We’ve all either been called a slut, know someone who has been called a slut, or called someone a slut ourselves. It’s a common word, especially recently. But how does one become a slut? What’s the criteria?
The problem is that there is none. Anyone can be called a slut for any real, perceived, or imagined sexual activity. There’s this prude/slut dichotomy and we are forced to stick our toes in the slutty side, but have to be careful not to cross fully over in order to be accepted. However, this often gets skewed and women are shamed no matter which side they are on, because it is all up to interpretation.
Often times “slut” doesn’t have anything at all to do with a persons actual sexual activity, but with their *perceived* persona. How sexually a person is perceived, because they developed early, because they flirt, because of what they wear, etc., determines if they are labeled a slut.
So if the word is meant for those “too sexually active”, why does it apply to those who aren’t sexually active at all?
It’s a way to police all women, not only the one being called the slut. When a girl is called a slut her reputation is ruined. Consequences of being labeled a slut include, but are not limited to, verbal harassment, being sexually assaulted, engaging in sexual activity before you are ready, engaging in unhealthy sexual activity, depression, eating disorders, and self harm.
Seeing what this label does to other girls, they want to avoid having this done to themselves. Sometimes this means joining in on calling someone else a slut in order to avoid having the label placed upon themselves. This fear causes hatred among females and furthers the cycle.
Of course another aspect to being called a slut is the double standards that go along with it. Sure, we’ve all heard about some “man whores”, but what are the implications of that compared to girls who are called sluts? If you go online and search synonyms for both slut and man whore two totally different feelings come about. For females, synonyms are hateful words. For males, one of the synonyms is player, another being ladies man.
So for a man to be considered a slut, it is more of an empowering word, a congratulations of sorts. As previously mentioned, the repercussions of being a female labeled a slut include self harm and detrimental behavior.
What I’m getting at is that the reasons we call each other sluts needs to be evaluated and analyzed, and so do the double standards involved. People throw around words without thinking about what will happen because of them. Start to think more critically about the words that you use.
*side note, I was inspired to create this post because I am reading “I Am Not A Slut” by Leora Tanenbaum