I think we’ve all heard this term. “Attention Whore.” Gah, what a beautiful epithet bestowed upon individuals via social media, the comments section of articles, and behind someone’s back. People often call someone an attention whore for posting what someone arbitrarily considers too many selfies on his or her (but let’s be honest, almost always her) social media page. People also call someone this when he or she (she) tries to talk about something he or she finds important instead of what the person she is talking to deems worthy of discussion. Women are called this for being too loud, for being too opinionated, for being too focused on themselves, et cetera.
So, let’s ignore for a minute how derogatory and hurtful this phrase is and instead look at how horribly wrong it is from a purely logical standpoint. A “whore” is a person who receives payment in exchange for sexual favors. It boils down to nothing more than a business transaction between two people, where the product in question is a person’s body. By this standard, an “attention whore” is a person that gives away attention in exchange for monetary compensation. This would be someone you call up when you’re feeling lonely or maybe you’re going through a hard time and need someone to talk to, and you pay them some money up front, and they spend the evening paying attention to you, listening to you, and making you feel special in a way that you just can’t get for free. Call me sad, lonely, and pathetic, but this sounds pretty nice to me.
On the other hand, an “attention whore” is not someone that seeks attention for his or herself. That would be an “attention thief.” Whores give something in exchange for compensation. Thieves take something without providing any sort of compensation. But, of course, if we called these people “attention thieves,” it loses its sexist charm and doesn’t quite have that degrading, ignorant ring to it. “Attention thief” sounds kind of cute and playful. It sounds like something I would call my cat when he lays down on top of my book while I’m trying to study, rolls onto his back, and looks at me with those big, adorable eyes that say “Rub my belly, pwease?”
“Aww, stop being such an attention thief, you…” I would say as I rub his belly anyway because I just can’t say no to him.
So, I think we can see why saying “attention whore” is wrong, even if you’re okay with being sexist, derogatory, offensive, and generally unpleasant. Even if said person is an “attention whore” in its proper sense, who the fuck are you to judge them for it? They’re making people happy while probably providing for their family or education or whatever. It’s their life; let them do what they want with it. And please stop being so mean to each other. Just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean human decency needs to ride off into the sunset with its pretty little sidekick named feelings.
And if you absolutely insist on being mean and judgmental, at least get your insult right.