No ‘Slut’s Allowed


Credit : Rosea Lake, “Judgments”

I’m standing in front of a camera, professor, and 30 frat boys and sorority girls, trying to explain slut-shaming. I’ve been at it for twenty minutes, and the audience who originally giggled when I said the word “slut” now sinks into their seats because I’ve put the blame on them.

The assignment was simple: form a group of four, pick a topic, talk about it for twenty minutes, and try not to use contrasting colors on your PowerPoint slides. In a Professional Communications Skills class the intensity of the topics didn’t matter as much as their presentation. We could have picked snowmobiling accidents, porn regulation, or lip-synching. But since I tend to make everything more difficult for myself, I suggested slut-shaming. Two in my group had absolutely no idea what slut-shaming is. But their lack of knowledge only proved to me how much education there needed to be.

Before we could even start the project, I had to explain to the confused faces of my group what exactly slut-shaming is.

Slut-shaming is the act of criticizing someone, especially a woman, for her sexual habits. Slut-shaming is judging a woman for having sex, having a lot of sex, for having sex with many partners, or enjoying sex. Slut-shaming perpetuates sexist stereotypes and reinforces a double standard: guys who have sex are “the man”; girls who have sex are “sluts.” Someone does not need to use the word “slut” to slut-shame, but anyone who uses the word “slut” is indeed a slut-shamer. Worst of all, slut-shaming contributes to victim blaming—a phenomenon where rape victims are blamed for their rape because they were drunk, wearing “slutty” clothing, or being a “tease” and therefore “asking for it.” Slut-shaming tells women that if they have sex, they will be criticized and should feel guilty for having sexual desires or presenting their sexuality in any way, including how they dress, how they speak, or the activities they partake in.

Heavy. I know.

The problem in presenting this huge definition is many of us distance ourselves from it because it is so heavy. People think, “I’ve called someone a slut, but I didn’t mean any of that,” and don’t realize we’re all contributing to this larger problem, even if it’s in the smallest ways.

We’d watch what we were saying if we knew it was so devastating—I have that much faith in humanity. By explaining it to my group, I helped reveal the reality behind the word “slut.”


I used to call people sluts in passing. I used to call my friends sluts in greeting. What I didn’t realize was that I was being sexist by casually putting other women down.

Think about this: women call each other sluts to increase their status on the “the cool girl” list. We all want to be the girl who’s different from other girls, because normal girls are annoying and clingy and slutty. It’s easier to put another woman down for having a lot of sex by embodying the opposite and saying, “I don’t do that, and I’m better than her because of it.” There’s a constant competition between women: who can be the coolest, prettiest, smartest, and sexiest when no one’s looking. And all of this is in an attempt to earn a mans respect.

Women buy into it.

Women buy into it big time.

Many women think if they live in a constant state of trying to be different from other girls, a man will love them. And this fuels the concept that all the other women—women who have a lot of sex or watch reality TV or like the color pink—are not deserving of a man’s love.

Every woman is fed contradictory messages daily: be a slut but hate sluts too.

“‘Proper’ women don’t wear skirts with short hemlines.”

“You’re a prude if you wear a skirt that hits your knees.”

“You’re a slut for dancing like that.”

“Loosen up! Dance like that!”

What. Do. You. Want. From. Us?

Misandrists and obsessive feminists are not the only advocates for ridding the world of slut-shaming. Slut-shamers indirectly diminish the self-esteems of their mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. It isn’t anyone’s fault for being uneducated. It’s so deeply engrained in us, we don’t automatically think to change it. But here I am, telling the world it’s wrong. And if someone hears me screaming and looks the other way, we’re going to have a problem.


In preparation for my group project, I constantly asked myself, “How do I present this in a way that says, ‘Hey bud, we’re in this together!’ instead of ‘You’re past the point of no return’?” To avoid turning the audience off, I handed out a questionnaire.

“Have you ever called someone a slut?”

Laughter consumed the room as soon as their eyes took hold of the word “slut.” I guess that’s what I expected. But the room grew heavier the more I talked. I brought up rape culture and I swear I could see nervous tears in everyone’s eyes. I can’t decide if I made them feel guilty or uncomfortable, but whatever it was it left me unsatisfied. How do you educate an audience on something so entrenched in us that we can’t even see the problem?

Ideally I wanted everyone to go home and tell their friends “Hey, we should stop calling each other sluts,” but I think I’d be satisfied to know they might cringe a little the next time they see it happen. Slut-shaming is a lot more dangerous than we even realize. Something that stems from laziness allows men to rape and sexually harass women without blame, and women perpetrate it more than men do. Why do you think reports of rape are so low? Women are terrified that the world will say “Why were you walking home alone so late?” “Why were you drinking?” “Why were you wearing that? Of course he raped you.” Why don’t we teach men not to rape instead of teaching women not to be raped?

