Slut Shaming: One of the Many “Traditions” on Furman’s Campus

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)​

Picture this….

You’re sitting in a lecture hall full of students while waiting for your professor to walk in. You overhear a group of students in the back of the room. They are talking about Becky, and how she had sex with Chad, Brad, and Matt. These names sound familiar. You then remember that Chad, Brad, and Matt are popular guys in the Sigma Apple Pie fraternity. They are described by their peers as “frat stars” and “lady killers” because unlike others, they have sex with the hottest sorority girls on campus. The students then begin to talk about how Becky is known as a “tradition” and is pretty much willing to sleep with anyone. “What a slut,” one of them says.

This situation seems a little far-fetched, right?

WRONG.

Slut shaming is a daily occurrence on Furman University’s campus. Slut shaming is “the experience of being labeled a sexually out-of-control girl or woman (a ‘slut’ or ‘ho’) and then being punished socially for possessing this identity,” according to slut shaming expert Leora Tanenbaum. Although slut shaming affects women constantly throughout their lives, men will never experience it. Instead, they are congratulated for the exact same behavior. (If you want to explore more about slut shaming, Tanenbaum has written very interesting books and literary pieces on this topic.)

Now let’s take a step back. You may be asking yourself what I was referring to earlier when I used the phrase “tradition.” I first heard this word used to describe a woman during my Freshman year at Furman University. I was confused as to what it meant, as you may be, so let me explain.

The term “tradition” comes from the more globally familiar term “frat rat,” that is used by a variety of fraternities across the nation. According to Urban Dictionary, a popular dictionary for slang words, the term “frat rat” refers to “someone who is known for sleeping with many guys in the same fraternity.”

Fraternity members at Furman put their own spin on “frat rat” and created the term “tradition.” This term is used to label girls who have slept with three or more members of the same fraternity. For example, Becky having sex with Brad, Chad, and Matt, all members of Sigma Apple Pie, qualifies her, by the fraternity standards, to be called a “tradition.”

Referring to someone as a “tradition” is demeaning. The word tradition, as used in normative society, is used to define something that is passed down from one generation to the next. By using this term to describe a woman, the fraternity members are objectifying them.

Not only is this a perfect example of slut shaming, but it’s also a great example of the double standard in our society that must be stopped.

The negative stigma that arises every time a woman has sex needs to come to an end, and it can start with you. These men need to be held accountable for the demeaning and hurtful words that they use to target and shame women. An easy way to help stop this is to speak up. Don’t be scared to stand up for not only yourself, but for the other women at Furman who may not have the confidence to do so.

Holding men accountable for exploiting women will not solely put an end to slut shaming, but it’s a damn good start.