Search this blog

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Slut Shaming: Part 2


This post is partly in response to one of my commenters who I have been discussing this topic with (see posts Slut shaming is stupid). It is also because I would like to clarify some things about slut shaming, and how sex is viewed in society.


First of all, why do I care about this topic.

Intellectual reasons: I like discussing things, I like to analyse and decipher why things are the way they are, and look at how things are perceived in society. This is an ‘opinion blog’, not a ‘personal blog’, and is a place where I discuss opinions and talk about them with others, as well as have those opinions challenged.

Personal reasons: It’s something that is very dear to me due to how I’ve seen and thought about sex and seen how sexuality is viewed by other girls.

Macro reasons: it makes me upset to see other girls shame each other for things that should not be seen as shameful or as a big deal. This happens to the point of bullying and suicide (e.g. the case of Amanda Todd) and can seriously damage women’s views of themselves and their sexuality.

Religious reasons: I have anti-religion views, and Britain is a country that has been founded historically on Christian values. These include views on things like marriage, male and female behaviour, homosexuality, abortion, morality. Religion is founded on scare-mongering and shaming people for feeling a certain way, and I don’t think that it is ok at all. Some of it is old thinking that needs to go and does nothing but push people into boxes.

The reason I am addressing women’s issues rather than men’s issues is because I am a woman, so it’s easier for me to talk about what I identify with. Addressing the commenter; I am not talking about women ‘job shaming men’ because that is a different topic and because it’s not something I have ever observed or noticed (perhaps due to my age; most people my age are at uni). I wouldn’t know how to approach it because I don’t really have much to say about it. Of course ‘shaming’ a man because they don’t make as much money as you or are in between work is cruel and sexist on women's part, and I believe that if two people are in a partnership and care for each other then they should look at things like good character as opposed to money and status. (And that does include being 'trustworthy, hardworking and compatible' to address the commenter, as well as being 'kind, smart, funny, caring etc. All those things that you like and value in a person. I place high values on intelligence and humour, but some women may value other things in a man more).

It is true that men have always been expected to be the providers due to practicality and evolutionary wiring, but nowadays social attitudes have shifted and if a man wants to stay with the children and the woman wants to work and both are fine with that then that is fine. Also, most men over 22 have jobs because people need jobs in order to make money in order to function, so having a job for a man and a woman is just a practical thing. Women aren’t slutty because they ‘need’ to be, but men have jobs because they need to, and if they don’t it’s more because they’re in between work or looking for work or can’t get work.

Hopefully (addressing the commenter; sorry if that keeps getting irritating but I don't like addressing people by name on my posts without their consent) that has addressed why I don't talk about 'job-shaming.'

Case Studies

Let’s look at the case of Amanda Todd. In 2012, the 15 year old Canadian girl commit suicide after being severely bullied and ostracised by her peers. The reasons for this was that she had been communicating with a man on the internet and sent topless pictures to him, which were leaked and resulted in her being slut-shamed and shunned by all of her friends. The man was identified as a 35 year old child pornographer who would take advantage of young girls and coax them into performing sexual acts on webcam. Todd did nothing immoral; she was young and naive and maybe didn’t make the best of choices, but she did not deserve to be cut off from all her friends to the point where she became so depressed she killed herself.

In the fictional TV show '13 reasons why', a similar thing happens. The protagonist, Hannah, has a photo of her with a boy leaked to make it look like she’s giving him head when really she was just kissing him. No one ever says anything to the boy, but her reputation was ruined and she was called horrible names for doing nothing wrong. 

When I was in secondary school I had a friend who gave head to a boy – he was a ‘player’ type of boy who had a lot of girls suck him, yet she was the one who was called a slut and ostracised by others. She really liked him, he took advantage, yet she was the one who ‘paid’ in the end.

Another example is Felicia Garcia, a 15 year old teenager who was bullied and slut-shamed and rumoured to have slept with four boys from her school football team. She ended her life by jumping in front of a train.
A 13 year old girl who had never even kissed a boy was called a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ and commit suicide due to abuse from her peers.

Slutty Behaviour?

