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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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46 Responses

  1. saoba
    saoba May 20, 2006 at 1:30 am |

    Have the wrong kind of body, regardless of how you dress, and you’re guaranteed slutty (any large-chested early-blooming women wanna back me up on this one?).

    I can give you a big old hell yeah on that one. Having the audacity to develop breasts a year earlier than my classmates got me called a slut. Even now, at fifty freakin’ years old, I encounter people who assume that the DDtwins mean I must be some kind of slut. I dunno, I’ve never seen anything in the scientific journals to suggest a woman’s sex drive is stored in her bra, but there you go.

    “Dressed like a slut’ is the female-aimed version of ‘driving while black’.

  2. Søren Kongstad
    Søren Kongstad May 20, 2006 at 2:52 am |

    A related issue is calling a woman cheap. Like if she picks up guys in bars, have many sex partners, has sex on a first date, or even just dresses like a “slut”

    I mean cheaper than what? Doesn’t the word cheap imply that a woman charges less for sex, than the going rate? The cure for being cheap must surely be charging more.

    Anyone calling a woman cheap must therefore believe that all women are whores, the only diffrence being if their lowprice or dear.

  3. Tuomas
    Tuomas May 20, 2006 at 5:37 am |

    what does it mean to “dress like a slut?”

    It means:
    “I want to have an excuse on treating someone like shit so I will claim she is dressed/behaves like a slut*”.

    * = A subset of people who deserve to be treaten badly.

    It is linked to chivalry (or misunderstood chivalry, at least, before the medievalists and LARP:ers hack my head off with swords) and placing women (but only ladies) into pedestal — that sounds like a sweet deal to women until one realizes that the (high status) man in question can decide whether the woman is a lady or a tramp, so to speak, and has social approval on the behaviour he then chooses to pursue (at least in societies with laws and social norms on sexual harassment etc. altough the said laws can unfortunately be subjective).

    It’s not necessarily about controlling women’s sexuality per se, it is about the fact that in patriarchal society like Egypt (Western democracies are less so, altough perhaps not completely) a woman, does not have that control over her role, and can be assigned to a role of slut at whim.

    So much for sexual power!

  4. nexyjo
    nexyjo May 20, 2006 at 7:50 am |

    And the whole sluttiness thing is pretty cultural and situational, too.

    i think it goes beyond that. the entire “slut” concept garners effectiveness because the term is wholly reflective, almost in its entirety, of the patriarchal view of women. that women exist only for use by men, mainly for their sexual pleasure, that women personify and embody sex as an act, that women “selfishly” control sex (at least in the eyes of those men who are too weak to control their women, and are therefore not “real” men – directly caused by the “slutty” women), and most importantly, that women who have sex are bad, while men who have sex are good – and the more sex women have, the more “slutty” and bad they are, while the more sex men have, the more “manly” and good they are. which is really why the term “man-slut” doesn’t work – it’s more a complement than anything else. and by definition, the better and more manly men are, the badder and “sluttier” women become.

    i think there are several layers of implications as well. women may purposely “dress like sluts” simply because for some, it is the only way they know how to wield what little power they are allowed to wield over men. the patriarchy permits this one temporary power for women, at least those women who “Have the wrong kind of body” – or really, the “right” kind of body. of course this power is temporary, to be lost as soon as a man “conquers” her.

    the term also reflects the “no-win” nature of womens’ positioning within the patriarchy – that for a woman to be of any use, she must “give” sex, yet to give sex is to become a “slut”, and to become even more worthless. to engage in a woman’s worth, is to reduce that worth, and the more a woman pursues her worthiness, the less value she has.

    no, i’d disagree – i very much believe that sluts are alive and well in our world, and that the term is extremely meaningful. now if you’ll excuse me, i must go back to banging my head against the wall…

  5. Hugo
    Hugo May 20, 2006 at 8:41 am |

    Terrific post, Jill. You’re absolutely right:

    I learned, quickly, that the lines shift, and that there’s no way to win this one.

