It's not 'slut-shaming', it's woman hating

We, in feminist land, like very much to encourage folks (particularly media-type folks, as they have a pretty significant role in framing discourse) to use correct language. Or, at very least, language that describes something real. In my last post, for example, I talked about the fact that many mainstream news sources reported on the murder of Kasandra Perkins without ever using the words ‘violence against women’ or even ‘domestic abuse’. Feminists know that naming the act and the perpetrator is important lest systemic inequity and the fact that we live in a sexist society disappear into the ether. It’s hard to address misogyny if we refuse to acknowledge that it exists and shapes our lives. Language matters.

As such, I would like to address a newfangled term that has mushroomed in popularity like an idiot weed due to funny fun-times Slutwalk and other ‘WE DO WHAT WE WANT FUCK YEAH‘ feminismish happenings.  That term is ‘slut-shaming’.

I implore you, friends of feminism, language and logic — Stop saying ‘slut-shaming’. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s misleading. And it makes you all sound ridiculous.

Now, before you start explaining to me why slut-shaming is actually a real thing, allow me to stop you. I understand what it is you are trying to get at. I myself have experienced this ‘shaming’ many a time. I know all too well about the double-standard that won’t die. The one that makes promiscuous women ‘sluts’ and promiscuous men into ‘pimps’. (Get it, boys? Being a ‘pimp’ is a good thing.) And you don’t even have to be ‘promiscuous’, whatever that means. It’s a thin line, for women, between love and hate. One minute you’re revered, you’re beautiful and precious and desirable andandand…. the next, you’re in the gutter. Women lose their sheen quickly. That’s what happens with commodities. You’re worth is in the hands of a fickle and punitive market.

Like you, I am sick as fuck of being treated like shit while men brag and boast about their ‘conquests’, shaming the very women who trusted them for doing just that: trusting. Silly girl. Trust is for amateurs. You’ll get your comeuppance.

Yes. I agree that this is bullshit.

Being called a slut is painful. It sticks with you. I know.

Even now, as a bone fide adult, when I should really not have to deal with this crap, I still do. I still feel there’s an expectation that I play the chaste game. That, while men can pretty much act on any impulse, I will be judged for my behaviour. Masquerading as a classy lady is work. I do my best, but the end I usually just do what I want. What other people want obviously has less bearing on my choices than what I want. If that weren’t the case I’d likely have some kind of stable job, a better credit rating and a practical degree. Regardless of my stubborn hedonism, somewhere in the back of my mind there is always a tiny voice yelling “SLUT!” Residual trauma I’m guessing.

So please, spare me the lecture on the sexual double standard. I’ve lived it and been punished by it for half my life. By men and women alike.

Yet still I cringe every time I hear someone talking about ‘slut-shaming’. As such, I’ve compiled a list of  reasons that describe why I feel this term is stupid and should go away forever:

1) There’s no such thing as a slut. Can we please stop pretending there is? ‘Slut’ is a word used to shame and silence and attack women. It is only a real thing to misogynists who use language to hurt women.

2) The solution to the sexual double standard that shames women for having casual sex, being promiscuous, enjoying sex, having female bodies, leaving the house, whatever,  is not, as a very smart lady on Twitter put it recently, to “turn ‘sluts’ into a special-interest group“. You see, there is no such thing as a ‘slut’ or a ‘non-slut’. There are women. This whole ‘slut-pride’ thing and terms like ‘slut-shaming’ reinforce the very dichotomies feminism works to destroy. Us vs. them. Good girls vs. bad girls. Reinforcing the idea that some women are ‘sluts’ and that ‘sluttishness’ is attached to female sexuality (i.e. that whole — now ‘slut’ means a ‘woman who likes sex‘ crap) is not useful in terms of defining our own lives and sexualities. Like sex, don’t like sex, whatever. You aren’t a ‘slut’ either way. You’re a woman.

3) ERGO. ‘Slut-shaming’ isn’t about shaming ‘sluts’. It’s about misogyny. It’s about shutting women down. It’s about hating women. It’s about silencing. You can be labelled a ‘slut’ regardless of whether or not you have or like sex. Whether you’ve had one partner or fifty. It’s doesn’t matter. Just like women get called bitches regardless of their behaviour. Do we go around telling people not to ‘bitch-shame’ us? No, we say that men who call women bitches are sexist assholes who don’t like it when women speak (read: exist).

4) No matter how hard you try to take back ‘slut’, people will still use it to shit on  you. And it still won’t feel good. Just because you’ve painted ‘slut’ across your chest and proudly tromped down the street in fishnets doesn’t mean that assholes across the continent are going to stop using sexist language. A lot of people like to make comparisons around ‘taking back’ the word ‘slut’ to the n-word. But as we all know, racists still use this word in a racist way. Because they are racist and because racism is a thing that still exists in our world. You can pretend that, in the last year, ‘slut’ has been taken back to mean ‘awesome-fun-times-sexy-lady’, but it’s not true.

5) Half of the time people talk about being ‘slut-shamed’ or witnessing ‘slut-shaming’, it’s about clothes. Not sex. Someone thought you or your buddy was dressed ‘like a slut’. Your response was to say that, apparently, some ‘slut-shaming’ happened. But I’m confused now. Which is it? Is it that women who ‘like sex’ are being shamed? Or is it that women who wear push-up bras are being shamed? Because, for the record, wearing ‘slutty’ clothes has nothing to do with liking sex or not liking sex.

The point I’m trying to get across here is that this language is confusing and, rather than take apart virgin/whore, good girl/bad girl dichotomies and rather than address the root of the ‘slut’ language (which is misogyny), ‘slut-shaming’ skirts around these things.

Not only that but the supposed reclamation of this language has served to reverse these dichotomies in a decidedly unhelpful way. So now, the ‘good girl’ is no longer the prude. She is the girl who like to have tons of sex (with dudes). She’s liberated. This is awesome for patriarchy because it provides more soldiers in the ‘feminists are prudes who hate sex’ army. It means that women who don’t like sex (with men, in particular) don’t have valid opinions. Because they’re just maaaad. (Or they have their periods or something. Who really knows.) This phenomenon is also referred to as ‘compulsory sexuality’.

So Salon published a whole article the other day about a study that shows “the sexual double standard is alive and well and still influencing women’s everyday behavior.” Well, fucking duh. Any woman who exists in this world is well fucking aware that she’s always on the verge of being called a slut or a bitch or a cunt or a whore. Because that’s just not something that’s avoidable in our culture. If you turn down a date you might get called a bitch. If you have sex on a first date you might get called a slut. If you get in a fight with your boyfriend because he’s a dickbag, you might get called a whore. I’ve been called a slut for not having sex with someone I did not want to have sex with. So go figure. Either way, women lose. Your being called a bitch or a cunt or a slut or a whore has nothing to do with you actually being any of these things. Frustratingly, the article was entitled: “Study: “Slut-shaming” won’t go away”.

Regardless of the problematic headline, the study highlighted is a good study. The research was lead by Terri Conley who we like very much here at Feminist Current because she busts crap-o evolutionary psychology myths that try to justify sexist stereotypes about male and female behaviour à la ‘Men love sex with everybody all the time! Women hate sex and also want to make babies all the time!’ variety. In this new study, Backlash From the Bedroom, the researchers find that:

…under the right circumstances—that is, when the experience promises to be safe and pleasant—women are just as likely as men to engage in casual sex.

Key words: safe and pleasant. It’s more difficult for women to have casual sex, not because they, as a universal group, necessarily don’t desire it, but because women live in a world that is neither safe or particularly ‘pleasant.’ I’m not saying that if we lived in an equitable society free of sexism and the threat of violence all women would be having casual sex all the time, but I am saying that what we need to understand about men and women and sex is that universalizing based on solely on evolutionary psychology that ignores cultural and social contexts is dumb.

Conley and her colleagues also found that:

Women who accepted a casual sex offer were viewed as more promiscuous, less intelligent, less mentally healthy, less competent, and more risky than men who accepted the same offer,

And indeed! This is a true thing. Because of sexism. Calling women ‘sluts’ is about controlling women.

I mean, lets break this down. Say you engage in consensual sex with some dude. Afterwards, say he feels good and you feel bad. What the hell, right? It felt good at the time, yeah? Often, this man is the one that makes you feel bad. Often he does this on purpose. What the fuck? Why should you feel bad about engaging in consensual sex with a person you were attracted to? Well, for one, because dudes can be fucking assholes. For two, patriarchy doesn’t want women to feel good about themselves. Feeling bad means boob jobs and Girls Gone Wild and faking orgasms. Feeling bad means trying to please men above all else. It means you’ll keep reaching for this thing you can never have. Because pleasing men will never give you real power.

Patriarchy thrives on women’s insecurities.

Hate yourself, patriarchy says. Do it. Do it because the man who sleeps with you and then turns around and makes you feel like a worthless, insignificant, scummy, piece of shit subhuman because his ego needs that in order to survive — he hates you.

Have you ever had sex with someone to punish them? I haven’t. But I sure have been fucked as punishment.

This isn’t ‘slut-shaming’. Fuck that noise. It’s woman hating.

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • http://turnwiddershins.co.uk Mary Tracy

    Oh, Meghan, I’m so sorry re: you’ve had such horrible experience.

    I’m no stranger to it. And it sucks big time.

    • Meghan Murphy

      It ain’t all bad. But it does seem to keep creeping back in…Just less than it used to.

      • Claire Tremblay

        Thank you Meghan. Articles like yours remind me I am not alone, I am grateful for it. The emotional toll on women of how seriously fucked up misogyny is, is considerable. The slut, bitch and let’s not forget crazy label are deeply injurious. Thank you for your bravery.

    • Steve P.

      I’ve always wondered why there is such a double standard regarding sexual activity between the sexes. A man engaging in casual sex is a stud but a woman is a slut? Makes absolutely no sense at all. In my personal life I have always refrained from calling women bitches, sluts, whores or any derogatory name even when I’m upset with one.

