• Thu, Feb 9 2012

Slut-Shaming: My Daughter Respecting Her Body And That Of Others Are One In The Same

I can still remember the first time someone called me a slut. In my freshman year of high school, I dated a senior. I was that girl. Honestly, it was the beginning of a very consistent trend in my love life. Even now, my husband is six years older than me.

Anyways, my boyfriend and I were stopping by a party at his brother’s apartment. (His brother was in college and lived with a roommate, which was the coolest thing ever to high school students.) We socialized and possibly drank a couple beers. As young as I was, they went straight to my head, of course. Feeling uncomfortable, my boyfriend took me up to his brother’s room to sit down for a while and settle my stomach. After a truly uneventful half hour filled with me frantically worrying that my parents would find out, we came back out to the party. As happens in high school, our disappearance led to some gossip. Suddenly, an older girl that I didn’t know called me a slut, loud enough for her group of girlfriends to start giggling and me to feel horrible.

While the experience wasn’t traumatic by any means, it taught me one very important thing: I don’t want to be that older girl. I don’t ever want to make someone feel ashamed or embarrassed by their possible bedroom behavior. For dating an older guy, I got called plenty of offensive names by people assuming that we slept together.

Now, as a mother looking back at my early initiation to the societal ostracizing that is slut-shaming, I feel especially called to teach my daughter that it is never acceptable to judge someone based on their sexual choices.

Unfortunately, conventional parenting techniques use judgment as a form of discipline all the time. How do we teach our girls morals without shaming those who make different choices? How do you discourage your daughter from sleeping around in high school without saying that it’s wrong, thereby labeling other girls who choose to have sex as “wrong”? These are the questions that I run into when I discuss slut-shaming with other mothers.

The problem is that they are all asking the wrong questions. They’re looking at it from a skewed point-of-view. Slut-shaming has nothing to do with morality vs. promiscuity. These aren’t the two sides to the argument.

To combat slut-shaming and the rape-apologist culture it promotes, girls need to be taught self-respect, and respect for each other’s choices. This isn’t a discussion of saints vs. sinners. It’s a battle for women to fight against a society that tries to make choices for them – whether it’s cultural ideas about female sexuality or peer pressure to participate in activities that they aren’t comfortable with.

We need to stop teaching girls to fear other’s condemnation and start supporting them as they listen to their own wants and needs. Mothers shouldn’t be focused on controlling their kids through fear, they need to find ways to encourage their teenager’s self-control.

I never slept with my boyfriend in high school. It had nothing to do with maintaining a good reputation, because I didn’t have one. I didn’t have sex in high school because I knew that I wasn’t emotionally ready for that huge step. I trusted and respected my body, and I was lucky enough to date an amazing man who did the same. He respected my choice to wait until the time was right. It never was.

As my daughter grows up, there are going to be plenty of difficult lessons to teach her. But the dangers of slut-shaming won’t be a hard one. When we make assumptions based on a girl’s outfit or what she might be doing shut up in a bedroom for a half hour, we impose our beliefs on her. We deny her the right to make her own choices without judgment. And my little girl will know that every woman should be able to decide what’s best for her without anyone’s opinion being a factor. My daughter will know that sexuality isn’t bad or unhealthy, it’s personal. And how she chooses to express her’s will always be a personal decision.

Slut-shaming has nothing to do with promiscuity. It’s about teaching women to respect themselves and one another. I think that’s a lesson that all moms should be able to embrace.

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  • Jen

    Lindsay: Thank you so much for this article! It’s EXACTLY what we need to be teaching young girls. As a pre-teen and teen my mother made sure that I was comfortable with my body and in my own skin. I found that the girls I knew in high school who were most comfortable with their sexuality–whether they embraced sex or abstained–were the ones who had adults in their lives who helped them to understand that they were the ones in control of their bodies. As parents, we need to help our daughters make their own choices and make sure that those choices are safe for them–both physically and emotionally–by giving them the tools they need to navigate the sexual sphere with confidence. AND we also need to make sure our sons have the same tools, for sexual expectations and tired cliches hurt them too.

    Not only is the virgin/slut dichotomy a patently false one, it also limits females to one dimension, defined entirely by what they do or do not do with their bodies. Their minds, their emotions and their personalities become secondary; they are limited to their bodies entirely.

  • Mel

    This article begins with the assumption that there are no wrong choices when it comes to sex, merely different choices. A fourteen year old who has chosen to have sex with half the football team in exchange for “popularity” is making seriously BAD choices! Certainly no one should verbally abuse her for making that choice, but that choice is NOT merely different, it is the WRONG one for any young girl to be making! Today, girls are not labeled slut after one encounter with a boyfriend as they were in the past. In fact, todays young girls are nearly as aggressive as young men when it comes to pressuring their date for sex. My extremely handsome, football and baseball playing teenage son was called every ugly name under the sun because he refused to have sex with his girlfriend. He had been taught that only when you are prepared to provide for a child are you prepared for sex, because the odds are that when you have sex, you will eventually produce a child…and he stood by his beliefs, even when every male AND female he knew had long since started having sex and pressuring everyone around them to do the same. The simple fact is that if you become promiscous at a young age, your mind, your emotions and your personalities often DO become secondary…word will get around and everthing about you will become secondary as YOU become the go to girl if someone wants sex at the end of a date! The truth is that ARE bad choices, there ARE good choices…and it is up to us as parents to teach our daughters AND our sons the difference and give them the strength to say no to the pressures they will experience from ALL fronts as they grow up.

