Slut-Shaming Needs to End

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I just read an article on Thought Catalog called “60 Women On ‘What I was Doing When I was Called a Slut'” (http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/10-women-on-what-i-was-doing-when-i-was-called-a-slut/) and I couldn’t help but address the issue of slut-shaming.

While I read the above article I found myself nodding copiously and thinking: “Yep, I’ve seen/heard that before.” Afterward I couldn’t help but feel angry and sad that our society continues to perpetuate this name-calling and judgment. It especially saddens me that much of the time women themselves use this abusive language to hurt other women. I mean, seriously ladies! It’s like life isn’t hard enough for women when we’re constantly being pushed down and forced into subordination at the hands of men; why do we do it to each other when we know the pain firsthand?

Personally, I’ve been called a slut or whore (really any form of the word that comments on the sexual looseness of a woman’s character). It didn’t matter to anyone that I’ve never had any sexual relations with anyone, I’ve never been in a relationship, and I’ve never even held hands with a boy! In my experience, most people (mainly women) that use this word as an insult are actually more insecure with their own experience or actions than with those of the person they attack.

I remember a time in middle school when my group of best friends found it humorous to throw these names at each other, thinking that it somehow brought us closer. As a pre-teen I was hesitant to join in the name-calling. I resisted for several weeks, but when I was threatened with being ostracized I was not strong-willed enough to stand up for what I know is right. That is why I’ve decided to fight against it today.

I’ve always believe in personal rights. I am the only one who owns my body. Therefore, I am the only one who is entitled to decide what I do with it, or what others do with it. Whether a woman is a virgin, has had a committed, intimate relationship, engages in casual sex, etc. it is her right as a human to do with her body what she wishes. No one has the right to tell her that she is wrong, insult her for her choices, or abuse her for how she chooses to live her life.

Over the summer I had a heated discussion with my father about this topic. Essentially, we were discussing whether it is okay to comment (negatively) on what a woman is wearing if it is revealing. I adamantly asserted that she has the right to wear whatever she wants. A woman who wears revealing clothing is not “asking for sex”, advertising her body, displaying her sexual experience or number of partners, and sure as hell does not deserve unwanted sexual advancements, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or heaven forbid, rape. She is dressing how she chooses to. She is wearing what she is comfortable in. She is embracing her body (as every woman should, because we are all beautiful)! I ended the argument with my father by using my personal experience. I told him that I’ve been called a slut before. I stressed the idea that it is none of my business, or anyone else’s for that matter, what another woman does with her body. I then asked him, “How would you feel if someone told me what I should do with my body?” I also offered up the opposite side. Virgins often get as much flack as women who have had sexual intimacy with another. We’re often called prudes and ridiculed for our lack of experience. What if the normal, accepted, and expected behavior for women was to have multiple sexual partners and people who had decided not to have sex (for whatever reasons) were blatantly told and encouraged to engage in sexual activity. I knew he would not be a fan of that; it kept him quiet for a while.

I wish people would understand what is like to constantly be surrounded with these conflicting ideals. Sex is everywhere in the media, yet women are scorned if they engage in sexual activity. On the other hand, if a women chooses to remain a virgin or to abstain from sexual activity she is considered “defective”, inexperience, prudish, and out of the norm. What we need is to abandon these standards for normality. There is no such thing as normal when it comes to humans. Women and men alike should be allowed to do with their bodies what they wish as long as it does not negatively affect another individual’s self-rights.

We need to: stop the name-calling; stop spreading the shame; mind our own business, make choices for ourselves, respect the decisions of others, and stop forcing our ideals of perfection, morality, and normality on others.

Love yourself instead of constantly hating on others.

Live and let live.

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3 comments

  1. jessicahitchcockmd · September 25, 2013

    Sexuality for women can be a lose-lose prospect. If you have desire, you are called slut-whore-etc. if you choose not to have sex, you are called cold, prude, etc. Thanks for the reminder to continue to affirm our choices and support our girls and their choices as they become women.

  2. Pingback: Cagne, zoccole e troie: slut-shaming in Italy By MapleLeafMamma.com |
  3. Pingback: Who are you calling a SLUT? | No (e)quality

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