The Self-Hate of “Slut Shaming”

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Slut, as defined by Google:

1. A woman who has many casual sexual partners.
2. A woman with low standards of cleanliness.

Slut Shaming, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries:

1. The action or fact of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.

Slut Shaming, as defined by Duhaime​ Law Dictionary:

1. The judgment objectifying and passes on the sexuality of a woman, often of teenage years that her choice of revealing or tight apparel is indicative of consent if not encouragement to sexual intimacy.

Slut Shaming, as defined by Ms. Malcolm Hughes:

1. An attempt to place ownership and possession over a woman’s body by judging and criticizing her personal, freewill choice.

So the end of 2015 has passed, and here we are still. Women attempting to tear down other women for making different choices than deemed acceptable by society’s standards. Pretending that I haven’t seen a woman scantily dressed and thought ‘gosh, she should probably put some more clothes on,”’ will not be done here; much like you shouldn’t pretend you’ve never been that scantily dressed woman in the club shaking it like a salt shaker–probably looking for a “partner” to complete your life *yawn*.

Why are you really upset with the women who choose to wear less clothing than you? Could it be that their style of dress causes you to feel insecure about the ability to keep your significant other’s attention? Of course not, you’re entirely too educated to stoop to such primal territorial wars. How dare I attempt to insult your intelligence by implying such an overly simplistic analysis of your rage? You would never, EVER allow another woman to push you to feel insecure. If your wo/man wants to be with her then of s/he can go! Fine, we’ll dig a little deeper.

Is it possible that your anger with these women is deeply seated in the fact that you have internalized the doctrine of patriarchy? “What? What does patriarchy have to do with this? I’m not shaming her because of a man; I’m just saying she makes all women look bad. How are any of us going to have high standards and demand respect when some of us are just putting it out there and not giving men anything to chase? There’s nothing left to the imagination, and now all men believe women are supposed to dress skimpy, and they treat us any kind of way because of it.” I’ve read your arguments, I hear your arguments, and I HATE your arguments.

While on social media I saw a comment that stopped me in my tracks. It read:
“When did slut shaming become wrong? The problem today is that sluts don’t know they’re sluts, they all think they’re feminist. Sluts should be shamed and not heard.” Oh, now women aren’t allowed to have a voice because of how they choose to dress? How progressive of you.

More mindboggling for me than anything else is the unrecognized connection between slut shaming and victim blaming. For instance, when we look at definition 3 above, “…is indicative of consent if not encouragement to sexual intimacy,” no one who slut shames would acknowledge that they are insinuating rape. In fact, the quick response is often, “I’m not saying rape, rape is never okay. Women should be allowed to wear whatever they want without anyone touching them.” Does the same not go for the freedom to dress absent of judgment? It should.

The reality is that none of us have the right to police what other women wear. What people fail to realize is that it takes a great degree of self-comfort and confidence to compliment another person. Why? Because you have to able to recognize that the other person’s awesomeness/individuality/amicability in no way takes away from your own. Now, in saying that, how much internal dissatisfaction does it require to shame another individual? I’m not sure, but those of you who choose to partake obviously have enough. Love and hate do not coexist equally; Self-hate and self-love cannot cohabitate; Shaming and uplifting/appreciation cannot occupy the same space.

Hate is spewed many different ways–your slut shaming is just one. I’m not sure if you hate their individuality, their gusto, or their ability to exist, but your actions are not filled with love. Love looks like a conversation, which may potentially lead to understanding. Perhaps these women are victims of a patriarchal system, but who are you to say? Perhaps you are victims of a patriarchal system because you have been co-opted to believe that somehow your clothes will save you from the sting of prejudice and oppression based on sex. Just because it is not your preference does not make it wrong or shameful. Perhaps it makes you small minded that a person’s entire character can be limited to the clothes they choose to wear. Maybe they don’t need to change their clothes; maybe you need to open your mind, change systems or become more comfortable in your own being.

As always, love and hug more!

-Ms. Malcolm Hughes

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4 comments

  1. I really hate slut shaming. I have a lot of female friends and I hate it whenever they get judged for their outfits. I get mad because I wear shorts too and nobody bugs me for it. Great post!

  2. > Why are you really upset with the women who choose to wear less clothing than you?

    Historically I think slut shaming was a very practical way of discouraging recreational sex among young women (your own daughter for example) because in a world before effective contraception (ie the dawn of humanity – 1960’s) recreational sex generally meant getting pregnant, and/ or maybe getting some untreatable venerial disease. Both of these meant the young woman was now an unnecessary and unproductive burden on her family and the community as a whole (a community who might be struggling to survive as it is). She is now not able to work around the house or on the farm, and now there are two hungry mouths to feed.

    In addition with a bastard son and a reputation for sleeping with every passing salesman or farm boy she is unlikely to be able to attract a decent husband – if a husband at all.

    Socially stigmatising recreational sex and associating sluttiness with immorality before marriage (before she had gotten a man to sign a contract agreeing to provide her with resources and protection for life) was a way of PROTECTING young, horny, naive, reckless young women from their own urges.

    After the sexual revolution of the 60’s (due to the invention of effective birth control) women could have relatively safe recreational sex. Slut shaming took on a different meaning as now women were being shamed mostly by other women for giving sex away for free, and letting men know that women actually love dick. Modern slut shaming is mostly about shaming women for DEVALUING women.

    The more women express a desire for sex openly (instead of playing the demure, innocent, pure, disinterested woman who must always be cajoled into sex by men) and the more women give sex away for free and let men know they love dick just as men love pussy (who’d have thought!?!) the less bargaining power women have collectively over men. Why should a man wine and dine a woman and shower her with gifts and offer to marry her and provide for her for life just to have sex…. when he can just go to a club and have sex with promiscuous women who don’t really demand any of these things (maybe just a few free drinks)?

    Contraception and the sexual revolution has done to women’s sexual value what digital media and the internet has done to the value of music. When everyone is giving it away for free it’s hard to carry on charging for it.

    SLut shaming is a bit like shaming musicians for giving all their music away for free.

    But there is another aspect to slut shaming which is shaming women who EXPLOIT their sexual value in a dishonest way. The kinds of women who might dress AS IF they are looking for sex and then go to a club and let a man BELIEVE she wants to have sex with him, but only to empty his wallet and have a dancing partner for the evening. By the end of the evening she turns him down, which was her intention all along. She might also use the same tactics at work and be constantly shoving her cleavage in men’s faces before asking them to this or that… or to get a promotion or some other form of favouritism.

    > The reality is that none of us have the right to police what other women wear.

    Judging (having an opinion or a moral standard) is not the same as policing (coercing other people).

    Women and men should have the right to an opinion, the right to judge being a slut as a negative or an undesirable thing …….. the problem only happens when (a) someone tried to impose their opinion on the slut by forcing her (or him) to not be a slut or (b) a slut tries to force other people to view positively, even when they don’t.

    And what about the policing of men’s clothing and behaviour?

    Did feminists have the right to police what Matt Taylor was wearing (a bowling shirt with scantily clad women on it, made for him by a female friend and fashion designer) the day he landed a spaceship on a comet? Did feminists have the right to shame him to tears as he was forced to apologise on TV for his alleged ‘crime’ against women (well, against feminists)?

    What if he had been wearing a “Beyonce 2010 World Tour” T shirt with a similar scantily clad picture of Beyonce on it? Would that have made it any less offensive?

    > Maybe they don’t need to change their clothes; maybe you need to open your mind, change systems or become more comfortable in your own being.

    Does this apply to Matt Taylor vs feminists, too?

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