Social Question

josie's avatar

What is the word that applies in this case?

Asked by josie (29372points) December 4th, 2017

This is not a political question. It is more about semantics.

Guys like Harvey Weinstein are reprobates, sexual predators, etc. etc. even rapists for compelling young actresses to give them a blow job or fuck them in order to get or keep a career in Hollywood.

The ones who refused to do it are heroes and principled pillars of strength.

Is there a conventionally accepted term for the the ones who gave him a blow job or fucked him, figuring it was a fair trade?

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32 Answers

rebbel's avatar


elbanditoroso's avatar

Willing participants.

Capitalists – since they were freely exchanging value for value.

janbb's avatar


flameboi's avatar

go getters?

Kropotkin's avatar


Muad_Dib's avatar

Trading sexual favor as currency is traditionally called prostitution, is it not?

Not that I have anything against prostitution. It should be perfectly legal.

ragingloli's avatar

You know how Jimmy Carr would respond to that?

Soubresaut's avatar

I’d probably choose something closer to victim…. maybe “target”? Especially if the other side of the “fair trade” is being blackballed from a career (or some similar outcome) should the person say “no thanks” ... sounds more like coercion than consent to me? Maybe that’s just my take, though. Idk.

syz's avatar

Defeatist. Indoctrinated. Desperate. Disenfranchised. Victimized. Powerless. Prey.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@syz and @Soubresaut – I think you’re reading way to much into the question, or at a minimum projecting your values onto the women in question.

If they went eagerly to the men, with their eyes open, in a quid-pro-quo situation, that doesn’t make them victims or disenfranchised or powerless at all. If anything, it makes the women more powerful, in that they knew the value of what they brought to the table, and they leveraged it to get what they wanted.

Unless you are saying that ANY man-woman connection immediately makes the woman a victim and desperate. And I can’t believe you would say that.

Soubresaut's avatar

Are we really getting as hypothetical as “If they went eagerly to the men, with their eyes open, in a quid-pro-quo situation”? Because that’s not any story I’ve heard from any person (mostly women, but men too) who find themselves in these situations.

cookieman's avatar


kritiper's avatar

Cornered. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

LuckyGuy's avatar

These are great answers. I was wondering about that myself when I wrote the question about there being other victims in these cases.
The English language sure is complex beast. Look how may variations and shades of meaning are in the responses.

Kropotkin's avatar

I suppose all the feminists on here believe women have absolutely no agency, and are helpless victims of patriarchal norms.

Women who seemingly willingly use their sexual value in order to gain career advancements are simply dupes, who don’t even realise that they’re victims—even if they’re subjectively happy and satisfied with their actions and consequences.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Soubresaut – you are ignoring the last sentence in the OP’s question, in which it says “figuring it was a fair trade”.

Again, you’re applying your prejudices, but not answering the question as written.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

@Kropotkin The reporting in this case suggests that the women are not happy and satisfied with how everything went down. One can think both that women have agency and that they sometimes use that agency to make choices that they see as least bad (but still not good). I’ve known women who deliberately and explicitly set out to use their sexuality as a way of securing their interests. But while they were neither helpless nor dupes, and while other people who did the same may feel differently about their actions, the women I know who took this path did so because they felt it was the least bad option.

That said, there will always be a subset of humanity that fails to see its victimhood so long as they can see someone else clearly below them, and that subset crosses all demographics. From Jews supervising the concentration camps to women slut shaming rape victims, those at the top have always been good at getting those at the bottom to fight each other rather than the underlying problem. Such people are often subjectively happy and satisfied with their choices. And yet, that doesn’t stop other people from recognizing those actions as both morally wrong and cooperatively suboptimal.

CWOTUS's avatar

Depending on circumstance, the appropriate word – for the appropriate case – can be “whore”, “victim” or “manipulator” (because that can work both ways).

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield wrote ”.... morally wrong and cooperatively suboptimal”

According to who? Maybe against your moral values.

But again, if the women in the OP’s question did this as a “fair exchange”, then who are you or anyone else to decide on their morality? If nothing else, the women’s moral values should be the ruling set.

@Kropotkin is correct in what was written above. If you apply your morality to the actions of an independent woman, you are essentially saying that she cannot think for herself, and that you know better.

I don’t buy that.

Soubresaut's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’m not ignoring anything. If you’ll notice, my first response lifts the phrase “fair trade” directly out of the final sentence. And I did it deliberately, too, since I was aware that my response was a tonal shift, and I wanted to make it clear that I was responding to the final sentence. Guess it didn’t work. Believe it or not, I really do get what the responses before me were doing. I thought they were funny and creative. I GA’d them, yours included. But I also figured that there was nothing wrong with me incorporating other parts of the OP into my response (like the context provided by the second sentence, context which really does affect our understanding of the OP, and our understanding of the very real events it’s based on).

