SLUT SHAMING & 5 MYTHS FEEDING RAPE CULTURE

The Future Is Female Feminism slut shaming rape culture

Slut-Shaming &  5 Myths Feeding Rape Culture

Why we need to stop seeing promiscuity as a form of sexual deviance because sex shouldn’t make you feel shame.

Twenty years ago the FPA* surveyed sexual activity amongst Brits and they found that hanky panky, rumpy pumpy and the ole’ deep sea diving technique was on the rise over the previous five years. Both men and women were enjoying being freer with their sex lives and good on the randy bunch. 

 

Promiscuity was on the rise, but so was a new more lurky bread of slut shamers. I grew up in a small village in Wales, where small mindedness was pretty rife. Traditions were sacrosanct and although I knew me and my peers were in a continuous discourse on sex, slut shaming was the norm. 

 

So let me interject with a favourite quote from Can’t Hold Us Down, (which is currently playing loudly on my spotify account). 

 

“Here’s something I just can’t understand. If a guy has three girls then he’s the man. He can even give her some head or sex her off. But If a girl do the same she’s a whore.”*

 

Slut shaming is when you use a woman or man’s sex life or history of sexual partners to shame them, embarrass them or treat them in a way that is sub-human. Admittedly there is more slut shaming aimed towards women than men*. I believe that this is because it’s not just men doing the slut shaming, women do it too. It all ties into a very patriarchal way of thinking which is that: The more sexual partners a man has, the more powerful and veral he is. The more sexual partners a woman has, the less desirable or “pure” she is.

 

 

A book that delves into this in incredible detail is The Purity Myth* by Jessica Valenti which discusses the dangerous pressure we put on women and young girls to conform to the impossible standards of purity.

 

 

TW: Over the next few points it gets a little gritty, so be warned that I will be covering subjects of rape and abuse.

 

 

 

Let’s explore some of these myths.

1. When you give yourself to someone, you lose a piece of yourself

 

“Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately when he’s done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker.”

Darren Washington 

An abstinence educator at the Eighth Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference

Why isn’t the other person a poorly wrapped saliva-fouled sucker? I’ve never been able to understand the double standard when it comes to men and women until I spoke to a friend of mine on the subject matter not too long ago. It’s because as women, hetero sex is something that is done to us and it is not something we should participate in. We should perform and give a little slither of our soul away, becoming dirty and undesirable with each passing partner.

Even on a physical level, this is only possible by the exchange of fluids and in which case it should be the same outcome for both parties. It’s because what the loss is referring to is your soul. 

Do you know how problematic it is to think of your soul as a piece of pie that you have to carefully choose who you give to? Heaven forbid you to run out of pie and when the right hungry bloke or gal comes along, there’s no pie left for them. Ridiculous. There’s enough pie for everyone. Share your pie with whomever you choose. Do it safely, with respect and consent. Those are the only rules you need to worry about because the pie has no limit.

2. You ‘lose’ your virginity

You can’t lose something that never existed in the first place. Virginity is only a word to describe someone who hasn’t had penetrative sex and it has all sorts of alarming links to purity and abstinence. This means that many young girls opt for different ways of pleasing their partners that can be more intense and often put dangerous pressure on their bodies and minds. If you can’t go to heaven for having pre-marital sex then you’re more likely to engage in anal. On that subject  I’m pretty certain there’s no safe sex education in Catholicism on how to do that with tender love and care. Anal takes time and a lot of trust in your partner. Porn dictates otherwise but you can’t just slam ass without causing some serious damage. 

 

Virginity It isn’t something you own, because you can’t have an adjective. It is your prerogative if you want to wait to have sex and you know what, that’s great, because you are acting with agency. 

 

The terminology is crap as well. If anything you’re gaining an experience. The idea of losing something has links to grief, loss and bereavement. Giving up something links back to the idea of losing a piece of yourself, or giving it to someone who could be undeserving which goes on to cause you shame. Truth is we are all so much more likely to love and sleep with someone who isn’t quite right for us the first time around than to find the right person for the rest of our lives right there and then, so why daemonize the process. 

 

Why not demystify pleasure? Why not educate about the ways in which we can communicate about what we want? What can you expect to feel? Interesting isn’t it that they only teach you when it’s legal to have sex, how to wrap a banana or phallic object (that looks nothing like a penis) in a condom then send you on your horny merry way. Recipe for disastrous learning curves and misinformation.

3. Sex is linked to self-respect

 

“Each time a sexually active person gives a part of himself or herself away, that person can lose a sense of personal value and worth. It all comes down to self-respect”

From the abstinence-only teachers’ guide, Choosing The Best Path

Self-respect has nothing to do with consensual sex, the amount of sexual partners you have in your lifetime, or the way in which you chose to have consensual sex. That’s it. That’s the point.

4. Easy lovers are less valuable than ones you have to chase

The whole idea of easiness is so tiring because it links to the idea that women should put up a fight and then surrender to the idea of sex. Flashbacks to Kenickie in Grease asking if Sandy put up a fight. Vom. 

Sometimes there is a bit of a game when it comes to seduction, anticipation, and surrendering, but that is only one of a million ways to fall into bed with someone you want to sleep with. Not one of those ways is wrong if at that moment it was right for them both, or er, the three of you. 

Either way, the value of a person doesn’t increase or decrease because someone willingly, openly and quickly decided that they would like to have intercourse with you. It is a product of rape culture that we think this way.

5. You can’t rape a slut

 

Sex positivity or openly discussing sex is not an invitation to engage in sex. It is just a conversation. It is just advocacy. If you feel turned on by that, then that’s fine. Talking about sex is sexy. That doesn’t give you the right to take your pleasure out on someone else. How many times have you had a conversation, or been privy to someone else’s where these phrases have been used?

 

  • She was asking for it.
  • She’s easy.
  • You should have seen what she was wearing.
  • She has a reputation, so you can’t blame him for not understanding. 
 

The way you dress, the “reputation” you have or being blackout drunk is by no way shape or form an open call for abuse to take place. Nobody is deserving of degradation. Unfortunately, we see it played out in various ways on TV. Sometimes openly like the Brock Turner case in the USA where the perpetrator of rape was allowed leniency because he had a promising future. 

 

Sometimes with canned laughter while Rachel lets Joe know about the naked drunk girl in the bedroom*. Or in Sixteen Candles where supposed ‘hunk’ Jake Ryan makes light of his abusive behavior towards his girlfriend mentioning how he can get sex any time he wants; 

 

“I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now passed out cold. I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.”

 

These messages are enforced time and time again, decade to decade, that being accused of sluttiness, easiness, or whichever guise it takes somehow makes it okay that someone can harm you.

 

So, let’s get one thing straight. It’s not okay. It’s never okay. Nobody ever asks for trauma. Being in control of your sex life, open about your sex life, or positive about sex does not in any way, shape, or form excuse someone’s inappropriate or violent behavior towards you. Even if you have had consensual sex with that person before, it bears repeating, you are not obliged to do so again. 

 

Slut-shaming feeds these myths. It waters them, nurtures them, and allows them to grow into vindictive apologies for misogyny. You can make massive impacts in your community by demystifying these topics. Conversations change lives, so be responsible with what you have to say. Help cancel slut-shaming. End rape apology culture.

 

Required Reading:

The Purity Myth – Jessica Valenti

Ref:

*Ref: Can’t Hold Us Down, Christina Aguilera ft. Lil Kim.

*Ref Slut-Shaming Men V Women [Thompson, Hart, Stefaniak, & Harvey, 2017]

*Ref FPA [Link]

*Friends: The One Where They All Turn 30.

Image: Stock [Link]

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