    • Anna

      I can see in parts where you are coming from, but I disagree still. I for one do not personally take back the word slut, but we have to remember that people feel liberated in different ways. Just like when the black community takes back the ‘n’ word. Some find it empowering, others don’t. There will always be that dichotomy. We cannot force our idea of empowerment onto someone else. We have more in common than we think, but it is okay to have some differences. When I think of slut-shaming, I don’t see it as a way of calling women sluts, but calling out on society for calling women sluts and shaming their sexuality. Some women like to take back the word slut. I know it is still a harmful word, but I can still understand the desire to do so. Slut walk is meant to be tongue in cheek…based on the police officer who said that women would stop getting raped if they didn’t dress like sluts…that’s why it’s called ‘slut walk’. If a woman is dressed in a way that society deems is ‘slutty’, it doesn’t mean she deserves to be raped. Slutwalk is focusing on that fact. So I, as many other feminists, see this differently than you, but I still understand where you are coming from.

    • http://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com ptittle

      Yeah, me too. I now have this picture in my mind…a HUGE poster CRAMMED with every woman…and the caption “We’ve all been called sluts.” It is just a place-holder, like ‘Fuck’ that means, as Meghan nailed it, ‘Women=badthing’.

      • http://www.hellyeahimafeminist.com ptittle

        I think the ‘reply’ alignments are off…I intended my ‘me too’ to go with the first comment, by Mary Tracey!

  • http://smashesthep.wordpress.com smash

    Well said, and necessary.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Thanks Smash!

  • Lucas

    Interesting read. Never heard of slut-shaming before.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Excellent! Here’s hoping it stays that way 😉

  • http://turnwiddershins.co.uk Mary Tracy

    There something decidedly “fishy” going on around this whole “slut shaming” deal.

    Men do like sluts, (if pr0n movie titles are anything to go by), so reclaiming the word “slut” does… what exactly? It smells too strongly of “I’m totes here for the men”.

    Not only that, but it gives the women reclaiming the word “slut” a sheen of “the feminists are mean to me because I love having sex with men”. Divide and conquer.

    And the elephant in the room, I think, is the sex industry. Because whenever I’ve seen the whole “slut shaming” deal, it has always been pro-sex work women defending themselves from anti-sex work feminists.

    • Meghan Murphy

      TOTALLY, Mary. Oh gosh, how many times have I been at the brunt of ye old – you just hate me because I LOVE SEX WITH MEN. Ugh. So stupid.

    • Melissa Reginelli

      As a feminist pro-sex worker, I don’t care what the “straight chicks” think of me whether they’re feminist or not. We’re all trying to get the rent paid. There are two kinds of personality of a man coming into any sex business. Pre-coitus or orgasm and post-coitus or orgasm. They’re equally disgusting. From when they walk in the door and check out the “menu,” they are actually salivating as if they were in a fast-food joint. Get them to the room and they’re always believing that they are being sexy and sensuous. We see them as creepy and reptilian. Most, after orgasm, have a complete change of attitude and personality. A wall goes up, they get dressed as quickly as possible and leave. Everybody is happy…he got relief and we get to pay rent. Now, all through this experience, the women are aware that the customer has a very low opinion of us that has nothing to do with us personally, as women. What is interesting is that because he’s humiliated that he had “to pay for it,” he will always believe that women just sit around waiting for him to walk in the door, sharing his anticipation of sexual relief; that women working in a sex business are nothing but sluts. They believe that women in a sex business want sex for the sake of having sex, that we don’t care who it’s with, that we’re complete nymphos It’s about that fragile male ego and they see themselves as “wild and crazy guys,” on the prowl for a slut, any slut will do. So, when the straight chicks get all “tricked out” to do a slut-walk, believing that they’re being strong, rebellious and somehow making a feminist statement…they couldn’t be more wrong. At least a street walker is going to get paid, the straight chick isn’t. I find that offensive. Offends my capitalist sensibilities. They’re giving their highly marketable product away, for free. Nothing worse than that and very insulting to all women. Even a street walker has a high self-esteem than they do because they have the sense to charge for their services. The definition of a slut is a woman who gives it away and doesn’t charge. Nothing to be proud of. Later for slut-walk.

      • Aims

        “Now, all through this experience, the women are aware that the customer has a very low opinion of us that has nothing to do with us personally, as women”

        The “low opinion” the customers have sure as heck might not have anything to do with you personally, but it most certainly does have to do with you being women.

      • HCS

        I am intrigued by your take Melissa and would love to talk with you sometime.

      • ivette

        “So, when the straight chicks get all “tricked out” to do a slut-walk, believing that they’re being strong, rebellious and somehow making a feminist statement…they couldn’t be more wrong. At least a street walker is going to get paid, the straight chick isn’t. I find that offensive. Offends my capitalist sensibilities. They’re giving their highly marketable product away, for free. Nothing worse than that and very insulting to all women. Even a street walker has a high self-esteem than they do because they have the sense to charge for their services. The definition of a slut is a woman who gives it away and doesn’t charge. Nothing to be proud of. Later for slut-walk.”

        And you wonder why feminists don’t like you. You loathe being called a slut, but then you go on to say that every woman who doesn’t have sex to get paid is a slut. Because there’s only one proper way for a woman to lead her sex life.

        “Feminists” like you are why other feminists shirk from the sex-worker sex positive women who identify as feminists only because most of you are delusional and hypocritical.

    • Flavia

      Although I agree that the slut-shaming thing is pretty bizarre (I know Mary said “fishy”) I’ve always found it confusing on what’s moving these women to go on with it.

      I’m from Brazil, so I see that the “movement” (slutwalk blablablas) is very different in its core from what people have at North America or Europe, but they try to mimic what’s going on in these countries. Over here it seems absolutely about fun-fems/queers being all “you don’t like us because we want to be able to go shirtless on parties full of men (goddess knows why…)”.

      With this they stand against (or say they do) men that want to take control of their bodies and use them as they please, but they also end up standing against women/feminists that want to question the social construction of sexual desire and sexual acts because they say evertything related to sex is fine and just needs to be consensual (without debating over what consensus is or means). Honestly, I think it wouldn’t be all that awful to open up a dialogue over this, but I guess they sense it will be highly damaging to the “I love men and want men to love me back / if I show my chest and tell men to respect me and not touch it at every party they will get used to it and respect my integrity eventually” discourse.

      Okay, nothing new so far, but the women here are also claiming they are not only pro-sex work but are indeed voicing the needs of sex workers that have been silenced for their whole lives. Now… the vast majority of these women are white, middle-class, university students who fancy themselves liberated because they are into poli-amour and could never in a million years dream of what are the needs of sex workers! It appears as if somehow because we’ve started using “sex work” instead of “prostitution” it has nothing to do with little girls being forced to do things they would rather not be doing for about 1 dollar (yes) or even with the grown women who have police officers as their pimps and has only to do with women that “chose” this life because they “don’t want to spend their lives at an office’s table” (I’ve actually heard that).

      And even thought I have tried to say I am not against sex workers, that they are mostly just trying to survive the best they can, but that prostitution and the porno industry both have to be linked with patriarchy and male domain over women’s bodies; a lot of these women will just go on saying I am a sexist prude that thinks sex workers deserve bad things. Oh well… I guess if I don’t agree on everything that means I’m against them, right…

      • Meghan Murphy

        “I guess if I don’t agree on everything that means I’m against them, right… ” Yep. You pretty much got it.

  • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca Boner Killer

    Thank you so much for this. I am growing SO tired of this shit.

  • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca Boner Killer

    Oh and “I’ve been called a slut for not having sex with someone I did not want to have sex with.” SAME HERE. WTF, right?

    This adult male I “dated” when i was 14 years old told everyone in my little, wee, hometown that i was a slut…and yet, everyone knew i didn’t sleep with him? Also, a teenage girl once called me, when I was also a teenager, a “virgin-slut”, concluding that i lead boys on only to “cockblock” them or something…there are SO many ways that the word “slut” is used to degrade women, and so many of them have NOTHING to do with liking/disliking sex.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yep. It’s odd, isn’t it. Don’t put out and suddenly you’re a slut! It’s happened to me more than once. It just goes to show how this word is straight-up misogyny and nothing else. It means nothing.

      • Me

        It’s just a way of making /their/ aggressive behavior appear to be about /you/, to push you out of balance so you’d find it harder to defend yourself. A mindfuck really to set women up to be raped and used. That’s exactly why all the outreach and propaganda like yours is so important, because effective self-defence takes training and a part of that is seeing through the strategies rapists use.

  • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com Vanilla Rose

    So … you don’t think you have tried to shame women because of their sexuality? O-kay.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Who doesn’t think they haven’t tried to shame women because of their sexuality? Can you be more specific?

      • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com Vanilla Rose

        Er, you don’t recall comparing women who take part in burlesque to “pretty objects” who make you angry?

        • Meghan Murphy

          Oh gaaaaaaawd. If I have to explain the different between pointing out objectification and actually objectifying a woman I’m going to stab myself in the eye. Read all of this:
          http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/08/26/faq-what-is-the-%E2%80%9Cmale-gaze%E2%80%9D/http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/faq-what-is-sexual-objectification/
          http://feministcurrent.com/tag/objectification/
          http://feministcurrent.com/tag/the-male-gaze/

          Also read the comment policy (let me point you specifically to the rule around ‘saying things that are true’):
          http://feministcurrent.com/1749/so-you-think-you-want-to-comment/

          Then feel free to go right ahead and use your brain to leave a comment that actually makes sense.

          Thanks

          P.S. I’d also like to point out that burlesque is NOT ‘sexuality’. Saying that burlesque objectifies female bodies doesn’t ‘shame’ anyone’s ‘sexuality’. I’m sorry, it’s just all so stupid I want to cry.

          • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com Vanilla Rose

            Wow. I had hoped you might be up for debate, but instead you’re trying to make me feel stupid as well as ashamed of my sexuality.

          • Meghan Murphy

            WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            Obviously people who criticize patriarchal institutions don’t really mean it. What they really want is for you personally to be ashamed of your sexuality. Good of you to figure that out.