What these case studies all have in common is that they’re all young teenage girls who were harassed by their peers and slut-shamed. To be ‘slut shamed’ you don’t actually have to engage in ‘slutty’ behaviour. Slut: a person, usually a woman, who engages in lots of casual sex. Girls get slut shamed for dressing in a certain way, for getting off with lots of guys in a club, for wanting to go on birth control, having big tits, for wearing lipstick, for ‘not fancying you but fancying your friend’ – a girl can get slut-shamed even if she’s never had sex. (Note: guys post pictures of their bodies online all the time and you don’t see anyone saying ‘ew, take it down you man-whore!’)
When I was 15 I sent a photo of my stomach to a guy I was talking to on Twitter. Not my naked body, not my tits, my stomach. And my friends were all disapproving about it. One of them stuck up for me and said ‘it’s a belly, it’s not like it’s her cleavage, and anyway what does it matter?’ What does it matter. This same friend when she was 12 went on webcam to a guy she liked (he had a girlfriend so shame on him) and he asked her to show her topless body. Young girls are impressionable, and when you like a guy and want to impress them of course you’re going to fall for sweet words because how would you know any better? And young guys wouldn’t know any better either; they’re emotionally immature and want to see tits and arse.

What would be better would be to educate girls on the fact that they don't need validation from a guy to feel special or beautiful, and guys shouldn't treat girls like commodities to be used. This addresses the primal problem of sex education (addressing the commenter as we have discussed this) and that it doesn't properly prepare young people for healthy sex. The male sex drive IS stronger than the female sex drive, particularly at a younger age. (This is why I fully support porn and masturbation). If a young girl wants to do sexual things with a boy, why should she be shamed for it? And if a young girl doesn't feel comfortable in doing sexual things with a boy, then she shouldn't feel like she has to. I suppose this creates a new question which I'm not sure how to answer: how do young guys cope with strong and uncontrollable sexual urges, and how do young girls deal with growing into their sexuality and how they will be viewed by men?

I remember cases of girls that would give head to one guy and then have that video leaked with everyone saying horrible stuff about her like she was a disgusting person. Teenagers and children are judgmental. People are judgemental. I’m judgemental, and hypocritical, and imperfect. We all are, even if we try not to be. But with this particular set of bullying; shaming girls for performing some sort of sexual activity, this kind of thing can stop. It’s different if a girl sucks off every guy at the school and doesn’t give a shit about being called a slut (and I will address that shortly). But if a girl does one little thing because she really likes a guy and doesn’t know any better, her entire reputation is ruined and this can lead her to depression and even suicide. And that is horrible. It’s sexist, it’s idiotic, it’s petty, and it needs to stop.

Why give a fuck?

I do believe that slut-shaming should stop, and hopefully eventually will. But words only have power if we give them power. It's one thing for an impressionable young girl to be called a slut and bullied. But what about genuinely 'slutty' women, not teenage girls still at school? As in, women who do actually engage in casual sex or have many partners, or even engage in a few one night stands if that's what your defintion of a 'slut' is? (And everyone's definition of 'a lot' of sex differs). If a woman is a 'slut' and happily engages in frequent consensual sex and is old enough to know what she's going, the best thing she can do is NOT GIVE A FUCK. (No pun intended). Average age of Brits to lose their virginity is somewhere between 16-18 anyway, so it's unlikely many people prior to these ages are going to be fucking.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1phBvGyDZ0gTsht2HjJk7z3/virginity
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1861997/brazilians-do-it-youngest-and-brits-at-18-according-to-world-map-showing-average-age-people-lose-their-virginity/

This is another thing my commenter said; why didn’t I write a post telling ‘slutty’ women not to care? The commenter was right. If you are a woman who loves sex and enjoys sleeping with many partners, then that’s your stuff. It doesn’t make you a good or a bad person. As long as you practice safe sex and don’t force anyone into stuff, do what you like. People will call you names, and you can just shrug it off and not care. Unfortunately, there is a fine line with this. As addressed above, name-calling and the negative connotations of the word 'slut' can lead young girls to suicide. Here I am trying to talk about women aged 18+, not 15 year olds, who may engage in a lot of sex. The hope is that older women are more resilient and experienced then teenagers. I don't know if it's common for a 21 year old 'slut' who is aware of what she doing and doesn't give a shit to kill herself over people calling her a slut. I must also state this so it doesn't look like I'm contradicting myself by saying 'don't slut shame because of how it can impact girls' and 'if you get slut shamed just let it go!'