Anyway, in the literal sense of the question: “what is a word that applies?”—well, I provided one, didn’t I? I’m pretty sure that means I’ve answered the question as it was written. Meanwhile, I thought I’d point out that this discussion we’re having is tangential, and is not answering the OP as it was written.

I also didn’t overlook the last sentence of your response to me and syz, where you’re either deliberately trying to misrepresent the responses we gave, or genuinely don’t understand the difference.

Finally, I don’t see how, if my response somehow reveals “values” I’m “projecting” on others, that the other responses aren’t doing the same. Though I see now I’ve been moved from “values” to “prejudice.” Prejudice of what, exactly? Again, I have the sense you’re either trying to misrepresent my responses, or genuinely don’t understand the difference.

@JeSuisRickSpringfield—I couldn’t have said it half as well.

LostInParadise's avatar

Suppose that it was the woman who made the offer. There are plenty of names you could give her, depending on your point of view – seductress, prostitute, manipulator. What would you call the man? Would you use the same terms as the names for the woman in the original question? Probably not, implying that, regardless of how the woman in the question might have felt, it is not a fair trade. The woman has been compromised.

Kropotkin's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield I sort of agree and disagree in parts, but I think my position has been misunderstood—and I’ve not really explained myself fully.

Taking the “least bad option” isn’t something unique to women, and isn’t necessarily sexual. We’re all systemically coerced to one extent or another. Working an undesirable job, working for a boss you don’t like, making choices one doesn’t like—that happens to most people, in all sorts of contexts, in a variety of different ways, every single minute of the day. (And I don’t like it, and would like it not to be this way.)

We do live in a stratified society with people having different levels of social power which they can leverage, or exploit cynically. The powerful can act with less accountability and often complete impunity. Someone like Bezos can abuse his workers, driving them to stress, depression and despair, and extract billions in wealth out of their labour—but is largely lauded for his “accomplishments” and his appropriated wealth and status are glorified.

The rich are often given relatively light sentences for crimes (often given suspended setences, or time in halfway houses or low-sec prisons), with the mere “embarrassing” experience of being charged and prosecuted being deemed as contributing to their punishment.

Where I think I diverge with much of the sentiment on this thread, is that I think women’s sexuality also gives them some degree of social power which can, and often is, cynically leveraged for personal gain. There is an unfortunate confluence of capitalist norms and values: materialism, social climbing, competition—and the innate sexual tendencies and preferences of men and women, which are not the same.

For example: men tend not to be “gold diggers”, because the opportunity and the sexual dynamics for them to be so just don’t exist in the same way as it does for women. Women just don’t give enough of a shit about men’s looks and sexual attractiveness the same way men do about women’s.

So even if it is the case that every woman ever who got a promotion, or a career advancement, by using her sexuality and giving sexual favours—and absolutely all of them felt it was the “least bad option”—it at least was an option.

Demosthenes's avatar

@LostInParadise If the man made the offer, I’m sure you could call him a “seductor” or “manipulator”, even those words are sometimes unfairly skewed toward women. You wouldn’t call the man a “whore” or “prostitute”, that’s true. In some ways men are expected to make these offers, and if women do it’s seen as somewhat whorish.

The OP mentions Weinstein, but Weinstein isn’t being called a rapist because he made offers that were genial and completely reciprocated. He’s being called a rapist because he’s being accused of raping someone (pro tip: “rape” isn’t mutual or wanted; by it’s very definition it’s unwanted).

If, however, the woman makes the offer or the woman responds positively to the offer and is completely consenting, then words like “opportunist”, “seductress”, “willing participant” would apply. I still don’t think it’s appropriate at all for a superior to offer sex to an inferior. Even if there’s no statement like “if you refuse, you’ll get fired/you won’t get the promotion”, I still think it’s inappropriate.

janbb's avatar

My response initially was a (slightly) humorous quip but in thinking about it more, I think whenever there is a disproportion in power and the more powerful person – whether male or female – uses it to get sex or to harass, then the person who may or may not respond is a victim. That doesn’t mean they have no agency but they may have been forced to make choices to cooperate in order to keep their jobs.

Or – what others have said more clearly above.

syz's avatar

@elbanditoroso If there is an imbalance in power, there is never a “fair trade”.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Is there a conventionally accepted term for the the ones who gave him a blow job or fucked him, figuring it was a fair trade?


elbanditoroso's avatar

@syz – if it is perceived as a fair trade by the participants, who are you (or anyone else) to judge?

syz's avatar

@elbanditoroso If there is an imbalance in power, there is never a “fair trade”.

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