            Damn you Meghan, why are you doing this to women? Are you an MRA double agent? Or even, a TRIPLE agent? Who do you work for, anyway??

          • Meghan Murphy

            My main goal is to get rid of sex, fun, freedom, and boobs. I work for a top-secret conservative religious anti-woman group called Feminazihitlerbians.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            I KNEW IT. That is it, I am starting a new web site called
            http://www.meghanmurphyisafeminazihitlerbians.edu
            And it’s gonna be a .edu because I’m gonna dispense some EDUCATION up in here!
            POINT OF EDUCATION #1: BOOBS ARE AWESOME.
            I KNOW this is true because I’ve seen people wearing bracelets that said they love boobies. Boobies MUST be awesome.

          • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com Vanilla Rose

            Thank you for proving my point, Meghan. You and your pal Francois not only think that women who enjoy burlesque are doing something of which they should feel ashamed, you also feel it is okay to ridicule them for (supposedly) not being intelligent enough to understand your arguments. Wow. Must go and find a big dictionary to look up big words like “patriarchy”.

          • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

            Yes, I think you should be ashamed of your sexuality, because that’s what radfem is all about. And we use big words to confuse and deceive you. You’ve pulled the wool over your own eyes. Good job!

    • Lela

      What a hilariously transparent piece of trolling.

      • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com Vanilla Rose

        Well, no, Lela, it was a genuine attempt at dialogue. But I don’t think many of Ms Murphy’s supporters are interested in dialogue when they can enjoy themselves ridiculing women who disagree with them.

        • Meghan Murphy

          I call bullshit, Vanilla Rose. Point me to your ‘genuine attempt at dialogue’. Not only have you not made any arguments at all, but you haven’t engaged with any of the points made in this post. What is your argument? Please do tell. All you’ve done is make accusations which you are unwilling and/or unable to back up with evidence or logic.

        • Aims

          “So … you don’t think you have tried to shame women because of their sexuality? O-kay.”

          Vanilla Rose, this is not a genuine attempt at dialogue. You know it, anyone who reads it knows it.

          You came here with sarcasm and accusations.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Vanilla Rose wrote a cute little post about what a meanie I am: http://vanillarosetangents.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/rude-on-multiple-levels.html

            But, whoops! She forgot to link to/quote the actual comment she left which, apparently was merely a “polite suggestion that she look at this issue was me”.

            I’m the worst!

          • Grackle

            “So, she not only wants women to feel ashamed of participating in burlesque, but she also thinks women who enjoy it are stupid.”

            VR really, really needs to work on her reading comprehension skills.

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.com/ BK

            You got someone to write a blog post about you? hello traffic!

          • Meghan Murphy

            Har. Alas, most of the folks who write angry blog posts about me don’t get any traffic.

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

            No no, i mean, you’ll get traffic! someone once wrote or made a youtube video, i can remember, about me and my blog traffic increased.

          • copleycat

            I have to wonder if the pro-burlesque, pro-prostitution, pro-slut folks spend anywhere near as much time fighting with the conservative right as they do with radical feminists. The conservative right are the other people who engage in what the fun-fems call slut-shaming but they don’t bother with them so much – just why is that? Maybe because other women (other feminist women) make better targets for projection? And what’s being projected? What are we being accused of? Shaming right? Well if the shame is being projected onto us then it originated in the fun-fems minds which means despite all the declarations they are not fully OK with the shit they do.

          • Me

            I think you’re right, but I think that beyond what you’re saying the shame that’s being projected originates in male violence and male supremacy. They’re the enemy, they cause this.

            Psychological expanations can be revealing. I think what you wrote was both revealing and helpful. However, what easily happens is the attention turns away from the abusers. There’re lots of ways to make it seem that doesn’t happen while it does happen: Win a little freedom for yourself, This is how you are so Be It, If you don’t stop those feminists the man’s going to take your gains away from you (but He’s not the aggressor). That’s why they don’t fight the conservative right, but fight us. I think more importantly it’s somewhat irrelevant whether fun-fems are okay with what they do, I mean the fight’s not primarily about us vs. them. And how can any woman be fully okay under patriarchy anyway? Actually, while that has some truth to it, it wasn’t entirely right. Let’s make it “how can women be fully okay under patriarchy?”, right? We need to believe we can fight and win against the man even if nobody else does.

            I hope I did’t come across as contesting what you wrote, and if I did, call me out on it.

          • copleycat

            Not to worry Me I don’t mind if you contest what I say – I don’t think you did anyway. I’m OK with critique, it’s dismissal that’s a let-down. I’m not for turning the focus as a whole away from patriarchy itself and in particular crimes of abuse and assault need more attention, but I am very much concerned these days with how I’m seeing women relate to themselves and each other.
            While I think it’s true that the whole patriarchal system of rewards for compliance is a huge problem, my focus lately has been pushed onto the issue of the proverbial enemy within. If I remember correctly, the Alice Walker book “The Unkindest Cut” starts by quoting the African proverb, “When the man first bought the axe into the forest, the trees whispered to each other… the handle is one of us.” I find myself most concerned by how it is that we can be used against each other. Of all the ways that women are exploited this is the one that instills the deepest despair in me.
            I’ve seen a lot of feminists groups flounder over the last four years and I’ve lost a friend because of these sorts of conflicts between women. I’m certainly not out for a fight with women who are toting the fun-fem lines, hell about 20 to 15 years ago I was in their camp and during that time period I did a lot of damage to myself, to other women, although I still haven’t really examined that in full, and I was in danger all the time. I know back then I would’ve reacted with rage and indignation too at any suggestion that my activities (stripping and being sexually aggressive all the time even with people that I didn’t really find attractive) were not actually feminist assertions of my “ownership” of myself.
            I remember really wanting to believe that idea (the selling yourself is how you own yourself idea). I remember the initial surge of relief it gave me the first time I heard it. The relief was so welcome because I did feel ambivalent about what I was doing and even though I embraced and clung fast to this rhetoric I still ended up getting high almost every day to keep myself semi-conscious as to what was really going on in my life. What was going on in my life then was that I was on the ropes and trying to throw in the towel, except there is no surrendering.
            I think a fair number of women don’t realize that; when you try to surrender to patriarchy it doesn’t really work, the destruction of you as a human doesn’t actually stop. You actually get used more while you’re being bribed with illusions. The threat inherent to living in the belly of the beast, which is where you are when you try to surrender, works to increase a woman’s need to reach for a kind of illusory union with a sort of super-human archetype (I’m not sure how else to describe it). I was trying to manifest a sex Goddess as were all the other women around me and what’s more is we all seemed to feel that if only we could be that perfect image of beauty then we’d be beyond harm ie; the guys would tip better, they wouldn’t be so rude, etc. – nothing could be further from the truth but the fact that we believed it makes me think that we were reaching to that sex Goddess for some kind of desperately needed protection. I think I’ve heard analogous claims about wifedom and motherhood from conservative right wing women.
            Even when women surrender, their urge to resist destruction doesn’t go away it just gets redirected. It’s what makes them reach for these illusions of super-human domestic or sex Goddess status while they’re being treated like a sub-human. When feminists try to point out what’s really going on we’re taking away their psycho-emotional morphine. Here’s where it gets really tricky, if misogyny is at its core an unresolved urge to possess, control, consume and even ruin all the goodness that the mother seems to be to the child (and porn starkly illustrates this now days), then how can one woman point out to another when her attempts to possess/be some aspect of that goodness are dysfunctional adaptations to patriarchy without it echoing the primal frustrations that incited misogyny in the first place? What’s more how can any woman who’s playing along with patriarchy not end up cultivating misogyny, which she’ll direct at herself and other women, as she inevitably fails to manifest the illusions that patriarchy pressures her to chase down?
            The means by which patriarchy incites and inflames misogyny in women has become my primary concern as I’ve seen too many women tear themselves and each other down and I’ve come very close to going under myself. I don’t think fighting does us any good but I also think trying to just let the problem resolve itself isn’t working. The friend I lost last year felt intensely persecuted, not by anything I’d said, but simply by how I live my life. Specifically she had become ever more dependent and submissive with respect to her husband and although I had said nothing about it, she started having out-bursts where she would rage and shout and accuse me of disapproving of her life. Her misogyny (condoned and cultivated by patriarchy) was invoked by my not adopting a mothering stance with her and re-assuring her that her attempts to surrender were really a great idea – they aren’t and she knows they aren’t. If she really was OK with how she’s living her life she wouldn’t need my approval.
            I think the fun-fems want to surrender and I do feel bad that they are at that point. I really do hope each one of them makes it through to the other side. We can fight and win against patriarchy. Successful resistance is possible but the longer a woman engages in the dysfunctional pseudo-resistance of trying to embody illusions the more she’s going to risk convincing herself that it’s not. Successful resistance starts with getting off the sub-super-human carousel and insisting on your humanity. Of course when you say that to people you’re essentially saying “Grow up” and then you sound like the persecutory mean mommy that all the misogynists cite as the impetus of their hate. There has to be a way around this.

          • Me

            Thank you very much for that. I think you’re absolutely right and it is despairing.

            Wife’s the only one in her family to want to remember the abuse. The rest blame her for remembering. They’re clearly lying to themselves and to each other to pretend none of it happened, but the veil just doesn’t come off. What matters most in my opinion is that their living arrangements remain the same, which means they’re still dependent on the abuser, and the social support they have encourages forgetting. To me that pretty much decides what’s going to happen. It’s not 100% sure, but it’s not something for us to spend our energies trying to change. Wife and I were also just two people trying to point out that continuing that dependence wasn’t a good idea, and as two people there was only so much we could legally do. Sometimes it seems clear when people are lying to themselves, but that doesn’t say if they’re likely to stop lying or go into a rage to protect the lie. (And anger does give an immediate high and a sense of power.)

            I’ve often had the experience myself that simply not criticising someone is not enough. There’s that split second when you’re expected to support the lie and if you don’t, that’s taken as betrayal. I wonder if another side of that is how others seem to find me easy to talk to and open up to in real life, but that’s just a guess. I try to spend my energies on those people these days.