    • Jen

      Not every kid is as emotionally vulnerable as you assume them to be. For some people–from teenagers to adults–sex is an emotionally fraught act that can lead to serious problems in the future if it is in any way “forced”. But you assume that all people come from that perspective and that is simply untrue. Not everyone views sex as a commitment, not everyone who has sex is doing so for motivations other than simply enjoyment of sex and that is NOT a bad choice.

      Take your fictionalized 14 year old as an example. If she feels pressured to have sex to be popular THAT is problematic, but a girl who has sex because she enjoys it and has taken control of her sexuality and body is not necessarily making a “bad” choice, just a different one from the accepted standards society has currently imposed. That’s the point of Lindsay’s article. We need to teach all kids how to know themselves, know their bodies and know how to make the right decisions for them. As part of those right decisions we need to make sure kids are educated on the risks of sex and the ways to protect themselves if they make different decisions. No one–male or female–should be forced into having sex and no one–male or female–should feel ashamed if they choose to have sex. Period.

    • TattooedLittleMiss

      “but a girl who has sex because she enjoys it and has taken control of her sexuality and body is not necessarily making a “bad” choice, just a different one from the accepted standards society has currently imposed. ”

      I want to highlight this because it is beautiful and so true. Teenagers should be taught about STDs and protection, birth control and self-respect, not about subjective morality on the “evils” of sex and “promiscuity” (which, as a non-monogamous person, is a word I hate). Teenagers mature at different rates and should be taught how to decide if and when they are ready for sex, how to communicate that desire or lack there of in a clear and confident way, and how to resist peer pressure and bullying, not about how having sex makes them bad or a slut and not how remaining a virgin makes them perfect little angels. Sex, with one or more people, has no impact on a person’s worth as a member of society or a man/woman. Time to address that, instead of slut-shaming.

    • Lauren

      I totally agree with the above. Being against slut-shaming doesn’t mean I’d encourage my future daughter (or son!) to be promiscuous. If my kid came home from school at 14 and said to me “Mikayla in 8C has had sex with half the football team!” I would NOT say “Well that Mikayla is a dirty slut with no morals who should be ashamed of herself”, I would say “Well it’s entirely Mikayla’s business who she has sex with, but her choices are leaving her vulnerable to STDs and pregnancy which would be hard to deal with at such a young age”.

    • Emily

      I graduated high school in 2004. We’re not talking about the golden days when getting to second base made you promiscuous. And if you teach your children to respect themselves, they’ll make the choice not to sleep with the entire football team all on their own.

      And way to hold up your saint of a son for abstaining for his “tempting harlot” of a girlfriend. What a time-honored narrative. You’re contributing to rape culture and slut-shaming in a way that you don’t even realize. This kind of mentality is hurtful to both men and women, boys and girls.

    • TattooedLittleMiss

      Empower young girls by ridding our society of slut-shaming, giving them access to ACTUAL comprehensive sexual education and relationship counseling and you won’t have girls trading sex for popularity. You might still have girls having sex with “half the football team” but at least they’ll be doing it because they LIKE sex and like their partners, not because they want to be queen bee. Which is not a bad choice, provided it’s an informed one the girl made confidently and without force or coercion.

  • CW

    Sorry, I think it is IMPOSSIBLE to teach your children morals if you are wishy-washy and morally relativistic. If you want your children to learn right from wrong, you cannot be afraid to label immoral behavior as such. Yes, we need to treat others in a civil manner. Gossip and name-calling are not behaviors I want my children to engage in, regardless of the other person’s behavior. Two wrongs do not make a right. However, that does not mean that I should not teach my children that certain behaviors sinful. As Christians, we are called to keep to the narrow path, and hate sin even while we should love the sinner.

    • Jen

      And that’s YOUR decision. But you also need to realize that your morality is RELATIVE. I disagree with most of your moral stands and have a very different set of values and I find A LOT of what you espouse to be totally immoral. So perhaps teaching your children your own set of values is fine, so long as that set of values also teaches them not to be slut shaming, rape apologists.

    • CW

      I don’t believe in moral relativism. Not everyone may choose to follow God’s rules, but that’s because God gave us humans the gift of free will. Free will means we have the ability to choose wrong as well as right. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one set of values in existence that are inherently superior to all other sets of values. Just like there is a right answer and a wrong answer in math, there is a right choice and a wrong choice when it comes to morality. You can deny it all you want, but that doesn’t change the truth.

    • Jen

      So what, exactly, makes you the speaker for God? You really think YOU know God’s will? You really think the Bible is some sort of infallible text despite the fact that it contradicts itself constantly, was edited and rewritten hundreds of times to serve various political/religious regimes particular purposes and was written by a bunch of people who believed that women = property. That is one of the saddest and most ridiculous things about religious zealots. You completely ignore your own history and pretend that NOW you have it all right, despite the fact that for hundreds if not thousands of years you persecuted people for everything from worshiping the wrong flavor of God to working on the Sabbath to practicing witchcraft. But that was all in the past. NOW you definitely speak for God.

