Slutty Girls…(Fill in Blank)

Slutty Girls…(Fill in Blank) August 11, 2013

by Calulu cross posted from her blog Seeking The Light

One of the big phrases I heard many times in my very Catholic family was “Slutty Girls….” with some description of whatever undesirable behavior that these imaginary threatening exemplar ladies were modeling.

I heard that hoary old chestnut so many times that if I were to suddenly pick up a Marlboro, flick my Bic and actually inhale I’d hear my mother, my grandmother, my great grandmother and probably countless generations back exclaim in my mind – “Slutty girls smoke” – spoken in parts outraged and cautionary.

Not that girls supposedly free with their favors all smoke. It’s just the perception of my family’s womenfolk on my mother’s side. But it worked. I don’t smoke, almost no one from that half of my family smokes. I asked an aunt about that recently, she said the same thing I did, that even thinking about lighting up gives her that same interior Greek (Cajun) chorus of ladies saying “Slutty girls smoke”

“Slutty girls” also didn’t wear clean underwear. They didn’t listen to their mothers. They didn’t get good grades and were responsible for all sorts of awful evil things happening. My other grandmother  brought a few new wrinkles to the things slutty girls did, they got their ears pierced instead of leaving them as God created them.

The “Slutty girls” lie was used on myself and younger female relatives to keep us acting with what our female elders deemed acceptable comportment and seemliness as we went into the world in our Catholic school plaids and knee socks.

I never questioned it then, even if I found myself abundantly pissed off by it at times, like the time I asked my mother at 7 years old for a mini skirt and fishnet tights. My mother told me that this was something ‘Slutty girls’ wanted to wear, which in retrospect seems like a silly thing to say to a seven year old since I wasn’t even sure what ‘slutty’ meant. I knew it was to be avoided but had only the most nebulous idea what it was. It was 1967, a year when nearly everyone under 25 had on fishnet tights and a mini skirt. Not me, knee-length pleated plaid and knee socks for me.

Now in the evangelical Christian world I hear politely worded “Slutty girls wear that..” condemnation in the lip service to Christian modesty. Seems like there has been a decidedly nasty renewed pushback towards any female actually daring to wear summer-appropriate clothing by the Modesty Brigade.

Are they talking of women or teenagers walking around wearing three postal stamps and a whole lot of string? No, they are protesting ladies wearing swimsuits at the beach that aren’t neck to knee, shorts of any type and sleeveless tops. In hot weather, in the deep South, in the desert, at the beach.

My problem with this is the same one I have with the whole idea of ‘slutty girls’ – it’s saying that men are beasts that are incapable of controlling their eyes, their minds, their hearts and it’s our job not to tempt them into raping women dressed in a way that turns those men on.

That type of thinking is downright dangerous. It turns women into objects, things possessing sexual organs that are not human. It also demeans men, assuming that no man can exercise self control because they aren’t human either, they are animals.

I’ve said this before, but apparently it bears repeating – the Christian right needs to get over it’s obsession with sex. Stop obsessing over it, stop thinking about it, stop adding all these rules to Christianity that Jesus never approved. Encourage others to dress as suits the weather, their personal tastes and their body, not to suit your fear of and obsession with sex.

Put to death the labels of ‘slutty girls’ and ‘immodest’. These are the things that hurt everyone and causes divisions. Love each other and stop with the judging everyone else..

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Seeking The Light

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Great article, but the picture was really thought provoking. And it’s true. Women (and men) will be raped regardless of what they wear, act, say, or do. I guess it’s just easier for some to find a reason behind it than to say “Shitty things happen. We don’t know why and can’t control it.”

  • mayarend

    We DO know why we can’t control it. And it’s EXACTLY because of stupidity like the purity and modesty thing, that create, enable and reinforce the rape culture.
    It’s because we teach women that if they don’t do this and that, they will get raped. It’s because boys get teached that if a woman has has too much to drink or is on drugs, or is saying “no” too weakly, then it’s fair play. That if she didn’t scream, shout, kick and bite, then she enjoyed it. That if she, eventually, gave up, then she actually wanted it.
    We don’t teach boys that it’s NEVER ok to rape someone. And that date rape is rape too.
    That there IS such a thing as marital rape and that wives are NOT “obligated” to have sex with their husbands all the time and that pushing until she says “whatever, just be quick” isn’t OK, it’s bad and it IS rape.
    We can’t control rape because women are taught to prevent it, but it’s not on their hands, it’s in the hands of the rapists to do so. And most of them don’t even know they are raping.
    They think they are “working” on a woman that is “playing hard to get”.
    They think “no means maybe” or “no means try harder”.
    They think if they bought you dinner, you OWE it to them.
    And that’s rape culture. it teaches boys that women’s bodies are to be used by them.

  • texcee

    In our household it was “nasty” instead of “slutty” which was a word only nasty people used. Nearly everything my mother didn’t approve of was “nasty”. I look back and laugh now on one incident in which I was watching an old Marilyn Monroe movie on TV and made the innocent comment that I liked Marilyn. My mother immediately gave me The Look and rebuked me, “She was a NASTY woman!”

  • AdamDeSaint

    Wow, that was an incredible amount of ignorance, I don’t even know where to start.
    Since when do we NOT teach boys that it’s never okay to rape someone??? I learned from a very early age all about rape and how horrible and gruesome of an act it was, worse than murder even. Lots of young men, myself included, grow up feeling utterly ashamed of our gender because we’re falsely taught that men are the rapists and women are the victims. Boys grow up learning ALL about the evils of rape.

    You want to know what we don’t teach boys… we don’t teach them that women rape too. I had to learn that the hard way when a woman much bigger and older than I was held me down and forced me to penetrate her. We don’t teach boys that some women lie about rape and use false accusations as a weapon… I’d never even heard of such a thing until my early 20’s but apparently it happens almost as frequently as rape itself.

    From a very early age, we beat into our boy’s heads that men are monsters… they are the rapists and child molesters and women are the victims. It’s really no surprise that some boys grow up to be rapists and hate women… they’ve been raised to hate themselves and sometimes, in order to protect itself, the human psyche starts projecting that hatred outward at someone else rather than inward. Since women are learning the same lesson, (the evils of men and rape) that probably in part, contributes to women who grow up to rape and assault men… because they feel they’re “evening the field” so to speak. That men DESERVE because we’re such monsters.

    I was well into my twenties before I learned that female rapists are almost just as common as male… but the statistics don’t reflect that because “rape” is usually considered forced penetration and since a man usually isn’t penetrated (though sometimes he is, by foreign objects) it’s considered assault, not rape. Male victims of female perpetrated crime are far more vastly under reported because we NEVER learn or hear about it so we spend our lives thinking it’s our fault and that we’re the only ones.

    I won’t go into the many other problems with your post, and I apologize for my tone. But as a victim of sexual violence perpetrated by a woman, and a member of a support group of men who’ve suffered like I have… seeing ignorant posts tear me apart inside because they only contribute to the rape culture that no one talks about.