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It’s Not Your Right Or Duty To Slut-Shame Women For Their Choices!

Posted: July 20, 2020

When people see a woman who’s confident about herself and her sexuality, their response is to attack and tear her down to feel better about themselves. 

Society’s point of view reminds us that men are designed to want sex, while women are designed to withhold it. Men have learnt that they are entitled to sex with a female.

For a man, sleeping with a lot of women can be a point of pride. However, for a woman, owning of her sexuality is a point of shame. At the same time, men easily brag about their ‘number’ and are praised for having a high one! Throughout history, women’s actions and sexual freedom has been regulated by men and religious groups who try to control women’s bodies.

Why are there still codes of conduct for women?

Why are we so intimidated by sexually liberated women? And why are we okay with the use of slut-shaming as a weapon to silence them? Why there is a ‘Code of conduct’ for women? And why does our culture still view female sexuality as threatening?

In the time and era when we are celebrating feminism why are people still tearing women down over their sexuality? Why there are codes of ‘feminine’ behavior? Even today, why does a woman’s value lie in her body and her sexuality rather than her intelligence and personality?

Shaming refers to criticising women and girls for their way of living if it doesn’t match to the societal expectations. Women are often ridiculed for the way they look, and dress and their presumed level of sexual activity.

Slut shaming is a way to degrade and belittle women for expressing their sexuality, through the way they dress, talk, dance, ‘flirt,’ or even walk. And it is everywhere.

Why is shaming a woman the solution to everything?

It comes from those neighbourhood aunties, your distant relatives, your friends and surprisingly, some times, from your partner as well. Being judged, shamed and labelled are almost synonymous to being women. When people see a woman who’s confident about herself and her sexuality, their response is to attack and tear her down to feel better about themselves.

‘Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.’ How many of us have heard this?

A woman who wears what she wants, talks about her sex life or has had a number of relationships in the past, she isn’t a ‘slut’ or ‘asking for it.’ It simply means that she would rather live her life on her own terms and be happy rather than follow societal norms and stay unhappy. Unfortunately, rape survivors too are often labelled as ‘sluts who were asking for it.’

Slut shaming on social media

Social media makes it even worse. Women are judged and shamed not only for their physical appearance or clothes but for the number of male friends they have and the kind of pictures they put up. Unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures, name-calling, sexual bullying are quite common in any social media platform.

Effect of slut shaming

There are real and devastating consequences to slut-shaming. Many girls/women who have been slut-shamed often have body-image issues and depression, anxiety. Often, suicidal ideation and thoughts are also linked to slut-shaming. Slut shaming is also a form of bullying which means that serious action can be taken against those responsible.

How can we stop slut shaming?

We might not realize that we too can be responsible for or involved in slut shaming. By paying closer attention to the way words we use and their meanings, the least we can do is  try and use it in more positive ways. Putting an end to slut shaming needs change in attitudes towards women and promote a culture where women are respected and treated equally.

Can we make a conscious effort to eliminate the ‘Slut’ word from our vocabulary?

A version of this was earlier published here.

Picture credits: Still from Netflix movie Guilty

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