Kate Lister is a British post-doctoral researcher and the mind behind the highly educational historical sex work Twitter Account @WhoresOfYore. A self-identified "whorestorian," Lister posts everything from facts about the history of sex work and its bizarre legislation over centuries to medieval porn and steamy excerpts of erotica about Victorian Era rent boys.
The impact of destigmatizing sex work (which is not to be confused with the Actual Terrible Crime of sex trafficking) would be felt well outside the sex-positive/activism community. Everyone deserves to have their fantasies and desires validated and nurtured by an autonomous, consenting adult. When we marginalize sex work, we rob people of the potential to engage with it and realize that their sexual desires are not weird or wrong or disgusting, but, in fact, utterly unremarkable!
And the fact is, sex work has been around for-literally-ever. The historical artifacts of its existence have been available for study. By revealing the facts of the profession, Lister invites followers to pick up and explore them out in the light.
The coolest part about all of this? Lister actually listens to her subjects of study. Modern sex workers regularly engage with the Twitter account and gently "call in" Lister when she uses problematic language. She tells Daily Dot:
When I first started, I used language like an academic—using the word "prostitute" with a kind of clinical indifference, and a wonderful woman from Australia contacted me to say, she really likes the tweets, but instead of "prostitute" would I use "sex worker" instead.
Here are some notable facts on the history of sex work, with which you can impress your friends:
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