By Maggie C.
In the dictionary, the term “slut” is defined as a woman who has many casual sexual partners. It is coined as a derogatory noun, while the term “player” (“playa” in many dictionaries) is an informal noun and defined as a confident, successful man with many sexual partners.
In extension, the term “womanizer” is a noun and is defined as a man who engages in numerous casual sexual affairs with women.
While this may not seem like a big deal in that they all seem relatively similar, the inequality can be spotted in a word that is not even a part of the actual definition. The word derogatory, which solely appears in the definition of a slut, adds a layer of criticism to the definition. A more aged definition of slut is a woman with low standards of cleanliness, so I pose a question: how did it make its way to meaning a promiscuous woman? Moreover, why did WE as a society let it? Why can a player, which is basically the same thing as a slut, be “confident” and “successful?” Why does there have to be gender distinction between these definitions?
The act of slut shaming within current American culture absolutely disgusts me. America has an overwhelming double standard and has absolutely no excuse as to why there is still a lack of total equality between the genders. In Emma Watson’s recent UN speech about feminism she said, “I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.” And why shouldn’t we?
I personally believe that it is absolutely no one’s business what someone does behind closed doors. What happens is completely between those involved and no one else. If those details do somehow become common knowledge to the public, there is an overwhelming amount of hate and judgment discharged on the girl, while the boy receives none at all. Probably because “Boys will be boys,” am I right? This misogynistic outlook is so incredibly outdated as people seemingly fail to recognize that women have a sex drive just as men do. Yeah I said it, females happen to enjoy sexual experiences, which is something we ignore far too often.
The practice of slut shaming does not end there, though. In schools, a community where students are supposed to feel safe and protected, girls often are called out for inappropriate dress. Take this from someone who has been told to put a sweatshirt on many a time since puberty; this is absolutely distressing and crushes self- esteem. I do not understand how something my mother and three over-protective brothers approved of can be deemed unsuitable for school. Oh, you can see my shoulder, how distracting! My shorts do not go below my fingertips? I may as well just leave because I am hindering the learning environment too much. A bra strap is showing? What? Girls wear bras? Gross! Why are we sexualizing the bodies of young women and telling them to hide themselves? Girls should be learning to be comfortable in their own skin, not wishing that they could escape from it.
The fact of the matter is that you truly have no idea what someone is going through in their life. While this may seem extreme, just one comment, one utterance of the word slut, can bring someone to the breaking point. We have attended many assemblies on bullying, so how is it that we fail to recognize slut shaming as such? Many media outlets have covered cases in which girls have committed suicide due to bullying about their supposed promiscuity. Phoebe Prince, Felicia Garcia, Rehteah Parsons, Amanda Todd, Audrie Pott, Cherice Moralez, and Savannah Dietrich all committed suicide due to slut shaming all before they turned 18. These names are just a few among many.
Slut shaming is bullying. Have you called someone a slut? Have you laughed at someone said to be a slut? If you have, then you have contributed to the negative attitude. I am guilty of this. Most of us are, but I have decided to make a change. I think that it is about time we knock down that double standard.