Getting Rid of “Slut-Shaming” Isn’t Enough

The entire phrase has to go.

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Can we please stop using this phrase? Can we just banish it to the far corners of the world?

To be very clear, I am opposed to shame of any kind. We are the culmination of the choices we have made to be who and how we are. Someone else’s level of comfort with how we chose to be should never be open commentary we should have to be party to. Even people who chose to live in ways that result in destruction of self or others should be handled in a manner that leads toward awareness and help.

Shaming people rarely leads to a positive environment of growth, self improvement or healing. Off my soap box.

It’s amazing that women are claiming their sexuality. Women are notably not just more in control of their sexual agency but feeling good about it. Self awareness has grown immensely. It’s about god damn time.

The problem I have with the term “anti slut-shaming” is simple.

We’re still using the word slut. Slut has to go. Because opposing slut shaming still allows people to consider a sexually open woman a slut.

It doesn’t get rid of the stigma of the word.

This is one of those cases where I don’t think that continuing to use the word slut in reference to one’s own self or others, even when we put the word “anti” in front of it and “shaming” after it, helps to remove the stigma. In contrast, I think it feeds it. We don’t need to own a word to release it of it’s power.

When we say women shouldn’t be slut-shamed, we are accepting that it’s okay to call her a slut. It’s just not okay to make her feel bad about it. A woman should be able to partake in a sex life that is comfortable for her without having to worry about placing a label on it. It should just be what it is, title free.

This is completely possible. We’ve given this allowance to men. Men, for ages, have been able to be as sexually free as they want.

At times, we have placed labels on men but they have long since gone by the way side. And some of them seemed like a compliment. Ladies’ Man. We also had Playboy, womanizer, Lothario. When was the last time you heard a man called any of these things?

Why do we embrace easing up on labeling men and we can’t do the same for women? “Slut-shaming” shouldn’t be a thing because “slut” shouldn’t be a thing. Let’s give it a rest with the word.

I think the first move in this needs to happen with women. We use the word too often. We use it on ourselves and we us it for others. Let me say this one more time: using the word is not diminishing it’s power.

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We create words and labels intended to counter balance “slut-shaming.” We’ve come up with the term of “sex positive.” It’s a way of shifting the scales to tip in favor of acceptance of sexual autonomy. Fantastic. But still, this new term is widely misunderstood.

I came across this very smartly written article by Allie Long in which she talks about how grossly misconstrued the assumptions are about her as a “sex positive” woman. It’s spot on. Because there is this weird desire for people to give women’s sex lives a name. It doesn’t need a name.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about women’s sexuality. We absolutely should. Talking about it is empowering. It’s what allows for deepened understanding and the clarification and correction of assumptions. We just don’t need to call it something. Keep your labels. Let it go.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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