Stop Saying Slut: A Call to Arms

I am just as guilty as the next person. I refer to myself as a slut, to my friends as sluts, and worse, to unknown fellow women as sluts. Where did this trend start and when will it end? Why do we allow ourselves to treat each other this way, and to continue the cycle of slut-shaming?

As women, we should fight against these derogatory terms and be the last people to use them. However, I am sure that every woman who is reading this has called some woman, somewhere, a slut. Whether it was in jest or in malice, we have no excuse

It comes too naturally, the use of the word “slut.” To describe each other the morning after a night out, to describe the girl who took your man, to describe the girl who is admittedly better than you. We get some perverse pleasure out of the term. We toss it around as if to say, “Oh you dawg, you!! (I secretly applaud your behavior but I playfully want to make it seem as if you are bad.)” With a more malicious twang, it is used for shaming and for tearing someone down. Either way we use it, we love it. And we get particular satisfaction when we are using it against others.

The question is, why have we deemed this an okay thing to do? Most of us have experienced the pain that comes after name-calling and insults, especially ones that chip at our character, like “slut.” We understand how little this can make someone feel; how it causes the most confident woman to second guess herself and her behavior; how it tricks women into believing that they need to change themselves as to not fit some skewed definition.

Take a second now and try to come up with your own definition of a what a slut is. Chances are you came up with something similar to myself: Slut- n. A girl who has sex with many people, sometimes drunkenly. She also tends to dress in provocative ways and she cakes on her makeup to hide her insecurities.

First of all, that is a pretty shitty thing to say about anyone. There are malicious undertones, cracks at personal character; there is gender identification and worst of all is the fact that MY BRAIN IMMEDIATELY IDENTIFIED WHAT A SLUT WAS TO ME, AND THAT IT MATCHED THE ABOVE DEFINITION.

Am I an awful person? Or have I been programmed by society to believe in and utilize its appalling definition of a slut? I am ashamed of my application of this demeaning slur and all of its variations: “slut,” “sloot,” “sorostitute,” “slore,” and whatever other ridiculous version of the word I use.

I want to breakdown the definition I created. Right out of the gate, I defined a slut as a woman. In fact, the dictionary defines “slut” as follows: “a woman who has many casual sexual partners.” Herein lies our biggest problem. Society says that a slut represents women exclusively. We are raised to believe that “sluts” live solely among women and we actively use this word against them.

So let’s talk about the number of partners this (now genderless) definition has. How many is many? And how many is too many, if too many even exists? People deserve to be able to explore themselves as sexual beings. As long as they are safe and smart, how can anyone give a concrete number of the expected and accepted amount of sexual partners?

 Gif source: Girl Code

Gif source: Girl Code

“Slut- n. A girl who has sex with many people, sometimes drunkenly.” Maybe I am drunk right now! AND WHO CAN JUDGE ME?

In addition to trying to break someone’s character with the word, I have also attacked the shell that they keep their character tucked safely into. Dress is a form of expression. It represents your passions, your beliefs, how you see yourself, and how you want to be seen. The same can be said for makeup. It is wholly within your discretion how you want to depict your shell.

As for the insecurities this person is hiding under said shell, who do you think put them there? Most likely, it was fellow women. And this is where the cycle ends and begins again. We allow ourselves to be affected by this negative term. We harbor insecurities and we give into the changes they beg us to make. We hide under sheets of makeup and we attempt to portray confidence with clothes that reveal our bodies. We act on impulse and we become hardened and we do what was once done to us. We call someone a slut.

We perpetuate a cycle and we allow ourselves to tear women down. We fight for our equality and we fight for our expression of sexuality, yet when we see our fellow women doing the same, we scrutinize their actions and criticize them for their behavior.

We have to stop this.

Slut-shaming is rampant among our generation. Yet, we are the same people constantly pushing for change. Therefore, we can make this change in conversation. We can break this cycle. We can shift the paradigm that society holds fast. Be a millennial and do something different. Drop this word from your repertoire. “Drop it like it’s hot,” if you will.

Stand up for fellow women. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your beliefs, your actions and your choices. Allow yourself to explore the options, and with it, your sexuality. Express yourself as you see fit and allow others to do the same. Do not project your own expectations and definitions onto others, and do not allow them to do this to you.

We are our own worst enemies when it comes to insecurities and confidence. There is no such thing as a slut, as defined by me or by the dictionary. Make it your goal to make other women feel the way you want to feel- intelligent, beautiful, funny, strong, unique, steadfast, courageous, and confident.

FEATURE IMAGE BY RYAN MCGUIRE OF BELLS DESIGN VIA GRATISOGRAPHY