It’s easy to blame the “stupid” girl. It’s easier to blame a young woman who didn’t know how to protect herself; it’s easier to blame the woman who’s no longer a virgin than to blame the man who thinks of her as impure because of it. The real issue here is greater than a young girl, and also greater than the man who harms her. The problem is the slut/angel dichotomy, and the seemingly inescapable pressure put on women to either have sex with everyone or have sex with no one. We are putting the responsibility and control for how adult men act on the shoulders of young, impressionable girls who don’t have the voice to act against it. Our culture insists that a girl who leaves herself open to sex holds the power to control the sexual needs of men. Because of this, men are free of being held accountable for their actions, and by doing this, we actually allow men to hold all sexual power.

We should, instead, place the responsibility on men not to rape and not to slut-shame. We should grant women a safe sexual universe in which they can represent their sexuality freely. The easy choice is to tell women to stop wearing short skirts and stop attracting men, but the hard thing (the right thing) is to strike down the double standard. Women are left at the bottom of the totem pole of respect while men are granted a world of sexual experimentation without fear of shame. Not only is it wrong to assume a woman’s sexual habits based on what she’s wearing, it’s wrong to assume that it’s anyone else’s business to care what her sexual habits are.

This is a hard concept for anyone to wrap their head around. It’s hard to have something you do on a regular basis damned by your peers. It’s hard to admit guilt to something you, your friends, your parents, authority figures, and everyone in the world except for a girl standing up in front of your Professional Communications Class does.

But “hard” is nothing compared to what women have had to go through for centuries. Maybe a hard solution is the only solution.

I would propose a campaign against the word “slut,” but eliminating the word won’t eliminate the problem. It would seep into our culture in other ways, much as it already does. This makes it a very difficult issue to tackle, and it’s going to take many years, many programs, and many open-minded people, but it’s necessary. I think I should have made the room even heavier than I did. Making them feel guilty enough to change is a step, but it’s going to take change on a much larger scale to accomplish anything.

I saw the light bulb turn on for one of my group members, and if I could sit down with every human on the planet to achieve the same thing, I would. I denotatively explained what slut-shaming is, but when that went straight over her head, I gave an example:

“You see a story about a girl who was raped walking home alone from a club late at night. What’s the first thing you think?”

Silence.

“Was she drinking? Why was she walking alone late at night?” I said prodding her in the right direction.

“Oh my god, yeah. I didn’t even realize,” she replied.

“That’s slut-shaming,” I told her. “When those questions are the first in mind, we perpetuate all the baggage that comes with it.”
 

Despite the laughing and the uncertainty of the rest of my audience, observing that change was enough to give me hope: if we can get people to realize what they’re doing is wrong, we can change it. Telling people not to do it is the easy solution. Convincing parents to teach their children how to be sexually confident, punishing men who spread naked photos of their girlfriends instead of punishing the women who sent them, and getting peers to stop attacking each other is the hard solution. These are not immediate resolutions, but getting people to hold themselves accountable for the matter is a good jumping off point. And if that takes placing guilt on everyone in my Professional Communications Skills class, so be it.



 

Sara Crook

Sara is a political communications student at the University of Texas at Austin. As a Chicago native, Sara is reluctantly adjusting to saying ‘y’all’ and Keeping Austin Weird. She likes murder mysteries, thunderstorms, and will ask to pet your dog on the street. She can recite the entire Law and Order: SVU intro from memory and won’t apologize for it. She has probably read your blog.
 


  • Steve Spiros “East Going”

    Could I get clarification on why we should punish the girls who take naked photos of themselves? I was under the impression the point of this article was to allow women to “represent their sexuality freely”.

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      The sentence reads: “Convincing parents to teach their children how to be sexually confident, punishing men who spread naked photos of their girlfriends instead of punishing the women who sent them…”

      • iohfae87

        what about the women who spread naked photos of other women?

  • Kerri

    love u

  • David

    Could you pick an easier to read font?

  • Kant

    Oh ok we should judge people less and make it easier to have sex all the time because more sex is going to make the problem of too much sex go away. Makes perfect sense

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      Is too much sex a problem? No.
      Does action against slut-shaming have anything to do with the ease of sex? Also no.

