Well folks, here is another essay from my Women’s and Gender studies class. (That I wrote!)
I hope you all enjoy! 🙂
Andrea Rubenstein states that slut shaming is the “idea of shaming or attacking a women or girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings” (Rubenstein, 2010). In other words, if a women is not following the sexual social script, she will get a negative label attached to her (ex: slut), and be classified as something “dirty”.
In most societies the only acceptable way to express your sexuality, is within marriage, normally for the purpose of having children. When a female has engaged in sex with more than one partner, people say that is enough reason to call someone a slut. In the United States, it is normal to have multiple relationships before getting married, and now some women even feel that marriage is not vital. The average age for marriage in the United States is now 26, and the current expectation is still for people to wait until marriage to have sexual behavior.
Policing women on “normal” behavior, and acting in “acceptable” ways, however, is not just limited to having sexual activity. Jessica Valenti, who wrote “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut: The Sexual Double Standard”, states that she was called a slut when her boobs grew faster than other girls, when she had a boyfriend, when she did not have a boyfriend, when she kissed a boy she was not dating, and especially when she talked about sex (Christen & Caroline, 2015).
Who then can be a victim of slut shaming? The answer is any woman. For even if a virgin is not following her sexual social script, she can be labeled a slut. As long as Gender slurs, like slut, are used as weapons to keep girls and women “in-check”, any single female that acts in a way someone does not like, they are at risk for being slut shamed.
Many people see nothing wrong with calling someone a slut. They might see it as helping girls avoid “mistakes”, stopping the risk of sexual assaults and rape, and making an example out of the “bad” girls (Rubenstein, 2010). Rubenstein states a quote from Leora Tanenbaum, author of Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, that this single word could damage a women’s self-perception for years; Her peers might now consider her “easy” and she may become a target for different forms of harassment, and even rape; She might become sexually active with multiple partners to “live up” to the name she is being labeled as; or she may completely shut down her sexual side (Rubenstein, 2010).
Rubenstein states that this is a very important topic; it could damage a women’s sexuality. There are numerous ways to attempts to help eliminate this bashing process. The first way is to inform parents that it is important to teach their children about sexuality (male and female), and that sexual feelings are normal (Rubenstein, 2010). Futhermore, teachers need to realize that this is a problem and stop classifying it as a normal part of adolescent life. “Slut- bashing is a form of sexual harassment, and it is illegal under Title IX, which entitles students to a harassment-free education” (Rubenstein, 2010). Finally, the most obvious option, stop using the word in reference to another person. It can damage the way one thinks of their sexuality, and creates a cycle of people judging others.
Andrea Rubenstein. (2010, April 4th). FAQ: What is “slut-shaming”? [Blog]. Retrieved from https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/what-is-slut-shaming/
Christen & Caroline. (2015, March 4th). Slut Shaming 101. Stuff Mom Never Told You Podcast. Podcast retrieved from http://www.stuffmomnevertoldyou.com/podcasts/slut-shaming-101/