It’s the same thing every time I log onto Facebook; I see pictures split into quadrants. ‘Hey girls,’ the first picture reads. ‘Did you know,’ the second one says. ‘That your boobs,’ asks the third. ‘Belong inside your shirt,’ reads the last one. Hey, I feel like asking, did you know that you sound like a jerk?
This degrading trend is what is known as “slut-shaming,” when people mock or humiliate a woman because of her sexuality. This can mean the number of her sexual partners, her way of dressing, or her attitude. The shaming part can be accomplished by calling a woman a name such as “skank” or “whore,” spreading rumors about her sexual exploits, or by posting pictures like the one I just described. In short, it’s a way to fill a woman with self-doubt and keep women down as a whole. And, quite frankly, I’m sick of it.
For some reason, society accepts men who have multiple sexual partners. Men can have casual hook-ups and advertise this information to anyone who will listen, and still suffer no consequences. The same rule, however, does not apply to women. If a woman has an active sex life, people will say that she has low self-esteem or that she isn’t “serious girlfriend material.” If she talks openly about said sex life, people will call her a “ho” or say she has no class. It’s a double standard and every time someone “likes” one of these idiotic photos on the internet or calls a girl a demeaning name, they’re feeding into this mind set.
Not only is slut shaming disrespectful (and everyone is deserving of respect regardless of the number of sexual partners), but it can also be incredibly dangerous. Many times when a woman is sexually assaulted, the question is not who did this and how can they be punished, but rather what was the victim wearing and is she known for being promiscuous. We can look at pop culture and see blatant evidence of this. When basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was accused of rape in 2003, his alleged victim was bullied to the point that she finally dropped the case. Bryant’s female defense attorney dug up every sordid detail of the girl’s past in a brutal attack on her character. Bryant shed a few crocodile tears for ESPN, bought his wife a number of guilt-baubles, and was back to being the Laker’s golden boy. His victim, on the other hand, had her reputation destroyed. She was accused of everything from having sex with two other men that week, to being an “attention whore” and worse. I, for one, don’t understand how a man can be accused of rape and cop to cheating on his wife and mother of his child, while the alleged victim is treated like a criminal.
Ladies, we need to support and empower each other. We need to let people know that we won’t be bullied. We need to be free to wear whatever we want to, to feel sexually liberated, and not feel the need to apologize for it. Guys, you need to recognize women as equals and respect them, their boundaries, and beliefs.
Don’t be one of those those self-proclaimed nice guys, who turn into sore losers when you get rejected. Teachers, at homecoming and prom, squelch your first instinct to call out the girls dancing provocatively, but not the boys dancing behind them. It is 2013. We should be past these judgmental and harmful attitudes. It is time to stop treating women like inferior creatures and set an example for the next generation.
~Jordyn Elliot, guest writer