Slut Shaming and its Negative Effects on the Female Gender

Posted on September 26, 2012 by

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By Marissa Robertson

 

Sitting in the LRC Cafe recently, an ongoing problem was brought directly to my attention: slut shaming.  At the table to my left, a group of guys were talking about their weekend, when I overheard this particular statement said in an almost congratulatory sort of tone to his friend, “Man, that girl is such a slut.”  A short while after, two girls walked past my table and I heard a similar statement, but instead was emphasized with a tone of disgust, “Ew, that girl is so slutty.” 

 

In a culture that holds women to an impossible double standard, all too comfortably accepts sexual abuse and rape, as well as holds a mindset of victim blaming, we should analyze and consider what is really being said when we use and accept the word “slut.”

 

Firstly, a woman’s sexual past, number of partners, preferences, orientation, etc. are nobody’s business but her own.  While mainstream media promotes a culture of masculinity that includes bragging about the number of women a man has slept with, it also promotes the idea that a woman’s entire being can be judged by her sexual activity.

 

In our society, a woman is supposed to be a pure innocent virgin, while at the same time, not being too much of a prude, while also making sure she is not a “tease.”  Even a woman who is confident with her body, opinionated, friendly, or just generally different in some form can take on the label “slut” without it being linked to any sexual activity.

 

In fact, according to Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, in the English language alone, there are “220 words for a sexually promiscuous woman but only 20 for a sexually promiscuous man,” which blatantly shows the different standards men and women are held to when it comes to sexual reputation.

 

A woman’s clothing can determine the amount of respect given, as well.  Usually, women who wear clothes that are considered to be revealing are coined “sluts.”  A woman’s fashion choices should not dictate the amount of respect she is given and whether she is treated with common decency.  When it comes to cases of rape and sexual assault, the question is usually asked, “Well what was she wearing?”  This insinuates that somewhat revealing clothes means she was “asking for it” or that she was not being careful enough, putting the blame on the victim instead of the suspect.   

           

 

 Even though it may not seem like a big deal to call somebody a slut, it can easily ruin their reputation.  This reputation can have negative effects on their personal life, as well as a woman’s self-esteem and confidence.  It is used to attempt to make a woman feel humiliated, guilty, inferior, dirty, and unaccepted. 

           

Along with this, a woman’s reputation can also be used as “evidence” against her when it comes to cases of rape and harassment. What is her sexual history? What is her reputation?  What was she wearing? How many partners has she had?

                       

So, when it comes to slut shaming and bashing, speak out.  If a friend or acquaintance participates in this, explain to them the consequences of their seemingly innocent words.  Within ourselves, try and recognize patterns of misogynistic thinking, and do not participate in slut bashing, guys and girls alike.  It may just seem like a word without consequence, but it is anything but.

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