Isn't it time we talked about... slut shaming?

June 25, 2019

Isn't it time we talked about... slut shaming?

As a generation of pro-choice crusaders, most of us would like to think we’ve never taken part in any kind of slut shaming. But, slut shaming is now so deeply ingrained within society that it’s almost hard to notice the subtle ways in which we’ve been conditioned to go along with practices that stem from it.

From the differences between how boys and girls are allowed to dress at school, to female celebrities being papped sneaking out of a man’s apartment, and even the all-too-familiar look of disapproval from a woman on the bus who doesn’t like the length of your miniskirt; slut shaming is everywhere.

But why does society do it?

Since the dawn of time, society has worked to portray women as inferior to their male counterparts. As a gender we have been denied the ability to vote, to obtain a driving license, and even to apply for a credit card. These constraints have all served to limit the freedom of women and increase the apparent superiority of men by ensuring that we must depend on them.

In 2019 we’re lucky enough that these particular obstacles no longer serve as a barrier to us, thanks to generations of sacrifice from the many powerful women who have come before us. But, there’s still one particular way in which women are made to feel and appear less than men; slut shaming.

Slut shaming is the act of degrading or embarrassing a woman for her perceived or actual sexual activities, for the way she dresses, and for the way she expresses her sexual identity. Whether a woman is actually engaging in sexual activity or not doesn’t really matter when it comes to being slut shamed. Once she’s been labeled as a slut, it can be pretty hard to shift.

Whilst nicknames for men who have their fair share of sexual partners seem to idolise his behaviour, such as ‘ladies man’, ‘playboy’, and ‘lothario’, the nicknames given to women do the exact opposite. Terms like ‘slut’, ‘whore’, and ‘hoe’ etc only serve to degrade women, as opposed to the appraisal of their male equivalents.

Sadly, the consequences of slut shaming go much further than a woman getting a bad rep for her sex life. The current changes to abortion laws in America are a serious example of how women are penalised for their sexual preferences, whereas the activities of the men who contributed to the situation are overlooked.

So what can be done to level the playing field and restore equality of the sexes when it comes to sex? First things first, using the word slut needs to stop altogether. Literally, the word needs to go right in the bin. The term has always, and will always, serve as a detriment to women exclusively.

So whether its a group of lads on the train, or one of your gal pals having some banter, if you hear someone using the word slut, then shut it down right away. Making people more aware of the wider knock-on effects of the term is the first stepping stone to eliminate society’s slut shaming habits.

The same goes for those sneaky side eyes you might catch from someone if your outfit shows a little bit, or even a lot of skin. Questioning people on their actions serves as a trigger for them to think about their own behaviour and the effects of it. Habits are hard to break, and as humans we might not even realise we’re doing something or why we’re doing it unless someone calls us out on it. How do we know we’re doing something wrong if no one tells us so?

It can be awkward and uncomfortable to stand up against the majority, but if we want to put an end to slut shaming, we’ve got to make the first move. Now is the time to reclaim our bodies and our lifestyles, and to be proud of who we are and how we live our lives. Women who enjoy a lot of sex or who wear short skirts and see-through tops are not sluts, and using the word only serves as a means to make us seem ‘less than equal’ to men.

Us women are so much more than our sexuality and our appearance, we are intelligent, we are strong, and we are one hell of a force to be reckoned with. So it’s time society started treating all women, regardless of their sex lives, with the respect that we deserve. And, rather than shitting on us for living our best damn lives, get on with living your own.

Written by Jade Biggs



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