2008 at 1:16 pm

Can’t find the article now, does that mean it’s been removed? Hopefully?

Jess McCabe // Posted 2 December 2008 at 1:23 pm

I hope so, Sabre! I can’t see the article either. But if so I think they should post up an apology, rather than just delete the story and pretend it was never there.

Paulette // Posted 2 December 2008 at 1:40 pm

This is the Sun’s response to my complaint…

Thank you for your email to Rebekah Wade which has been passed to my office.

These pictures were made available to the press by the police in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Our intention in publishing the images, which are no longer on our website’s homepage, was to show the affects of a life of drink and drug abuse which often sadly leads to prostitution.

I am sorry you were upset by the publication and would like to thank you for contacting The Sun. We always appreciate hearing our readers’ views which are very important to us.

Yours sincerely,

Jess McCabe // Posted 2 December 2008 at 1:46 pm

Paulette,

Thanks for sharing that!

The Sun’s response is pretty outrageous though!

Liz // Posted 2 December 2008 at 2:02 pm

ummm, when I click on the link I don’t get anything and I looked around on the website for what you are talking about but couldn’t find it… surely not, did they take it down?

Bekk // Posted 2 December 2008 at 2:21 pm

“Our intention in publishing the images, which are no longer on our website’s homepage, was to show the affects of a life of drink and drug abuse which often sadly leads to prostitution”

Bollox The Sun. It was a disgusting and cheap shot at women. And since when does the Sun get to be moral guardians concerning lifestyle, drink and drugs? That’s apart from the big glaring myth of course that prostituted women/sex workers use the trade to fuel their habit. When very often it’s the other way round and substance misuse becomes a coping strategy to dull out the horror of having sex with men who read The Sun and other morons.

And even *if* these women are drug users, since when does yet again another marginalized group become fair go for ridicule?

Fran // Posted 2 December 2008 at 2:49 pm

I had the exact same response from them as Paulette. I suppose it was just so obvious that their intention was to “show the affects of a life of drink and drug abuse” that they didn’t feel the need to add any commentary to this end *rolls eyes* Ah well, at least they’ve taken it down.

Sabre // Posted 2 December 2008 at 2:53 pm

Well I’m please the article was removed, although I’d also like an apology for the trauma of having to navigate the Sun’s website trying to find the article – talk about high blood pressure!

Of course I’m joking (or am I?). However it was quite clear The Sun put those pictures up to ridicule the women not highlight the effects of drink and drugs abuse. They could at least admit what they were trying to do!

And also it always bugs me when people don’t say ‘sorry for being offensive’ but say ‘sorry YOU were offended’ instead. It’s always struck me as a way of saying sorry… without actually saying sorry!

Alyssa // Posted 3 December 2008 at 12:44 am

All of the above comments seconded. And thirded.

That said, I think that this was the Tennessee cops striking another blow at the memory of Duanna Johnson, who was accused of prostitution.

Maybe a little softening up of potential jurors for when the estate of Duanna Johnson proceeds with its civil rights case? Make sure the populace cannot judge the memory of someone like Duanna with any sympathy whatsoever? If so, expect more of the same soon enough.

Either way, the misogyny of these ‘men” is appalling beyond belief.

Or maybe I am just a wee bit jaded from dealing with American cops while young dumb and trans on the streets of **** in South Texas.

Muralidharan // Posted 8 March 2009 at 8:29 am

Well I’m please the article was removed, although I’d also like an apology for the trauma of having to navigate the Sun’s website trying to find the article – talk about high blood pressure!

Of course I’m joking (or am I?). However it was quite clear The Sun put those pictures up to ridicule the women not highlight the effects of drink and drugs abuse. They could at least admit what they were trying to do!

And also it always bugs me when pe

Muralidharan // Posted 8 March 2009 at 8:29 am

Well I’m please the article was removed, although I’d also like an apology for the trauma of having to navigate the Sun’s website trying to find the article – talk about high blood pressure!

Of course I’m joking (or am I?). However it was quite clear The Sun put those pictures up to ridicule the women not highlight the effects of drink and drugs abuse. They could at least admit what they were trying to do!

And also it always bugs me when pe

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