Yes, She's a "Slut"... And?

When many people think of the word "sexuality," different terms come to play. One definition relates to orientation, while another denotation may relate to the actual performance of sexual behavior. When we bring out the binary divisions of gender on how people perceive others through sexual stereotypes, we view the differences between words such as “whore” to “player," “slut” to “f*ckboy," or "hoe" to "the man." As a heteronormative society, we have different values when it comes to the few broader terms of sex with those who identify as men and those who identify as women.

One of the starting points with Ganga’s* story begins with her parents:

“My parents had an arranged marriage and met once for an hour. That same night their marriage contract was drawn up and they were married by the end of the week. My mother was 19 and was pulled out of college a year before she finished her medical degree. If you count back the months I was conceived during their honeymoon, it was just 2 months after they married. To this day, I have never once seen my parents kiss, or hold hands. When they look at each other there’s affection, but what kind? I don’t truly know. My parents have been married for 18 years, and their marriage is a happy one. To this day, I don’t know if my parents love each other, but I do know they understand and respect each other. So, if you ask me what love is, my answer is I don’t know. If you ask me what marriage is, it’s understanding, respect, and equality.”

 

In some negative conceptions, people tend to connect religion and conservatism to negative views of sexuality. “Women must wear protective clothing and be shy with sexual topics” is one example of this. When looking at Ganga’s past, we see that she grew up in a Tamilian South Indian home, while maintaining a religious identity. However, she doesn’t allow her spirituality to not allow her to own her sexuality:

“I went to temple twice a week back home, and it’s one of my favorite places to be. Growing up, my body was meant to be covered. Revealing clothes wasn’t in my vision. When I was about 14, I started reading the Vedas and Mahabharata. Through reading the scriptures, I realized a lot of the conservative laws I followed arose from culture rather than religion. Hinduism never condemns sex—in fact, it’s encouraged, hence the existence of the Kama Sutra. Knowing that my gods would never condemn me for my behavior reassures me that I’m not doing anything wrong despite social stigma. Once I realized that I wanted to explore.”

With exploration came questions. Many of Ganga’s peers asked her questions such as why she was so open with her sexuality. Ganga connects it to the double standards that exist in our society:

“If a guy f*cked like me, he’d be a player with good d*ck. But I’m just a slut who can’t keep her legs closed. I’m public because one day when there’s another girl like me, I want her to be called a player with good p*ssy. I have people call me easy and assume I f*ck everyone who wants to f*ck me. That’s not true. If you want a ratio, I probably sleep with ¼ of the guys that hit on me.”

Ganga also makes sure to connect this to the rude comments she gets and the mentality that people have based on her sex positivity:

"I’ve had white guys tell me that they would marry me if I wasn’t Indian. I’ve had guys tell me that they would’ve dated me and loved me if I hadn’t slept with so many people. I’ve been called desperate and stupid. When most people look at me, all they see is my body count, which as of today is 42. They don’t see me. They don’t see the rest of me. They don’t see the girl who’s on a website for her work. They don’t see the girl who got into Ivy League schools but chose UCF because it would be financially easier for her parents. They don’t see the girl that raises and donates 20,000 dollars a year since she was 10 to a charity instead of celebrating or buying a birthday present. They don’t see me. All they see is a number and my legs wide open. So, when people ask me for my body count I’m not ashamed, I’m damn proud of it. If all you see is the men I’ve slept with then you’re the one who's blind, not me."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today as a society, we like to pretend that the mistakes we made are behind us. Apparently, we don’t slut shame anymore and everything is not only equal through law, but through social norms. As a contradiction, while in high school, Ganga was excluded from clubs because of choosing what she wanted to do with her body. Unfortunately, the saying that it gets better after high school isn’t always true:

“It got so bad to the point that I dropped out of all my clubs and just chose to do internships instead. I came to college thinking that maybe, just maybe it would be different. What I’ve found is that my reputation precedes me, and I think the same thing is happening again. I’m not angry, I’m disappointed.  I’m used to people defining me by that one part of my life. I’ve learned to keep my head up and find another way to do what I want. Living with the reputation of a slut isn’t easy. Somedays, I wonder if I’m wrong and maybe all the things people say are right. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. If I hide my sexuality or conform to society’s expectations, then what happens to the next girl who just wants to f*ck without being a girlfriend? I would just be supporting slut shaming and I don’t stand for that.”

When ending the interview, a line of optimism comes through. What Ganga wanted to see for girls like her has been told to her face: “I’ve had a few girls come up and thank me for my openness because it reassures them that they’re not weird. That it’s ok to just want to f*ck without a title as long as you're happy.” *The name Ganga is used to protect the interviewee.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4