Slut? Who, Me?

Posted: October 29, 2014

The sex lives of women and slut-shaming often go hand-in-hand. Stand up for yourself, says this post.

“I have seen women who slap the other person before they can complete the word “slut”. It is high time you stood up for yourself.”

Someone told me these words a few weeks ago, and they’ve stuck to me and changed my life in unimaginable ways. I have always liked to believe that I am a feminist, but I have also been a protected child for most of my life, so my beliefs were never tested.

In the fairly conservative city of Chennai, I have grown up in a household with a post-midnight curfew. Even though most of my really good friends are men, we all come from a similar cultural and social background which never once let me think that there is a place called reality outside this happy bubble.

And because this realization never hit me, I stood dumbfounded, trying to blink back a few tears, when I was called a “whore”. When verbal harassment came my way, a man actually had the audacity to say that “I asked for it” through my behaviour.

It took a minute for me to realize that someone was Slut-shaming” me.

I am not just blaming men, because I have seen women who refuse to take alcohol in front of men simply because of the fear of being judged. I have seen women acting like complete idiots when it comes to being sexually aware just to look like a “good girl”.

While I may be much more open-minded, it still pricked me a bit when my character was questioned. This is because somewhere deep down, we have convinced ourselves that a woman has to be “pure”. Think about how degrading and ridiculous the term “pure” really is.

What are we? A bottle of ghee? a jar of mayonnaise?

Somebody’s sex life: None of your business

A person once asked me a question about my sex life and followed it with an “I am not going to judge you” disclaimer. It infuriated me, but at the same time, it amused me too. There is a reason we don’t discuss our sex lives with everyone. It’s none of their business.

I have never been judgemental about anyone’s sex life whether it exists or not, if not for anything else but for my own selfish reasons. Not being judgemental about another person’s love/sex life, gives me an incredible amount of freedom to do whatever I want with my own life! Whether it is strawberry and whipped cream or handcuffs and hot waxes, it’s not your business unless it is in your bedroom.

Whether it is strawberry and whipped cream or handcuffs and hot waxes, it’s not your business unless it is in your bedroom.

Why can’t we silence this perverse curiosity and just smile and say “If it is OK for two consensual adults, there is no reason I should be talking about it”? If everyone did that, the world would be too perfect for us to handle, which is why there will always be remarks like this around you.

I learnt the hard way that whether we like it or not, the society has some norms which we are expected to conform to. If you choose to defy these norms, you will become a shiny object for discussion. However, the stupidest thing to do at this point would be exactly what I did a few weeks ago. Remain silent.

It is all the more important to stand up for yourself now, because what is the assurance that the abuse – which is verbal today – will not elevate to the next level in a matter of time?

I don’t have to be ashamed of my clothes, my beliefs, or my sex life. In that situation, I chose to remain silent because between defying the other person, being less like-able, and degrading myself, I chose the latter. That is the only thing I should be ashamed of.

My friend’s words – which felt like a slap across my face – will always remind me that there is no excuse to being a wimp and not standing up for myself. The fact that I was OK with taking sh*t from a random sexist pig makes me less of a woman. Not the fact that I am a woman and I have a life of my own. Which is why, I am going to go ahead and tell this world something which we all really need to hear.

Yes. I am a woman. And yes, I have a sex drive too.

And the next time you have the audacity to label me, I will punch you right across your face. And that time, it won’t be with my words.

Pic credit: Image of a pleased woman via Shutterstock.

Nandhitha Hariharan is a writer with a love for anything that is pretty or covered

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Comments

17 Comments


  1. Truer words have not been said! You go girl!

  2. Nice article, other than the punch and slap bits, that isn’t the way to set things right IMHO

  3. Kaveri Satyanarayan -

    Dear Nandhitha … Amazing read! Infact I would go so far as to say that articles like these should be rite of passage for every mother of every girl child out there. I am saving this for my daughter to read when she is older 🙂 Thoroughly agree with your pov!

  4. Dear N, it’s totally unacceptable that someone can label anyone in such way but such people are not restricted to a particular gender and such incidents happen with both sides. There’ll always be some poorly educated idiots that best be ignored. Dont let your inner peace be disturbed because of someone else.

    [p.s. Please excuse my poor english]

  5. I love what you wrote……kudos!

  6. Crap… I wrote a whole lot of stuff and then as i like to put it.. “disaster happened”.. 😛

    Anyways, Congratulations Nandhitha for realization and thanks for putting your thoughts through.. I hope more parents read this post and discuss sex with their sons and daughters, not as taboo but as physiological process of human beings and that it is same for male and female.

    Nandhitha, whoever it was, who called you that.. I hope he never gets to father a daughter b’cuz God knows what is he gonna call her.. Actually, he should never get to father a son too for that matter.. Wonder what he will teach his son..

  7. Dear Nandhita..you put in words what I felt for most of my adult life.
    Just yesterday an idiot tried to shame me for being in a live-in with my boyfriend and I didn’t stand up. If he dare says it again,he doesn’t stand a chance.Thanks! You give us hope!

  8. Every word of this article is true! The hypocrisy, the underlying bias against women in our country is something which has always disturbed me. The Indian patriarchal society always tries to suppress female sexuality and women who feel otherwise are termed as “sluts” , “whores” by the so-called moral guardians.

  9. If you slat someone be ready for an FIR.

  10. Shricharan Arumugam -

    Yes, absolutely agree with this article. I still don’t get whats the point of being “pure” , it only leads to fear and suppression of freedom.

  11. Sandeep Gaudana -

    Very well articulated. On a different but related note, I would go further and add that our society is also guilty of targettig the victims of rape. I hate the hindi word for describing rape “izzat loot jana”. How is the victims honor lost on being raped? Its high time we uprooted the miscoception of a woman’s honor being associated with her sexual acts, chosen or otherwise.

  12. I must say very nicely written and yes it does show us the truth. But I must say u did do something good by staying silent then…that is the reason why we are getting to read such a strong and eye opening piece of work today. They say that silence is golden and it truly is…
    The term pure too has a very deep meaning which many of us fail to understand…
    Anyways..great work please keep it up

  13. I was frozen when my brother shamed me Infront of my parents. He asked if I were practising kamasutra with my boyfriend. I was so shocked and thought to myself what made him ask me that!.. Thanks for bringing this up!

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