Photobucket

I keep seeing the above everywhere. Facebook, Tumblr, Livejournal, and emails. It’s always put forth with this kind of snooty superiority that basically just screams, “If nothing else, at least I’m not a slut!” Guys, guys, guys, come on. Every time I see this posted, all I can think of is this.

Photobucket

What is slut-shaming?

It is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.

Please read that linked essay. It says it all so well. Basically, calling a woman out about her sexual choices–to have sex with no people, one person, many people–does not serve women or men well in the long run for multiple reasons, including the fact that it promotes an atmosphere of victim blaming when it comes to rape.

So, this short post is a call to all women to stop posting that damn picture around the interwebs! All it tells me is that you are slut-shaming your fellow women and that you are insecure about your own desirability and sexual choices. Please, if you’re going to post anything, post something like, “Fuck who you want, when you want, so long as you have clear consent and good communication.” The end.

16 thoughts on “Stop With The Slut Shaming

  1. We just don’t seem to move forward as humans. The same insane prejudices that we believed had been banished forever are still lurking just beneath the surface. It only takes bigotry and stupidity, which qualities our society seems to be able to produce at will, to let these prejudices raise their slimy heads..

  2. Nice post! This is an ongoing struggle for women. Looking back, I think this negative attitude stopped me cold more than a few times. I wish I could go back to the younger me and say: “It’s okay to enjoy yourself and be sexual and not want to promise more. Don’t worry about being judged by the prejudice of others.”

    1. Being who I am, I’m not sure this attitude/issue ever played too much of a role in my personal decision making, but seeing other women be damned for their choices has always rubbed me the wrong way.

  3. I appreciate the argument that is being put forward here and I also appreciate that the feminist cause had much to put right and probably still does. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with women being sexual beings and enjoying their sexuality but surely there is something wrong with just sleeping around, apart from the risk of pregnancy and cervical cancer from clamydia and other STD’s. Is the message that feminists want to send to their daughters really ‘have as much sex as you want with as many different partners as you like, it’s good for you?’
    What are foul mouthed, promiscuous women who dress like tarts (and if they bahave like sluts what’s wrong with calling them that?) trying to prove? We have feminist comedians here in the UK telling unbelievably crude jokes, talking about sexual conquest, promiscuity and using language that would make truck drivers blush. What is the point they are trying to make? That they can be even more offensive and vulgar than men? It’s their right? What was so wrong with the ‘fairer sex’. Are girls who don’t want to sleep around to be made to feel they are somehow lacking just as women who want to stay at home and look after their children have been.
    Despite the locker room banter, most men do not seek multiple partners. Those that do are generally considered sleazy. When I was in my early twenties we actually called one of our mates a slut and it was used just as pejoratively against him as it might have been against women. He had a flawed character, was deeply insecure and constantly trying to prove something. While the rest of us were working on building steady relationships, he didn’t and was the poorer for that. Even the gay men I know are not promiscuous despite the media stereotype.
    I cannot see how this behaviour furthers the feminist cause or the mental and physical wellbeing of young women. How can these woman expect respect when they apparently have none for themselves.
    No, I’m sorry, I don’t get it. Is the message on this card really so offensive or is it simply that it doesn’t reference boys as well as girls which of course, it should.

    1. This post was pre-scheduled a few weeks back. I am current violently ill with the flu and had I remembered that this post was scheduled, I’d have manged to get online to postpone it until I was well because I don’t know if I have the energy to explain all of this to you. I suppose my first question would be to ask if you read the link? It explains it all really well.

      Are girls who don’t want to sleep around to be made to feel they are somehow lacking just as women who want to stay at home and look after their children have been.

      No. As I said in my post, Basically, calling a woman out about her sexual choices–to have sex with no people, one person, many people–does not serve women or men well in the long run . Calling a woman out about her sexual choices–so long as those choices involve consent and clear communication–is not productive for men or for women, whether the woman has chosen to have sex with no people, one person, five people, or however many people.

      but surely there is something wrong with just sleeping around, apart from the risk of pregnancy and cervical cancer from clamydia and other STD’s.

      Well, I think there is something wrong with it for me but I don’t think it is my right to make the call for any one else. My desire for my daughter is that she have sex only with people she respects and who respect her in return, who care for her, and for whom she cares. Does it make her a bad person or someone to look down on if she chooses to have sex with a lot of such people? Of course not. Every emotional and/or sexual encounter definitely increases the chances that someone will be hurt–either emotionally or physically–and that’s a concern. But it doesn’t make her less of a person or less of a good person either way.

      Is the message that feminists want to send to their daughters really ‘have as much sex as you want with as many different partners as you like, it’s good for you?’

