I'm Not a "Slut". I Just Love Having Sex.

BlogHer Original Post

 

prostitute

 

This might be the most interesting definition, as it establishes a standard by which we are expected to think about sex and sexual behavior. We’re told that to prostitute is to use something valuable in an inappropriate way, suggesting that sex is valuable (albeit subjectively) and should only be used in ways we’re supposed to all agree are “appropriate”. There was a time when having sex outside of wedlock was considered highly inappropriate and doing so could lead to social castigation, for women at least. Today, however, 93% of Americans report having sex before marriage by age 30. Further, this definition goes on to establish “respectable” behavior and says that using these valuable (sexual) talents for money is inappropriate.

It is important to present these definitions so that we understand how many words are used to make women feel bad about enjoying sex with more than one person or receiving some type of compensation for engaging in sex. To be clear, these terms are abusive and should not be used to insult women lest we consider ourselves some type of moral authority when it comes to sex.

Do you consider yourself a moral authority on sex?

I didn’t think so.

s.l.u.t.
Image: Dirk Loop via Flickr
 

Slut Shaming is the Wrong Phrase

When we think of the idea of “victim blaming”, we imagine someone who has experienced some type of trauma and is being blamed for having experienced it. This is often used in the context of sexual assault survivors who are sometimes blamed for their own assaults (i.e. “Well, you were drunk, what did you think would happen?” or “You shouldn’t have been dressed like that. You were asking to be raped”). This person is a victim and the blame is being placed on that person for being a victim.

When we think of “fat shaming”, we imagine a person, whose physical stature is considered “fat” by society’s standards, being insulted, shamed, and harassed for being that size. This is often used in the context of making larger people feel bad for being large and blaming them for being fat (i.e. “If you would just exercise, you would lose the weight” or “Why is she wearing that bikini when she is so fat? Ugh it’s gross!”). This person is fat and the shaming is based on that person’s size being socially unacceptable.

So why do we use “slut-shaming” in the same way? Following the usage of “victim blaming” and “fat shaming”, are we not basically calling women sluts when we talk about them being “slut shamed”? Are we not calling upon the prevalence and relevance of abusive terms and labeling women accordingly, while attempting to empathize with the shame they experience?

We are not “sluts”. We are WOMEN and we are being shamed because we are women (who have sex). It is important to keep this at the forefront of the discussion and not rely on catchy buzzwords to make points that, quite honestly, are counterproductive. If we uphold this idea of “slut shaming”, we agree that the word for a woman who enjoys sex is a slut. We become complicit with upholding the standards of sexual morality that generated these words. We are actively accepting and sustaining the limitations placed on sexual enjoyment. We are operating within the parameters of respectability when it comes to sexual pleasure and expression and we’re essentially agreeing that it’s OK to call women sluts. It is never OK to call a woman a slut, even if you’re fighting against so-called “slut shaming”.

This current anti-“slut shaming” movement rallies against shaming women for being… sluts.

Anyone else see the problem here?

 

Feminista Jones is the Love & Sex section editor at BlogHer. She also blogs at FeministaJones.com

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