Slut shaming in the 21st Century

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The night started off well enough; alligator onesies, running to Bath’s finest monuments to take some questionable photos and, naturally, a couple of drinks. Okay, “couple” might be a slight understatement, but we made it to Score on campus more or less fine. The night was fairly standard until I was in the girls’ toilets, asking someone if they were alright (I won’t go into the details of what prompted me to ask that question, your imagination is probably right). More questions were asked, and I told her I did cheerleading. It’s a statement I usually say with a bit of smugness, from a mixture of wanting to take it up for a while and the uniforms being damn adorable. However, this time it was met with

“Cheerleader? Oh, that must mean you’re a slut.”12 slut chris brown

I was momentarily stunned, but only briefly; tequila has a habit of making me political. “Slut? People surely don’t actually use that word as an insult nowadays?”

“Do you not know what the word means? Look it up in the dictionary, it’s definitely an insult.”

If I’m honest, I wasn’t even that annoyed that she was using my being a cheerleader as a premise to insult me as I felt that it was idiotic enough to brush off. It’s more that some people, even here at Bath (we’re a pretty clever bunch), still think that a girl should be insulted if she’s accused of having a generous sex life. See, I can’t quite imagine a guy being particularly offended if he was accused of the same.

Being slut shamed isn’t something new to me; I first got called a slut when I was fourteen and had my first boyfriend. In the past I’ve also been guilty of using the word to try and offend other girls, but I kind of assumed it was something that’d we’d all grown out of. The idea of using someone’s sex life, or clothing, or choice of sport to try and make judgments about their moral character hasn’t felt okay to me since I was about twelve and still using Bebo.

There’s just something illogical about calling girls sluts; if it’s only women who aren’t supposed to be having “too much” sex, then who do all the men sleep with? Each other? Goats?

Or you know, perhaps, it’s that sex is still seen as something men seek, and woman must withhold. A stupid and archaic view held by both women and men alike which only perpetuates the myth that a woman embracing her sexuality or a man refusing to make sex his ultimate aim is something to be distained.

Naturally, my expression of this was slightly inhibited by the vast quantity of shots I had downed prior to meeting the girl (I may have gotten a little competitive on the drinking front). My response was subsequently to mumble something about feminism and stumble, slapping her vaguely across the boob. Not quite the sassy, together response I was going for.

I know nobody should be getting this riled up over something that happened, in all places, in the toilets of Score. It just felt a little too reflective of a problem that still persists in our society. Last year, in the US, over seven hundred bills were proposed that attempted to put restrictions on women’s bodies. The number for men? Zero. I can’t be the only one who’s getting a little sick of the list of rules we’re supposed to follow in order to be deemed a woman worth being around. Wear makeup, shave this and that, wear clothing that’s just revealing enough, you get my drift. Superficial pressures certainly aren’t exclusive to either gender, but the list seems to be longer for women. Conforming to these pressures sure isn’t mandatory but, in the choice between not shaving under my arms and being stared at, it becomes the easy option. But, then again, if this was easy, there’d be no problem.

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About Author

Tasha Jokic is a Politics with Economics student who focuses on society and women’s issues. She is Deputy Editor in Chief and Online Editor.

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