          • Lela

            What an insightful and heartbreaking post copleycat. I too am on the other side of a sort of “fun fem” arc…. a very painful journey, I relate to what you’ve said very much. Keep on sharing your thoughts and stories.

          • anOther

            very insightful & i learned from the edifying content. thanks for that long response.

          • lizor

            Incredible insight in this comment Copleycat. Thank you so much. I will reread this many times as it is so rare to hear such truth spoken.

        • radicalwoman

          You aren’t even listening to anything that is being said. You couldn’t possibly be more obtuse. LISTEN. BURLESQUE IS NOT WOMEN’S SEXUALITY. ITS A PERFORMANCE.

          • tapioca pudding

            Why not remove the word slut all together. It acknowledged a degrading term. Why not coming up with a new term.

          • http:rosiecoco.com Sera Cocora

            Burlesque is a performance of sexuality. I’m confused by your statement – maybe if you breakdown what you mean by sexuality it’ll help me gain a better understanding. On the internets it defines it as : capacity for sexual feelings, a person’s sexual orientation / preference, or sexual activity. In this case I’d consider Burlesque to be a sexual activity (the last definition listed for sexuality)

  • http://priscillajudd.ca Priscilla

    great article – thanks!

  • Luc

    Very good article that really won me over (not to say that I’m a misogynist, I just wasn’t sure how I felt about the term “slut-shaming”). I would only say that your position seems so clouded by anger that you don’t seem to see the power in reclaiming a word. There is no way to make a word disappear or to fight against it (when people take that stance it only gives the word more power and assholes use it more) other than changing its meaning or the idea it puts in people’s heads. That’s the power of words. I would argue that the best way to combat a hurtful or destructive word is, in fact, to change its meaning or, at the very least, perception among the people who use it. Exactly like nigger. People may still use it to try and hurt; but, as a black man, if I don’t allow it to hold any power over me it will no longer arouse feelings of pain and anger.

    • lizor

      Hmmm… dude explains to women how her anger negates her intellectual position and entirely misses the [beautifully articulated] point of the post.

      How original.

  • KatyJay

    Thanks for this article. I completely agree, and I have a question. It seems to me that there is a particular current or strand or dynamic of woman-hating that centres on punishing women for and through our sexuality. We can’t describe this as ‘slut-shaming’ for precisely the reasons you give, but it does seem to be what people are trying to get at when they use that term, at least some of the time. So do you think we can use another term to pick out that specific kind of woman-hating? And if so, what term do you think it would be?

    • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca Boner Killer

      it’s all woman-hating.

      • KatyJay

        …well, quite.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Like BK said, it’s all woman-hating. Punishing women through their sexuality has always been foundational to sexism and patriarchy. I see what you mean around getting to that point specifically, though I feel comfortable just saying ‘sexism’. Perhaps others have some more creative ideas?

      • KatyJay

        Thanks Meghan. Perhaps it’s not really necessary, but I thought of using ‘sexual shaming’. Or, in a wordier context, being more specific and talking about a patriarchal ideology of sexual shame. But in any case, thanks again for your analysis.

  • @Wolf_Mommy

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been struggling with the term “slut-shaming” and the idea if “slut walks” for some time. I dislike the term & the idea, but I see how some women have used it to empower themselves & as a vehicle to openly discuss these issues in ways we have not been able to before. However, I agree with you 100%. It’s not slut-shaming, it’s women-hating and using the slit-shaming terminology not only muddied the waters, it just reinforces the old stereotypes. It reminds me again of how often feminism doesn’t seem to be about defining ourselves as women, on our own terms, setting our own standards, but it’s simply the race to achieve equality in a Man’s World. As a Feminist, I am not interested in equality in a Man’s World. I’m not that interested in androcentric culture. To that end, taking back the term “slut” has no purpose. Men can keep it. In a truly balanced world, that concept would have no power. That’s what I’d like to see. The goal should not be to share power of the term “slut”. It should not be for women to own the idea of “slut”. It should be that the concept of slut is powerless. In a balanced world, “slut” would be recognized as meaningless.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I totally agree, @Wolf_Mommy. This idea that if we can all just be more ‘like men’, somehow we can achieve equality is so misguided. It’s like those people who argue that, oh well, there are male strippers too — as though somehow ‘equal objectification’ (of course it isn’t ‘equal objectification’, but putting that aside…) makes it ok to objectify women?

  • Hari B

    Way back in my ancient history (early 1980s), I had this amazing feminist friend who told me along the way that ‘a slut is just a womyn who likes sex’. At the time, this did not make me feel like reclaiming the word. At all. However, hearing the simple of that (as it applied to me and some other womyn I knew, who were sometimes called sluts–or who just carried the internalized slut-shame of the families/religions/society we grew up in)…hearing that definition made me laugh in that merry way of shrugging off the double-standard, cutting loose the idiocy of being shamed for exercising personal control over my own sexuality. I could no longer *think of myself as a slut, regardless of what anyone might say or imply. It enabled me later, to hear someone use the word slut, and say tartly: ‘what, you got a problem with a womyn who likes sex and isn’t afraid to say so? So it’s all good if a man likes sex and spreads it around, but not a womyn?’

    That said, I totally agree with your remarks on slut-reclaiming, and slut-shaming. There is a huge difference between my above description of liberation from slut shame, and the misogynist act of ‘reclaiming’ the word slut for ourselves. It’s not a word that can be reclaimed, it’s roots in shaming go too deep. And even if it could be reclaimed, why bother? If you want to say that you like sex, like to dress sexy and act sexy and have sex on your own terms, unburdened by anyone else’s morals or misogynist double standards, great. Just say that!

  • Luc

    Why was my comment not approved? I thought I made a pretty valid point.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hey Luc. Sorry your comment ended up in the spam folder for some reason. No idea why. Sometimes that happens. Thanks for letting me know.

  • http://blamerbushfire.wordpress.com Bushfire

    Great job as usual, Meghan!

  • Rye

    I’m curious, is “woman hating” supposed to mean: institutional terrorism designed to enforce women’s conformity with patriarchal norms?

    Secondly, could the contradictory use of “slut” suggest a transition from one form of patriarchy to another? Where, in contrast to the traditional form, women are becoming common property?

    I know Sheila Jeffrey argues that men benefited from the sexual revolution, but the following quote from another feminist blog makes me wonder. Although her thoughts are on polyamory, it seems relevant to what looks like a new form of patriarchy.

    “Men argue that polyamory is freeing for women; it releases us from the old idea of ownership. This is not true. Under the new polyamorous definition of female sexuality women are not owned by one man, instead we are owned by many. In our new “sexual freedom,” we are a fuck all can enjoy instead of just one. When we decide we aren’t polyamorous, given the male defined terms and standards, we are called “old-fashioned” a term that by leftist standards is degrading and humiliating.”

    lost clown. “(The long awaited) Polyamory and Activism theory (my first theory ever!).” Angry for a Reason, 5/25/2006.
    http://angryforareason.blogspot.com/2006/05/long-awaited-polyamory-and-activism.html

    • copleycat

      Good point and probably a new way of organizing female subordination given that there are now large regions where the birth ratios are about 100 females to 130 males – nearly all of whom are going to be raised to expect access on demand to women’s bodies.

  • AJ

    Thank you Meghan! I’m so happy to read this, exactly what I have felt since I first heard of SlutWalks. Great piece.

  • Holly

    hmm! this is a new perspective to me. solid stuff.

  • copleycat

    Great article Meghan, glad you addressed this and glad you’re still writing – since you left that other blog, their loss.

    One thing the term “slut-shaming” seems to be used for is to lump together actually incidences of misogyny (from either men or women) with instances of women asking one another “what exactly are we/you doing when we/you strip, do burlesque, march down the street with the word slut written on yourself?” and that works to axiomatically dismiss any feminist critique of those behaviors. Also, as an aside, can I just ask what is with the trend of women writing on their bodies and claiming it’s empowering? I mean hasn’t writing on women’s bodies long been a rather common behavior among serial killers?

    • Meghan Murphy

      You’re right — I totally think it does erase feminist critique. Instead of talking about larger impacts, ‘slut-shaming’ individualizes the behaviour/experience. So it’s about ‘shaming’ women’s individual ‘sexualities’, rather than pointing to the larger context/impacts and looking at the actual problem/reasons behind the use of the word ‘slut’ as a weapon.

      I’d never thought about the trend of writing on our bodies in that way. Interesting… It seems to be a popular thing to do for Slutwalkers/FEMEN.

  • Lela

    “You see, there is no such thing as a ‘slut’ or a ‘non-slut’. There are women. This whole ‘slut-pride’ thing and terms like ‘slut-shaming’ reinforce the very dichotomies feminism works to destroy.”

    This deserves to be put on a t-shirt. This idea applies to so many misogynistic words that we have been encouraged to adopt as our own.

  • Lauren

    I think you make a really good point about the pointlessness of dividing “good girls” from “bad girls” by trying to reclaim “slut” as meaning something along the lines of “a woman who enjoys sex”–we’re all just people here, neither good nor bad regardless of our sexual expression.

    My one critique, however, is that this article seems a little too close to man-bashing for my comfort. You used the word “asshole” to describe some men, and more troublingly the biological-gender-specific word “dickbag” to describe a certain man. I don’t think that’s helpful in this discussion. Yes, it’s often men who are doing the women hating in the form of derogatory name calling. But as learned yesterday from my own gut reaction to the (scantily clad) profile photo of a girl who a friend that I am romantically interested in just befriended on Facebook, it’s not just men who are stuck in a patriarchal rut of hating on women as women for their modes of expression.

    Anyway, in the case of gendered name calling, I think fire is better fought entirely with water.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I guess I just don’t have a problem with ‘man-bashing’…

      • Lauren

        But shouldn’t you? Shouldn’t we? How will we ever achieve gender equality if we don’t ALL decide to be mature and stop name calling. By no means am I saying that anger towards “men” is unjustified, just that I don’t think it’s 100% forward-looking to take cheap shots when your article, without that comment, does a lot in the way of basic education on feminism and the word “slut.” As it is now, it’s possible that some non-feminist educated man or other might read this and catch that one word, find the whole post hypocritical, and continue to scoff at the feminist perspective rather than take it seriously.