      • Kant

        I completely disagree. On the personal level, too much sex can lead to dependence (like any other drug) which can lead to abuse and depression. You can also get STDs, all of which suck (no pun intended), and many of which can be passed whether the guy is wearing a condom or not. On a community level too much sex has led us to a hookup culture where a bunch of confused emotions and vague intentions has made forming stable, healthy relationships difficult if not impossible. A hookup culture is also incredibly male-dominated and controlled (have a listen to eminem’s “shake that”), which leads to the slut-shaming you criticize. The root of the problem is too much casual sex. Have sex all you want in a healthy, stable, normal relationship, but this “sexual freedom” bullshit and one-night stand crap is objectively wrong and bad for us all.

        • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

          How about you cite some evidence to back up your claims so we can differentiate between objectivity and your opinion. Perhaps, as Kant, you should consider the categorical imperative. Your logic is crippled by dumbfounding knots when applied universally.

          • ok.

            Really? You want evidence to back up her claims of STDs coming from sex, or sex being addictive? Both of which I think are so heavily ingrained in our culture that if one needs evidence to believe it, they might have an IQ in the single digits.

            How are you seriously a mod? Not only do you ask for evidence for more than obvious issues, but you are extremely hypocritical by not providing evidence of your own claims. Looks like someone has a HEAVY bias.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196615367 Tanya Nguyễn

            STD is about the level of health and care you bring to sex; the respect you bring to your partner. it has nothing to do with “too much sex”. I got sex from my very first partner, before I’d been able to have too much sex with anyone. And, as a happily sexual woman, i had never gotten STDs again (or given them) once i “grew up” and took responisblity for myself and respected my multiple partners. it’s not the amount of sex in question.

            Sex is NOT addictive. No study has ever been able to prove that. Yes, SOME PEOPLE are addicted to sex. some people are addicted to buying shoes. but unlike alcohol, you do not become physically addicted to sex, and more sex or less sex does not change your drive for sex.

            your bias is actually the one that is telling, here.

          • Teflon Expat

            All true. Its only the woman’s business regarding how much variety of men she wants, and since men are easy, she can act on it any time. Many do. No harm done. Men are equally free to decide if such a woman is right for him long term. Again, no harm done. Everybody wins.

        • Susan

          Kant, your view of hook up culture as essentially a male-controlled phenomena is also influenced by sexist prejudices. Here’s why I think so:

          The desire to reproduce is a natural, biological survival mechanism that allows us to propagate our genes. PAST scientific literature (Trivers, Parker, Bateman) claimed that because eggs are much more energetically costly (to make) than sperm, males by nature, are more competitive, ardent, and indiscriminate in their sex choices. And women, by nature, are “choosy, coy, and passive” because they are born with a limited number of eggs. Also, women are also faced with the cost of pregnancy, which males, obviously are not. This idea “excuses” men for being more sexually promiscuous, and that hook up culture is “male-controlled”

          However, RECENT scientific literature (Gowaty, Ahnesho) has revealed that sex roles are MUCH MORE FLEXIBLE. And that BOTH females and males EQUALLY gain “reproductive fitness” (children are healthier) by having sex with a variety of partners. It makes intuitive sense: If more sex increases the chances of you passing along your genes, why wouldn’t both males and females be naturally/biologically driven to engage in more sex?

          Here’s why: Many religions denounce lust as amoral, ESPECIALLY for women, even if it is a NATURAL BIOLOGICAL NEED.

          This sexist view has penetrated our society. Hook-up culture is NOT male-dominated because in order for a man and woman to have sex (not rape) it must be by mutual consent. The woman has to agree! Its a choice by both genders.

          It SEEMS male-dominated because our culture (society,religion, etc.) ASSUMES that a man should feel empowered when he “gets it in” and that a woman should feel shame/regret/guilt when she has a lot of sex. Eminem’s music video perpetuates this sexist notion.

          Lots of safe, responsible, consensual sex is not harmful.

          Lots of unsafe, irresponsible sex IS harmful (as you mentioned). But SAFE sex with multiple partners, and lots of it, is not only not harmful, but beneficial.

          Why do you think the one-night stand is essentially amoral/wrong?

          • Susan

            Also, can you please cite where you get this information: “too much sex can lead to dependence (like any other drug) which can lead to abuse and depression.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196615367 Tanya Nguyễn

      Yes, we should judge people less. why do you care if I have sex with 30 different men a week? Why do i care if you are at home alone with your favorite tv show, or book – and are happy that way? Why do you care if I love 3 people, or love another woman?

      Jesus did say a few good things – not to judge is one of his best.

