Let’s have a quick experiment everyone. It won’t take more than a moment of your time, I promise. Three quick questions, and then we’ll get on with the blog post.
1. Hands up if you’ve ever called someone a slut.
2. Raise your hand if you’ve ever called a man a slut.
3. And finally, please put your hand up if you believe being a slut is a bad thing.
Now, let’s review the results, shall we?
I imagine that the second question received quite a few less hands than the first and last question – would I be right?
Because that’s how I would answer those questions. That’s how I did answer them. I most definitely have called someone a slut, multiple times. Almost all of those times I called someone a slut, I had been talking about a woman. And every single time, I had been using the word in attempt to degrade the women I was talking about.
And I was wrong.
I am incredibly uneasy with women being called sluts. It enrages me when I hear someone still using such an archaic and oppressing word to describe women. Every time someone throws that word around, as if it means nothing, as if they have the right to draw a judgement on someone, it shocks me at how much further we still have to come.
Many people – most people, I would estimate – use the term ‘slut’ as a way to shame women for having sex. A slut is not someone you would want to associate with, much less be. A slut is the absolute opposite of class, purity and cleanliness – all things that make up a lady. A slut is not who you want for your girlfriend, who you want to bring home to your parents. A slut is usually a woman who has sex – mostly frequently – but when you get to the crux of it, the issue of it is a woman having sex.
Because there’s no such thing as a slut, is there? Not really. Let’s call it as it is: sluts are bad because they’re women who have sex freely and willingly.
This idea that a woman who has sex, as much and as often as she likes, should be subjugated to a judgement that ostracizes her from society is still prevalent today. The frequency with which people turn to the term as a valid way of judging and ranking someone only goes to show how women are still viewed closely and inextricably in terms of their sexuality. We cannot seem to separate the woman from the vagina. Just like we never have been able to do.
And I’m calling bullshit on that one.
Sexual women have always been singled out – and not for good reasons. They have been judged, neglected, used and, above all, feared. We were given corsets to restrict our movement while highlighting our figure; our sexual arousal and frustration were labelled medical conditions; we are forced to pay high prices for indulging ourselves sexually – both financially and socially.
Since when – apart from the odd STD or awkward moaning – is sex a bad thing? More specifically, since when has women having sex been a bad thing?
Well, since always. It’s always been a bad thing, ever since we discovered that vaginas could be used for happy times. As if that was our fault, as if we shouldn’t make use of what our body could do.
A tale as old as time, some might say. Frightened with tales of pregnancy and disease, sex is something that is both feared by and expected of women. Expected by those of society who constantly view women in sexual terms, who base their value on their sexuality, and feared by those being measured in these terms.
And that, my friends, is bullshit. Sex, seemingly like the disgust at women having it, is something natural. Something that people have been it for donkeys, and will continue to be at. The hypocrisy of years gone by where mistresses were a common, open secret, allowing married and committed men to betray their wives and allowing the women they do this with to be ostracized if found out. The key, simple fact that people fail to grasp is that women have sex. They have always had sex, and they will always sex, whether you like it or not.
We need to realign our way of viewing sexual women in society. That is to say, we need to remove all judgement altogether. Why isolate sex and women’s sexuality as a deciding factor in your opinion of someone, much less in your treatment of them, when what a woman does with her body and with whom is very much her own business?
I say we ban the word slut from our vocabularies. It really bears no meaning, which took me a long time to realise.
It took me far too long to come to the realisation that being sexual is not a bad thing, nor a shameful thing. The only shameful thing about that viewpoint is how common it remains today. I wonder will we ever let women be, and do, as they like. And more pertinently, will that be some day soon?
I doubt it, but here’s hoping.