      The message feminists want to send their daughters it that their bodies and what is done with them should always be their choice and not dictated by men. So, if that choice is stay a virgin for their lives, that’s fine. If that choice is to save themselves for marriage, that’s fine. If that choice is to have sex with a lot of different men with whom they’ve had discussions about expectations, emotions, consent, etc, then fine. The thing is feminists have a much higher expectation of communication about sex for their daughters. Whether that plays out or not in reality still doesn’t diminish a woman’s worth as a human. The number of dicks introduced into a woman’s vagina does not reduce her value as a human being.

      if they bahave like sluts what’s wrong with calling them that?

      This link explains why it isn’t okay to call a woman a slut, and why it doesn’t matter that you also call men sluts as a pejorative. To quote part of it (though the whole thing is important): “Meanwhile, the word “slut”, or, to translate the patriarchal lingo to contemporary standard English, “a woman who has and/or enjoys sex” is a word that exists in a certain historical, political and social context. The context should be rather easy to understand: a woman who has and/or enjoys sex is a slut. This means she should be punished, because she “doesn’t respect herself”. If something happens to her, she was asking for it. If a man hurt her, she provoked him. She’s worthless. She’s a homewrecker in the making. No man will ever want an easy woman.”

      See, part of the problem is, who gets to decide what is sluttish behavior? How many dicks in one vagina are too many? Four? Ten? What’s the tip-over point? And WHY? If there is no sexually transmitted disease, no pregnancy, no rape taking place, then what is actually being lost here? What value is being lost to the woman? I’d say that it could be argued that there is something much more valuable about sex between people who love each other, but does it actually diminish the worth of a human being for them to have sex that isn’t “deeply meaningful” every time?

      What is the point they are trying to make? That they can be even more offensive and vulgar than men? It’s their right?

      Sure. And it is their right. You don’t have to like it. They don’t exist in this world for you to like. *shrug*

      What was so wrong with the ‘fairer sex’.

      Nothing. And there will always be women who fall into that role naturally because it is who they are and they should be respected, too.

      He had a flawed character, was deeply insecure and constantly trying to prove something. While the rest of us were working on building steady relationships, he didn’t and was the poorer for that.

      But the problem wasn’t that he was SLUT the problem was that he was insecure and using sex to try to prove something. That’s a different problem that actually has nothing to do with sex. If the sex he was having was consensual on both sides, everyone was clear about where it was going or not going, and there was plenty of communication, then…well, I doubt that was the case. So the problem wasn’t the SEX but the guy’s PROBLEMS. And sure, lots of sex can be symptomatic of problems, but it’s not the sex or the enjoyment of it that is the issue. It’s not that he was a ‘slut’ –whatever that means– but that he had issues that needed resolved and which led him to act in ways that probably hurt himself and other people.

      How can these woman expect respect when they apparently have none for themselves.

      And that is the beginning of blaming the victim. She clearly deserved it since she was drunk, passed out, and had already blown two guys in the bathroom. The fact that she couldn’t agree to getting fucked because she was out cold isn’t a problem because she was a slut and she had no respect for herself and she deserved it. So long as we can actually say that the number of dicks a woman has allowed to enter her body WITH consent lowers her value as a woman and takes away her right to respect, then we’re right there on the path to saying that unless she guards her vagina with a chastity belt then she was ‘asking for it’. Calling a woman a slut (or condemning her for her sexual choices) is from the same culture that leads to people saying, “So, why was she on that side of town in that outfit anyway?” or “Why did she have so much to drink at that party?” or “Well, she sucked off the whole football team, so of course everyone knows she wanted it.”

      I hope any of this made sense. I’ve got a fever and might not be very eloquent. Regardless, we may never agree on this front. These seem like they might be new ideas to you and that can take awhile to process and work their way through old, embedded, deep cultural beliefs. 🙂