      As for too much sex, is there such a thing? If someone likes sex, what’s wrong with that. assuming they are being responsible partners (ie., condoms and also birth control) then there are no victims and WHO CARES.

      if we would get over our fear of and hatred of (while at the same time, love of) sex, then we might actually move ourselves out of this nasty rape culture world we live in, into something far more egalitarian.

  • Fabrizio from Titanic

    This is excellent.

  • Greek

    All for the end of slut-shaming. Also a fan of stopping the judgement of those in the Greek system. I don’t see why it was necessary to include “frat boys and sorority girls” in the beginning.

    • jcts57

      Because that’s who she was standing in front of?

  • john

    slut

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      Seriously, dude? Leave The Airspace and never return. Just pack your things and go.

    • Kerri

      goodbye

  • Teflon Expat

    “There’s a constant competition between women: who can be the coolest, prettiest, smartest, and sexiest when no one’s looking. And all of this is in an attempt to earn a mans respect.”

    Then is it women who berate other women – or – men’s natural desire for frisky girls now for sex and angel girls later for marriage that is driving all of this?

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      the latter begets the former.

      • Teflon Expat

        Interesting. Then men, merely by how they select women depending on whats desired, are essentially “slut shaming” without even uttering a word. Since the stated goal is to end such shaming, then should young boys in sex ed class should be told that it is okay to marry girls who fool around? After all, girls and women do have sex with numerous “highly desirable” men since they can do so with very little effort on their part.

        • Alexandra Gregorski

          Teflon, what needs to be changed is the idea that “girls who fool around” are by virtue of their sexual decisions rendered undesirable. The virgin-whore dicothomy (a world where women are expected to be both sexy and pure) that exists fosters a culture of rape and violence. Women that fail to achieve these impossible standards ingrained in our culture are deemed deserving of sexual, physical, and emotional violence because they’ve “fooled around.” That idea is disgusting.

          • Anonymous

            So basically, women should be allowed to act in any way they desire and men just have to deal with it. Fuck you feminist. Fuck you false rape accuser.

          • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

            Exceptional pigheadedness from a drooling coward cloaked in anonymity. Get off The Airspace. Never come back.

          • Anonymous

            Make me.

  • Salmon

    Not very thoughtful or incisive. She needs to think more before she writes. 1) There’s a double-standard for a reason. It’s incredibly easy for a woman to have sex, whereas even a rich, attractive man has to work very hard and get a little bit lucky to have sex. 2) Has she really never watched or heard Dave Chappelle’s ‘whore’s uniform’ routine? 3) Sluts do exist. Not all women who have a lot of sex are sluts. Samantha from Sex in the City wasn’t a slut because she was having sex ON HER TERMS. That’s the difference. Some attention-starved needy college woman who has sex on the guys terms and is the easy party-slut is not Samantha or any other woman who chooses to have lots of sex because it gives HER pleasure. The slut needs to please men. The liberating woman pleases herself.

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      Always trust a commenter who uses stand-up comedy and tv dramas about sexy New Yorkers as sources of insight. Wish we could all be as thoughtful as you, Mr. Salmon.

    • Teflon Expat

      Its “easy” for women mainly because men overall have lower standards when it comes to getting laid. No mystery there. Also, there are far fewer men considered attractive by women and many more women who are considered attractive by men. Thus, women tend to gravitate to a small subset of men – the rich and attractive subset per your statement. In effect, its like a harem and the vast majority of men are not members thus causing them to rarely turn down any opportunity for sex.

      • Concerned Reader

        I’m sorry, did you get trapped in an EL James novel? Not every woman is out headhunting a hot CEO with a penchant for sexual deviancy. This “harem” you speak of is about as real as Christian fucking Grey, and twice as repulsive. If you truly believe that having “lower standards” gives a man the right to sexually exploit his partner, then you need to pull your head out of your ass and clean up the 50 shades of stupid that you’ve spewed on an innocent audience.

        • Teflon Expat

          What exactly indicates any “belief” that lower standards has any relationship whatsoever to sexual exploitation of anyone?

  • Broncos Football

    I sure hope this article didn’t give any actual slutty sluts the idea that they were off the hook for being slutz–they’re still slutty sluttin’ slutbagz.

    • Teflon Expat

      What does it mean to be “on the hook?”

    • Alexandra Gregorski

      Broncos Football (because only really corageous people leave bullshit comments under an alias), your existence on this page is worthless.

  • kayleb

    i can’t..

    This response is not thereof a criticism of opinion, but moreover a desire to have an intellectual socratic. Also, to understand.

