SEXetera: Slut shaming

OK guys. I’m mad, so let’s jump right in to this week’s topic.

Sluts.

And no, I’m not here to call women out for being promiscuous – I’m here to ask why we still use this barbaric term and why we, as a society, still shame women for their sexual choices.

Let’s dive a bit into the history of sexual shame – it all starts with religion.

In most religious texts, from the Bible to the Qur’an, women are damned for their sexuality, literally. In ancient biblical cultures men were considered to be superior to women and were always placed in positions of power or ownership over them.

This is evident by the custom of fathers selling their daughters to men as wives, and the husbands would then have total control over the wife. Women were seen as objects to be bought, sold, used, and disposed of as men pleased. Luckily, this practice of fathers selling their daughters isn’t widely practiced in the U.S. anymore, but it has continued in other countries.

Also, in the U.S. we have that thing that happens at wedding when the father of the bride quite literally gives her hand to her husband. What’s that called again?

Oh yeah.

“Giving the bride away.”

But let’s get back to ancient times.

A woman was expected to be virginal and pure so that the man she was sold to would be the one to “deflower” her. Gross. And if a woman was seen as impure, either because she had sex, was accused of having sex, or was raped – she would be cast out of her home and forced to live on the street or even murdered by her family for disgracing them.

Yes. If you were raped, you were murdered by your family.

So, what does that have to do with today, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. We still shame women for their sexuality and praise men for theirs. We are still using these same practices, just sneakily.

If a man sleeps with three people in a week, he’s some sort of testosterone-filled sex god, but if a woman has three partners in a month, we think she’s a disgusting troll with no standards.

A slut.

Calling a woman a slut perpetuates the idea that a woman’s worth is tied to how many people she sleeps with. I hear women being called sluts for the way they dress, and just this week, I overheard a man refer to a girl’s lipstick as “slut red” while conversing with his friend. I’m an art major. That’s not a real shade name.

And women are guilty of slut shaming, too. We call other women derogatory names when we don’t approve of the way they present themselves, and that’s just not cool. Let women do whatever they want.

People can do whatever they please with their bodies and should not have to apologize for it. Ever. Women don’t need a man’s approval or permission to do whatever they want.

We are never going to stop hearing the word “slut” shouted at us, so I propose we make the definition more accurate. A slut is a person who does whatever they want with their body and doesn’t care who approves. A slut can have as many or as few orgasms as she wants. A slut can wear nothing or cover herself completely.

It’s time to redefine the word “slut” as someone who doesn’t care how she is perceived and does what she wants with her body.

[Editor’s note: Due to the unfortunate stigma surrounding women discussing sex, the author of this column has requested to use the pseudonym “Kay Ann.”]

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