Breaking Down Slut Shaming

I’m not exactly a girl with low-key opinions; in fact, I have a stance on everything from blue jays to Sublime, and slut shaming is no exception. So, hold onto your panties (or fear ridicule) and let’s dive right in.

Just to cover all the basics, slut shaming is the act of making someone feel inferior for being open about their sexuality or engaging in “a lot” of sexual “activities” — “a lot” being subjective and “activities” being anything from innuendo or flirting all the way up to a full-on orgy. In some cases, even the perception of a girl (the way she dresses or wears her makeup) can be enough to condemn her. Which means you can be anyone and still be subject of slut shaming. Unless you’re a boy.

So based on this definition, one can assume that it’s just a form of bullying done by a person who is somehow more ethical for NOT having flirted or participated in an orgy. Something must be going on underneath the surface, and it’s finally a time in history when we can ask the hard hitting questions: Why is it considered such a bad thing to have sex? What the hell even is a “slut”? From what I’ve heard (my whole life), the reason women having sex is bad boils down to about three main arguments: STDs, purity and lack of self-respect.

I’m a huge proponent of safe sex and out of the three this one probably makes the most sense. But even so, the STD slut angle is a massive cop out. The argument is that the more sexual partners a person has, the more likely they are to contract an STD and therefore sex is “dirty” and having sex is bad. However, in any other aspect of life, calculated risk isn’t a reason for being seen as morally inferior. In fact, spontaneous people are often celebrated for living life to the fullest. Are frequent skydivers less moral people than non-skydivers? Besides, even people that are practicing safe sex have been considered sluts. Hell, you can be a virgin and still be considered inferior for wearing red lipstick if someone happens to find it provocative. It also does not explain why slut shaming lands primarily on women if both parties are equally at risk.

The “purity” argument is vaguer but more alarming. The idea that abstinence equals ethical cleanliness in a woman speaks to something deeper going on in the “where is my value placed” arena. If sexual purity is the core of a woman’s morality, does that mean sex is our purpose? Now that is some bull. The whole “virginity is a girl’s greatest gift” thing is just plain ridiculous. I guess you do not need that pesky brain anymore if you have managed to hold onto your purity.

This also gets at the idea that having a lot of sex or being open about your sexuality means you somehow lack self-respect. In this frame of mind, a woman who respects herself does not have sex or speak openly about her sexuality. But isn’t this just another way to equate sexuality to the fundamentals of who a woman is and what makes her ‘respectable’? That’s a pretty dehumanizing idea. Also who are you to decide if a person doesn’t respect themselves?

A person needs to be able make their own decisions without anyone else degrading them or policing them. Bottom line: you do you.

Image source: Audioburst / GIFS courtesy of Giphy.com