    I disagree with the approach of this article. First and foremost, after reading it, out of curiosity, of title purpose, I am confused. I don’t know where and what was, is, the point. I’m rolling through this article and my questions are is this about: The usage of the word “slut”. or, the blame shouldn’t be the “victim”, the blame is everyone else that is NOT the perpetrator or victim. Or is it the gender roles society, the American society, puts upon it’s residences, the “culture” of free speech, moreover the culture of multimedia. That we must not, that we don’t choose to believe what we believe, so we blame everyone else, it is not our personal responsibility that we become mind-fucked into norms. Or if this is a post by a feminist. Or whose side is wrong, which gender is better, which gender is oppressed. My point? I don’t understand where this ‘article’ aims to ‘teach’ or open for discussion.

    The beginning states this subject, is a project, to educate. However, the end it says, to place guilt. Guilt on what? Word usage? Educate?

    Slut-shaming. Simply, in perspective. Shaming a slut. The definition itself in itself. Slut, A slut? The word itself an anagram. of Lust. L U S T | S L U T. And with that said, using that word, lust, a slut is someone who takes lust, and abuses it. L[us]t has the word, us. Lust has us. Slut, slut is eliminating an us. That, that is a slut. And shaming a slut? That’s someone personal preference to pinpoint anothers’ faults and flaws.

    A slut is a slut. As a lady is a lady. A gentlemen a gentlemen. An asshole an asshole. We define things. Yet it doesn’t mean we, society, you, or I use every single word in the dictionary in the proper, correct, intended elucidation. Word usage isn’t the issue. There are racial slurs, there are derogatory terms. We, and I use we, because it is a responsibility shared and not shared with all. Power to a word or words, at the same time we spend all this time worrying about how OTHERS define something rather confronting any self-responsibility. We look to others to be held responsible, as if none of it is our problem, making the definition THE problem and the actual problem? It doesn’t exist.

    You’re suggesting slut-shaming is shaming anyone, especially women, women for loving sex. No, slut-shaming is shaming anyone, gender uninvolved, for abusing something that is physically considered intimate. Someone who doesn’t consider, the love between two persons and ruining that. That is a slut, without a care. Slut isn’t the amount of partners. That’s a whore. And is whore a bad word? You tell me. I sometimes whore my intelligence out, or my computer, just giving it to anyone, anytime. And gender isn’t involved. This isn’t just a women issue. This isn’t an issue. This society, the American society doesn’t just put sexual pressure upon women. So stop. here’s an example, trying being of Asian descent, try to be of African-American descent, the gap of sexual pressures. Or those who are of the LGBT community. The already perceived views. SO STOP. sexual pressure? that shit is among everyone, regardless of gender.

    And trying to suggest, yes suggest, this is a subject tunnel visioned. People who use the word slut are shamers. Using the word slut, doesn’t make someone automatically someone who shames some lustful person. Calling someone a gentlemen, does that make you a lady? Calling someone an asshole, are you an (for lack of a better word) asshole-shamer? I’ve already defined what slut is. The definition that was given, is simply a fallacy in itself in what society sees.

    YOU. You are how you see you are. Invoking confidence and self-perception, that’s YOU! If you are not confident, if you believe you need to earn a man’s respect, you have your own gotdamn problems you should deal with if you can’t respect yourself. If you care what society sees or wants. Darwin’s theory, survival of the fittest. If you allow your mind weak, your body to follow, then lose your own soul at that weakness. If this is how women or men are treated in the American society, or any society thereof. You choose to be defined how society defines you. You choose to be separate yourself. Being a whatever the word is, machoist? Feminist. Is creating a more segregated gap in itself. Everyone is equal. Gay, white, black, men and women, young or old, maybe if you and I, us, we start talking to each as if we’re simply humans, while understanding the differences, but knowing that doesn’t make a difference, how about start with that. It starts with the individual right, if we all choose, yes, choose, subconsciously segregate, that’s what we create. There isn’t a gender-sex-race issue personally, i understand it exists, but my personal outlook. What’s so wrong about different?