    And so the answer, I think, is to do a better job of either calling folks on it every time they use the word “slut” — or, alternatively, making a conscious effort to do with “slut” what we’ve already started to do with “bitch”, which is to reposit the word.

  6. Dianne
    Dianne May 20, 2006 at 9:33 am |

    “Dressed like a slut” means “showing more skin and/or tighter clothes than I like/can get away with/feel comfortable with/want to right now.” Sort of like “alcoholic” means “drinks more than I do.” This definition not only allows the definer to condemn those dressing like “sluts” it allows him or her to condemn anyone who objects to his/her own dress as a “prude.” So handy.

  7. dragonsmilk
    dragonsmilk May 20, 2006 at 9:45 am |

    Anyone calling a woman cheap must therefore believe that all women are whores

    Bingo. Thank you.

  8. Betsy
    Betsy May 20, 2006 at 9:58 am |

    Fantastic post. Thank you, I could not agree more, nor could I have said it as well.

  9. punkrockhockeymom
    punkrockhockeymom May 20, 2006 at 10:21 am |

    Jill, this is brilliant, really. I agree wholeheartedly. Well done. If I ever get BACK to my own blog (litigation is sucking the life out of me), I’m going to link back to this.

  10. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax May 20, 2006 at 10:26 am |

    Once, many years ago, I worked at a company which didn’t have enough parking spaces for all of its employees. When some employees complained, they were told, “If you got here early, you’d get a parking space.”

    I’ve often, since, thought that experience was a good analogy for what women are told when they’re told that they won’t be harrassed, or raped, if they don’t dress slutty. Just as the company was saying, make sure someone else is the one who loses out due to the inadequate parking spaces, women are being told, just adjust your clothing and behavior so that some other poor woman gets to be the slut.

  11. r@d@r
    r@d@r May 20, 2006 at 12:46 pm |

    maybe an example of “dressing like a slut” is when a male prostitute servicing the white house poses as a member of the press corps?

  12. Dianna
    Dianna May 20, 2006 at 1:24 pm |

    In re: Jill’s clarification, I find an analogy to the Lavender Menace to be helpful. I found a quote from a NOW march in New York in 1970, in which several hundred straight women marched with lavender armbands and handed out leaflets stating in part:

    “It is not one woman’s sexual preference that is under attack — it is the freedom of all women to openly state values that challenge the basic structure of patriarchy….They can call us all lesbians until such time as there is no stigma attached to women loving women.”

    As far as I’m concerned, “they” — whoever they might be — can call us all sluts until there is no stigma attached to women being sexually active and the word cannot be used to justify the mistreatment of any woman. I think I’m just restating Jill’s point #1.

  13. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri May 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm |

    Why in the hell would an educated American woman want to go to Egypt (or many other similar countries)? How could you not know the reaction you would receive?

    If I had a daughter your age that did something like that, I would be asking her “Didn’t I raise you smarter than that”?.

    Americans in general and women in particular who think it’s a cool idea to go the the really woman-hating and western-hating parts of the middle east just drive me nuts

  14. Trickish Knave
    Trickish Knave May 20, 2006 at 1:36 pm |

    I guess I have to chime in on this one since I feel a little responsible. There is the old addage “A slut screws everyone, a whore screws everyone but you.” This zinger obviously sprouted from a man who rejected by a woman percieved to be loose, cheap, slutty, trampy, etc.

    I talked a lot about slutty looking girls in my neighborhood on a different post, not very well recieved by some of the readers of this blog, and I guess a lot of cunfusion came form what people thought my perception of “slutty” is.

    There are the prudes who think a little skin showing from under a set of overalls qualifies as slutty but I think the majority of us have the same perception. When I think of slutty looking girls I immediately thing of Paris HIlton, Anna Nichole, most of the women on Sex in the City, and the prostitutes who cruise Kalakaua with bilingual pickup lines.