Frisky at Uni

When I was at York uni, I used to go out and get off with lots of guys in clubs. Not sexual stuff; I had this ‘fear of intimacy’ and sex scared me a bit even though I masturbated a lot, and it was something I wanted to do with a guy I was in a relationship with. (Also, I suffer from anxiety and was very closed off growing up and struggled to connect to people). But I would get drunk and that would make me want to snog and grind on guys. No one ‘shamed’ me for it, though I did think things like ‘am I a cock-tease’ and ‘is it bad that I’m just getting with these guys and not sleeping with them; am I leading them on?’ I never lead them on; I told them straight up I didn’t want to have sex with them, I was just having fun, and it was fun though it felt empty after (but that was probably more the alcohol and depression).

I am aware of the ‘lad culture’ that is present in British universities. Granted, I didn’t experience any of this and none of the guys I got with tried to force me into sex or anything. But there are guys that grope girls in clubs and try to force them into things they don’t want. As a girl, if you’re not into that stuff and DON’T want guys to grope you or want to get with them, you can tell them to fuck off. It’s the same as if you’re a girl who wants to get with them. All girls have the right to choose what to do with their bodies and to do what makes them feel comfortable and when.
https://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-calls-for-summit-on-lad-culture/

Madonna vs Whore

The commenter and I also discussed the ‘madonna-whore complex’, which I took literally and simplistically. The commenter said the ‘madonna-whore’ complex is more nuanced then literally saying half of women are angelic virgins and the other half are dirty whores. The Madonna-whore complex was first coined by Freud in order to describe men viewing some women as ‘women they will marry’ and others as ‘women they’re attracted to.’ And yes, we all polarise people to a degree. Men do view women in terms of girls they’ll want to be in a relationship with/marry and girls they just want to have a one night stand with. This is the same as viewing nice guys vs players, or guys you just want to have fun with (like me at York) vs a guy I want to have as my boyfriend. This is something we all do. It doesn’t literally mean every single person is going to fit into these boxes, due to the fluidity of humans and sexuality. Also, everyone’s definition of a ‘slut’ is different.

Back to the word slut. My view is that to really end slut-shaming, the word ‘slut’ should be seen as neutral as opposed to bad/good. I don’t see why women should feel they have to lie about how many sexual partners they’ve had, and view this as them feeling embarrassed because society says it’s wrong for them to have multiple partners and they’re scared their man will reject them. It is also important to remember that whenever a man has sex, a woman is also having sex. For every straight man that has sex, another straight woman is having sex. Just like in the above case studies; those girls were the ones that were shamed, yet nothing was said to the guys involved.

Like a virgin

Why do men like virgins? Based on my research:
·        It feels tighter (physical)
·        It feels nice to be her first, especially if the man loves her (emotional)
·        It feels like a ‘conquest’, going where no other man has gone before (egotistical)
·        It means she definitely has no STDs (practical)
·        It means she can’t compare me to anyone else; I could be terrible and she wouldn’t know (egotistical)





This is based on stuff I’ve read online and from what guys have said. I’m not a guy, and I can’t change or control how or what guys think or feel about women. But I can control and decide the kind of men I want to be with.

I’m an atheist. I hold very anti-religious views. I was just in a relationship (ended recently; don’t want to talk about it but it was not a bad breakup, although I was devastated, and we both very much still care for each other) with a guy that’s a Christian. When he told me on our second date that he was a Christian I was taken aback, especially cos he’s an intelligent engineer and scientist.

But him being a Christian did not change how I felt about him (and still feel). As a matter of fact it didn’t change anything or affect our relationship at all, other than me thinking it would be wise not to talk about my anti-religious views around him.

