Tag Archives: slut shaming

Why is Slut-Shaming a Bad Thing?

2 Jan

“Oh my god, what is she wearing?”

A classmate of mine once muttered something along those lines in the middle of my math classroom. A student had just walked in to talk to our teacher and she was wearing very short shorts (for lack of a better term) that showed off quite a majority of her legs.

People in the midst of social activism often jump to immediately calling out behavior like that as slut-shaming, and it’s painted as such a negative concept from the very get-go that I feel we’ve forgotten to take the time to explain the core problem with slut-shaming. It’s easy for people against activism to ask, what’s wrong with old-fashioned modesty, and why is it so horrible to tell young women to cover up? They argue that girls should be taught to show less skin, because there are more important things than looking like a slut. Instead of just labeling those people as ‘horrible human beings’, yelling a lot of things at them and moving on, I want to take the time to deconstruct the concept bit by bit. This is because we’re still caught right in the middle of both ideas; one end is completely against slut-shaming, and the other end is half-bigoted, and half just plain confused about the concept. I want to distinguish people who are confused from people who are just exceptionally rude and small-minded; ignorance does not mean deserving of hate and anger.

I’m going to focus on the clothing aspect of slut-shaming, rather than the negative labeling of women who have a lot of sex. I may make another post later, because of how horrendous a lot of the comments here were, but that’ll be a later date. The concept of slut-shaming someone for what they are wearing ties closely into ideas of someone being conceited, vain, or too obsessed with their appearance. In my opinion, the reason judging someone for their clothing is bad is because it is a slippery slope filled with too many personal constructs, clashing ideas of what is morally okay, and a very thin line between ‘right’ and ‘not right’ that can never be universally defined.

Take my classmate, for example. She was judging someone for wearing shorts that were ‘too revealing’. But if you asked others, they might have considered her shirt to be too revealing; in fact, a lot of the shirts she wore showed a lot of cleavage. So some may ask, why is she allowed to show cleavage and for it to be okay, but for that other girl to be ‘skanky’ to be wearing shorts like that?

Here’s a hypothetical example: a boy scoffing at a girl for wearing ‘too much make-up’. He mentally labels her as vain, absorbed in her appearance, and attention seeking. But let’s take a look at the boy. He happens to be wearing dark, skin-fitted jeans. His hair is artfully styled up, and you know that those shoes weren’t cheap. He obviously put some effort into his appearance, and how he wanted to portray himself to the world. Is he vain or shallow? And what point do we say being concerned with your appearance is being too concerned?

The problem with judging people for their appearance is there is no clear line to define someone, or label them as something. My standard is different from your standard. Everyone will always have different standards. So then how can we run around saying some standards are better than others? How is anyone to judge?

When people blow-up their own opinions and make them approved by a large group of people, especially through media, it’s saying that their standard is correct and all others are wrong. How can we live in a world where every single person has different standards for what it’s okay to look like, but some people just yell louder than others?

You may think my skirt is too short. I could think that you put way too much time into putting tattoos on your body. So maybe we should all shut up and stop imposing personal beliefs as universally accepted moral standards.

Taylor Swift is a Slut! Er, Wait…What?

14 Jan
tswizzle

Three beautiful ladies!

Taylor Swift is known for having many boyfriends. Of that fact, I’m sure all of us are aware. But recently she’s also been getting more media and public flack for her frequent dating-and a bad reputation to top it off. Many have been resorting to calling her negative words like slut or whore, because of her supposed sexual promiscuity. There’s a post floating around online comparing how many call Miley Cyrus a slut, who has been in a committed relationship for years with her now-fiance, while Taylor is lauded as classy and a role model, despite dating +20 guys over the years. This suggests that the roles should be reversed, that Taylor should be called such derogatory words…but should she?

‘No wait, the reason people call Miley that is because she dresses provocatively and has no shame in her music videos. Taylor presents herself as a classy and dignified young woman, so young girls can look up to her; who cares about her personal life?’

In my opinion, why can’t we take the best of both worlds? How about we stop calling both women names like that. In fact, how about we stop calling everyone names like that? I know it’s deep-set in our society, and it’s even very deep-set in myself, but having sex isn’t necessarily inherently wrong. If that disagrees with your religion, it’s fine for you to impose whatever values you’d like to onto yourself. But who are we as a society to tell people what they can and can’t do with their bodies?