    I think women who dress like that aren’t all sluts, probably very proud of their superb bodies and want to show them off, but (and now I think some readers are salivating over what I could possible say next and leave them with an hour’s worth of line-by-line deconstruction of my post) just because a woman is wearing a lut’s uniform doesn’t make them one. I know this; I get it.

    Unfortunately for them, some men look at this fashion statement as an invitation- insofaras some men’s logic goes:

    An attractive woman wearing a low cut shirt with a skylit bra showing off a very nice pair of breast, a miniskirt that barely covers the ass, lots of makeup, and bingo!- she must dress like that because she wants to be pounded like a cheap steak.

  15. Antigone
    Antigone May 20, 2006 at 3:11 pm |

    Not to be a blog “whore” here, but I wrote about the insult on my old blog, and thought now would be a good time to repost it on my political blog. It can be found here at my political blog.

  16. TomB
    TomB May 20, 2006 at 3:23 pm |

    Why would an educated woman want to go to Egypt? Gee, I don’t know, except that many people have dedicated their whole lives to studying Egypt. That tourist industry must be there for some reason. The real question is why she was treated differently than a man.

    Also, what exactly is so different between the woman-hating parts of the middle-east and here, if the only way we can think to deal with it is to lock our daughters up?

  17. Squid2
    Squid2 May 20, 2006 at 3:29 pm |

    Accusing women of slutty dress is a large part of the “Go Fug Yourself” schtick. Just sayin’.

  18. rrp
    rrp May 20, 2006 at 3:59 pm |

    Bruce from Missouri wrote:

    Why in the hell would an educated American woman want to go to Egypt (or many other similar countries)? How could you not know the reaction you would receive?

    A woman might know the reaction she’d get (and Jill went to considerable effort to deflect it, dressing appropraitely and all) and still want to go to Egypt. Why? Because it’s historical. Because it has some amazing archaeologial treasures. Hell, because they read The Alexandrian Quartet at an impressionable age. Whatever the reasons, the point here for feminists is that (we) women can’t win for losing. You suggestion that it’s better just to stay home is another flavor of that loss.

  19. Bitch | Lab
    Bitch | Lab May 20, 2006 at 4:08 pm |

    @ Lyn

    Not to mention the utter idiocy of the assumption that, if you don’t have enough parking spaces, then if everyone gets there early it still means that not everyone gets a parking space. It is kind of like being told, in a economy where there must be unemployment, that if everyone just works hard, they’ll all have good jobs. D’oh!

  20. Kyle
    Kyle May 20, 2006 at 4:12 pm |

    Why in the hell would an educated American woman want to go to Egypt (or many other similar countries)? How could you not know the reaction you would receive?

    Women and men both want to and should learn about other cultures and people firsthand. Sometimes trying to forge an understanding through experience extracts costs, but it should not deter Americans from wanting to learn about a part of the world they only read about through their own biased media. It’s the “educated,” “smarter” people that do want to go out and educate themselves more about the world, and they should.

    Further, there is simply no solid foundation for calling Egypt a “western-hating part of the middle east.” There are Egyptians who say they hate “the West.” Oftentimes, however, there are countless exceptions to their hate, like the seemingly popular only-hating-Bush-and-Blair line. The exceptions are countless and diverse, while an overwhelming appreciation and curiosity can seem constant. The point is that you not only implicated Jill’s ignorance, but also casually generalized an entire nation of 70 million people. But apparently, Bruce, educated Westerners don’t go to the Middle East. After all, that might show them the truth.

  21. cellar door
    cellar door May 20, 2006 at 4:55 pm |

    Bruce, why do you feel entitled to lecture and adult woman on her choice to travel somewhere and write about her experiences there? I am presuming that Jill is not, in fact, your daughter, and that you actually have no reason to assume authority in her life.

  22. W. Kiernan
    W. Kiernan May 20, 2006 at 5:03 pm |

    Have the wrong kind of body, regardless of how you dress, and you’re guaranteed slutty (any large-chested early-blooming women wanna back me up on this one?).