    • Jen

      So what, exactly, makes you the speaker for God? You really think YOU know God’s will? You really think the Bible is some sort of infallible text despite the fact that it contradicts itself constantly, was edited and rewritten hundreds of times to serve various political/religious regimes particular purposes and was written by a bunch of people who believed that women = property. That is one of the saddest and most ridiculous things about religious zealots. You completely ignore your own history and pretend that NOW you have it all right, despite the fact that for hundreds if not thousands of years you persecuted people for everything from worshiping the wrong flavor of God to working on the Sabbath to practicing witchcraft. But that was all in the past. NOW you definitely speak for God.

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  • Hana

    I think the point being made is we should mind our own business. If Sally wants to go around having sex with the seniors we shouldn’t run around the whole school shouting “look at all the sex Sally is having what a slut!” And we shouldn’t run around the school saying “Jane’s a virgin she’s such a loser!” if that’s what she chooses. We can identify choices that are not morally right to us and at the same time keep it to ourselves and live our own lives.

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  • lovingyouwithdeepblastsofcock

    my 19 year old daughter is touching herself, and puts on displays of acting out this whole slutty sceen, and she is hoping to get caught. I asked her whats up with nasty talk and playing with you box? She asked if I thought is was pretty? I said yes, and so wet with it all out for me to see. And she just spread that pussy open and said she loved getting fucked and broke down, because that is what slut need to keep them in check. I said yes, but you should do it privately, and she moaned, I like being watched and.told to shove something in it. I could see it was well used and moist. God, she told me that her friend gets with her and they even fuck guys. The other night she got my cock out, and I acted asleep. Oh she used her mouth and I got shy and afraid. Her clothes is very slutty and she told me that she hoped for that. Also, I found lots of her porn and other friends. My wife dresses slutty too and thought my daughter watched us have sex. See my wife like threeways with men and women. When my daughter was just getting boobs and a butt, that she would lay on the coutch and remove her panties. I boughtd her lots of stuff, and she would ask if I wanted to see it, or touch it. My wife and I would use her panties during sex. I would tell her to slut it up and make daddy’s cock hard too fuck her mommy. I would even let her watch. She would get nasty for me and my wife would ask her what she liked. Then she touched me and wanted to taste my cum. Thats when my wife taught her all about being a proper slut by fucking her boyfriend and other slut friends. I know it was wrong, but she begs us for more. She is now a full blow ln submissive and can handle lots of cock. She does gang bd anngs and rape games. Mommyloves to swing with her. Right now she is across from me in nothing but up the butt panties and tee. then she wanted to know what would make that ass talk to daddy. Last week at the mall, she worked out a trade of sex for cash…then got my wife involved. Okay, my younger daughter is becoming a super slut. I found out when five bland men began to pound her just a little too much. It got out of hand and they forced my wife to get nasty. Next, both daughter were being fuck dolls while my wife cried out, which only caused more violence. They forced me to get so nasty, and wh en it was over they made us all thank them. My girls are very submissive. I love them to the point of turning them out like whores. I even turn their friends into trick bitches. I like them being such good cock sucking, up the ass, rammed throat whores. It is law that panties get taken off and folding. I test how wet they are even smelling them like flowers. I will sale them and my wife so fast. They are the nasty bitches with no rules what so ever. They like to display dirty words written on their tits, ass and stomach. P eople brag to me how well schooled and gifted whores. Everyone fucks them. I incourage tto even fuck little cherry teenies. They love to swallow cum and be told to get in slut mode. I hope you would like to train them, keeping in mind how fragile they are but giving them such a good session of how to be a super fine piece of ass. You bet them are t urned out right now. They are loved to the point of breaking them to the perfect babes ever. I go out of my way to offer them to any cock or cunt that would continue to fuck with no mercy, but to promise them lots of deep raw fucking, and hope it hurts so good. Banged together or by them selves. I remember the daughter obeying my soft words to get those soaked panties off and shove them in their mouths. They thanking me. Even dow n right begging to be abused. I almost a[ways offer them a ass fuck that will make them hurt. I breakdown these cum lover cock sucker who will go out of their way to feed them cock while the word watching with faces that are taboo making the effort that might pshowing either one sick motherfuck, or a me a perfect slut that work like the type of nasty little bitches at will amuisse me anhd many more swatch owners whole will not extend the riight to fuck like there no tomorrows, making such wonderful and skilled whores, being proud to serve in ways that offer excellent filthy, dirty loving cocksmith that tul rn on at the sight of cock or cunt, never saying no to anyone because they are, b oken by repeated fuckings while being observed and told to just suck it, or fuck it with either pleasure or hoping that nothing gets torn open. Yes, if you can make my bitches cry or shit right on the spot…please gage them with your massive fuck stick, again and again.

  • guest

    I agree that girls and women have the right to choose for themselves.what they want to wear. as well as other choices and dis.slut shaming needs to stop.