Slut Shaming

Someday I hope to live in a world where I am judged not by the snapchat filter I choose, but by the content of my character. Where my adherence to 90’s fashion and its choker comeback, doesn’t automatically make some reference to my sex life. Earlier this year, a satire article (“satire” is a stretch here) was circulating titled “I got this choker at Forever 21 for $12.99 and now I can’t stop doing anal.” First let me say, if you are being charged more than $10 for a choker you’re being robbed, but that’s beside the point. Second, women don’t have a prostrate, we don’t get pleasure from anal. Don’t get it twisted. Third, IT IS A FUCKING NECKLACE. REMINISCINT OF 90’S FASHION WHICH IS BACK IN STYLE JUST LIKE THE 80’S AND 70’S ONCE WERE AND OH MY JESUS GOD WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH OUR SEXUALITY????

Women’s fashion, (and makeup, and hair, snapchat filter, etc) has never had much to do with men and yet they still seem to be finding reasons why our clothing etc. choices mean we want to bang them. When I have brought this subject up with guy friends they usually laugh it off and say that memes about hoes are just funny and it’s all in good fun. There is nothing “funny” or “playful” about shaming women for their sexuality. If you wouldn’t post a racist joke for fear of being called a racist or nazi, why is sexism a fun casual jokefest?

Before I go any further, let me treat you to this woke ass definition of Slut-Shaming per Wikipedia:

“In human sexuality, slut-shaming is a form of social stigma applied to people, especially women and girls, who are perceived to violate traditional expectations for sexual behaviors. Some examples of circumstances wherein women are “slut-shamed” include violating dress code policies by dressing in perceived sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control, having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, engaging in prostitution, or when being victim blamed for being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted.”

As sexism is so insidious and so engrained in our culture, slut-shaming starts extremely early. The first place a girl experiences it is in school. The dress codes in most schools limit girls from bearing their shoulders, backs, thighs, etc. This is implying early on that our bodies are forbidden or that we should be ashamed of them. That we are trying to seduce boys with our bodies. That it’s our job to protect their minds from wandering to inappropriate places. Nevermind that shoulders, backs, legs, are not sexual in nature. Actually, the only sexual body part we have is our vagina, so why are the rest of our bodies censored so heavily? I once got shamed (by a male teacher) in front of my entire 7th grade class because my bra strap was showing. It was embarrassing and became a joke among the males in my class for several months. Men don’t have to wear bras, but women are expected to. So the bra becomes a sexual piece of clothing simply because men don’t have to wear it? Women’s breasts are not inherently sexual in nature anymore than mens are, but because men have fetishized them for centuries, we have to keep them completely covered at all times? When you really start to look at this from every angle, anyone would start to see how absurd and completely unfair policing a young girls’ clothing is.

This mindset that women are to be modest at all times is where girls first get the idea that their bodies are something to be ashamed of, and also that they are no more than sexual objects. Girls start to look at other girls bodies in the same way. To compare, and eventually, compete. Girls started calling other girls sluts and hoes around 5th grade when I was growing up. Right around when puberty hit. How did we know so early on to attack each others sexuality? I heard this word from boys as well growing up but it was usually a girl on girl crime. How truly heartbreaking that at eleven-years-old we are already slut-shaming each other. This mindset is from the patriarchy, of course, but it can manifest itself at church, at school, in the values our parents teach us, etc. We are fed these lies about our worth and our bodies by so many sources that by our teenage years we are brainwashed to hate and blame our bodies and ourselves for being sexual beings. I have never been called a slut in my life (to my knowledge). However, I heard it said behind the back of so many girls and women my entire life that it didn’t need to be said to my face. I got the message loud and clear. If I wanted sex, I was a disgusting whore. Men were supposed to chase it and we were supposed to not want it. How fucking rapey is that?

So, imagine a little girl grows up with these messages all of her life, and then gets raped. Do you think she could trust this same society that has slut shamed women all of her life to stand up for her? It is terrifying to come forward as a rape victim if you have ever been called a slut, shamed for your clothing, your body, your sexuality, or just seen it happen to other women. Not to mention the shame and embarrassment you already feel at having been raped. We cannot trust a judicial system run by majority men to seek justice in rape cases, or even give much of a shit about the rape victim.

This is also why it is so infuriating when you are discussing rape statistics with a male and they use the line, “well men can get raped too.” After centuries of raping and pillaging, holding power over women, treating us like objects meant only for their pleasure or for reproduction, abducting us, murdering us/ or keeping us as sex slaves in creepy basements, impregnating their daughters, raping and molesting young girls and boys, selling children into sex trafficking, creating a billion dollar industry that profits off the objectification and degradation of women’s bodies, creating websites where men pay to cheat on their wives, (this list is endless but I’m gonna chill for now) and you wanna tell us men can get raped too? I’m glad you have a basic understanding of how your anatomy works, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge glaring problem in our society that was created by and is sustained by men. There are actually pro-rape activist groups, with very large numbers, whose main objective is to “reclaim masculinity” and make it legal to rape women in private settings. This is a thing. *shudders*

So every time a man calls a woman a slut, hoe, whore, thot, or just rolls his eyes at rape statistics, it takes every ounce of my self-control not to lose my shit. (I usually just go ahead and lose my shit anyway.) Men, if you enjoy sex so much, you would think you would support our sexuality a bit more. Aren’t you lucky women are also sexual beings? Don’t you want to support that? On that same line of reasoning, if you don’t want to impregnate every woman you sleep with, we need you to support our reproductive care as well. At the very least support our choice to decide that for ourselves. Get on our side, and everybody wins. Slut-shaming, objectifying, and oppressing women hurts everyone.


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1 Comment

  1. Excellent essay! I am so sad that at age (almost) 70 I still have to acknowledge that this is our society’s status. I thought for sure that my generation would get this fixed. That projection was off by a long shot! Thanks for persisting!

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