        I don’t mean to be a nitpicker, but sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Well, I’m not going to defend name-calling. But I do enjoy calling men douchebags and dickbags and have a potty mouth that I like to indulge. I don’t use sexist language, but seeing as there is no such thing as sexism against men, I have no problem calling a dickbag a dickbag…To each their own.

        • NitroGirl

          From personal observations, I don’t think these men want to be pro-feminists or anything else that might benefit them anyway since they can’t get past their own personal feelings in the midst of women expressing their disdain for men dehumanizing them.

          When people nitpick feminist critique to suggest they (women)”think about the men”, it usually just placates the male ego,for a woman just rendered her time to become a caretaker for their egos. To be honest women have been,and still are very civil considering what happens to them in a patriarchal society.

          I used to believe in “equality” of this brand when I was young(er),but as I got older I realized none of this really matters to the people who don’t want to see you liberated. Women’s energy is often wasted in trying to appeal to patriarchal men’s sensibilities. You in actuality are saying that there’s an equal standing when you imply that calling a man a “dickhead” is the equivalent of being called a “slut” as a woman.

          I have yet to see a Dickhead March dedicated to women who like to shame Dickheads for enjoying being terrible people. The word “slut” is a gendered slur that dehumanizes and oppresses only a specific group: women. Those words like “c*nt”,”b*tch”,”whore”,and “slut” have a history behind it,where as a word like “dickhead” does not,and if it did,it would be men’s own doing of creating just as many crass gendered insults for men as they have for women.

          Me personally?I just want liberation. This bastardized version of equality that asks me to tone my volume down or else I’m just as bad as an oppressor ,defang myself to appeal to the status-quo’s sensibilities,and censor my righteous rage is far too taxing and oppressive in itself. I don’t particularly believe in this brand of equality.

          I guess I’ll just have to agree to disagree.

          • Lauren

            You’re right–sometimes it’s too easy to forget that we shouldn’t have to worry about how certain men and others of backward misogynistic belief systems feel in the first place since the whole problem that we’re fighting against is the fact that our society is basically based on not caring how women feel.

            But it’s hard to decide between respecting yourself (by calling certain men out for being the “dickbags” they are) and being “respected,” in a sense, by those same men and that general society we live in by not being confrontational.

            Yeah, now that I think about it a bit more I suppose it is better to be righteously confrontational than politically correct.

          • NitroGirl

            Wow we are seriously derailing this entire premise into What About The Men?
            You aren’t reading me correctly.
            Lmao this entire argument is hilarious.

          • Lauren

            …I’m sorry? I thought I was agreeing with you, in fact, as far as I’m concerned I DO agree with you…I guess I agreed wrong. Is “What About The Men” a required feminist reading I missed? Please pardon my ignorance and forgive me for thinking that the comments section of a feminist blog would be a place I could raise a small point I thought was worth noting without being patronized–I certainly won’t do it again.

          • NitroGirl

            It seems as though ,if I am wrong then my mistake , you were being very condescending in a later post,and assumed that I said you were hardwired to care about men’s feelings or something of that nature,which was not what I said at all.

            You wrote a few posts after mine: “(sometimes I forget this as the urge to make everyone comfortable at all costs is for some reason deeply engrained in my brain).”

            I don’t think you can fully ,or possibly agree with me since you are so focused on a meaningless word.

            My point was you were erasing power dynamics/historical context by equating calling some dude a dickbag as a female is the equivalent of calling woman a slut as a male. How can you agree with me and still make this argument repeatedly? I basically said this is a pointless argument,yet you agree this argument was pointless afterall?

            My point was that it was your it wasn’t worth–your point,because it is a common derailing tactic to get women to focus on men, hence my “What About The Men” comment. It has effectively decentralized women’s issues with the concern of men.

            You’d first have to create a fake set of power dynamics, false oppressions,in order for your version of equality to exist.

            Women would have had to have some power over men–this is not reality.
            Women would have had to have some control over how male sexuality is viewed–this is not reality.
            Then you’d have to have women in a matriarchal society call them hurtful slurs regarding their sexuality,shame them for being sexual.—This is not reality.
            Then women would have a REASON not to use “gendered slurs” against men (and in actuality, just about everyone ,all genders,call people dickbags,dickheads,pricks,etc.)
            And it goes on and on.

            You are creating false equivalences to make a point,which makes the (your) point,a moot point.

          • Lauren

            Sorry for the misunderstanding–I didn’t mean to imply that that’s what you said about me–that is, in fact, how I feel about me (that those feelings are ingrained in me and I don’t like it). My tone within those parentheses was meant to be one of self-disparaging realization (like imagine someone moaning “oh god, you’re totally right I can’t believe I didn’t remember to consider it from that perspective” while face-palming), but it’s kind of hard to read tone in text sometimes, particularly since I’m not a gifted writer, so I’m sorry about that being unclear.

            And yes, I absolutely whole-heartedly agree that my point is a moot point. I have brought it up again and again I guess in the hope that I can explain myself a little because I feel stupid for even having said it in the first place and I want to let everyone know that I totally understand why it is an irrelevant argument and I’m legitimately glad to have had it explained to me.

            Let me be clear: I don’t think “dickbag” is even remotely equivalent to “slut” (besides that they’re both insults based on gender and I don’t really like using gendered insults). Clearly there is a long history of what, for lack of a better term here can be called “slut-shaming” and literally no history of “dickbag-shaming.”

            My only explanation for my initial comment is, again, that I guess patriarchal notions are so deeply ingrained in me that I still have an immediate gut reaction to somehow defend men or worry about placating those perpetuating the patriarchy. Not a very good explanation, but I guess it’s all I’ve got.

          • Grackle

            I have the same deeply ingrained obsession with making everybody as comfortable as possible regardless of cost. Sigh. I guess overall it’s a good thing but like you’ve demonstrated, it can sometimes become all-consuming to the point that it detracts from the real issue.

          • Andrew Pari

            I’ll just bring it around full circle (cause my opinion is just that important, natch).

            If the use of slurs, gendered or otherwise, towards “my kind” stops me from being a supportive, feminist male, then I wasn’t much good to you to begin with.

            Iow, any man who uses that (thems womyns was mean to me!) argument as some reason not to see the fucking POINT, wasn’t going to anyway.

          • lizor

            “sometimes I forget this as the urge to make everyone comfortable at all costs is for some reason deeply engrained in my brain”

            “for some reason”? I suggest that the reason is that selfless service to others, body mind and soul, whether it kills us or not, is the core tenet of feminization in our culture. It is the foundation upon which we are groomed to be female.

      • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

        Oh gosh gee, you said something about men being dickbag asshats on a feminist blog!?…MEGHAN! gawwd.

        • Lauren

          If the kind of feminism promoted on this blog is all about calling men “dickbags” (what I see as needlessly perpetuating gendered name-calling) then I guess I don’t want to be a part of it…”asshats” on the other hand, is fine with me.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I don’t know that I’ve ever called a man a dickbag on this blog until now. So I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is what this blog is ‘all about’. That said, I have no intention of stopping. Also, what is the issue you have with calling a man who is a dickbag a dickbag? What would you prefer I call him?

          • Lauren

            I don’t really mean I think this blog is all about name calling…I didn’t think that comment through particularly well I guess, because I suppose I was feeling a little attacked by BK. Nevertheless, I realized from NitroGirl’s comment above that yeah, there’s no need to worry about pissing off people who are part of the problem anyway (sometimes I forget this as the urge to make everyone comfortable at all costs is for some reason deeply engrained in my brain).

            Go ahead and call people whatever you want, by all means. I’ve been trying recently to stop using gendered insults as I tend to have a pretty dirty mouth myself (a personal favorite of mine is “dickwad,” actually) because I just don’t think anyone’s gendered parts should be included in something that’s meant to be insulting. Douchebag, asshole, asshat, etc. are fine in my book as a douchebag is an inanimate object and everyone, no matter their sex, has an asshole. Of course I understand that I could be overthinking this, it just seems to me that we might as well have equality in insults.

            But, of course, it cannot be denied that there are far more commonly used negative words that are women-specific than there are negatie words to describe men. That said, I don’t think it’s necessarily our job as enlightened 21st century women to come up with more.

          • Andrew Pari

            I insist that you change the name of this blog to Dickbag Current: the state of dickbags in a dickbaggery world full of bags of dicks.

            Dickbo Baggins
            (just throwing a plug in for the movie)

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

            Hey, you’re the one choosing to derail from women’s issues to do a “what about teh menz” derail…

          • Lauren

            Which I am legitimately sorry for (see my other comments if you’re interested). I’m on your side, I swear. I just made a mistake and have now seen that it’s wrong.

          • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

            S’all good :)

      • http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/ Francois Tremblay

        But… but… Meghan… what… WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ??? You’re so unfair, yes you are. I feel so devalued as a man, that you think so lowly about my manly man-genitals. *sniffle*

        By the way, if you put a bunch of dicks in a bag with some grain, the dicks will eat all the grain because a wizard- I mean a witch did it. This is a TRUE FAX.

    • NitroGirl

      You cannot be serious. Calling a man anything gender based like “dickhead” is pretty much fighting fire with water in a way,since women do not have any power in a patriarchal society to do the equivalent of what men do.

      • Lauren

        I mean, I don’t disagree that women are at a disadvantage here. But I guess I’d just rather that we as a group try to be more civil–treating EVERYONE as equals to show that that’s how we’d like to be treated, even if it doesn’t feel as satisfying now, at least no one can say we were being just as demeaning as the man crying “slut.”

    • Me

      Lauren, I don’t think the decent men out there will mind man bashing and they definitely won’t turn against women over it. That’s just the decent, reachable men. At first the bashing may be off-putting, because all the anger can sound like it’s out of this world, but that’s because it’s out of /his/ world. But mostly I think men just act as if they were unfairly insulted to protect their asses and their privilege.

