is what they reduce us to
in their minds
is not ours
from the powers
shame and showers
A word that has it’s own gender
men are eligible
never the offender
even when they are the violator
women are penetrable
This word has no objective
but to stigmatise
bias they vocalise
religion and war
the old male agenda
we are no more
So instead of this word
these lines are not blurred
our bodies remain ours
its just their egos crushing
are you not tired of judging
(Poetry by Charlotte Farhan)
As women or even as girls most of us have been slut shammed. This is a sad fact of our society, a practice which has happened in many forms throughout history, although the term was apparently only brought to life in the new age of social media, with platforms readily available for people to offer their opinions on everything and one of the most prolific of discrimination women face online is slut shaming. With young girls being subjected to this from their pre-teens onward.
A girl or woman has a uncompromising task in society to be both sexy and modest, with the goal post moving back and forth, with men asserting themselves whilst diminishing women.
As well as the patriarchal agenda, internalised misogyny exists within women who themselves can be the harshest critics of themselves and other women. Their have been countless times with my female friends when they have called other women and girls sluts, whores or suggested that they are “asking for it”, these are women in their thirties and in the same breath they will also decide that if they wear “that dress” they themselves will be seen as a slut, or if they sleep with a man “too soon” they will be deemed a whore. It pains me as I know this rhetoric is damaging for us, for everyone.
Certain people are thought to be more “slutty” than others just because they belong to certain ethnicity’s or groups. Such as women of colour, in particular black women – who for a long time have been subjected to the disturbing suggestion that they are “wilder” less tame – by white people and the residual effect is still believed by many.
Sexual assault victims (like myself) can be deemed a slut just for being raped or assaulted with the perception that we must have provoked the attack or act, by wearing certain clothes, red lipstick or just because we were sexually active before hand.
The LGBTQ community can be also deemed more promiscuous or “sexually deviant”, due to archaic beliefs that this community is rooted in perversion.
Th fact is that if you are using the word slut to describe others or yourself then you are contributing to the rhetoric of slut shaming and ultimately rape culture.
Ask yourself why you are concerned by what others do with their sexuality, what they wear or how many partners they have had?
Then ask yourself why some people are exempt from this discrimination, do you judge everyone equally?
And lastly if you are shaming yourself, it maybe useful to find out where this shame originates from, it may have been some one else’s judgement you have held onto and deemed your belief or part of your identity, let go of this by unpacking it, seek support – be kinder to yourself.
If this judgement is your own, of yourself, then possibly you are internalising misogyny and this can be very unhealthy for your self esteem and self worth.
These ideas have not always existed in me, I have had to do lots of work to understand this socially acceptable discrimination. However, it is not a word I use and even if the word arises in me at moments of weakness or self loathing I am able to challenge them and let go.
We can challenge, raise awareness and let go together.
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