A sequal to my blog on rape culture, I will further discuss the clear inequalities between men and women. Here I will be discussing what slut-shaming/bashing is, why I hate that term with a passion and more. Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior”(source).

Now having defining the term, I will go on to discuss my disgust with the term. Firstly, I do not agree with the use of the term ‘slut’ in fact I don’t even believe such a term exists, I see it as a word we just should ditch as it is just way to insult a woman over something which deserves no negativity. The word ‘slut’ is derogative way of describing a woman who has many casual sexual partners and one who has low standards of cleanliness. To me, this makes no sense at all, the number of sexual relationships one has does not correlate to what kind of person is (their personality, morality etc.). If all negative connotations are removed from the word, a ‘slut’ is simply a person, most often a woman, who has had sex with multiple partners. As illustrated above, any woman who has had sex can be a victim of slut-shaming but what is also ridiculous about slut-shaming is that it can be applied to both ends of the spectrum, where a virgin female can be a victim of slut-shaming. Indeed, as long as gendered slurs like ‘slut’ continue to be weapons casually wielded against girls and women by both people from all walks of life, any female who acts in a way that another person does not like is at risk for being slut-shamed.

Policing women via what’s considered “normal” and “acceptable” boundaries for female sexuality is not limited to sex and sexual activity. For instance, women who wear “provocative clothing” are subjected to slut-shaming. As are women who are sexually aggressive and/or unabashedly lay claim to their own sexuality. In most, if not all, societies, they imply that girls and women should not get raped by taking precautions in the way they dress and how they should behave at parties/public , rather than saying that the people who harass ,or even rape, women should stop having the motivation to do so – The statistics and studies to support what I am saying in my blog ‘Rape culture in our western society”: source.

When it comes to how and to whom sexual slurs are applied, there has been and continues to be a clear sexual double standard. It appears that there is one set of sexual rules for both men women. In terms of slut-shaming, the “transitional double standard” (a term coined by sociologist Ira Reiss – page 197) applies: “men are allowed to engage in coitus for any reason–women only if in love or engaged”. In a study of North American English, there were 220 identified words for a sexually promiscuous woman but only 20 for a sexually promiscuous man. Although the exact number of words for women versus men have undoubtedly changed since the study, the ratio has probably remained about the same.

The effects of slut shaming women can very be detrimental. Calling someone a slut may seem harmless. Slut-shaming may also seem to be useful as a kind of cautionary moral— helping “good” girls from making sexual “mistakes”, or even being sexually assaulted and/or raped, by making an example out of the “bad” girls. When in actual  fact, this is not true, A reputation acquired in adolescence can damage a young woman’s self-perception for years. She may become a target for other forms of harassment and even rape, since her peers see her as “easy” and therefore not entitled to say “no”. She may become sexually active with a large number of partners (even if she had not been sexually active before her reputation). Or she may shut down her sexual side completely, becoming completely socially detached, introverted and self conscious about herself.

How many times has rape been discounted because a woman was deemed a slut? How many times are women called whores while their partners beat them? How often are women’s sexual histories used against them in workplace harassment cases? The sexual double standard is a lot more dangerous than we’d like to think.” (Jessica Valenti: He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut: The Sexual Double Standard). This shows the consequences of slut-shaming and how it  goes beyond the personal, shaping societal discourses on rape, abuse, and harassment.

My suggestions as to how to stop slut shaming: Well, Parents should be open about sexuality with their kids. Meaning that they need to be open about female sexuality as well as male sexuality. They should teach their children that girls ,as well as boys, have sexual feelings, and that sexual feelings are entirely normal. That way they won’t have to pin their sexual anxieties on a scapegoat and then distance themselves from her. Also Teachers must realise that slut-bashing is a serious problem. Too often, they dismiss it as part of the normal fabric of adolescent life. But slut-bashing is a form of sexual harassment, and is illegal! But the most important thing that all of us need to work on is this: to stop calling or thinking of women as “sluts.” It is not fair to slander one gender for their sexual interactions but to praise the other.

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