Stop slut shaming


Today I want to talk about slut shaming. There is so much I would like to say on the subject that it is going to be difficult to distill it down into a single blog post, but I will try anyhow.

When we think of slut shaming, there are a few examples that spring to mind right away.
‘She has had sex with x amount of men, she is such a slut.’
‘Look at how low cut her top is/how short her skirt is, she is such a slut.’
‘She’s such a loose woman.’
‘All she can think of is sex, what a slut.’
When we think of these statements, and others like these, we can often say that we don’t slut shame (much). But slut shaming is more than outright calling a woman a slut.

When you speak of a sex worker in derogatory terms, you are slut shaming her. When you put someone down because they maintain a sex blog, you are slut shaming her. But also when you ask of a woman who was raped ‘What was she wearing? Did she lead him on? What was she doing in a hotelroom with a man by herself?’ These statements imply that the behaviour of the woman in question was sexually immoral and the woman was therefore partially responsible for her own rape.

Slut shaming is not okay, not in any circumstance. And as I showed in the example above, slut shaming perpetuates rape culture. Our behaviour, the way we dress, the way we talk or flirt is all under immense scrutiny and as soon as we are attacked, our behaviour is blamed. Our dress sense is blamed. Our decisions are blamed. The most common remark we hear when a woman is raped is, ‘She must have asked for it.’ That comment may not be explicitly stated, but is implicit when the woman’s behaviour is questioned.

Slut shaming stems from society’s fear of women’s sexuality. Women are seen as conquests, prey that needs to be stalked and ‘won over’. As women, we must be sexy – but not too sexy. If we are dressed conservatively, we are considered prudes, or worse: frigid. If we celebrate our sexuality, we are shamed. Men want a wife – or girlfriend – who wants sex all the time – but only on their terms. They want a girlfriend or wife who is available to gratify their sexual needs at all times, but when said wife/girlfriend actively pursues sexual relations (rather than waiting for their husband/boyfriend to initiate it), then these same men will turn judgemental.

Women who are sexually confident and sexually active, who love talking about sex, are feared in today’s society. Not only by men. The amount of slut shaming I have seen perpetrated by women is staggering. Many of us sex bloggers keep our identity safe. We write anonymously and often fear to be ‘outed’ as a sex blogger for fear of repercussions. I always have to think about Victoria’s story of when she announced her newly created (sex)blog on a blog forum and the vile and hateful comments she received from other women on the forum. But a lot of us know we would get the same kind of reaction from our friends, our family members, the people we work with. To paraphrase Victoria, to be sex positive in a sex negative world is very difficult.

And yes, this is a sex negative world. But only if you are not a heterosexual cis male. Promiscuity is totally acceptable, even celebrated, if you are a heterosexual cis man. And while I have focused this blog post mainly on slut shaming aimed at women, I would be remiss in ignoring the slut shaming that the LGBTQ community faces. And it all comes back to fear. Fear of the other. Fear of anything that is different than the ‘norm’; the ‘norm’ being whatever the heterosexual cis males have determined it to be for the last centuries.

I am tired of hearing some of my sisters say ‘ew, disgusting’ whenever I talk about sex. I am tired of colleagues commenting on the height of other colleagues’ shoes, or the length of their skirts. I am tired of women being judged for the amount of sexual partners they have had, as if that determines how good of a person she actually is. And I am especially tired of the ‘she asked for it’ narrative that surrounds anyone who has ever been raped or sexually harassed. Being sexually active, or sexually confident is not an invitation to be raped or sexually harassed.

As I said, I could rant on about this forever. Instead, I am going to bring this to a close. But I have not said the last word on this yet. I will continue to work on changing the way society views female sexuality. My involvement with the #iTalkSex campaign is not just lip service: more articles will appear on my blog to battle slut shaming in all its ways. Slut shaming has damaged me in my past and I want to create a kinder world for all the young girls growing up right now. It’s too late for me, the damage has been done, but I hope to create society for the better.

1 thought on “Stop slut shaming”

  1. I nodded my head along with this entire post! I really hope the sex blogging community can make a change to this disgraceful treatment of people. No one should be made to feel ashamed of their sexuality as long as it is enjoyed in consensual and legal ways. I’m so glad you wrote this post and I look forward to reading your future posts on it.
    Aurora x

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