    If you’re talking about early-developing hi-skool girls (specifically 7th – 10th graders) I’m not sure they’re the ones to ask. As I recall from my days as a male hi-skool inmate, one of these precocious beauties might possibly hear that kind of loose talk to her face every once in a while. For every instance of that overt offense, meanwhile, behind her back, those ghastly pimply little school-boys, who swarmed around her like fruit flies buzzing a fine ripe peach, defamed her as “slut” a thousand times.

    Honest to God, I used to wonder and still do, “where is the love?”

    By way of not exoneration but only as explanation, those confused and foul-mouthed mannish boys were more than half insane due to the extremities of chronic teenage sexual frustration.

    p.s. kind of off-topic, but click on this link to see an example of one of those superannuated hags too old to command Lord Derbyshire’s erotic interest – dressed like a slut, of course!

  23. Red Queen
    Red Queen May 20, 2006 at 5:05 pm |

    Anybody who works for a paycheck is whore. You’re selling something of yours (time, energy, thoughts, body) for money doing something you may or may not enjoy for someone you may or may not like. So I love the word whore- I use it all the time.

    A slut, on the other hand, is doing something purely for their own benefit. Because you cannot buy a slut (but you can buy a whore) any woman who enjoys her own sexuality is a threat to to the whores (male and female) who fear loss of thier own bartering power. Why would anyone pay a whore when a slut would do it for pure enjoyment?

    I’ve been both a whore and a slut. They each have their merits.But snarling that someone “dresses like a slut” is a shorthand way of saying someone is enjoying something that you can’t afford to give away.

  24. Amanda Marcotte
    Amanda Marcotte May 20, 2006 at 5:11 pm |

    Why in the hell would an educated American woman want to go to Egypt (or many other similar countries)? How could you not know the reaction you would receive?

    If I had a daughter your age that did something like that, I would be asking her “Didn’t I raise you smarter than that”?.

    The Patriarchy Is Real, Exhibit #1: Strange man on the internet thinks he is entitled to treat Jill, a grown woman, like a child in his custody.

    I think reclaiming the word “slut” is the best strategy. It’s inevitable at this point–people in my circle use the word as a badge of honor. I cheerfully call myself a big slut. It loses a lot of its power as a slur if someone calls you that and you say, “How quaint, someone who still thinks women shouldn’t like sex.”

    Because that is what a slut is–a woman who likes sex for its own sake. This threatens some men because they would prefer if women hated sex and then they knew that when they are fucking a woman, they have power over her because they have manipulated her into doing something she hates for their sake. “Dressing like a slut” means wearing something that makes the man viewing it want to hurt you.

  25. Esme
    Esme May 20, 2006 at 5:26 pm |

    What I found most interesting in junior high and highschool was that sexual activity actually had very little to do with being labeled a slut. Clothing style was a big part of it, or a willingness to talk about sex.

    And biology certainly never helped me. FFs kind of get treated like they’re more a part of your personality than your actual personality.

  26. ksgreer
    ksgreer May 20, 2006 at 5:47 pm |

    The “cheap” thing comes from a simple premise: a man purchases sex by marrying a woman. A “cheap” woman is one who gives it/herself away and doesn’t demand a high enough price in return (the man’s continued monogamy to her alone); a slut is a women who is proud of being cheap.

    My mother was raised with this notion, but it didn’t stop her from wearing miniskirts (reportedly ones a great deal shorter than the ones I wore, even, if Dad’s inadvertant slip one evening was to be believed) or having sex before marriage or just generally trying to live life as pleased her. My grandmother was highly disapproving until I hit teenage years, and I guess it’d been long enough and there was distance enough that when my mother insisted we call my grandmother to tell her I was going on my Very First Date (mortification), my grandmother’s advice was simply, “remember, dear, you can do whatever you want that feels good to you, but when it doesn’t feel right or good, stop there until you’re ready for more.” Insert sounds of my mother passing out in shock on the extension. I don’t think my mother’s ever truly recovered from the discovery that her own mother had finally come around.

    However, my mother’s also the one who used to repeat the observation that “someone promiscuous is just someone getting more sex than you” — a Jayne Mansfield quote, if I recall correctly.

