for those who wander, wonder & define life on their own terms

Injustice and the Slut

Scale_of_injusticeKids should wait to have sex.  There!  I said it.  This statement doesn’t come from a place of moral superiorty. No tightly entrenched religious ideologies here.  It just comes from awareness of cold hard truth.  Most kids don’t have the experience and emotional stability that is often required when a relationship goes from platonic to intimate and then back again.  My own daughter can in one moment act like a responsible young adult and in the next be afraid of the dark and want to sleep with her mother.  Add to these truths the possibility of sex leading to pregnancy and my conviction increases ten-fold.  I just need to get that out there before I continue this post, which will seem so filled with moral turpitude for some.

Something happened this week that really leads to some questions about the path this country, and many others, have taken to deter irreverant and “immoral” sexual behavior.  The story of Rehtaeh Parsons Canadian teen commits suicide after alleged rape, bullying inadvertently shows the failings of our culture when it comes to sex.  You see Miss Parsons is…was a pretty teen who went to a party and well, that’s where things get nasty.  The only certainty is that there was group sex.  The mother of Rehtaeh, Leah Parsons, claims the girl was gang-raped, videotaped and this video shared on the internet….a lot.  She went viral.    The four boys accused of committing such rape claim that the sex act, the video, all of it was consensual.  According to Mrs. Parsons, “Because the boys already had a ‘slut’ story, the victim of the rape Rehtaeh was considered a SLUT.”

No one has been arrested in this case.  It’s a game of “they said, she said”. What is certain is that after the sex and the video there was bullying and depression and sadly, on Sunday, suicide.  A young girl couldn’t escape her demons, both real and imaginary.

This is complete injustice.  You might suspect the fault and injustice is toward the perpetrators of this crime, those four boys at an alcohol infused party.  Wrong.  It really falls squarely on the shoulders of us.   Why?  What fault do we have in this tragedy?  It’s in the way we have created an anti-sex culture for the mainstream.  Normal isn’t sexy or sexual.  Normal hides sex.  It’s why we even have a word, “slut”, that can be placed haphazardly on a girl when we don’t approve of the number of people she is/has slept with, or when we don’t approve of her sleeping with someone we had in mind for someone else, or when we don’t like the way she flirts, or dresses, etc.  It’s a throw-away phrase that carries a lot of weight.  A stigma (Example:  Oh, Jane?  She’s such a slut.  I saw her talking and making moves on the boyfriend of my best friend last night).

Slut-shaming makes people feel safe.  If there aren’t people around to call sluts, then who can take the heat off of normal people who just like sex.  “Slut” personifies a scary unknown evil lurking just around the corner to take your man so you can live your life more comfortably with the other “normals” and keep your eye on those who are dangerous to relationships.  But, the word “slut” is arbitrarily assigned and almost never to men.   What if the word slut were not used to suggest some ineptitude or moral failing?  What if a girl could sleep around without the stigma of the word–kind of like those four guys at the party.  They were having sex too, but no one used the word in question to identify them.

What if a girl sleeping around were just a girl sleeping around and she didn’t have to hide it?  The outcome of Miss Parson’s story would be very different.   Think about it this way, in this alternate vision if she were having group sex she could admit it without repercussions, but if she said she were raped we would all believe her.  No guessing games.  You don’t have to guess when the truth is out in the open, which it isn’t.   That would be condoning bad behaviour.  Yeah, like withholding isn’t.

You want to make the world a better place? Take the word slut out of your vocabulary. When you hear about a girl sleeping around, applaud her independence and her willingness to keep trying relationships on for size until she finds the one that fits. You want to change our world for the better? Change your own way of thinking and talking first.

 

3 Comments

  • Very interesting post and point of view. I never use the word slut (in any language), I think it’s an awful word. We had a very sad case here in Sweden recently where a young girl was raped by a group of boys. They were arrested but then released because “they are so young”. I mean, what??!! What do we teach those boys, that it’s ok to do whatever to another person just because you’re young??!!

    • stellanuova stellanuova

      I agree, the word is just awful. And it really angers me to hear that men (and apparently boys too) get away with atroucious crimes because they can throw out a couple of words that society latches onto and uses to judge and demean women. I absolutely think these boys should be punished, both in this story and in the case in Sweden, but the problem is societal. If we as a society can still hold women to some standard of sexual piety to which we never hold men accountable (and should hold neither gender accountable to in my opinion) then we are ultimately responsible for these crimes continuing to occur. I’ve always wondered why, when women are the larger portion of the populace, we allow these kinds of things to continue, and also why so many women will side with politicians and in fact become more judgemental and oppressive than the men themselves.

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