Our Misogynistic Society: Slut Shaming and Its Deeper Implications

So what is slut shaming? On the surface, slut shaming is the measure by which accepted society brutally judges women who are flirtatious by nature, wear what might be considered provocative clothing, date frequently or different men, are willing to leave men who treat them poorly and not look back, go to parties or nightclubs, are divorced, drink alcohol, single mothers, have jobs in adult entertainment, get promotions over male candidates,  actors, feminists, do not want to be married, do not want children, Lesbians, or happen to have sex out of the religious bounds of wedlock, and certainly if they have had more than one sexual partner- in their lifetime- and they are not widows. All of these scenarios (and more) can place a woman in the cross-hairs for open season slut shaming. Oh, and I forgot one: raped. Yeah, you would think that would be a no-brainer, not her fault, but it isn’t. Slut shaming techniques are the primary defense of most rapists and it is surprising how many people sympathize with it. I think there has been enough in recent news to shed exemplary light on that problem.

You would think this is pretty broad scoped and horrible enough, but the roots of slut shaming are far more sinister and they are deeply ingrained in our society. Not just in men, either. And many of us are guilty of it, sometimes without even realizing it. Don’t get me wrong. It is okay to dislike or disagree with someone’s behavior, especially if their actions could have significant impact on your life or those you love. Otherwise, you don’t have to like it or that person, it just isn’t your business. It is not slut shaming to call someone out for cheating in what was supposed to be a monogamous relationship. That goes both ways, for men and women. But this isn’t the foundation. The sinister root is the archaic undermining of feminine freedom and expression. By controlling your sexuality, you are brought into submission, placed in the appropriate box and your value is based on your sexual virtue. That means that your abilities, thoughts, ideas, accomplishments, potential, success, intelligence, compassion -everything that makes you who you are- is insignificant in comparison to being a suitable mate. It means you should be putting first what a husband might want in you, sexually, before anything else. You must save yourself, to give to him, and do not attempt to outshine him, do not attempt to be successful, do not follow your dreams unless your dreams are to be the perfect wife. Slut shaming is only about condemning a woman for not saving herself, physically, emotionally and productively for a man. Slut shaming places women as second class citizens, servants.

When you slut shame someone, you are telling them they don’t matter, their wants, needs, hopes, desires and choices do not matter because they were not intended to achieve greatness, merely to stand in the shadows and be servants to great men. But how great can any man be who demands that kind of wife? I think I’d rather be a slut than a servant.

So, as long as your actions are not nefarious or with the intent to hurt someone else, wear the slut badge with pride. No, you didn’t sleep your way into that executive position, you aren’t one bit sad about leaving that loser, you are proud you have the courage to raise a child on your own, or you enjoy dressing sexy or having drinks and dancing with friends or even appreciate a consensual one night stand– screw the people trapped in the misogynistic ideology that women are servants, their purity and subservience their only bargaining chip to a better life or treatment. No matter how pure they are, no matter how dedicated to serving their master, they will not have what you do: freedom. The women who call you names want you to be like them because they aren’t brave enough to be like you. The men who slut shame are just pathetic imbeciles who do not want the status quo to change, pathetic underachievers whose one saving grace (to themselves) is that they think they are better than women, or powerful, abusive men who view an intelligent, professional woman as a threat and competitor.

Well, guess what. You are a competitor. You are a threat. You are a free woman who is not chained by a misogynistic self image. You will not be ashamed.

I learned long ago that the best vindictive action, the absolute worst thing I could do to those who treated me unfairly or poorly was not through anger or hate. It was not yelling, screaming or calling names. It was not even through attempts to reason, because hateful people are unreasonable. It was indifference. I just let them go because their words do not matter, their opinions carry no weight. They might as well not exist. I’ve been called a slut.  I smiled and said, “Thanks,” like it was a compliment on my shoes from a stranger. Now, I am not saying it is something we can all just ignore. It has too broad of an effect, bullying teenagers and young women, courtroom antics for both criminal and civil disputes. What we have to do is change the attitude. Words only have the meanings we give them, and they only carry the value that we place on them. We can change the conversation, we can change how the word slut is viewed. I know it is just a word and the problem is the idea, but changing the concept of the word does have significant impact in changing public opinions. When we see slut shaming, we fire back by politely thanking them for noticing that she is a free, independent woman whose value is not ruled by sex. Let’s turn their shaming into points of promise. It makes the shamers look ridiculous and gives hope and confidence to the victim.

I fall into a few of those categories up there. But I am also a good, compassionate, intelligent and capable woman. If that makes me a slut to someone, then, “Thanks.” I’ll wear my badge with pride. Let’s all be SLUTs, Stand Liberated by the Undeniable Truth: All Humans are Equal. Let us unite against those who mistake our freedom for shame.

SLUT

We are One Woman, One World.

 

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