Photo of graffiti outside Sienna Miller’s home, via Splash
I have to point you over to this post on The Frisky about the Great Slut Debate, and why, exactly, we keep flogging it over, and over, and over again. Amelia sums up the debate brilliantly:
The most common use of the word “slut” describes a person, usually a woman, who is promiscuous–another word that’s definition is totally open to debate. I suppose if you’re, say, a practicing Catholic, you’re a promiscuous slut if you’re having pre-marital sex. If you’re a person who thinks sex should occur between two people who love each other, someone who has sex with someone they only like may be a slut. Maybe your definition is a numbers game–five sexual partners in one’s lifetime is a-okay, but anything over that and damn, it’s obvious you don’t respect your body. People who throw around the word slut love to pretend like there’s a concern for the slut’s body, and her lack of respect for it. What does “respect” in this context mean anyway? Certainly it’s possible for a woman who’s slept with 40 men to respect her body more than someone who’s only slept with one person–maybe she respects her body’s desire to experience pleasure, rather than her body’s desire to follow rules put upon her by someone slipping a purity ring on her finger, for example.
What struck me the most was her point about how the harping on the disrespect-for-our-bodies angle is disguised as “concern” for other women’s bodies. It hit me hard–it’s just another wretched facet of the whole bodysnarking phenomenon, isn’t it? Where we busy ourselves worrying about who has gotten fat and who’s gotten thin and whose ankles are too thick and who can lose the baby weight fastest and become an OMG WEIGHT LOSS SUPERSTAR!
We get righteously (and rightfully) angry when magazines do it, but
then we participate ourselves, when we enter into the slut debate, the
judgment of sexual behavior. I would even suggest that we buy into it
when we let ourselves feel guilty for our own sexual behavior–when we
decide that we’ve been too promiscuous, we’ve enjoyed ourselves too
much (because the human body is absolutely built for ascetic
self-denial). We’ve been too physical. We’re not allowed to be physical because we’re too fat, we’re too nice, we’re too insert-guilty-thought-here.
more than just sex–it’s pleasure. We demonize pleasure too often, we
deny ourselves luxury and indulgence. We eat lemon gum instead of gummy
bears far too often, we turn down the offer of a one-night stand
because it would not be right. It would be wonderful, but it wouldn’t
be right. We don’t want to be a slut, or a pig. We don’t want anyone to
think of us like that; we secretly hate ourselves and think of
ourselves like that. We internalize the snark.
with Amelia–the slut debate needs to die, and it needs to take guilt
over indulgence and remorse for pleasure and shame when we indulge in
luxury with it.