      Regardless of whether we ever agree, thanks for sharing your opinion. 🙂

      1. Hi Leta,
        So sorry you’re so unwell. I hope you’re much better soon. Thank you for responding despite being so ill. 😦
        I hope I didn’t suggest that I thought it the right of men to dictate to women what they do with their bodies or that a women deserves to be assaulted or raped because she dresses and behaves in a certain way. That is ridiculous but we live within a cultural framework, a society that has certain rules and morality along with a general concensus as what is considered decent behaviour. Are we to all start bucking these rules because we feel it’s our right to choose just how we behave and shouldn’t be judged for it. Of course as a society we make judgements, not always fairly and but it’s necessary to some extent. Without it there is anarchy where thugs and bullies would rule.
        I may feel it’s my right to choose to walk down the high street stark naked, stopping along the way to make out with my boyfriend but within our cutural norms it’s not OK just as it’s not OK for me to thump someone around the head because it was a choice I felt I had the right to make. I wouldn’t feel discriminated against because society says that’s not OK and will judge me harshly if I behave in that way. I’m gay. I have a huge resect for women and know all about judgmental people who feel I’m a lesser person because of my sexuality. I have a great deal of sympathy for the feminist cause but, I think there is a boundary here that is being pushed unnecessarily and in a way that is ultimately self-defeating just as some of the activity of the gay rights movement does me no favours whatsoever and only serves to alienate me further in a society that can still be very hostile.
        Anyway, I wish we could debate this face to face.This isn’t the easiest way to discuss a very important subject. Get well soon Leta. 🙂 x

        1. So sorry you’re so unwell. I hope you’re much better soon.

          Thank you. I sure hope so too! 🙂 And I am feeling marginally better today.

          I hope I didn’t suggest that I thought it the right of men to dictate to women what they do with their bodies or that a women deserves to be assaulted or raped because she dresses and behaves in a certain way.

          Of course I know that you do not think any woman deserves to be raped. I mean, that is my assumption based on our limited past interactions. You seem a genuinely good fellow, so of course that isn’t what you would want.

          I may feel it’s my right to choose to walk down the high street stark naked, stopping along the way to make out with my boyfriend but within our cutural norms it’s not OK just as it’s not OK for me to thump someone around the head because it was a choice I felt I had the right to make.

          While I see your point, in this particular discussion, these examples are red herrings. It’s like the “if we allow gay marriage people will want to marry their dogs!” argument. They aren’t actually related to the issue at hand.

          I guess another way to put the problem with the term “slut” or calling women out about how many dicks have consensually entered their vagina is that the term is almost never used in relation to that. For example, in the States when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut for wanting access to birth control, he had no evidence that Sandra Fluke had ever invited any particular number of dicks in her vagina. His problem with her was that she was a woman who wanted to have sex–and thus the implication that she enjoyed sex. That was his only basis for invoking the word ‘slut’ against her. This is the most common use of the word–a girl is behaving in a way a man doesn’t agree with in terms of the sexual use of her body, and so he calls her a slut.

          Personally, I have been called a slut many times, which is hilarious if you actually think that the number of dicks introduced into my body has anything to do with the term. The thing is, it doesn’t. I was called a slut in order to minimize my words, reduce my value as a person, and to try to humiliate me. Again, it was hilarious because of circumstances, but it did get me defensive and I was annoyed to find myself talking about my sexual history in order to ‘prove’ I wasn’t a slut. Ridiculous.

          The thing is, the term isn’t used to positively critique a friend’s actions and help them get over whatever insecurities or fears might be driving them to make dangerous or sloppy sexual choices. It’s used to control women whether they have had sex with one man, ten men, zero men, or fifty men, or a hundred men. It’s a term that is used to say, “You’re worth less when I apply this term to you, and GUESS WHAT? Since there is no objective standard to when this term fits, there is no definition for ‘slut’ that is objective, I get to choose when to use it on you and when to dehumanize you.”

          Nowhere does it say that a woman is a slut once she’s consented to having sex with X number of men. The examples you point out above about walking around stark naked and hitting someone in the head because you feel like it–those are not only defined things, but there are actual laws about them. There are no laws about the word ‘slut’. There are no definitions that are specific. And if there were? Well, who would get to choose the exact number of dicks-in-vagina? I suspect it wouldn’t be a woman who’d get to make that call. And even if it was a woman, why should her choices about her vagina have to apply to all women on earth?

          I’m gay. I have a huge resect for women and know all about judgmental people who feel I’m a lesser person because of my sexuality.

          I hear ya.

          I think there is a boundary here that is being pushed unnecessarily and in a way that is ultimately self-defeating just as some of the activity of the gay rights movement does me no favours whatsoever and only serves to alienate me further in a society that can still be very hostile.

          I hear you on this, too. But what I think time has shown me is that I can’t control the ways that other people decide to push the boundaries. And there might be times when I think a feminist (or gay activist) is barking up the wrong tree, or falling for a red herring themselves. But, all in all, only time will tell.

          Anyway, I wish we could debate this face to face.This isn’t the easiest way to discuss a very important subject.

          That would be fun! 🙂 I agree that the internet isn’t the easiest way to discuss these things.

          Get well soon Leta

          Thank you! And thanks for the civil discussion. 🙂 Even if we don’t agree, I think we’ve had an interesting talk! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s