      In my opinion, to get a decent man to actually stand up for women you have to push very hard and be fierce about it. Make him either own up to being a misogynist or walk the walk. That’s not being unfair, that’s just unpleasantly and wonderfully honest. In my opinion there’s no other way to make whatever decent men are out there to see the war for what it is and act on it but by rubbing it in their faces and leaving them no choice. Subtlety doesn’t work with this, I think it’s much overrated.

      You asked “How will we ever achieve gender equality if we don’t ALL decide to be mature and stop name calling.”

      When you write “achieving gender equality”, I suppose you include stopping rape and child abuse. Then in my opinion to actually achieve those goals a lot of rapists and child abusers need to be killed or castrated as a consequence of what they do. Would you agree with that and would you still ask how do we get there unless we’re mature and stop name calling? I don’t mean to take a jab at you by saying this, I’m just pointing out that if you disagree with me about what it’s going to take and how far men will go to protect their interests, then you and I will disagree about a lot. What do you think it’s going to take?

      In my opinion, men are going to have to accept dying or getting completely shut out of a community (and effectively being left to die) as a consequence of the kind of murderous sadism rapists and child abusers do to their victims. Men accept that doing all kinds of things can get them killed or they’ll lose a leg or lose their balls or something and take those things in consideration when they act. Rape and child abuse need to be on that list absolutely: if I did this and anybody found out I’d get killed. Otherwise I don’t see how guys are going to be deterred from raping or how boys will grow up thinking rape is a truly horrible thing to do. I don’t believe for a minute that “progress” and education are going stop rape without enough rapists actually getting killed for what they do, and that’s not to say anything against education. Men could decide to change anytime they wanted to, but instead they’re organizing to rape and put women down even more. That’s just the reality I think we live in. If women and their supporters aren’t able to make rape potentially lethal to the rapists, then violence against women and children is only going to get worse. People look the other way all the time when men murder women. They’re going to have to look the other way when rapists are killed and get the message.

      You might like reading The Knitting Circle Rapist Annihilation Squad. I liked it a lot, it was a very uplifting and good read.

      • Lauren

        Thank you so much for this comment. You’re totally right (please read my tone here as not sarcastic, because I’m not being sarcastic at all, rather I am quite serious and I do legitimately agree with everything you have said). I just didn’t think my comment through very far and have gotten myself into a bit of a mess. I mean, I took feminist studies classes in college and have been exposed to all of these arguments in the past, but I guess I’m more out of practice than I’d like and I therefore neglected to see the obvious flawed premise in my assertion before absentmindedly posting and even defending it (again, I am NOT being sarcastic, but completely serious in my tone).

        I am happy (honestly, for the sake of myself and for the sake of the feminist movement being able to move forward more successfully) that I will not make the same mistake again.

        • NitroGirl

          I don’t mean to make hour glasses,just wanted to apologize to you if I came off as offensive in earlier posts,Lauren. :)

      • copleycat

        Excellent point Me. Even if a woman isn’t raped or abused the absence of any real deterrents in the law regarding these crimes has a constant, corrosive effect on her social status and consequently her self esteem; it soundly implies that these crimes are not deserving of serious punishment because the targets of them (overwhelmingly women and children) are not deserving of respect as full humans. Radical reform of the laws regarding rape and abuse is long overdue.

      • Andrew Pari

        Liked x 100.

        And I’m a pacifist.

    • radicalwoman

      I <3 man-bashing.

  • Aron Embleton

    Hi Meghan loved hearing someone say what I usually feel like the only person in the world saying about the non-existence of ‘sluts’.

    Also, share your concerns over the efficacy of the reclamation effort. But my question is your opinion on the efficacy of teaching people that there is no such thing as a ‘slut’, because it requires an explanation because as you’re at lengths to preempt in your article people tend to misunderstand a denial of the existence of the immorality of ‘sluttishness’ with a denial of the behaviours concerned.

    Consequently the requisite explanation/ analysis is in my experience unsuited to success as a competing meme or whatever that can spread and change culture by eating or reproducing faster than the blatantly false but nevertheless politically valuable myth of the ‘slut’, beginning as we are from a position in which it is so prevalent, where the idea is so thoroughly dyed throughout the ideology, that it appears not as the value claim that it is, but as a neutral description of an objective reality.

    Politely side-stepping the conceited, pretentious verbosity that characterizes deforms my gender’s efforts at written communication, what do you think of what seems to me to be a less obvious question of the relative efficacy of the two routes, for, notwithstanding the problems of ‘slut-shaming’ you describe, it has the qualities that the alternative lacks. So that for example whereas ‘slut-shaming’ can confuse and reinforce the very issues and categories it seeks to undo, it has the power to get across the ‘non-badness’ of ‘sluttishness’ in a concise more easily spreadable fashion, eg ‘being a slut is good/ not bad’ as opposed to ‘there is no such thing as a slut because…several minutes later’.

    Whereas though the explanatory alternative doesn’t have the problems of ‘slut-shaming’, it’s as difficult to spread as butter straight from the fridge onto fluffy white bread; or maybe I’m just overblowing the problem because I have always been particularly bad at spreading butter and found it upsettingly frustrating so the analogy elicits more emotional force than it’s really able to justify.

    • Meghan Murphy

      You lost me, bud.

    • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

      Lost me at “Politely side-stepping the conceited, pretentious verbosity that characterizes deforms my gender’s efforts at written communication”

      This is like, premium mansplaining…I mean…whoaaa.

    • NitroGirl

      Holy purple-prose ,Batman!

    • copleycat

      Regardless of whatever point you’re trying to make, I have to say, your sentence structures are terrible. I’m not usually one to nit pick but this is the kind of writing that makes people want to not read and that is a serious hazard.

    • Me

      I get it that he’s very upset over how difficult cold butter is to spread. I just tend to cut thick slices with a knife myself, no problem.

  • Kyler

    I’ve never felt bad after having sex, but I understand that some women can if they are:
    1) Being degraded during sex ( physically abused, objectified, BDSM bullshit, called names, etc)
    2) If you feel the guy cares nothing about your pleasure
    3) Is using you simply as a lay, so he can go around and talk about how he conquested you. And never speak to you ever again.
    4) You’re partner is not attracted to you, but simply your body parts.

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  • Missfit

    The term ‘slut’, basically used to shame women’s sexuality, is often associated with a particular kind of dress/look/attitude (in accordance with malestream fetishization of women’s bodies) because these have been defined as representing the female sexual expression par excellence . Some women adopting this dress/look/attitude want to embrace the label ‘slut’ as an identity meaning ‘women who like sex’. As oppose to what? Women who don’t like sex? Why is it not taken for granted that women should like sex? A man does not have to dress, look or act a certain way in order to be considered as ‘someone who likes sex’. Men are sexual beings by virtue of having a penis. The sex industry likes to promote the idea that sex is primarily entertainment for men. And somehow, critiquing the sex industry has become ‘slut-shaming’ which distracts from confronting how the sex industry, globally, encourages and validates men’s entitlement to women’s bodies and the abuses that stem from this.

    As for women’s actual pleasure/orgasm, it is secondary/optional under pallocracy’s conception of sexuality; as long as women are willing to please men, they can just fake it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Yes! Why IS men’s sexuality not something they have to wear/present? Why does consumerism/uncomfortable clothing (stilettos, lingerie, etc) represent female sexuality? Why is sex always about a show when it comes to women (for example – burlesque as, supposedly, being about female sexuality??).

      • Andrew Pari

        That is an interesting question and I’m not a good enough historian to know the answer to this. But it wasn’t so long ago that men did wear heels, makeup, dress-like outfits, codpieces, etc., all to showcase their sexuality.
        It was women who wore less sexually obvious clothing.

        Then it shifted and women adopted the styles that men had, e.g. makeup, heels and all.

        Does someone here know what that was about?

        • Meghan Murphy

          That is an interesting question. One that I don’t have the answer to. That said, it strikes me as more of a class thing than a sexualization thing? I really have no idea, but make that assumption because I believe it was only the aristocracy who wore those things… Please do correct me if I’m wrong!

          • http://www.newstalk1380.com Andrew Pari, LCSW

            From the bit of research I did, it seems all of these things have been around in some manner for thousands of years, going in and out of style with both men and women.
            Often associated with class, like you said, but not always. The high heel at one point was specifically used to identify prostitutes. At another, royalty.

            I have thought for a long time on the idea that fashion comes and goes and comes around again. It’s possible we are just in a period where we are associating those items (wigs, makeup, heels, etc.) with women and sexual identification/restriction when really it’s just the era we’re in. Maybe another hundred years and it will be men “peacocking” again and women will be back to more “drab” styles.

            I’m just speculating though. Any fashion historians out there?

          • http://www.rosiecoco.com Sera Cocora

            One theory might be because men generally are admired and respected for their intellect, power & personality whereas women are for their looks. Therefore men dress down & more casual because their appearance is not universally threatened/judged – they are automatically assumed into positions of power because of this so why bother much if at all with appearance too? Whereas women dress/accessorize sexier than men to play on the power they are marginalized with. Fortunately for us we are becoming more admired & respected for our intellect & personality as well so we’ll become a triple threat as we are becoming more powerful and influential.

    • Me

      I think in patriarchy whether men like sex or not is completely secondary to their “right” to take sex from women. Men don’t have to prove they like sex, they have to prove they’re not women. They prove it by hating women. So in my opinion it doesn’t much matter how men dress or if they flaunt what they wear so long as everybody understands it just proves they’re not women. I think that’s where a lot of the hatred for gays comes from too, because gays can insist on turning those interpretations around and that’s blasphemy. Men are men because they are not women, you’re not allowed to challenge that or make fun of how men prove it. It may even be okay to be gay so long are you otherwise make it clear you’re okay with the basic setup and clearly exploit others economically or something, like let men understand those are your “women” and so they allow you that as your “personal” choice and “preference”.

