• Fri, Dec 14 2012

The ‘S’ Word Is The New ‘F’ Word – Let’s Talk To Our Kids About ‘Slut’

31LqfAAM+pLYesterday I wrote about another teen who was being cyber-bullied and committed suicide.   This young girl was active on tumblr and the anonymous ask and tell question website, Ask. fm. On this website she had many comments where she was called a “slut” and accused of being sexually active with various boys. I consider this to be slut shaming, when you degrade someone for their sexual or perceived sexual activities. One of our readers corrected me, and said this was not actually slut-shaming, and stated that calling someone a “slut” is not “slut-shaming” but it’s a nasty thing to do. I’m going to beg to differ here, and say that when you call a woman a slut and follow it up with comments about how she is sexually active, that is indeed “slut-shaming.” And it usually only happens to women.

I’m not in high school, but I don’t think that teenage boys who are sexually active are made to feel bad about it from their peers. I think throughout time, when a girl is sexually active she is labelled in a negative way, where when a boy is, he is generally complimented or looked at as being powerful or virile or a “player.” It was like this when I was a teen, it’s like this now. We don’t have a lot of negative words used to describe men who are sexually active or promiscuous. And even words like “player,” when said as a warning to other women to stay away from a man who is known to be sexually promiscuous , are usually said in a sort of “jokey” way. It is not spat with a mouthful of venom like the word “slut” is.

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  • Ashley

    “I know there are some people who feel like if a woman behaves like a “slut” that she should be called a slut.”

    Your thoughts on this are spot on, and I also think an important response to this would be to ask, “What exactly makes a woman a slut?” Make them think critically about why they say that. Exactly how many partners must she have had? How flirtatious must she be? At exactly what length skirt or level of cleavage does a woman become a slut? Point out that “slut” is a completely arbitrary label that has no meaning other than to judge and police a woman’s sexuality and sexual agency, or just to insult a woman you dislike for any reason at all.

  • Daisy

    I remember when I was 12 years old, some stupid boy on the playground called my best friend a slut (not because she was in any way promiscuous, but just because it was the go-to insult for 12-year-old boys). And she looked him right in the eye and said, “Excuse me, but a slut means a prostitute, which is someone who has sex for money. And I have never done that. So I am not a slut, thank you very much.” That put him in his place, let me tell you. He slunk away with his tail between his legs and never said it again.

    • Kai

      nono, that’s a whore. A slut is someone who has sex and *doesn’t* get paid for it…
      But very poised for a 12-year-old regardless!

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