My point about bringing that up is when you truly like someone, things like that wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) matter. Yes, I would prefer an atheist/non-religious boyfriend, but him being a Christian did not even resonate in my judgement of his amazing character. When you truly like a girl, I would assume how many men she’s slept with won’t change your feelings for her. You may prefer her to have slept with less people, but why should that change or affect how much you like/love her and all the other great qualities she has? Note: it’s definitely a double standard for a man to not be a virgin but to want to marry a virgin. If he wants to stay a virgin till marriage too then fine, but if he doesn’t and expects to marry a girl who is a virgin I see that as hypocritical.

I can understand people wanting to be with someone with a similar amount of sexual partners to them, but I can't understand a man who has had many partners to want a woman who has had none. Hypocrisy and strange. But it must be stressed that everyone is entitled to their preferences, and perhaps some people just place a higher emphasis on past sexual partners than others. I would prefer not to be with a man who has sex with a different woman every week simply because I would feel intimidated and assume he was a player (I said, everyone is judgemental and hypocritical). Doesn't mean I would 'shame' him for it. A man can prefer not be with a woman who has sex with a different man every week, but why should he shame her for it? If you don't want to be with a 'slutty' person, then don't date them. Just like if you don't want to have an abortion don't have one; doesn't mean you need to go around calling pro-choice people who people who have abortions 'sinful.'

British people have 5 sexual partners in their lifetime on average:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jun/18/anthonybrowne.theobserver1

I can't tell men what they can and can't like, and don't want to. If a virginal woman is such a big deal to a man then I simply won't go out with him. I can make sure that in my life I don’t date men who place a lot of emphasis on past sexual partners. (For the record, I haven't had many, but in ten years time I don't know how many sexual partners I'm going to have had. I don't know if I'll meet my future husband next year or in ten years). I can’t stop people from slut-shaming or bullying other girls because a nude photo was leaked. All I can do is give my opinion on it and hope to help move towards a sex-positive future where sex is just seen as a natural, wonderful thing people do and not used as a measure of ‘value’ or ‘virtue.’

What the Bible says

The West was founded on Judeo-Christian values, and the Bible places a heavy emphasis on virginity, not just in women but on men too.

 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. - 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

And he shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people. Leviticus 21:13-14 


Ancient Communes

Hence is it safe to assume that some of what we think about ‘virginity’ does arise from religious principles? When humans were in their hunter-gatherer times, less emphasis was placed on marriage and raising children was seen as communal. According to Sapiens: a brief history of humankind, ‘foragers lived in communes devoid of private property, monogamous relationships and even fatherhood. In such a band, women could have sex and form intimate bonds with several men (and women), and since none of the men knew which children were his, they would look after them all equally.’

It’s well-documented among animals, such as chimpanzees and bonobos. A good mother will make a point of having sex with several different men, especially when she is pregnant, so that her child will enjoy the qualities not merely of the best hunter, but also of the best storyteller, the strongest warrior and the most considerate lover.’ Because an actual rational reason for a man wanting a virginal wife would be so that when they had children he knew the children would be his and only his. But in these times before DNA tests, why would any of that matter?

Researchers who propagate the ‘ancient commune’ theory argue that reasons for high rates of divorce and infidelity in marriage is due to forcing modern humans to live in monogamous relationships and nuclear families. Is it a coincidence that the Bible places heavy emphasis on nuclear families and monogamous relationships, and that in modern Britain that is what most people perceive as the norm, taking in the fact that Britain was founded on Christian values? I doubt it.

Perhaps monogamy is more socially constructed and polygamy is more natural. Perhaps then being ‘slutty’ or a ‘man-whore’ is more natural than being restricted to ‘one man, one woman’, and is only something we’ve learned and internalized due to thousands of years of Christian propaganda telling us ‘one man for every one woman.’ Perhaps polygamy would reduce cheating. After all, you can have strong emotions and be in love with someone, but don’t need to love someone or even have feelings for them to have sex with them.

I am aware this is extremely long, and hope I have covered enough ground in response to my commenter and also in addressing points about sexuality. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you enjoy my posts and want to support this blog, consider becoming a patreon by clicking on the tab at the top of my page.