Slut Shaming

Skatje used to have a long-distance boyfriend named Rob she talked a lot about on her blog. Two days ago, she lambasted him for cybering with other girls – I’m not sure when, but I’ll make the charitable assumption that it was when he and Skatje still went out. She says,

I don’t know where to start. I’m sick of Rob. I’m sick of his emotional abuse. I’m sick of his whining. There is no sympathy left here. For the record, cyber sex is the most disgusting thing ever. Honestly. Sex without intimacy. Sex without love. I wouldn’t touch that shit with a ten-foot pole. Oh, but Rob would. With other girls (boy?) who were willing, since I wasn’t. Deception. Betrayal. Does not compute? For someone who took me to meet his family, and showed them so much commitment to me, I don’t see how he could be so unfaithful. And sick. Sick too.

Katie took exception to her characterization of sex as something that must be done in the context of a loving relationship. It tends to be more fun when there’s enough intimacy and trust around – for example, the strongest orgasms tend to require one partner to tie the other up – but you don’t have to love someone to have good sex with them. If you personally want to eschew certain forms of sex, there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t pretend that your views are normative.

In response to Katie’s somewhat embellished description of her sex life, Skatje said, “And if I may be blunt, isn’t your lifestyle a perfect definition of the word ‘slut’?” Then Katie posted about the problems with slut-shaming, and the entire thread devolved into a kerfuffle about the definition of the word “slut.”

The only thing I can say about that is, “Way to miss the point.” If someone calls Jessica Valenti a wop, it’ll make no sense to say, “A wop is someone of Italian descent, so it’s correct to call Jessica a wop.” The word “Slut” doesn’t just mean “a promiscuous woman,” but also has an in-built negative connotation. Like many other loaded terms, it serves not to elucidate but to prejudice.

The precise meaning of “Slut” is not relevant here. Slut-shaming isn’t about the use of the word, but about the implication that if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior. Using the word “Slut” descriptively is impossible, just like with “nigger.”

41 Responses to Slut Shaming

  1. Skatje Myers says:

    Who’s to say I wasn’t intending it to be negative?

  2. Alon Levy says:

    I don’t think “Hey, boy, you were supposed to get insulted when I called you a nigger” is a really good response.

  3. Skatje Myers says:

    Because clearly racism is the same thing.

  4. Stentor says:

    for example, the strongest orgasms tend to require one partner to tie the other up

    Speaking of making your own sexual proclivities normative …

    (I agree with the rest of the post, though.)

  5. Kian says:

    Whats the difference between negatively calling someone a nigger thus making you a racist and negatively calling someone a slut thus makeing you a sexist? Not a whole lot, imo. Why use negative words to describe someone else prefered lifestyle?

  6. Double-Soup Tuesday says:

    It’s always very classy to take intimate moments shared and broadcast them on a blog in a blockquote.

    If one partner is emotionally unavailable to the other, why does shrieking about the sexual tastes of the other seem like a good retort? Six billion people in the world — move on already.

    Tsk.Tsk.Tsk.

  7. Roy says:

    Using the word “Slut” descriptively is impossible, just like with “nigger.”

    Well said.

    I’m wondering: since there was some objection to equating the issue to racism, does it help to think of it in regards to any number of other situations?
    Bigotry is bigotry, however it appears. Calling a girl a “slut” because you disagree with her lifestyle is no less hurtful and disgusting than calling homosexuals “fags” or whatever other slur you want to use. Ultimately, the point remains the same. Getting caught up in debating the analogy, or, as Alon points out, saying “well, it was meant to be insulting” doesn’t help.

  8. Alon Levy says:

    Speaking of making your own sexual proclivities normative …

    From what I’ve heard on sex blogs, it’s true. But I don’t go around saying bondage is how sex should be and people who are vanilla are all prudes. I certainly don’t view kinky sex as superior in any way to vanilla sex.

