5 Things You Need To Know About Slut Shaming

08 Feb 2018

5 things you need to know about slut shaming

Slut shaming can be defined as making a female-identified individual feel guilt, shame or inferiority for her real or perceived sexual behavior or appearance. It’s by no means a new phenomenon – it has been happening for centuries and continues to happen on a daily basis, all over the world.

Our media is awash with stories of females being slut-shamed in many differing and perverse ways; Taylor Swift for having ‘too many’ boyfriends, Kim Kardashian for posting naked selfies, Monica Lewinsky for having sexual relations with a president, the ‘Slane’ girl (a 17 year old girl who was photographed performing oral sex at an Eminem concert in Slane, Ireland. The photos of her were immediately posted on all social media and began trending worldwide with the hashtag #slaneslut – yet there was no hashtag for the guy in the picture), Little Mix for dressing too provocatively during an X Factor performance, Miley Cyrus for her 2013 VMA performance with Robin Thicke, Amber Rose after Kanye West said publicly (in reference to their past relationship) “I had to take thirty showers before I got with Kim”.

We need to better understand what slut-shaming is and the implications of judging women only in this manner, if we are wanting to implement positive societal change.

With this in mind, we have listed the 5 things you need to know about slut shaming.

1. Slut shaming is a form of bullying.

“Her dress is too short/revealing.”
“She is such a slut.”
“She looks like a prostitute.”
“I heard she’s really easy.”
“She was asking for it.”

Have you ever flippantly said any of the above? Or commented on a picture of a girl with words to that effect?
You may not have thought of it as bullying because slut shaming has sadly become a culturally accepted practice, but that is exactly what it is.

In the digital age, bullying is no longer strictly a face-to-face encounter. With the internet and the increasing popularity of social media, cyberbullying is rife – and slut shaming is at the forefront of this epidemic – although of course, it happens regularly in offline environments too.

Cyberbullying comes in a whole range of different shapes and sizes and is something that is totally subjective to the recipient. We define cyberbullying as the following: “Cyberbullying is the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody.” If someone is using the internet to slut shame you, please read our guide on how to combat cyberbullying.

2. Slut shaming kills.

The impact of bullying can be so devastating that for some, they feel there is no way out but to take their own life. Slut shaming causes catastrophic and irreversible harm to the individual experiencing it. If you are being slut shamed or experiencing any kind of bullying, know that you do not deserve it and you are not to blame for what is happening to you. Remember that the person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. It is in no way your fault; people experience bullying not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes – you are perfect the way you are. If you would like support or guidance, you can get help from the Ditch the Label team here.

 

3. Slut shaming is sexist.

Slut shaming comes from not accepting or allowing specifically females to engage in or express sexual behavior real or perceived. We cannot talk about slut-shaming without mentioning the huge double standard that is at the core of it all; to put it plainly – what words are often used to describe a sexually active male? Player, ladies man, stud or lad. What words are often used to describe a sexually active female? Slut, whore, slag or skank. There are apparently 220 derogatory words that describe sexually promiscuous women but only 20 for sexually promiscuous men.

Society is far more accepting of sexual exploration from boys than girls, which is indicative of the damaging gender inequalities still at play today. Slut shaming also goes hand in hand with rape culture; blaming survivors of rape and sexual assault for the brutal attacks they have experienced.

4. Girls slut shame girls.

Unfortunately, females slut shaming other females is all too common. In 2016 we worked in conjunction with social intelligence company, Brandwatch, to gain insight into how misogynistic language is being used across social media, looking specifically at dialogue on Twitter. We analyzed almost 19 million public Tweets from both the UK and the US over a four year period to get a broad understanding of the landscape and we found women to be the largest perpetrators of misogynistic language on the social network, with 52% of all misogynistic tweets authored by women. It seems we must not only challenge how men view and treat women, but also how women view and treat one another.

This discovery warrants further exploration into the ways in which women engage with each other in both online and offline environments.

5. Slut shaming is NOT acceptable.

A woman’s current sexual activity, past sexual encounters, preferences, orientation is her business and no one else’s. It is reductive and repressive to judge only one gender in this way; it impacts negatively on our ability to implement positive societal change and create a society that is fair and equal for all.

If you see it, report it.

If you feel like you are exhibiting bullying behaviors and want to know how to stop, we can help you.

If you are being slut-shamed or bullied in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us for support.

 

We Recommend