      In movies “gay” clothes are okay so long as those wearing them use enough violence to prove they’re not gay. How otherwise could you have batman or bullfighting or something? And when you have “martial” or violent women characters, they need to be sexed up to prove they’re still fuckable by men, or they can be killed by men, and therefore they’re women. Or at least the women or the presentation itself (movie, show, etc.) needs to be objectified enough or in the best case made “comfortably” distant to let the viewer know that this film or this performance was made for his pleasure, for him to use at his discretion however he likes it. Usually they do a lot of that in every movie one way or another and definitely in all the porn, because it taps into this hate that sells so well.

  • Rye

    This article just gave a bizarre realization.

    If casual sex is risky and unrewarding for women, then women will be deterred from casual sex. So, if men want women to be more excited about casual sex (and sex in general), then we ought to lessen those risks and make the experience more rewarding for women.

    Therefore, it is in the best interests of most men to have zero tolerance for rape, sexual harassment and misogyny etc.

    • Me

      The bizarre realization sounds like a step in the right direction, but you’re still making it sound like it’s about the men and their sexual access and it definitely isn’t. It sounds like women as real persons aren’t in the picture yet. For example, I’ve never met a woman for whom “casual sex” or getting more interested in it has any priority at all, so why should I care about it? For myself? No.

      Instead of focusing on sex, how about focusing on making the world safe for women instead? You can help with that. Learn to enjoy living that way and when it comes to sex learn to enjoy masturbating just by yourself, get that porn out of your head. I found that I started to trust masturbation more than sex because I’d know what I’d get. Eventually you may come across someone who’ll love you back on her own terms, or rather someone may come across you?

      Keep trying, even if you do it right it will take time!

      • Me

        “Keep trying, even if you do it right it will take time!”

        And by this I did NOT mean to say “look man, keep trying and you’ll get what you want.”

        I meant that even if you tried hard to look at things from women’s point of view, it takes time to be able to do that. To men women aren’t really human. They’re women and there’s usually a huge difference. Obviously you should ask women for their perspective a lot. But even when you do ask, your mind probably doesn’t want to hear it how she means it, like no becomes a maybe and “this is not about sex” becomes “she wasn’t in the mood this discussion right now”. It’s totally fucked up and you need to keep it in mind and act accordingly.

        • Rye

          Well, I’m not ignoring justice or that women are real people. But it has now occurred to me that Feminism and men’s self-interest may not be in conflict with one another. If so, incidents of rape, sexual harassment and misogyny etc are treacherous to the male sex because they spoil all men’s relations with women.

          Although I specifically mentioned casual sex, I believe my reasoning applies to heterosexuality in general. Why should women not be guarded about sex when it is risky for them?

          If sex was more rewarding and not so risky for women, then women might (probably) be more enthusiastic about it in both casual and committed relationships. If women were more enthusiastic, then men would enjoy more sex, true. However, mutuality necessitates treating women as people rather than as tools.

          More importantly, gender equality and respect for women might improve the quality of relationships and sex. When men have the power and control of resources, then women have to be dishonest and ambiguous to survive or get ahead. So by relinquishing power and treating women as people, it will become easier for men to develop authentic relationships with women.

          • Me

            I’m sorry, I took you seriously. Won’t happen again.

    • sporenda

      So right, so rational–at first sight.
      But in fact men are not going to give up rape, violence etc to get better and/or more sexe from women, because it’s not heavenly sex many men are after, it’s domination and inferiorization of women thru sex.

  • Dan

    Honestly I don’t think casual sex regardless of your gender is something anyone should do. Having sex with someone you’ve met that night for some cheap thrills hasn’t really been on my list of self respecting things to do. I’m a sex in a relationship or none at all kinda guy. A guy who goes sleeping around compared to a girl who goes sleeping around, which is worse? Neither. They’re as bad as each other. Anyone who thinks the woman or the man is the worse one has some ridiculous, fake standards that they live by which doesn’t say much for their intelligence. Guy being a “pimp” is a good thing? Probably just as disease riddled as the “slut” so no I don’t think it’s a good thing. I guess a lot of people live by these standards but that doesn’t stop it being stupid. Forget these stupid gender specific standards and subsequently lose the abuse that stems from it and then we have no problem.

    • marv

      Dan, you are pontificating as if male supremacy as a sex class didn’t exist. We are not a bunch of individuals in control of our lives. Men as a social group have turned women as a social group into sex things which is dehumanization. This is system wide oppression that can’t be wished or forgotten away by individuals. Collective action on feminist terms is the only way to change gender inequality. For goodness sake take heed to what these feminists are saying instead of droning on about a fictional world.

      • Dan

        Well I’m ovbiously not droning on about a “fictional world” because I don’t have your views. I don’t belong to this “social group” that dehumanizes any gender as sex things and saying I’ve been pontifical, well you’ve decided to slap your own meaning on to my statement that I never implied. Also I am an individual thank you very much so please don’t use feminism as a means to attack me seeing as at it’s roots feminism is meant to strive for equality between sexes it won’t help too much when it’s used against a male who isn’t an arsehole towards women in the first place.

        I never said male supremacy as a sex class didn’t exist, in my opinion it’s created by insecurities from both genders (just as much as each other) for many reasons that are all like I said, ridiculous. There is no one way street regarding respect between humans, it takes both sides letting go of underserved prejudice. Granted throughout history women have had the raw end of the deal and have had a reason to strive for equality but in the modern era it’s no where near as bad. In the work place for example I meet just as many women in high ranking positions in the work place and know many men who are probably more “oppressed” by their own girlfriends! But this may be culture specific, my experiences are from the UK and I realise social norms differ from country to country. Still doesn’t change that prejudice between sexes is just stupid and that most of the problems arise from people who seem to lack common sense or dare I say lack intelligence.

        • marv

          I thought carefully about your words which is something you haven’t done. Your points contradict one another. You say sex classes are real but “it takes both sides letting go of undeserved prejudice” to overcome sexism. In addition you claim that the “insecurities” of both groups have created the antagonism, implying that men and women are equally at fault for gender inequality. You assert the solution is overcoming stupidity, unintelligence and a lack of common sense.

          Anyone who understands social classes knows that they refer to power inequalities not mutual bigotry. Male dominance signifies the political forms men’s power has created: pornography, sexual harassment, rape, prostitution, battering, marriage, mandatory heterosexuality (homophobia), racialization, the state, capitalism, colonization, the military, etc. Women assimilate into these constructs. They did not invent them. Hence male supremacy is institutional sexism.

          As a correlation think about capitalism. Capitalists and workers do not have the same power to shape each other’s lives. It would be ludicrous to believe that capital is not dominant over labour and that mistrust and intolerance are the causes of their ill feelings towards each other. To see economic class divisions as the result of reciprocal belligerence would be an obscene misrepresentation of reality. Capitalist rule is institutional economic classism. Civility is not the solution here to power and powerlessness, equality is, at the system design level.

          So in applying this line of reasoning to women’s plight, intelligent people realize that whether you are an “arsehole towards women” or not we as men are imbedded in the class oppression of women despite our denialism. The remedy is not charity or being a nice guy but a reconstruction of men’s institutions so that they reflect sex, sex orientation, race, and class equality. Then your attention to loving kindness won’t be so patronizing.

          You need to step out of delusional conventional terms of reference to grasp reality. So far you are parroting what you have been taught to believe. You have too much “common sense”; it is uncommon sense that you are lacking.

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  • Angie

    Thanks for writing this Meghan. I just want to make sure I completely understand your argument: that trying to reclaim the word ‘slut’, particularly by calling people out on ‘slut-shaming’, isn’t useful because ‘slut’ as a concept does not actually exist except as a one-size-fits-all insult of women, completely irrespective of whether what they are being shamed for has to do with sex – and additionally that ‘slut’, even when reclaimed, does nothing to break down ‘good/bad’/’virgin/whore’ dichotomies and again divides women and reinforces the relevance of enjoying or not enjoying sex as a component of womanhood?

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  • http://www.templesacredflame.org Bex

    Great article, really made me think a bit more about the language we use. However, there are some issues with points like this one: “You can be labelled a ‘slut’ regardless of whether or not you have or like sex. Whether you’ve had one partner or fifty. It’s doesn’t matter. Just like women get called bitches regardless of their behaviour. ”

    … and you can be labelled “queer” by your peers while being a completely hetero, cisgendered person. So? Should we tell queers they can’t use that label anymore, because it was originally placed on LGBT people as an insult and is often still used to shame people who may or may not actually be queer?

    • Meghan Murphy

      I would not, personally, appreciate being labelled anything by someone who is not me (i.e. ‘queer’ or ‘cis’). I mean, if women want to call themselves ‘sluts’ then they can, of course. But it’s a misguided use of the term and ineffective way to empower oneself.

      • http://www.templesacredflame.org Bex

        I guess I don’t believe that I am any more able to determine what is or is not empowering for someone else than I am to determine what label they should use for themselves.

        • Me

          I wonder, when you say that, do you mean it specifically as it comes to the terms “slut” and “queer” and to these “slut-walks”? In that case I can understand what you’re saying, and I think that’s what discussion is for.

          On the other hand, if you’re making a more general point, then I think it’s not true: it can be appropriate to choose a label for someone, as well as to determine what is and what is not empowering to them. Apart from making those distinctions for an individual, it may or may not be appropriate to make them for whole classes of people.

          Just to give a stark example that I think you would agree with, a batterer should be called a batterer and ideally should also call himself that. That would be an appropriate label appropriately used. Also, it is possible to determine that battery is typically empowering to the individual batterer as well as to batterers as a whole, whereas it’s obviously not empowering to the battered.

          Another stark example would be that a “feminist”, who is also a capitalist, should not be called or call herself a feminist but a capitalist. There are no “feminist” dictators, clearly. Similarly, it can be determined to a level of an obvious truism that capitalism empowers the capitalist(s). Sometimes these distinctions are easy as well as empowering to make, and sometimes they can be difficult to make. And sometimes they’re harmful. People need to make these distinctions and discuss how they make them.