    I think the best response to the accusation of “cheap” was a friend’s retort (delivered with wide-eyed innocence), “what, you expected me to charge for having fun? that’s just so….crass.”

  27. Scorpio
    Scorpio May 20, 2006 at 6:47 pm |

    If any moron can look as “her” and think “I want a piece of that”, she’s dressed like a slut — even if she is dressed like a nun.

    Those doggoned nuns, wagging their virginity around all over the place!

  28. sonitus.org  » Blog Archive   » “Dressing Like Sluts”

    [...] xperience was the best way to damage her all-important “reputation.” Feministe 

     Blink It •& [...]

  29. Lauren
    Lauren May 20, 2006 at 8:23 pm |

    Why in the hell would an educated American woman want to go to Egypt (or many other similar countries)?

    Ancient pyramids and camel rides come to mind.

  30. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl May 20, 2006 at 8:49 pm |

    A friend of mine, an educated British woman, is currently living in Cairo and teaching English there. I’ll be sure to tell her that her parents should have raised her smarter than that.

  31. Hmmmm
    Hmmmm May 20, 2006 at 10:34 pm |

    Objection! I think sometimes slut is used to refer to women who don’t enjoy sex for sex’s sake, but to women who enjoy sex and flirtation for the power it gives them over their peers – think Mean Girls. Mean Girls are Sluts.

    However, Slut is a vile word in general, and the Mean Girls use the term slut to attack all the other women in the world. So, I agree with Jill, though I think it would be great if in High School we all agreed to use the term slut solely to define Mean Girls. Sigh.

  32. Aussiesmurf
    Aussiesmurf May 21, 2006 at 12:10 am |

    I always absolutely loved, loved, loved the song by Daniella’s Daze called ‘Slut’. Words as follows :

    I bet you thought you had unlimited access to my body and my soul
    But things have changed, now I am in control
    ’cause aıter two years, 7 months and 14 days
    I thought it was time to put you in my place

    I’m sorry, so sorry
    to have to tie your hands behind your back
    but you were no good in the sack
    I’m sorry, so sorry
    for putting up with those stupid lies
    for the blindfold over your eyes

    Just one more thing before I nail the coffin shut
    don’t call me slut
    don’t call me slut
    Just one more thing before I nail the coffin shut
    don’t call me slut
    don’t call me slut,slut

    You should have never called me slut

    No more putting up with those phony alibi’s
    No more salty tears in my beautiful blue eyes
    No more cheap cologne on your body
    Oh, I hate that smell
    As far as I’m concerned
    You can go straight to hell

    I’m sorry, so sorry
    I hope you’re comfortable my dear
    and don’t you cry,I hate those tears
    I’m sorry, so sorry
    To see you lying there so still
    to have to do this against your will

    Just one more thing before I nail the coffin shut
    don’t call me slut
    don’t call me slut
    Just one more thing before I nail the coffin shut
    don’t call me slut
    don’t call me slut,slut

    You should have never called me slut

    Now say goodbye you little fuck

    Just one more thing before I mail the coffin shut
    don’t call me slut
    don’t call me slut..

  33. Erika
    Erika May 21, 2006 at 12:47 am |

    I had thought that Egypt is the heart of ancient civilization, not modern civilization.

    Anyway, it kind of freaks me out that many Egyptians treat Western women so badly, especially considering that Egypt is one of the more moderate Middle Eastern/North African countries.

  34. Bruce from Missouri
    Bruce from Missouri May 21, 2006 at 2:56 am |

    Amanda sez:
    The Patriarchy Is Real, Exhibit #1: Strange man on the internet thinks he is entitled to treat Jill, a grown woman, like a child in his custody.

    That’s a pretty big leap, Amanda. Twist everything around to the patriarchy. I”m not treating her like a child, I’m just stating the obvious. If she didn’t expect to be treated like that, she wasn’t paying attention. I’m on board with most of what you say on Pandagon, but a dumb decision is a dumb decision. Hell, don’t forget she doesn’t want her own parents to know she went.

