Stop Calling Each Other Sluts
We hear it almost every day, we see it all over social media, and sometimes, it even comes out of our own mouths: slut. Many times, we don’t fully understand why we’re saying it or what it means when we attack other young women with the term. Why do we use it? What does it even mean? Why shouldn’t we use it?
If you look up the definition of “slut,” you’ll discover it means a woman who has “loose sexual morals” or “many casual sexual partners,” and has been used as a derogatory word directed at women for decades. As time has progressed, our communities have been more open to sex before marriage, single women dating, open relationships, and exploring sexuality. So when we’re looking at the word slut today, we have to ask: what’s wrong with having casual sex?
There are two different lenses in which we need to look at the way we use slut as a way to hurt each other. First, we need to understand how using sexuality as a way to insult and attack one another only adds to the stigma of being a sexually active women, and the serious impact that can have on one’s health. Second, how attacking each other is, simply put, bullying, and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Let’s talk about this first lens. Being sexually active as a woman, especially a young woman, is viewed as inappropriate, wrong, and immoral by many; however, in no way is being sexually active any indicator of someone’s morals, integrity, and character, and shouldn’t be used parallel to those qualities. Making someone feel bad about their personal choices is what’s wrong. There is a huge stigma on being sexual that we need to actively work towards breaking down. Why does that matter? When we’re shaming young people for being sexual, we are creating a stigma around sexuality and quieting the healthy conversations we could have. Young people who experienced slut shaming are much less likely to seek out information and resources to ensure they’re making healthy decisions. That means not buying or using condoms, being too embarrassed to use a hormonal birth control method, or not reaching out to friends or family for advice and help. While we’re shaming someone for having sex, someone else is out there without the knowledge of how to properly use a condom, and that can lead to a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy. We aren’t typically thinking through all this when we call a girl in one of our classes a slut, but that’s the major impact it can lead to. There’s nothing wrong with being sexually active, as long as they’re being safe and making healthy choices.
Now let’s look at the bullying side of this. Calling someone a slut, or any other derogatory term with the intent to hurt them, is straight up bullying. This can have some serious repercussions, especially if posted online. With so much negative energy and sexism out there, we need to support each other and hold ourselves accountable to create positive interactions. There are no reasons or excuses why bullying should ever be tolerated in our communities, and we need to step up and make that decision. There’s nothing stronger than women supporting women!
If those two reasons aren’t enough to stop calling other girls sluts, think about it this way: what another girl does is none of our business, and we have no right to include ourselves in it. It’s really that simple.