          I would argue that “slut-walkers” pick a label and a model of empowerment for women and girls that I do not agree with. The labeling as well as imposing what empowerment is can go both ways, and in this case I think it does. Women more broadly are affected, not just those participating in the “slut-walks”, and it can have other cultural effects too.

  • Matt Markonis

    They’re just words. It’d be nice if people in the U.S. would develop enough psychological resilience not to whine about the traumatic effects of name calling given the realities of the world (1.29bn people in absolute poverty, etc.).

    • Meghan Murphy

      Words are not ‘just words’, Matt. Are people of colour not to take offense at racial slurs simply because they don’t bother you? Critical thinking and having conversations about language also does not equate to ‘whining’. Try to be a little less intellectually lazy.

      • Matt Markonis

        Yes, my argument is what it is, you don’t have to agree with it, but it’s not intellectually lazy to have a disagreement, it’s actually at the heart of rigor not to coerce agreement about the topic.

        The fact of the matter is that words are just words, and as many times as Frank Zappa or anyone else needs to repeat it on Crossfire or wherever else, actions speak louder than. If you want to criticize people, why not do so for not manifesting solidarity on an issue that really matters (like absolute poverty in the 3rd world). It’s best not to elide the point when criticizing someone’s comments if you want to retain a shred of credibility.

        My critique of this sort of ideologically driven that feminism has about words is that it’s centrist or center-right, pretty divisive, when there are much clearer issues to get behind than sticks and stones. Call it debutante values, but if feminism can’t look beyond it’s own creature comforts then it’s problematic for me.

        • Meghan Murphy

          My argument isn’t about words. It’s about misogyny. And don’t pull this “why don’t you focus on issues that really matter! Like the things I think matter!” crap. You aren’t a feminist so of course you don’t think feminist ideology is important. Good for you. Go write about something else then.

          • Matt Markonis

            My friend wanted me to let you know I’m not a hater I just crush a lot. Critique is a valid endeavor and I think it’s revealing that you don’t view my concern and interest as manifest solidarity but trolling simply because I disagree, am male, etc… Clearly you’d rather label and judge than understand to whom you’re writing. If you’re concerned with hatred why not manifest a positive attitude toward engaging in public intellectualism?

          • Meghan Murphy

            Hi Matt – You are not a feminist or an ally. Therefore, no one gives two shits what your opinion of feminism is. Lose the ego, bro. Also, go comment somewhere else please. You’re boring everyone.

          • Matt Markonis

            Moreover, I used to call myself a feminist (“out of respect/ for those who fought for this…”) but as a man I’m so regularly confronted with people who see my disagreement and critique as anti-feminist that I’ve stopped identifying as such. Ideological identification isn’t a prerequisite of discourse and my education, specifically in political ideology, sort of eschews labels…

          • Meghan Murphy

            Thank you for such a pertinent final comment, Matt. Enjoy prom, buddy!

    • http://www.rosiecoco.com Sera Cocora

      So with your logic, verbal abuse should be tolerated because there are more (in your opinion) offensive crimes that exist? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s like forcing me to eat food I’ll have a bad reaction to & expecting me to build a tolerance for it – all because there’s people out there who don’t have food. Are you aware that verbal abuse is a lot more powerful than you are aware of? It leads to suicide and psychological trauma – same results from physical abuse. Are you suggesting we suppress our reactions to verbal abuse because it’s not abusive enough for you? Thats pathological in nature. Please don’t completely invalidate a form of abuse just because it’s emotional in nature.

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  • Anna Taylor

    Well, I just don’t know about this. I’m all for equal treatment of everyone. I’m a humanist rather than a feminist.

    However, I use words like slut and whore all the time. Essentially, I use them as something similar to the words prostitute or hooker, and to talk about people of any gender. I’ll tell someone that they’re dressed like a whore because I’m not ok with seeing everyone’s butts hanging out of their shorts or their boobs pushed up to their chins (in regards to women). In regards to men, I’ll use it as a term meaning “man-whore” just without the “man” part because it’s really the same thing. Anyone can be a whore, anyone can dress like a whore.

    Also, why is it ok for a girl to call her boyfriend a “dickbag” but it’s not ok for him to call her a “whore”? There’s a double standard there, right?

    • Meghan Murphy

      No. There’s no double-standard there. Because, sexism.

  • Peter

    I only have one serious issue with your argument: the idea that there’s no such thing as a slut.

    The word slut has been distorted. I do not see why we shouldn’t have a word to describe promiscuous people.

    I regularly call promiscuous males sluts, and I wish more people did it.

    Frankly, it’s a useful word.

    • Sugarpuss

      Kindly explain how it’s “useful” to shame people for having an active sex life? How is it any of your fucking business, exactly? It seems to me that the men who use this word so often are usually of the 40 year-old virgin variety. You can’t get any, therefore those who can are dirty, evil & worthy of contempt?

      F*CK THAT. And most importantly, F*CK YOU.

  • anOther

    meghan thank you for the edifying words. i learned from it & also i made some connections to its content with other educating concepts i know about. such as, how ‘slut’ really is non existant term that has an (nasty hateful) intention behind it, not a definition, just as the term “race” is non-existent too, but a tool to internalize oppression & create disharmony among our species & dissent.

  • Friend

    The word slut is used to hurt women, and is obviously very effective, yes it has lost it’s meaning but the effect is still there. I am a male and don’t believe that females should be treated unfairly, but there is situations when all human beings are shamed and ridiculed about their actions. For instance, my wife cheated on me with one of my friends, and although as far as I’m aware she has had few sex partners, I labelled her a slut. In the same situation I became severely depressed and within my social group, I was labelled as a hopeless case. I guess my point is why become so raged over the use of one nasty word here, when we should be more outraged by the judgement that leads to the name calling in the first place. And also to all of the girls that are very effected by people in their past or even present because of being named a slut, try not to let it hurt you, in most situations it is said out of jealousy or hurt and very rarely because anybody actually believes that’s what you are.

  • Utibe

    I have had a similar experience. A bunch of women started a rumour referring to me as slut when I had only one boyfriend. We broke up and I am single but the term seems to stick. I am glad that you have made very valid points.From now on, I will not waste my time thinking about the term slut.

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  • lo

    I can’t believe how much this concept (“slut shaming”) has become popular. Like everyone on twitter, on forums, etc used it blindly. I know it’s a “catchy” concept, but still …

    At first, I didn’t understand why libfem liked this concept so much (I mean, concepts like “nigger shaming/faggot shaming” don’t exist, then why “slut shaming” is so easily accepted? Why using a slur? Don’t they see why it is problematic, especially from a feminist POV ? Don’t we already use the words « objectification » and « stigmatization » ?).
    But now I understand: they (libfem) think that women are either prude or slut, (just like patriarchy taught them huh). I even read somewhere (a queer site I think), that both -prude and slut- were identities of women, and that there should also be a “prude walk”. #facepalm

    The fun thing with this concept is that it doesn’t denounce the objectification of women at all : objectification is part of women sexuality for them, so they justify the use of the word “slut”, AND also the objectification of women. And I don’t even talk at their unsuccessful attempts to objectify men or to « prove » that men are objectified the same way women are. Because, yeah, I’ve never seen male rappers/pop stars twerking with a naked butt while singing for example. But for libfem, Alexander Skarskgard is objectified the same way Nicki Minaj is. Very logical isn’t it?

    And also, since “slut” is now an identity, the objectification of women is also part of our identity, so whenever a feminist will talk about objectification, libfem will say that she “slut shames”, which sounds more like a way to silence other feminists to me.

    The worst part is probably when they claim that this concept is “empowering” (“lol we reappropriate slurs, and reappropriating slurs is like reappropriating power, men are powerless now”). – Hope this era of « reappropriating and empowering lalalala » BS will end soon btw-
    They impose a reactionary “””identity””” on women without their consent(!), the new generation thinks now that objectification is part of our sexuality, women’s sexuality is reduced to a slur, and men can freely objectify women for their desire and claiming it “empower” us.

    Because of them, men -patriarchal cultures- are feminists, and feminists have become misogynists.

    Urgh, I can’t.

    • corvid

      “And also, since “slut” is now an identity, the objectification of women is also part of our identity, so whenever a feminist will talk about objectification, libfem will say that she “slut shames”, which sounds more like a way to silence other feminists to me.”

      YES to this whole comment, especially this! I recall a recent gathering where I was told by some younger women present: “If you take the power away from a word, it stops being offensive!” (The words in question were “bitch” and “cunt.”) I said, “But you can’t take the power away from those words.” What I received in response were blank stares.

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  • Beryl

    All this happens to females, because we allow it. Ever notice that names are not thrown at males. They do not do that to each other and they will not allow females to come into any conversation and shame or demean any of the males there or anywhere.

    Females can start to make things better for our gender, by first teaching or telling other females to love themselves, before you say you are a stupid “daddy’s girl” and forget about your mother who does everything for you. This is where we first go wrong, Females should love themselves before you love any man, including daddy, boyfriend, and husband. Look to your mother for guidance, not dad. Mom has just as much sense and love for you as your dad!! 4-2015
    When we start out as little girls exalting and worshipping our dads and arguing with our mothers and our sisters, this is when females start hating other females. this is when the young female becomes brainwashed. This is when gullible females start accepting man made doctrines against females. We then begin to accept the ugly words, phrases, and rules, that males created. Rules like your breast are not private so that you females will start stripping and posing in the nude, for males. This is where you begin to hear and see ugly words like, slut, whore, bitch, cunt, cougar, and other ugly words. And stop reading those religious marriage websites that tell wives to be respectful to their husband even when he treats her in an evil way.
    Stop accepting these anti wife, anti mother, relationship forums to continue beating up on the female gender
    It is not cute or funny, when females allow males to objectify and demean us! We then listen to the mysogynistic, egotistical, man exalting rules and propaganda that constantly bash and demean females all over. Then we argue at each other online. Females we have got to note a d stand together against all that males do to us .

    Speak up females and support each other. Stop letting males do us this way.