    And a woman who loves sex. As a man, holy shit, that’s what I would want. Someone who would enjoy physical intimacy and openly share that desire, and I’m not saying that’s the only desire. If she doesn’t like it, that is her choice. How she decides to portray herself, it is all on her. She knows what society views. That whole argument, of what you wear, doesn’t suggest anything? Okay, if I was naked walking the street, it doesn’t suggest anything, how about clothed, or wearing maybe a rock band t-shirt. Do you simply wear things because you like it? Yes right. If your skirt is too low, and shows your under garments, i shouldn’t think anything? Oh, and would YOU, wear that? YOU, of all people? Would you wear a really low-cut shirt? Would you mask yourself in make-up. I myself don’t sag my pants, i myself, don’t have piercings, it’s a personal preference. But if you have it, flaunt it right. Proud of what mom and pop, and maybe what the gym help give you? What you wear, does suggest things, and how someone perceives it isn’t in your control. If people actually wore what people in fashion shows wear, how do you think the american society would perceive it, you perceive it? or someone from an African tribe walking the streets of LA? Someone dressed like a hobo. Must be homeless. Someone dressed slutty, must be: a slut. You wear the uniform, what’d you expect. I should just wear a cop uniform, I’m not a cop, just wanted to wear it. (Dave Chapelle reference). Exactly.

    The only man that would want a slut, is a man with the same morales as one. Temporary. And this is to any and all women, who believe all men are the same, wouldn’t that make men, think all women are the same? I’m sorry, my mother is unlike most women, nor is my father like most men. If all men are the same, is your father, grandfather, uncle such? brother?

    What a man wants?

    Is the same as what a woman wants. It’s their individual choice. It just so happens the majority of the world wants something simple, and slutty. It just means, the good men and women are that much more rare and unique. Why worry yourself in the mass of ass, and just revel in the minority.

    And getting rid of a word, is like everyone trying to get rid of the N word, or other slurs. Just don’t fucking use it. It starts with you, worry about you. Because all these discussions, are… discussions. The only action, the action of more discussions. Change yourself first. And you’ll attract like minded.

    But i will say that, to conclude such a long response.

    “You see a story about a girl who was raped walking home alone from a club late at night. What’s the first thing you think?”

    WHY THE FUCK WERE YOU ALONE!?!???!?!?!! WHERE ARE YOUR FUCKING FRIENDS?!?!??!

    This article is pulling the same guilt trip, we, as society, guilt victims of rape. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But this article is about slut-shaming, a definition I do not agree with. If this is about rape, this is only a rape culture, if you surround yourself in such media outlets that portray such. What they suggest rapists see. It’s the same as that annoying classmate that has ignorant remarks, let him or her talk and do what he or she does, have his or her following. Create your own silent following. The quietest usually have the loudest minds. And again, when someone gets rape, whoever suggests it’s attire, or whatnot, what world do you live in? The person that suggests that has a rape mindset. Thinks that. Yes, I said it. Whoever thinks that, got a rapist mindset. Why the fuck were you alone, you know your own drinking limit, you should have planned how to get home, don’t just trust anyone. There are so many factors. It’s not teaching people how to define a word, or how to dress, it is knowing your fucking limitations in a world that only gives a shit when it requires a fucking opinion.

    • Teflon Expat

      True, very few people would bring up her “outfit” in terms of what led to an assault. Its extremely rare for a group of friends to be assaulted and that is well known.

  • Afberg Nillin

    Don’t worry, Blake. I’m sure all of the people who disagree with you will stop commenting someday, and you’ll have a nice, peaceful comment section with no dissent.

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      I love the disagreement: it’s like the jungle; we get to see what people are really made of.

  • Andrew

    The author of this thread needs to be a bit more open to others’ opinions. He is attacking every comment (in a way that is not nearly as subtle as he hopes) that contrasts with his view. Just because you have some space to write articles on a hyper-liberal website or two does NOT mean that you know everything. Just step back and let the comment section be a forum. People aren’t going to be able to digest your writing if you won’t stop feeding them.
    Do I disagree with your points on this particular article?

    Irrelevant. That’s not the point I am making, and don’t think I am trying to discount your opinions. I just disagree with your educate.

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      Didn’t write the article, dummy. I’m just a prodigal troll. The author’s name is listed twice—the second time with accompanying photo and bio.

      Good luck with “your educate,” particularly on reading aptitude.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196615367 Tanya Nguyễn

      If you READ the article, instead of just whined off about how other people’s sexist opinons should be heard as equal, you’d know the author of the article was a woman. The guy you are talking about is a male. Just saying…

  • Jesus Christ

    This article is a rambling, unorganized diatribe based on a series of anecdotal observations. There are no statistics provided, one hackneyed interview, and a bunch of unsubstantiated sweeping generalizations. And the recommendations to end these problems are equally pathetic. Placing responsibility on men not to rape? What does that solve, exactly? Trying to guilt trip a class? No wonder this author can recite the entire Law and Order: she spends her time filling her head with fucking garbage ideas. If you want to solve sexist attitudes in society you do so by empowering women. She got one thing right: ending the use of a word doesn’t scratch the surface of the problem. Cultures are changed by actions, not words.

    • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

      You certainly have a knack for unorganized anecdotal hackneyed unsubstantiated sweeping generalizations.

      You gave us a lot of words there, what actions do you propose?

      • NNMM

        Yea, they definitely had fun with a dictionary.

      • AJB

        This type of argument goes nowhere. He (I’m assuming) blames the author for not providing substantiating evidence and you turn around and yell the same thing back at him. This leads to a lot of name calling and chest puffing and doesn’t get us anywhere near solving the problem. It in fact blocks any real discourse on the issue behind bombastic rhetoric much like our politicians do.

        I realize this was a presentation to a communications class and as such the burden for sociological evidence wasn’t an emphasis. That doesn’t detract from the author’s point but it does relegate it to the often ignored pile of anecdotal editorials and quaint musings. After a little bit of googling I can tell you that there is an overwhelming plethora of research and contradicting opinions on the subject that she probably could have pulled from quite easily.

        That being said the best course of action that my limited mind can provide is that informing people is the best way to approach the problem. With so many different viewpoints on human sexuality and female promiscuity out there you’re probably never going to get even a large fraction of everyone to agree, but you might convert some people to your way of thinking. It will be difficult, in part because so many of our social predispositions towards others (especially women) are buried deep in our minds and most of the time we have no clue why we think the way we do. Good luck though.

        • http://theairspace.net/ Blake J. Graham

          Informing people about what? Slut-shaming? Is that not what the author did by, first, taking the time to create a presentation on it to give to a group of college students and, second, writing an article about her experience doing so?

  • jelizamor

    Well done, Sara!

  • MichaelLust

    In a better world, perhaps, you could reasonably criticize advising women not to walk alone at night, but in the REAL world, the one we actually live in, it is dangerous to put yourself in such a vulnerable position. The notion that “we should teach men not to rape, rather than teaching women not to be raped” is fatuous. Education is not the problem… even rapists, I am sure, KNOW they are not supposed to do that. And it is no use blaming men, generally, because the vast majority of us would never harm that girl walking alone; many of of would come to her aid in an instant, if we saw her under attack… but it only takes one predator, and they ARE out there. You defy that reality at your own peril.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196615367 Tanya Nguyễn

      I’ve been raped. Twice, actually. One the “perfect right wing description” of rape. stranger following me after I left a bar. The other, more a matter of he didn’t really get my “no” and i didn’t shout it loud enough. It was still rape, but more of the “we both need to get help in how we communicate” type, than the “I am actually ignoring your “no” type”.

      anyhoo… The issue is not that “it’s safer to walk with a friend”, but how society looks at you when you’ve been raped. I had to JUSTIFY my rape to the cops. I was asked “why were you drinking’, and “How often do you hook up” and “did you tease any of the men in the bar”. When someone broke into my car, having LEFT THE DOOR UNLOCKED like an idiot, the cops didn’t act like it wasn’t “really a break in” just cause i had left the door unlocked. they didn’t ask me if i frequently left it unlocked. They didn’t ask what kind of a person leaves their door unlocked. They just took my report and said “unlikely we’ll find anything, but you have the report for insurance”.

      totally different feel. I was a victim when my purse had been stolen from my car. I had to PROVE I was a ‘good enough’ victim when I’d been raped.

      Yes, it’s smart to do lots of things. but if I don’t do what’s smart, or cant. If i have to work late, downtown denver, and there’s no one to walk me to the car, or if i think it’s fine to study in my dorm room with another student – that doesn’t change that I’ve been raped. yet society acts like it does.

      • MichaelLust

        I have no argument with any of that, Tanya…and I will certainly not be an apologist for the police. I’ve been around cops all my life. Some of them are complete champs. My mother was a chief of police, and she was the best. But some of them can be incredibly pig-headed, ignorant, even dishonest or otherwise corrupt. I’ve worked as a criminal defense investigator and legal researcher for 20 years. I am no longer surprised when I hear that policemen blamed a victim, fingered the wrong perp or even lied or planted evidence. My point was a narrow one, and it does not contradict your (well-founded) complaint about how much of society behaves toward victims of rape. I would advise women not to put themselves in vulnerable positions for the same reason I would advise anyone to lock their car doors. It isn’t that I blame the victims of either theft or rape… only that I know there ARE thieves and rapists out there. Very sorry, lass, for what they put you through. Best wishes.