    The point is, there are plenty of historical places in the world that are far safer than Egypt for Westerners to go. Yeah, Egypt has the Pyramids, etc., but it’s also a country whose leader is hanging on by his fingernails against the Taliban element of his own populace. Many times over the last quite a few years the American government has issued travel safety warnings about Egypt. It’s not a particularly safe place for westerners. Whenever I hear about westerners (male or female) having problems, or getting hurt/killed in those countries, I just ask, “What did they expect?”.

    Jill sez:
    Well, my parents raised me to be adventurous, independent and curious. Egypt is the heart of modern civilization, and it was an amazing trip. I saw pyramids, I climbed Mt. Sinai and watched the sun rise, I experienced life in a city that is entirely unlike any other I’ve ever seen or even imagined. Were there some problematic experiences? Sure. But you know, I’ve been harassed just as badly on the streets of New York City. And while I was in Egypt, I met lots of people who were wonderful and friendly and fantastic — but I didn’t write about them because that wasn’t the topic of this post.

    Hey, my parents raised me to be adventurous and travel too…I’ve been to plenty of countries, I just don’t go to countries where I am not wanted. And to pretend that it is no worse that NYC is to be totally disengenuous.

    Whatever. I think what you did was dumb, so therefore I’m a patriarchal asshole. Whatever floats your boat.

    Flame away.

  35. Morgan
    Morgan May 21, 2006 at 6:48 am |

    Why go to Egypt? My personal answer: the juice. On every street, fresh-squeezed from fruits that cost a few bucks a piece in the USA.

    Lauren writes:

    Ancient pyramids and camel rides come to mind.

    I was actually disappointed by the Pyramids, mostly because the Egyptians are out to prove that it’s not just the Americans who can commercialize everything far more than is worthy. If you can find a guide I’d recommend a trip to the desert near Baharia Oasis, basically in the middle of the country.

    Besides, really educated Western women tend to shock the men even more: I was there with an American friend who speaks two dialects of Arabic with near-native fluency, and I think it’s safe to say that most of the men who stared at her have never been called out, by a “Westerner,” in perfect colloquial Arabic. That sight made my month.

  36. zuzu
    zuzu May 21, 2006 at 10:29 am | *

    And that’s what I get for posting after many drinks and some sleep medicine.

    Not just a slut, but a drunken slut.

    For shame. Didn’t your parents teach you better?

  37. La Lubu
    La Lubu May 21, 2006 at 11:01 am |

    That’s a pretty big leap, Amanda. Twist everything around to the patriarchy. I’’m not treating her like a child, I’m just stating the obvious. If she didn’t expect to be treated like that, she wasn’t paying attention. I’m on board with most of what you say on Pandagon, but a dumb decision is a dumb decision. Hell, don’t forget she doesn’t want her own parents to know she went.

    Bruce, think about what you’re saying here. I was born and raised in The U.S., and like most women here, I grew up expecting to be treated like that right here, just walking down the street, minding my own business. I was one of the early developers who started getting propositions and obnoxious comments from men in grade school. Do all U.S. men behave like that? Hell no! But plenty do—it’s hardly an uncommon occurrence. Let me put it to you this way: I live in the midwest, where sunny days are more common than rainy ones. But rain is a common enough occurrence, that just about everyone has an umbrella and raincoat. I experience hostile street harrassment about as frequently as it rains here, capisce? Now, maybe that’s a higher percentage than some women experience; I chalk it up to the fact that I live downtown and walk often. (Translation: I’m not dressing like a “slut”, unless you consider Levis and a T-shirt or blouse “slutty”—which some hard-line conservatives do).

    And yes, I hope to someday go to Egypt, and I will expect more street harrassment there, just as I would expect more rain in Seattle. And just like I would carry an umbrella and raincoat in Seattle, I would do as Jill did—dress Egyptian-style to hopefully deflect some of that harrassment (I’m of Mediterranean heritage and it shows, so maybe I’d luck out and not get as much harrassment as Jill, but that’s not something I would be counting on).

