This might seem too obvious to a lot of you who’re reading this, but internet comments as well as the ignorance I’ve seen in real life kind of inspired me to write this. Weirdly, women slut shame and victim blame more than men (in my experience); with men, the only ones who victim blame seem to be doing it for darker reasons, such as excusing violent behaviour by other men or themselves. This post isn’t aimed as these (thankfully very few) individuals. So I’m aiming this at other women.
Girl, you might feel superior snickering at your colleague’s short skirt or bullying that “slut” in your History class. But see that girl sitting at the back? She calls you a slut behind your back. That woman in reception calls her a slut in that prim, proper voice of hers. That Asian woman over there thinks you’re all sluts for watching porn or reading 50 Shades. And that girl with her hair covered thinks the Asian woman is a slut, for flirting with men and showing her hair like some £20-an-hour crack whore.
Call as many women a slut as you want, but the same number are calling you a slut. It’s a never-ending slut shaming chain. Depressing and pointless, right? Time to grow up, then, and stop using the word.
It’s cultural, not real!
The examples above were cultural stereotypes, as what a slut is varies even within a culture, even within different regions of a country. But it’s broadly true that if you talk to boys, show your hair and party, millions of women in many countries in the world consider you a slut.
And the definition of a slut changes not only with the country, but with the decade. We’d all have been considered sluts fifty years ago, and our daughter will be very slutty, but by that time they won’t be considered slutty. So what’s the point? If nobody can agree on what a slut is, then sluts aren’t even a real thing.
You’re doing it out of fear
We call women sluts because we’re afraid of being called a slut ourselves. We want to present ourselves as pure.
You’re complicit in your own oppression
Did you get to decide what you can wear or how much sex you can have or how far you can go before you’re a slut? Would you have decided that only women can be sluts, but men are studs? No, you didn’t. This was decided long ago by rich men who are dead now – priveleged men who shaped society around their interests, who probably marginalized or oppressed (to some degree) your ancestors, who were most likely unpriveleged and powerless.
As a woman, it’s stupid to collude with the patriarchy to shame women but praise men – why would you want to be sexist? And it’s stupid to collude with the priveleged class who decided this.
You’re only hurting yourself – what if you get attacked?
Suggesting that a what a woman is wearing (or how much she was drinking, or how she acts) makes a man rape her is not only ignorant and hurtful, it’s hurting yourself, your friends and your family. Do you really think that contributing to a victim-blaing culture is going to mean you can expect sympathy and understanding if someone sexually assaults you, your friend, sister or daughter?
Anyone can be called a slut
These are the people I’ve heard being called “sluts”: lone mothers, a young woman who cheated on her boyfriend, a 14 year old girl who kissed 3 boys in a month, a 14 year old girl who had sex with 2 boys, a girl flirting with a boy at a party, a woman who wore a short skirt one day, a 19 year old university student, a woman walking alone in the street at night. So, any woman can be called a slut. You don’t even need to be sexually active – wearing the “wrong” clothes, being a mother, kissing, even walking in the street can provoke someone to call you a slut – because you’re a woman.
If you call yourself a feminist, slut shaming and victim blaming are out. Slut shaming and victim blaming are a form of misogyny, which is what feminism is against. (Though certssin high-profile feminists do not seem to have realised this).
It hurts men, too!
Blaming and shaming rape victims or calling other girls sluts doesn’t exactly make their boyfriends, brothers and sons happy, right? Men hate it when their mum or sister is slut shamed.
6 thoughts on “Slut shaming and victim blaming: Why we shouldn’t do it”
So now calling out bad behaviour is bad? Please. Stop trying to make men and women physically equal. We can be equal in most things but physically, no matter how you try it just can’t be. There is a double standard when it comes to sex and t’s factual not perceived.
Women have to say yes to sex. That is the fact and the power that women have. Men have to pursue and get women to say yes. Sorry but women have many other things to worry about when it comes to sex such as pregnancy, disease (many transfer male to female much easier than female to male) and reputation. Guys don’t have to carry a baby and wile they should be responsible it’s not our bodies tied up for 9 months.
If 3 guys go out in a car looking for sex, without paying, they usually come home drunk and frustrated. What challenge is it for 3 women to go out and find someone to sleep with? None. Finding someone of quality yes but just sex, no trouble at all. Therefore sleeping with multiple people in a short period of time is not an accomplishment for a woman.
If you have the power you also have the responsibility. Women who date a lot of guys don’t qualify as sluts by the way. Getting involved in a relationship means something. Sluts are women who sleep around and they are bad for everything. They ruin marriages, spread disease and are generally miserable since they are looking for something they can’t find. Nothing about that should be celebrated. Rape is determined by a woman’s choice. If she says no there is no option, no it is. With that power comes the responsibility to respect yourself and be selective and not allow any guy who is interested to have sex with you. That is just sad.
But trying to normalize promiscuity is even worse. Having young girls believe sex is the same for boys and girls is more destruction of our culture and mores and will ruin even more families. Will everyone not be happy until we are living in communes like animals just having sex with anyone or anything that presents itself? Teaching young women to respect themselves, be selective and love who they have sex with is a great set of values and nothing should ever be done to prevent that. I personally like working to get to know someone before sleeping with them as that is much more likely to lead to a lasting relationship than giving in to your basic wants before you know each other. Sluts, meaning promiscuous women should be shamed. Women who date a lot of different people should not be labeled as sluts. Men also should have higher standards but that unlikely to happen as most men are no better that wild animals when it comes to sex. We really need to keep our values straight.
All of that (men being “animals”, women finding it easier to get sex) is just culturally determined- by people like you. You’re looking at social rules created by those you agree with and using them to justify themselves. Men actually have more to lose from sex than women: women have multiple orgasms so more fun, and we always know if we are the parent of our child. We also can choose whether to abort, adopt or raise our kids if we become pregnant, and never run the risk of losing our children (by not knowing we impregnated somebody). It is very insulting to call men animals. Men are humans, equal to women. Also, sluts are not “looking for something they can’t find”- they’re looking for sex and finding it. By your logic, male sluts would also be unhappy because they’re looking for a relationship but only finding sex. People who want serious relationships do not have sex with lots of people; they avoid casual sex in pursuit of a long-term relationship- just as you yourself have done, and congrats to you on finding your happiness. However, choosing only one gender to slut-shame (or indeed shaming people of any gender for activities which do not infringe on others’ rights) is not a “value”. It is a nonsensical prejudice.It has no use and contributes only misery. As for breaking up marriages, it is serious affairs that are more traumatic to relationships than one night stands, so men and women who have years-long affairs are more dangerous to marriages than sluts of all genders who have casual sex without taking the hubby/wife away from their spouse and shacking up with them.
thankyou SO much for writing this article, i am a proud virgin and i was slut shamed in a public place and in front of everyone there, just because i was wearing a short skirt and i felt i needed to know the real reason/s why it had happened and i’m glad that i found an article that clearly stated why. thankyou so much
I’m sorry that happened to you, Justina. A lot of slut shaming is nothing to do with sexual behaviour and that’s probably even truer in areas where premarital sex is frowned upon and maybe rarer. Thanks for commenting.
Reblogged this on A Carers Thought's and commented:
Love this blogpost, puts my thoughts into words!