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Slut shaming


WHAT IS IT? This is something that happens, pretty much, just to women.  Slut Shaming is when women and girls are attacked, put down, gossiped about and laughed at for breaking the supposed “rules” of being a female in this world.  A girl or woman might be called nasty words for having consensual sex, she might be called the s-l-u-t word because there are rumours or people think that she is having sex or engaging in sexual activity.  She might cop slut shaming for flirting with someone she likes, or for wearing a skirt or worst of all, for having non-consensual sex (that means a girl/ woman who is raped gets called a s-l-u-t/ w-h-o-r-e/ other-horrible-name).

SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? Firstly: it tells us that there is one correct way for women and girls to express sexuality, individuality and personality… but no one can tell you exactly that one correct way is.  Secondly: though mediafamily, friends, (everyone really) tell us to be sexy it seems that if you are too sexy (and no – we can’t tell you what ‘too sexy’ is either because it’s invented and make believe) you get put down, degraded and treated like you’re worthless and don’t deserve respect.  Women who are slut shamed are made to feel embarrassed and ashamed for not conforming to a stupid, outdated and unrealistic image of what a woman ‘should’ be.

HOW DOES THIS LINK TO ‘RAPE CULTRE’? In a few ways. Women are taught that they have to keep their sexuality private and hidden (but they somehow have to pull this off wearing short shorts, a fake tan and bikini top…?).  In other words, if girls have sex, are raped, get assaulted, get harassed, flirt with someone, have a crush on someone they have to keep it quiet or they risk getting shamed, teased and treated like an object to be passed around.

Because words like s-l-u-t/ b-i-t-c-h/ w-h-o-r-e/ e-t-c are all aimed at women only, boys are taught a very different message.  They are taught that they have to have lots of sex (or say they are), as soon as they can (even if they are not ready), with as many girls as possible… and that that is the main role their female peers play – just a sex object to be bragged about and laughed at with mates later on.  And if they aren’t actually interested in a girl?  (Maybe because they haven’t met someone they are actually interested in, maybe they aren’t interested in all that dating/ relationship stuff yet, or maybe they just aren’t sexually attracted to girls)  Well, guys get teased and put down.  This reaction encourages boys to act just how they are taught to.

Lastly, in one last ditch effort to maintain this horrible rape culture, both males and females are taught to slut shame. What girls do, how they dress and what they say is constantly under attack by both male and female peers, ensuring that girls are bullied into behaving a certain way or shamed, ridiculed, used and abused if they don’t.

Image source: Illustrated by Brennan Bova; thefulcrum.ca