    See Bruce, most of us have already adjusted to the climate, so to speak. We learned at an early age that (a) this is going to happen, and (b) it is as ubiquitous as inclement weather—that we will always be dealing with it, our entire lives. Our daughters and granddaughters will be dealing with it. So, we can either lock ourselves in the house to keep the commentary from raining down, or we can do what we can to shield ourselves—physically and emotionally—from it.

    Bruce, if you’re a woman—there is no avoiding this type of harrassment. None. It doesn’t matter what you wear, or how you behave. Go talk to some women. Women you would never, ever think would or could be tagged as “sluts”. Let me know if you find one that hasn’t been treated or named as one.

    It’s as inevitable as the weather.

  38. raging red
    raging red May 21, 2006 at 11:39 am |

    Funny, I re-read what Jill wrote about her experience in Egypt, and nowhere did I see her say “Wow, I never expected that to happen!” Her detailed description of how she dressed while she was there indicates that she knew full well that she’d be at risk for the kind of harassment she received. The point of that part of her post wasn’t to say “Oh my god! You’ll never believe how I was treated in Egypt!” it was to emphasize the point that “dressing like a slut” is entirely in the eyes of the beholder, depending on the beholder’s culture and other situational factors. Telling her that she was dumb and assuming that she didn’t expect the treatment she received is patronizing, to say the least.

    I’ve been called a slut, and it’s always been by other women, not men. I speak frankly and openly about sex (and even moreso aftter I’ve been drinking, natch), I have a personal blog on which I have written about my dating and sexual experiences, and I have referred to myself as a slut in what I think is a humorous manner. I am kind of a loud person and sometimes I like to really dress up when I go out – big hair, big eyes, and low cut shirts. Amen to the part about well-endowed women, because I have DD’s and certain shirts or dresses that I wear show much more cleavage than the same outfit would show on a woman with smaller breasts. I’m not trying to emphasize my cleavage, it’s just impossible not to show it in certain clothing. I’m flirtatious and forward with men, and I have had casual sex.

    All of the above has resulted in my being called a slut by other women. Do I have more sex than they do? I have no idea, and neither do they. They call me a slut because they don’t like me. I have no problem wiith them not liking me. I’ve long ago happily accepted the fact that not everyone will like me, and that’s okay. But why must they insult me by calling me a slut? Why can’t they just go about their business, all the while not liking me, without using that vile word?

    I’m not sure if reclaiming the word “slut” helps or not. As I said, I’ve referred to myself as a slut and it has kind of come back to bite me on the ass. (“See! She even calls herself a slut!”) To me, it’s more important to get women to stop calling other women sluts than to get men to stop doing it.

  39. Marian
    Marian May 21, 2006 at 12:04 pm |

    I can give you a big old hell yeah on that one. Having the audacity to develop breasts a year earlier than my classmates got me called a slut.

    I came from a fairly “underdeveloped” class (no reason, just most of the girls in my class developed late, me included. We’re talking starter bras in 7th grade). The class 2 years ahead of us was very developed (we’re talking B cups in 8th grade).

    Yes, there were moms of girls in my class (Catholic school) who looked at the 8th grade girls and said, “My daughter BETTER not look like that in 8th grade. That’s Terrible.” (As in, if they developed a woman’s body, they’d be punished for it, aka labeled a slut).

    As for the Egypt trip, Jill, I’ve noticed that Middle Eastern culture has a very either-or approach toward women’s sexuality. Either you get married and it’s your duty to conceive immediately, or you’re not married and are a “woman with no values” if you have sex. That’s it–NO VALUES–just because of sex–even if values include things like kindness, helping others, hard work, etc.

    I say this not in an attempt to be racist, but out of experience–My ex was a Christian and an Iraqi, and his family never came to like me that much at all even though I was a churchgoing virgin at the time. They had this idea that all American women sleep around, cheat on the men they do marry or date, and just aren’t to be trusted (“NO VALUES”). So even if I was a virgin, I’d probably lose it, and to somebody else (this was a long-distance college relationship).

