I follow a particular woman on Pinterest who is really, really outspoken about womens issues. Some of her stuff seems a bit off base to me, but some of it has taught me quite a bit and opened my mind. One example is that I had never heard of slut-shaming prior to reading some of her pins.

What’s slut-shaming? Well, FinallyFeminism101 gives a number of good definitions and examples.

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” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a whole. It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not used.

You read about examples of online bullying and teen suicide way too frequently these days. Here’s one girl’s story. Here’s a very clear vlog made by a 13 year old girl who will spell it out clearly and maturely:

I see a ton of slut-shaming on Pinterest, strangely enough. You think it’s all about crafts and recipes, but there are a lot of pithy little sayings in eye-catching typography. One such says, “Twinkle, twinkle, little whore–close your legs, they’re not a door.” Here’s what I want to know: why the hell shouldn’t a woman have sex? If she wants to have multiple partners, why is that anyone’s business but her own?

There are people out there who feel they’re much too progressively-minded to make homosexual slurs, but they’ll make moral judgements against women all day long without stopping to consider the absurdity and harm of it. There are a lot of arguments against sexual promiscuity (one or two of them might be valid, even), but if you stop and think aboout it, far, far more women are judged by Judeo-Christian moral standards than men. If a man has thirty lifetime sexual partners, maybe it’d raise a few eyebrows. Maybe. If a woman says she had thirty sexual partners, what’s the reaction going to be? Quite a bit more intense. (Is thirty that many? I don’t ask how many partners people have had and I don’t talk about mine, so I don’t have much perspective.) Whether it’s a big number or not, the question ultimately is:

What Difference Does It Make?

I think this is an issue that both men and women need to be more in tune with. As the FinallyFeminist101 article goes on to say, women are the most likely to slut-shame.

The first thing to realize when talking about women slut-shaming each other is that infighting among oppressed groups is a necessary part for keeping those groups oppressed; ergo women are encouraged, through internalized sexism, to distrust each other and fight for male approval. In other words:

Slut-shaming is one of the chief ways that women attempt to compete with each other for male approval in a patriarchy that defines women’s worth by their physical attractiveness and limits their ability to distinguish themselves by other means.

[Nine Deuce (Rage Against the Man-chine): Sluts!.]

Is that really what we want for each other? Is it what we want for our daughters?Let’s change the world, starting in our own homes. Let’s not denigrate anyone for their sexual decisions. Let’s teach girls that it’s great to be girls, that they can be their own moral compasses, that they’re worthy of respect and love without consideration for whether they’ve never had a partner, had one, or had fifty.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 at 4:42 am and is filed under Anonyvox Junior, My Vox. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

3 Comments Leave a comment

    Shelly said:

    Jan. 25, 2012

    How can that girl be 13? Wow – what wisdom and maturity!

    I have never heard the term slut shaming. Or knew it was an issue that has come to the forefront, esp for 13 year olds. It gives me hope for my daughter’s future.

    At the age of 13, I was called a slut for sleeping with my boyfriend. That I was a virgin who had barely been kissed had no bearing but it absolutely changed the entire shape of my life from that point on. Women (girls) are mean and I would not wish what I went through on anyone.

    That women have long been held to different standards is not news. That women are remarkably unsupportive of one another , particularly as it comes to men, is also not news. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I really wonder if it will change.

    kate said:

    Jan. 25, 2012

    I love this girl! Her parents have done a remarkable job with her, obviously talking to her in a real way about real things. I hope my daughter is as strong and confident and wise in two years.

    Glad to see this topic coming to light. Thanks for sharing.

    Mouse said:

    Jan. 26, 2012

    She’s 13?!?!? Really? This child gives me hope for the next generation. She certainly has a better understanding of sex and all it’s complexities than I did at her age and even well past it.

    I wish someone would have told me this when I was her age.

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