Slut

The fact that anyone can be labeled a slut, at any time, with any level of sexual activity under their belt, and the fact that sluttiness is a moving target, makes it clear that slut-shaming isn’t just about controlling how much sex women have… It’s based on what people assume about you just by looking at you – at your body, your clothes and the way you move through the world. Once you realize that, it becomes obvious that the slut label isn’t just about controlling how much sex women have: It’s about controlling how we dress, how we walk, how we talk, how we dance, how much we drink, who we talk to, how we feel about our own desires and so on and so on. And crossing the invisible, culturally-determined “slut line” in any of these arenas is enough to earn you a label that, no matter how much we denounce and detest it, no matter how well we understand its purpose and its perniciousness, somehow manages to seep into our brains and eat away at our certainty and self-assurance.

— Chloe Angyal, “Slut Panel” postmortem: Shame, shame, go away

So I’m a slut. You’re a slut. We’re all sluts. Let’s have a slut party! Woo!

I wish I’d been at Rethinking Virginity so bad. What I found really interesting is the divide between right and left in slut-shaming and virgin-shaming. I know I’ve been guilty of both. We all just need to quit giving each other such a hard time about sex. It’s not cool people. And it’s not even just shaming from peers and frenemies. I had a conversation with some friends today who had experience slut-shaming from their parents. I think I’ve just lead a very naive life with a mother against whom I couldn’t possibly rebel and as such that just appalled me. I know that it’s not particularly unusual for parents to be the most judgemental about their children’s sex lives but how can we possible create a sex-positive society, and raise children who aren’t messed up about sex like this. There can’t be parents banning their children from going on the pill and encouraging unsafe sex, they can’t equate their children’s worth with their virginity or try to stop them having sex when they’re just going to do it anyway. Sex is just sex, it’s not going to kill anyone. You know, unless you’re doing it *really* wrong.

But we’re not sluts because we have sex. We’re sluts because we dress too provocatively, we talk too loudly, we have opinions, we don’t fit in, we dance too fiercely. Seriously, slut should not be the scathing insult that it is at the moment. It needs to be sorted out. And slut needs to stop being such a gendered word. A male slut has to be qualified with the term ‘man’ or ‘male’ (i.e. whore turns into man-whore). We can’t kid ourselves that when someone uses the word slut or whore that we don’t initially think of a woman. What’s up with that? Seriously. Just stop using the word in a derogatory sense. Stop slut-shaming. Because you’re a slut.

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2 Comments on “Slut”

  1. Courtney S. says:

    I’m a slut!

    I have also undergone parental slut-shaming. When I moved in with my partner at 20, my mother actually started a scene in the middle of IKEA. She’s told me I’m “pretending to be married,” whatever that means. She’s also insinuated that my boyfriends have all tricked or pressured me into having sex, and absolutely refused, when I was in high school, to believe that maybe! Possibly! I initiated sex. It’s been fun times.

  2. Lemberger says:

    really interesting piece! i very much agree with the point that the use of the term ‘slut’, when applied to women, is a form on manipulation and mechanism of control by men. solidarity amongst all women is an imperative!


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