    It was the subject of all their family-gathering talks about me, hence why I “couldn’t be invited unless we’re married or engaged.”

    His family and culture taught him that if a woman has sex before marriage, not to trust her, because “If she gives it to you, she’ll give it to everyone” (doesn’t give us much credit for discernment). This coming from an uncle who admittedly had many partners before his own marriage, but his wife didn’t which was all that mattered.

    He’s now married to another American woman. I wonder how they treat her. Talk about virgin-whore complex.

  40. Marian
    Marian May 21, 2006 at 12:08 pm |

    Either you get married and it’s your duty to conceive immediately, or you’re not married and are a “woman with no values” if you have sex.

    I should clarify on my own post: My ex’s family also felt, after marriage, that if a woman didn’t conceive within a year after marriage, she was probably contraceiving and had “NO VALUES.” They never considered male infertility or anything. Again, a woman is either a virgin or pregnant and married. Anything less is value-less.

  41. Marksman2000
    Marksman2000 May 21, 2006 at 12:45 pm |

    And that’s what I get for posting after many drinks and some sleep medicine.

    Please be careful with that. You might run into a barricade while you’re driving to Capitol Hill to cast a vote at 2:00 A.M.

  42. PHLAF
    PHLAF May 22, 2006 at 12:40 pm |

    “Slut”, like all epithets, is the result of someone else’s fear and insecurity. It places the blame for someone else’s reaction on an innocent person.

    A married man calls an attractive, stylishly dressed girl a slut because he’s turned on, feels guilty about it, and is afraid that others might find out that he’s not the perfect Christian husband. Therefore, the girl is a slut and is to blame. All unbeknownst to her, of course.

    A woman who, though she dresses like a dowdy old woman and is a prominent member of her parish, calls an attractive young girl a temptress and a slut because she is in denial about her own behavior. While she presents this uber-modest image and enjoys her pillar-of-the-community status, she is secretly engaging in an internet affair behind her husband’s back, including meeting up with her new ‘net buddy for an illicit rendevous or two…or three…and so on. If she can paint an innocent third party as more sluttish than she is, she doesn’t have to admit that she’s the real slut.

    A man who is obsessed with young girls and who writes a blog under the guise of a teenaged girl himself in order to lure young girls into chatrooms and who knows what else, and who has not one, but two sexual harrassment suits pending against him, is unusually confrontational and loud about promoting modesty and modest dress in young girls (providing MUCH detail about what immodest little girls look like on his own blog). If he can put the blame on innocent young girls and if he can create an image in which he looks like the opposite of what he, in actuality, is, then maybe he won’t get caught.

    All true stories.

    That’s why people like to claim another was dressing like a slut. So that their own disgusting behavior is someone else’s fault.

  43. Casey
    Casey May 22, 2006 at 6:59 pm |

    Have the wrong kind of body, regardless of how you dress, and you’re guaranteed slutty (any large-chested early-blooming women wanna back me up on this one?).

    I have a size 32 J and was harrassed horribly in high school (during which my boobs were smaller, C-E). slut was the big thing. i even had a TEACHER tell me if i didn’t want to be called “slut” by the other girls, and catcalled by the boys, then WHY ON EARTH was i wearing such a tight sweater!?! A SWEATER! absurd. all the other girls were wearing spagetti strap shirts, but i couldn’t wear a sweater?! i didn’t even have any cleavage showing. (NOTHING i wore in HS had cleavage, i tried to cover up as much as i possible could to avoid attention.)

    although not as bad as highschool, i still get harrassed. i can’t go to any party or bar w/out a guy grabbing my boobs and i can’t go ANYWHERE without everyone staring at me. i feel like i have a deformity, except ppl are less polite about it. i’ve often wondered why just because my boobs are big, that makes them public property?! free for all to touch and poke?

    ugh, now i’ve depressed myself thinking about this shit.

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