That’s not a slut. That’s a person.

I’m not sure what the official rules on labeling a woman a “slut” are. But let me give you a few examples of people who have “earned” the term:

I know of a girl who fell in love with a boy, gave him her virginity after dating for several years, and got pregnant. Even though she had never slept with anyone else (and is now happily married to that same boy), she was labeled a slut the entire time she was pregnant.

I have a friend who had never slept with anyone. She was labeled a slut because of the way she dressed.

I had a classmate who was labeled a slut because of her naturally large breasts.

I have a married family member who was labeled a slut when another man bragged about having a crush on her (even though she did not return his feelings).

I was labeled a slut when someone thought he saw a hickey on my neck (it was acne, for the record. I’ve never actually had a hickey)

And, here we go, I’ll admit it, though I’m not proud. When I was a teenager, a girl in my youth group slept with her boyfriend and everyone knew about it. And I labeled her a slut.

Sadly accurate ( from http://theriotmag.tumblr.com/post/3536894551)

So, what’s a slut? Apparently you don’t have to be sexually promiscuous to be one. Apparently, you can be a virgin and still be a slut. If you get pregnant before marriage (no matter what the circumstances are), I guess that makes you a slut. If you wear a mini-skirt, you’re a slut. If a lot of men like you, you’re a slut. If you have a nice body, you’re a slut. If you’re a Christian, you only have to have sex once to be a slut. If there are rumors about you, you’re a slut.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Hold on a second. What?

Geez, is anyone NOT a slut?

It seems to me that the only requirements for being crowned “slut” are:

1) You must be a woman

2) ….hmmm…well, that’s about it.

Men are not sluts. I hear the word “man-whore” now and then (and it’s just as objectifying, by the way), but I don’t know anyone who uses the term as liberally as people use the term “slut.”

I hate the word “slut”- not just because the word itself is hurtful (though, it definitely is). But it’s a word that represents and mocks the challenges that women have been facing since the beginning of time. It’s a word that spits on those women who are bold enough to demand to be treated like humans. It’s a word that does more than hurt feelings- it denies feelings. Feelings? What feelings? You don’t have those you’re just a slut.

The word “slut” says, “You, as a woman, are an object that can depreciate in value. Not a person who is priceless.”

It preaches,”You, as a woman, have no greater gift to give than your virginity.”

It mocks, “You have a sex drive? That’s so unnatural.”

It accuses, “If men lust after you, it is your fault. If you are sexually abused, it is your fault. If you are stalked or cat-called at, it is your fault. You are a woman. You are the reason men masturbate and rape and harass. It is your fault.”

It whispers, “You are defined by your sexual mistakes. You can never change. What you’ve done is part of your identity.”

I’m going to issue a challenge- that we try our best to remove “slut” from our vocabulary (at least as an insult- I know some women who embrace the term as a compliment as they embrace their sexuality, and I say “Go them!”). I grew up saying it as an insult, and it still slips out now and then, because the crappy, sinful part of Sarah Moon likes to accuse others of being sluts because it makes me feel better about myself and my mistakes. But I’ve trying to change this, and I hope you’ll accompany me on my journey!

Now, let me remind you, simply refraining from using the “s-word” isn’t enough. Remember, the word itself is just one of the banners that the soldiers in the age-old War on Women like to fly. Taking out the banner isn’t going to stop the war. There are still lies to combat and self-esteems to rescue. There are still glass ceilings to break and rights to fight for.

But before any battles can be won, we have to remember why we’re fighting:

Because women are people. Not objects.

“Slut” objectifies and dehumanizes.

So let’s stop joining with the enemy. Let’s ditch the labels and take a look at the women- the PEOPLE- behind them.

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  • http://pauldebaufer.wordpress.com Paul DeBaufer

    Excellent! You are quite perceptive.

    In every instance which you relate the woman/girl being called a slut was quite a misuse of the word, IM not so HO. But, I myself have been guilty of the same and not so long ago, not actually to the woman or anybody else, but does that really change anything.

    I think that the way in which you have seen it used and the way I have used it in my mind about my former girlfriend (whom I still love too deeply and too well, said in my mind in a state of hurt and anger while I was alone, still no excuse because it was intentional) was abusive. No one you described, as described, fits the actual definition. Yet I think that as hurtful as it was intended to be, and we call women sluts to inflict pain, either to them directly or to their relationships and future relationships with others (what we oft call reputation), I wonder if slinging “slut” at someone actually says more about the slinger than its victim.

    I think that the one making the slur is saying, “I am insecure, unconfident, small, bigot who cannot handle that you have done something I haven’t.” Sarah you said it well when you said you have said it about another to make yourself feel better, bigger, superior to another. When men say it it is said to inflict pain because we feel small (ever seen Chasing Amy? The guy couldn’t handle that his girlfriend had had a sexual experience he hadn’t. His problem was him, not her.)