  9. Skatje was being cruel to Kian, no doubt because Skatje herself was hurting.

    Her boyfriend cheated on her with anonymous strangers on the internet. It’s going to be hard for her to view that kind of behavior in a detached, nuanced way. (Whether cybering with third parties constitutes infidelity depends on the terms of the relationship, of course.)

  10. Lindsay–

    I’m inclined to agree. When someone writes about how hurt they are by the way their boyfriend is treating them, that’s not the time to get into a big discussion about whether or not cybering is the same as cheating.

    That doesn’t excuse lashing out, but it does go a long way to explaining it. Unfortunately, there’s now been enough ugly things passed back and forth that there would probably have to be some apologies made on both sides before everyone can be friends again.

  11. Alon Levy says:

    Skatje and Rob haven’t been together for a while. She wasn’t bitching about her boyfriend, but about her ex-boyfriend of five weeks.

  12. Skatje Myers says:

    In case you don’t know, he’s been consistently blackmailing me and threatening the life of my current boyfriend amongst telling me that he’ll kill himself if I don’t pick up my phone, do what he wants me to do, etc. He’s also threatening to do everything within his power to try to get me expelled from my school.

    So no, this isn’t some past wound. I’m living it every fucking day.

  13. belledame222 says:

    And you think a really good way to deal with that is lashing out at a third party because…?

  14. belledame222 says:

    not that i do want to get involved here, no.

    Kian was talking about “slut-shaming;” you provided a primo example of it. i didn’t need to know the specific drama to see that there was massive projection and dumping going on.

  15. Stentor says:

    From what I’ve heard on sex blogs, it’s true

    I have a hunch that “people who write sex blogs” may not be quite representative of “all people who have sex” on this issue.

  16. Kian says:

    Skatje… … … … stop talking to him. easy as that. its called harassment. tell your school. and the cops if its honestly that bad that you can’t control yourself when you’re talking to other people who aren’t involved at all. As Belledame says – why lash at the 3rd? and why take the dumping on sluts road…

  17. Alon Levy says:

    Stentor: good point.

    Skatje: therapeutically screaming at other people doesn’t make that much sense. Just ask Belledame, who has some experience with being on the receiving end of that.

  18. Skatje Myers says:

    Screaming? I said “If I may be blunt, isn’t your lifestyle the definition of ‘slut’?”

    Shit, son. That’s screaming? Hah.

  19. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

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  21. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

  22. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

  23. [...] According to “Finally, a Feminism 101 Blog,” slut-shaming is “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” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming).” [...]

  24. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

  25. [...] has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming) and that we are objects of little value and not people. The concept of slut shaming is rooted in [...]

  26. [...] has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

  27. [...] [6]Abstract Nonsense – Slut Shaming [...]

  28. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a [...]

  29. [...] transfolk. We want equal pay and no-more harassment on the streets. We want to end rape culture, slut shaming and victim blaming and we want to move from the culturally accepted patriarchy to something more [...]

  30. [...] trans folk. We want equal pay and no-more harassment on the streets. We want to end rape culture, slut shaming and victim blaming and we want to move from the culturally accepted patriarchy to something more [...]

  31. [...] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). … It should be noted that slut-shaming can occur even if the term “slut” itself is not [...]

  32. [...]  Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is 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” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). [...]

  33. […] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming).” It’s basically a sign of the double standard we all know exists in our culture when […]

  34. […] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a […]

  35. […] Ms. Jones had just committed the sin of “slut shaming.” What is that? Here’s the short answer: “Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is 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.” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming) […]

  36. […] has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming) and that we are objects of little value and not people. The concept of slut shaming is rooted in […]

  37. […] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a […]

  38. […] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a […]

  39. […] sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alon Levy, Slut Shaming). It is damaging not only to the girls and women targeted, but to women in general an society as a […]

  40. […] if a woman has sex that traditional society disapproves of, she should feel guilty and inferior” (Alan Levoy, Slut […]

  41. […] Slut-shaming, also known as slut-bashing, is 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” – Alon Levy, Slut Shaming. […]

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