Being brought up by strict parents, the idea still seems a bit foreign to me. There’s constantly an internal struggle between “that girl/guy is pathetic, just flirting with everyone and trying to get action” and “it’s none of my business, they can live their life however they’d like”. Obviously with different societies all around the world, different values will clash and this struggle will be prominent in everyone for a long time. But every time I catch myself about to judge someone based simply on how much they enjoy sex (which when you think about it, is really a ridiculous thing to ostracize someone for), I go by the principle of not caring unless it’s hurting themselves or anyone else. When they’re not being safe, yes, the line blurs a little. When they are a public figure who may inspire young girls/boys to engage in similar behavior without proper education or self-awareness, yes, the line blurs a lot.

I’m not saying that the video of Miley Cyrus dancing in skimpy clothes in a club is okay, because truthfully, a lot of young people watch her videos and those kind of situations can be dangerous if they end up seeking them because of her. So yeah, it wasn’t the smartest decision on her part, knowing her influence. And yeah, Taylor Swift could sit down and write a song about healthy relationships, instead of being photographed entering hotel rooms and writing occasional snarky break-up songs. But we need to start focusing on that, instead of jumping to calling them names simply because of their behavior. As a society, we need to start analyzing effects promiscuous influence could lead to and why/if it’s wrong, rather than simply attacking the concept itself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and thanks for reading!

Rape Me Once, Shame On You

9 Jan

Pretend you’re taking a test in class one day. You have no idea what the answers are, but the extremely smart boy next to you isn’t using his cover sheet; his answers are right there in front of you. I mean, you know cheating is wrong, you’ve been told that all your life. But it’s not like you woke up and decided you wanted to do it. Who could resist when the answers are right there? And everyone knows that that boy is smart; if he didn’t want to be cheated off of he should have thought to cover his answers. You don’t mean any harm, you just want to feel better about the test. He’s not gonna mind too badly, he helps people with their homework all the time. And besides, he’s practically asking for it.

Does anything in this situation seem off to you? Does it seem wrong as you read through? However it happens all the time: regarding a different situation.

Slut shaming is a huge problem nationwide. While America is decently ahead of other countries in terms of rape awareness, many are still shockingly ignorant to the horrors of rape and the atrocity of such a crime. Many have reverted to blaming the (most often) women for the rape, at least in part. What kind of clothes was she wearing, does she have many sexual encounters, how much flirting had she been doing? These are questions that people legitimately think should add insight into what happened and how badly the rapist should be punished. But I think they should not even be brought up.

It is never a person’s fault for being raped. A dress/skirt hemline will never go from ‘flirty’ to ‘rape me’ with a difference of an inch. If a man or woman gets raped while drunk, it is not their fault for not drinking in a ‘safe environment’ or getting drunk at all. Humans have self-control when it comes to raping; if they know it is wrong, they should not be given lenience based on how ‘tempting’ their victim was. Also, rapists are a small portion of the population who have serious problems, and by insinuating that any male will rape a woman if she is scantily clad is insulting to men, to be frank.

Rape education is being given though. It’s everywhere, but mostly just directed towards women. Girls are advised to not wear their hair in ponytails because someone can easily grab onto them. They’re advised to lock their car immediately after getting into it and never sit in a parked car alone. One quote from a list I saw included this:

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

There are instructors…for classes on how to not be raped. Why are women the sole target of rape prevention techniques? Why is the sole mindset “how to not be raped”, like it’s something people should be actively doing at all times? This kind of thinking makes victim-blaming okay, because it suddenly implies, oh, perhaps this woman forgot to follow this certain precaution: why didn’t she follow it? And why are we as a whole ignoring that men might need advice on how to protect themselves too?

While rape prevention is important and should be taught, it is too focused on the potential victims. Some might say that addressing potential rapists is illogical, because trying to convince a bad person to not rape will never work. It’s as if a blanket statement exists that says ‘we’ll never get through to those psychopaths, so why bother’. But the problem can best be fixed by pulling it up from the root, before ignorance and bad thoughts can set in: by educating children. Rapists are not born rapists. They become rapists. Many people don’t want to discuss FLE with children beyond general anatomy, but they need to be taught about consent and the right to privacy regarding bodies. Perhaps it would prevent horrendous things from happening, such as this.

Society has painted a picture that if you don’t want to be raped, you need to do something about it. And if you are raped, then you must have failed what you were told to do. But rape is serious, and things like clothing choices aren’t going to stop someone who wants to violate another person. Slut-shaming is destructive to victims of rape, and it’s hurting them all the way to the courtroom.

Rape me once, shame on you. Rape me twice, shame on you.