    So, while you are working on getting the word out of use, please ladies, do NOT let anyone hang that label on you! Don’t accept it if it is thrown at you. You know who you are don’t let some insecure little f$%^ tell you differently with their abusive use of sexual slurs.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com Stitch

    100% agree. Slut-shaming is utterly inexcusable. Reminds me of an excellent comment on a blog I read once – excellent enough for me to keep it around =)

    “Why does sexual intimacy have to be an either/or between self-respect and self-loathing? Many people from all walks of life find sexual intimacy important because it is a sign of trust, a way to be closer to your partner, and how you start a traditional family. That seems to be a shared perspective. To say that someone has no dignity or self-respect because they feel differently about the particulars demeans everyone. Also, to say someone is worth no more than their virginity is pretty narrow. What about all the other things they have to offer their partner? What about their love, understanding, parenting (where applicable), compassion, support and talents? Why is being a virgin more important than being a good sister or supportive friend? Do people really begin and end with virginity? I don’t think so. People have a lot to give and it’s good and okay to appreciate them for all they are— regardless of how you feel about intimacy! We are all much more than virgins or non-virgins and it’s not really becoming to get all freaked out about it.”

    I think it was this kind of thinking (you’re a slut and therefore a thing that depreciates in value) that allowed my friends to think they could tear me down. It’s such a damaging thought-process, whether the word “slut” is ever said or not. It was certainly implied.

    • http://pauldebaufer.wordpress.com Paul DeBaufer

      I think a guy would have to be pretty shallow value virginity over the woman. You are so right the lack of a hymen does NOT devalue a woman in any way shape or form. A guy may be a little intimidated by a woman who has more sexual experience than he does, but he needs to be honest with himself and her, this is his issue not hers.

      Way back when we really didn’t understand how a woman got pregnant virginity was important so a man would “know” his kids were his kids. Virginity really wasn’t much of an indicator unless the baby was born 9 months after the wedding. I can almost see the emotional desire for a virgin in this context, almost but not really.

      So, guys don’t be shallow. If virginity is more important than the woman you claim to love then you are far too immature to be in a relationship, let alone think about marriage and sex. Go grow-up and quit projecting your shit on the girls. And by all means don’t even look for a girlfriend until you do!

      • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

        “If virginity is more important than the woman you claim to love then you are far too immature to be in a relationship, let alone think about marriage and sex.”

        Perfect! I used to be upset when Christian boys turned me down because of my past. Now, I’m just happy that I’ve found myself a MAN that is mature enough to accept me, I know he struggles with insecurity because he’s less experienced than I am. But he doesn’t devalue me and he is quick to admit that the problem is his own and not at all mine.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      That’s a great comment! awesome!

  • http://theladyexpounds.wordpress.com Lady Tam Li

    I like your thoughts. :) To be honest, I *have* used the term before, as a description of how a woman acts and dresses.

    However, I don’t say it to the person, and a girl really does have to be at the extreme end for me to use it. I don’t use it just for random people who sleep with their monogamous-relationship boyfriend. I use it for people who literally don’t care who they sleep with, don’t care enough about themselves or the other person to use protection, and who typically wear clothing 2 sizes too small for themselves that make their bosom nearly fall out, and that cover less on their hindquarters than a pair of panties would.

    I have nothing against a woman dressing attractively…but I consider a woman who cares about her appearance MUCH different than a woman who’s just wearing whatever to get as much random, irresponsible action as she can.

    And even then, I’d rather use it as a description of what she’s wearing…not the person herself. She herself probably has extremely low self-esteem, etc., but bugger me to know how to help such a person.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      I have a friend who dresses in what others have called “slutty clothing.” I know she has low self-esteem- she wants to go to church but gets stared at, made fun of, or even called out because of her clothing so she usually sits in the back and leaves as soon as the service is over.

      I’m really sad at the way my church (or at least, the church that I recently decided to leave) treats her. I think the best way to help is just befriend those girls, remind them that they’re beautiful and special and loved. Be an example of Christ to them, even when other Christians decide to act like Pharisees instead.

      In fact, that’s usually the best way to help someone- just be a good friend! :)

      • http://pauldebaufer.wordpress.com Paul DeBaufer

        I am sorry that your friend is treated so poorly by those claiming to represent Jesus. There are churches where she will be welcome just as she is. If y’alls can’t find one, start one.

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  • http://homekettle.wordpress.com thescreamingkettle

    Got here from Rachel Held Evans’ blog. And…boom! ~ Subscribed. Love your thoughts. I’ll be back!

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Glad you like it!

  • http://www.jermainelane.com Jermaine

    I wrote a post on a similiar vibe a few weeks ago about the woman caught in adultery and dropped rocks. This woman, dragged against her will while having sex into the public arena, and who did Jesus deal with more? Her accusors. He didn’t address what she was just doing or call her the “s word”. He told her he didn’t condemn her and to go sin no more.

    Why can’t the church/my spankin’ self do the same and show love instead of labels and judgment? Why is virginity used as a measuring stick of a person’s character? Maybe The Church as a whole needs to grow up, drop our condemning rocks, and deal with our own crap instead.

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  • http://williambrust.wordpress.com William

    Well done! Well done! I came to similar conclusions a few months ago, when I asked myself just what a “slut” is, exactly, and couldn’t come up with an answer. Actually just finished blogging about it, and that’s how I found your site, under similar postings. Glad to know another thinking Christian out here in the wilderness.

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