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October 12, 2014 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

The S-Word

In a world where microaggressions are becoming increasingly untolerated, there is one term that escapes this, the S-Word. Obviously I am not talking about the word shit. I am talking about the word slut. When, in the 21st century, racial abuse and homophobia are seen as unacceptable traits and are publicly shamed (rightly so), why is this disgusting slur against women still socially acceptable. This is a slur that is being used against 50% of world’s population. What the fuck is going on? Why is gender inequality just being swept under the rug! Gender inequality affects the entire population of the world, yet it still exists in this day and age where we have supposedly come so far, and are supposedly all about equality. Something needs to be done and it needs to start now.

The Oxford English Dictionary states that the earliest recorded use of the word was in 1402 with this definition: “A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern.” Lets just think about this for a second,what are actually saying to women when we call them a slut? Firstly the way we use the word ‘slut’ in modern society has changed to mean anything from a woman who has had multiple sexual partners to a woman who has expressed herself sexually. It can even be used when a woman dresses “provocatively”. So what is it we are saying when we use this term slut against a woman in one of these situations? We are basically saying that they are dirty or untidy… Really? A woman expresses herself sexually and we call her something that means dirty or untidy? The meaning of this term has obviously changed since this early use of word, but it has evolved to from this meaning and includes its meaning to be dirty within this modern meaning. Lets think about this in contrast to how men are treated in the same situations. A man expresses himself sexually or has multiple sexual partners and we say ‘he’s the man’ or ‘what a lady-killer’ or ‘that guys such a casanova’. Well if that isn’t double standards then I don’t know what is. None of these expressions have negative connotations attached to them. Even when we call a man a ‘man-slut’, the negativity that applies to it when we use that word against women just does not apply here. Seriously, I’ll ask again, why is this acceptable.

But that definition doesn’t truly do justice to what is going on here. Where this starts is with a certain “activity” known as slut-shaming. Many feminist blogs define ‘slut-shaming’ as “the idea of shaming and/or attacking a woman or a girl for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, and/or acting on sexual feelings. Furthermore, it’s “about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior”. Does this sound familiar? Basically ‘slut-shaming’ is trying to make a woman feel crap and guilty for being a sexual being, because a woman who sexually expresses herself doesn’t fit in with the person’s expectations of women in society. In some countries it is deemed inappropriate for women to have sex outside of marriage. In countries like ours sex outside of marriage is not deemed as inappropriate in most cases. This maybe seen as step forward, but in reality limitations are still placed on women as to what they should and shouldn’t do. People who slut-shame use it as a method to try and make women feel guilty about who they are. But here’s the truth. Women are sexual beings and they have the same rights as men to explore their sexuality. There should be no expectations of how a women should and shouldn’t act, and the fact that there are these expectations is insane and actually blows my mind. I’ll ask again. Why is this insanity acceptable.

I was told by a friend that maybe I should not write about this due the unoriginality of what I was. I realise that I am not bringing any new evidence to the table and that this subject has been talked about many times, but I actually do not care. I will talk and talk about this until gender inequality no longer exists. The more other people talk about it the better. I want this subject on the front of everybody’s mind. We all need to make a start in doing something about gender inequality. Whether its teaching children at an early age to not discriminate against anyone, or calling someone out when they display these double standards, its time act on a social level. So I’ll ask one last time. Why is this acceptable? This is not acceptable!



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