“This is my third monocle this week. I simply must stop being so horrified!” –Upper-class Twit on The Simpsons
Concern Troll is a species of the social human that attempt to impose personal moral codes onto other humans without regard for how said codes will negatively impact the other humans’ lives. They are found worldwide in a variety of habitats, however, the most robust of the species is found on social media outlets such as Twitter and Tumblr. This study will be considering the Concern Troll within the context of sex work, sex workers, and sex worker rights.
As Concern Trolls are human, they can be anybody. Physical characteristics vary. Emotional characteristics include a feeling of moral superiority over the very humans, in this case sex workers, the Concern Troll professes their concern for. Feral Concern Trolls pair an intense hatred and fear of sex workers with their feeling of moral superiority. See also: Whorephobia.
The rare but obnoxiously obvious Full Plume Concern Troll will brandish various degrees, especially the much coveted Doctorate Degree, in fields such as Women and Gender Studies, Sociology, Economics, Law, and other fields where doing sex work is clearly not a requirement before pontificating upon it. This does not include academics and scholars who employ transparent, repeatable, and rigid methodology in their studies or those who refer to such studies as a matter of ethics.
Like Bridge Trolls, their monstrous counterparts found in mythology and fairytales the world over, Concern Trolls pop up when they’re least expected. The Concern Troll often attempts to deploy “gotcha” questions in order to confuse their quarry or at least shock them into silence. Should their quarry show more cunning than the Concern Troll themselves possess, which is often, the Concern Troll will then deploy shock tactics such as false/incomplete data, victim-blaming, and/or accusations of malice on the part of the quarry.
Many Concern Trolls can also be found expressing obvious hypocrisy with their approach to sex work. For example, a Concern Troll may identify as “pro-choice” and even claim that a woman has a right to do with her body whatever she wishes (“My Body, My Choice”) but regarding sex work, said Concern Troll will express ambivalence or outright doubt that any woman is actually choosing to do sex work of her own free will, consent, or variations thereof.
Concern Trolls can often be heard shouting what experts refer to as Concern Squawks. To their targets, Concern Squawks have a high-pitched, screeching sound and some of the more experienced Concern Trolls have been known to vocalize Squawks upwards of 125 dB. Popular Concern Squawks vocalized by Concern Trolls on the topic of sex work include, but are not limited to:
“Sex work doesn’t require any skill so why should this be considered a job?”
“The average age of entry is 13! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”
“If sex work is decriminalized, sex workers will be abused even more!”
“If sex work is normalized then that puts all women in danger of being seen as sex workers!”
“God doesn’t approve of this. I need to save your soul!”
“Sex work is only done by desperate women, so I think we should take away this job and then they won’t be desperate anymore.”
“Hundreds of millions have been trafficked! And someday we’ll find them when we allow the police to kick in many, many more doors!”
Concern Squawks will often be deployed ahead of the Concern Troll’s reveal of their true motivation for disapproving of sex work: that they disapprove of the sex part. In any context, Concern Trolls found in the Twitter habitat will often prove to be unable to maintain the charade of concern and reveal their true motivation for the disapproval, which is always based on personal likes or dislikes.
Concern Trolls prefer to hunt on Twitter and Tumblr and in the comment threads of more popular online ‘zines and blogs such as Jezebel and Huffington Post. Concern Trolls who have not fed for a while will attempt to form a symbiotic relationship between sex work and an unrelated topic in order to obtain the proper nutrients. Feral Concern Trolls are very bitey and possibly contagious as their emotional appeals can often catch on in the form of hashtags or long, acrimonious arguments on Twitter; furious and high-paced reblogging on Tumblr; or the much feared Flame War in comment threads.