Remove Slut from our Vocabulary Now

slut_memeTIME Magazine got it all wrong when they suggested removing the word ‘Feminist’ from the dictionary.  We need that word more than ever! Especially when catcalling and victim blaming seem to be the order of business these days.  I have been thinking on this for some time trying to figure out a more appropriate word that deserves to be extinct.

Recently, while perusing my news feed, a friend of mine asked whether it was wrong to have slut shamed a character on her favorite reality television show and I decided…that’s the word…SLUT…it should be removed from our vernacular immediately and here’s why:

There’s no such thing:

Like every monster in the fairy tales we read growing up, the slut is a mythical creature that only exists in the imagination of those telling the tale.  Just like the big bad wolf, the hungry giant and the evil dragon, monsters who represent traits we should avoid, like anger, greed and gluttony, the slut is used as a cautionary symbol too.  Slut is a monster that represents lust and as many of us ladies know lust is a trait “good girls” should avoid, or at least that’s what society keeps trying to tell us.  At the end of the day the slut is a myth, a cautionary tale intended to keep us in line, lest we be labelled. Don’t buy into it, it’s a marketing ploy and just like the dragon, the giant, and the big bag wolf, there is no such thing as a slut. Trust me, women are allowed to make their own choices and as science has already explained, casual sex might even be good for us.

Sex is nothing to be ashamed of:

Despite what your catholic school nun might have taught you, sex is a healthy expression of desire. As long as it is consensual, it’s ok to have it with whomever you want. Up until now the message has been “only men are allowed to pursue their desires”.  I have a newsflash: Women like sex too and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I am grateful to characters like Samantha from Sex and the City who embraced and pursued her desires with gusto.  She’s a great role model on how to live and love sex on your terms without shame.

Slut is just another form of misogyny:

Society really, really hates women who really, really love sex. We judge them swiftly and harshly by slapping the slut label on them to put them back in their place. Miley Cyrus is a great example of this, she is often labelled a slut.  How dare she want to explore her sexuality and express her desires publicly?  Women are supposed to be chaste and even if they like sex, they are only supposed to share that with their partner behind closed doors.  This misogyny  doesn’t only come from men, it comes from other women too, women who probably fear the label so fiercely they police other women’s behavior and compare it to their own as a gauge of how perfect they are in comparison. Stop it! Women have the right to explore their sexuality in whatever terms they want. Their body, their choice!Miley+Cyrus+Miley+Cyrus+Performs+Perth+Iqap-E8QSR-l

Being lustful does not exclude you from being a feminist:

Recently my idol Annie Lennox made a comment about twerking and feminism. Specifically, she said “I think that this overt sexuality thrust — literally — at particular audiences, when very often performers have a very, very young audience, like 7 years old, I find it disturbing and I think its exploitative. It’s troubling. I’m coming from a perspective of a woman that’s had children.” and while I really want to agree with her, I can’t bring myself to do so. I am a mother too and it is my job to put into context what my children are exposed to.  Modern feminism is a complicated thing, women want to be sexy and they want to be strong but it seems like we can’t be both without one side or the other calling us sluts for expressing and exploring sexuality either through song, dance or fashion.  This isn’t fair and while I do agree to some extent that women are being sexualized in the entertainment industry (often at an early age) – shaming them for it doesn’t further the movement.  It only divides us.  Sure, there are many other ways for women to express their strengths and sexuality that don’t involve twerking but, we should allow girls the freedom to figure out what that is on their own. It’s up to parents to put it into context for our kids, not the entertainers. One women’s choice may not be right for all women but she can do what she pleases without being shamed for it. Whether it’s posing nude, twerking, or embracing androgyny as Annie does so well.

It’s an extension of rape culture:

It’s a critical time for women, we are fighting for our reproductive rights, equal pay and a cease and desist on rape culture. Women are deciding what they want, when they want it, and how they will get it. When we slut shame our sisters we participate in the very rape culture we are trying to put a stop to.  When women are labelled a slut we are telling the world that she is asking for trouble, we are blaming her for any harassment that might befall her for having the nerve to be sexy. I often hear the phrase “you can be sexy without being slutty” but where is the scale that helps us determine when a thing is sexy and when it is slutty? It’s ignorant and foolish to put terms and conditions on a woman’s sexuality.  It isn’t for society to decide our behavior for us. Labeling women as sluts is like putting a target on her back for men to prey on. It’s dangerous and hateful and we should throw the word out as swiftly as possible.

What are your thoughts on the word slut?

 

3 thoughts on “Remove Slut from our Vocabulary Now

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