Feminism F.A.Q.s: What is Slut-Shaming

by | May 23, 2012
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

Feminism FAQs Title Screen

by Jarrah Hodge

Well SlutWalk hit the streets of my hometown, Vancouver, a year ago last week. This year many cities have opted to hold second annual SlutWalk marches. SlutWalk Vancouver will be holding an “Un-Conference” this weekend as part of their SlutTALK initiative to engage more people in the conversation about slut-shaming and victim-blaming. While SlutWalk as a movement is not without its issues (read Crunk Feminist Collective for some good reflection on SlutWalk and white privilege, for example), I think it started for the right reasons and I think SlutWalk Vancouver’s goal of engaging people in conversation is great and important.

While I can’t make the “Un-Conference” as I’ll be at a conference-conference for work, I thought the one year anniversary of SlutWalk would be a good excuse for me to put out another Feminism F.A.Q.s video. This time: What is Slut-Shaming?

Transcript after the jump:

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jarrah Hodge. Welcome to Feminism F.A.Q.s, where I try to answer questions and clear up myths about feminism.

Today, what is “slut-shaming”?

The issue of slut-shaming has got a lot more publicity over the past year, thanks partly to highly-publicized SlutWalk protest, but what exactly is it?

Slut-shaming refers to shaming a woman for being or appearing sexual. It comes from the outdated idea that women are not meant to show that they desire sex.

It often means criticizing a woman for wearing clothing some might consider provocative, and it sometimes leads to blaming women for “asking for it” when they get raped.

It’s worth noting that you can slut-shame someone without even using the word “slut” and it happens so casually that it can happen to almost any woman or girl, regardless of whether she’s had sex.

Slut-shaming is an example of a sexist double-standard in which men who enjoy sexual activity and seek it out are considered “studs” or “playboys”. Meanwhile, in addition to “slut”, there are a host of other negative terms (graphic: “Skank, Ho, Holla Back Girl, Cooze, Apple”) applied to women in this situation.

We need to stop slut-shaming because it’s toxic to people and our culture. It can damage self-esteem and change the way a person is viewed by her peer group. It limits women’s choices for what they can wear and where they think they can go.

Let’s stop calling women “sluts” or other terms that criticize them for looking or acting sexually, and let’s start calling out people we see slut-shaming others.

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As usual, let me know what you think and also if you have any suggestions for other topics I should tackle in Feminism F.A.Q.s.

 


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  • Shannon

    Saskatoon is also celebrating SlutWALK and is holding a 3 day ConsentFEST, featuring lectures, movies and entertainment. Halifax also held a weeklong ConsentFEST in Dec 2011 and will be hosting another in Nov 2012.

    The original SlutWALK movement was great but it is wonderful to see so many people opening up the conversation and taking things to the next level.