Job-title inflation (was: linguisticians)

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed Mar 7 12:05:11 UTC 2001

--On Tuesday, March 6, 2001 5:10 pm -0800 "Peter A. McGraw"
<pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU> wrote:

> If we're on job-title inflation more generally now, how about that curious
> example of recent years, "sex worker" for "prostitute"?  I don't
> understand the impulse behind linguistically elevating the status of this
> particular profession.  I assume it must be related to some aspect of the
> feminist agenda, but the connection is unclear to me.
> Since "worker" isn't a very glamorous title, though, it's probably only a
> matter of time before we read of police sting operations aimed at nabbing
> "love technicians."

I don't think 'sex worker' is intended to glamorize the title--it's
intended to underscore that this is a prostitute's job.  Thus, it seems
intended to turn away from the issue of whether prostitutes are
'slutty'--having loose (or no) morals, and instead focus on the economic
aspects of prostitution, which is why most people get into it--for the
money, not the sex.


M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH

phone +44-(0)1273-678844
fax   +44-(0)1273-671320

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