      • Alexandra Gregorski

        Thank you for sharing this, Tanya. Your process of healing through activism is truly inspiring.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196615367 Tanya Nguyễn

    Yeah, but did you get an A ? :-)

    good essay

  • n8ma26

    I think the author makes the common feminist mistake of disregarding some asymmetries of the genders while taking issue with other related ones. She advocates for an end to the double-standard that she feels so favors men (assuming all along that sex with lots of different people is obviously good for anybody), while not noticing that the culture of casual sex positions women as the object of the pick-up (and I wonder how many women would want to change that). In this context, given these asymmetries, it’s not a surprise that “slut-shaming” is part of the mindset of both sexes and it’s not ingrained as the author says, it’s actually a product of participating in this culture. Of course the author is also mistaking the culture of casual sex for every culture. For many people, going to a bar for the sole purpose of sex seems perverse precisely because of these asymmetries. Many men and women opt-out and find alternative communities where the dynamics of pick-up lines and short skirts aren’t at play. If the author wants to change this particular culture, it may not be possible, and I can’t understand why she would because sex in this culture is, after all, casual, and therefore not an act that should contribute or detract from someone’s self-worth or self-understanding.

  • NRB

    I have a question, and I’m sorry if I sound ignorant in asking this, but I’m genuinely confused. Is it slut-shaming to warn someone against having a one-night stand with a stranger? Is it victim-blaming (Is it even called victim-blaming if nothing has happened and there is no victim?)? Going somewhere alone with someone whom you’ve just met in a romantic/sexual situation can obviously be risky and dangerous. That person may force you to do something you don’t want to do, become violent, steal from you, etc. In the past, I’ve worried about friends who have one-night stands like this, particularly if they’ve also been drinking. I’ve been pretty vocal in saying that I don’t care who my friends sleep with, because I really don’t, but that I’m worried about their safety when they do this. I REALLY do not want to slut-shame or victim-blame because I agree with the points listed above. But, in all honesty, it’s not that safe for anyone of any gender to go anywhere alone with a stranger they have met. I know people do it all the time, but I probably watch too much SVU, and feel the need to ensure my friends are safe. Am I slut-shaming and victim-blaming? Please help.

  • Derrick

    “Why don’t we teach men not to rape instead of teaching women not to be raped?”

    Absolutely. And pickpockets shouldn’t rob people either. And car thieves shouldn’t steal people’s cars. That doesn’t mean leaving your car unlocked in a rough neighbourhood, or looking like a lost tourist in Barcelona, is any less foolish.

    Call it “slut shaming” if you like, it’s just common sense for the real world. You wouldn’t tell this to women in India or South Africa, would you?

    • Zemic

      Okay, right now there are two messages that we can tell society.
      1. Don’t rape people
      2. Don’t get raped.
      As we are right now, most people only hear the second message. If we wanna change we’re going to need to start saying both, particularly in those third world countries.

      The problem is, we shouldn’t NEED to say that second message. As human beings, we have the capability to listen to the first message alone and understand what it means, but our culture is so warped that we feel like we need that second message and the first cannot possibly work on it’s own. Thus, we rely on telling a woman “Don’t wear that” or “Don’t go to that club at night”, rather than telling a guy that joking about slipping something into that woman’s drink ’cause he she looks easy and is asking for it isn’t funny.

      Pointing out that we rely on the second message and that “it at least does something” does not mean we should be content to leave our culture like that. Not when the first message is so understated that the problems associated with it run rampent and breed more stereotypical ideological bullshit regarding sexuality in both genders.

      Telling a woman not to get raped isn’t necessarily slut-shaming, but if you say that and don’t think there’s any point in telling someone not to rape, that IS slut-shaming.

  • Marrs

    Who is bothing the sluts leave them alone Sluts are good for one night stand and to have a good weekend vacation. wtf going one with slut bashing

  • Marrs

    I am all for the slut movement.Are you kidding me? I love sluts!!!!!!!!

  • jake

    “Was she drinking? Why was she walking alone late at night?”. Really? That’s slut shaming? I don’t think so. These are questions any rational person would ask. Such a bad example. In this hypothetical situation you forget to point out key events. The choice to walk home alone from a night club where you no doubt have been drinking. In today’s society it is foolish to be in that type of situation and it shows a lack of forethought. Now I know that sounds like I just put the blame on the potential victim but I haven’t. I have only pointed out that the girl in this little example put herself in a position that would bring her no good. If in fact this were to happen and somebody raped her then of course it’s the rapists fault and that person should be punished and the victim should get support. We make choices in life. It’s our only real freedom. You absolutely have the right to walk home late at night, in the dark, and from a nightclub but don’t assume the world is filled with lollipops and people who just want to be your friend. There are sick people out there and it’s a dark place. Everyone would do good to remember that.

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