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“Slut Shaming”: My Smarty-Pants Roommate (& BFF) Puts Us All in Our Places

Slut Shaming: My Smarty-Pants BFF Puts Us All in Our Places

So, today I’ve got some real-life shit to talk about.

Though I do get alllll pumped about sharing recipes, pictures of my sweet dog, my favorite clothes, blah blah blah, I seriously love sharing my 2 cents with people who are open & interested.

Here’s the deal: My roommate and friend (duh), Maddy, is a real deal Psychology major. When I say real deal, I mean she 100% lives for the subject; its definitely her passion. Anyways, the other day (while all the roomies were crammed in our kitchen, trying to make breakfast together), Maddy started explaining an upcoming project for her Sociology (yeah, she’s delving into the Psychology of the masses, as well) of Deviance class. Basically, she was supposed to go out into the world & do something that society would label as “deviant” and record the reactions that she got from people. So, Maddy decided that she was going to be a ‘Shacker,‘ or at least appear to be one

I should note here that not long before she received this assignment, Maddy partook in annual recruitment with her sorority at our school. She would come home on a daily-basis a little irked by the amount of times future-sorority girls were seen as having bad reputations because they used to do things like: sneak out in highschool to hook-up with their boyfriend, etc. This is probably part of what inspired her choice of deviance.

Shacker: a person (usually female) who sleeps over after a one night stand and walks home in the morning (frequent term on college campuses in dorms and frats).

To achieve this look, Maddy wore a XL Men’s T-shirt backwards, loose-fitting shorts, her hair all “I didn’t brush my hair this morning”-y, and smudged eyeliner/mascara under her eyes. Then, off she went to a day of classes. Here’s her explanation of her expectations and a little background:

This would be breaking the norm because society looks down on women who are publically sexually active, especially before marriage. I think by wearing what I plan to wear, people will assume that I have slept over at a male’s house. The act of coming to school dressed in a ‘one night stand’ appearance is looked upon as a deviant act. I am choosing to analyze this deviant act with Becker’s theory in mind. Becker’s theory states that the person who creates a deviant act cannot be trusted to follow the rules agreed on by the group. By dressing as a ‘shacker[1]’, I will have broken the rule that society sets in reference to how women should not be allowed to be openly sexual beings. Theoretically then, ‘society’ would not trust me to display myself in a worthy or poised manner. Society enforces the belief that women, as individuals, are not meant to be publicly sexual creatures. For example, the lingerie line Victoria’s Secret implies that the act of wearing or owning seductive clothing should be kept a secret. The common term, ‘lady in the street and a freak in the sheets’, also expresses this same point of view. This implies that society wants to view women as poised and collected and that having sex is a deviant, even freakish act and that it should be kept private.

Yeah…. she quoted ‘lady in the street and a freak in the sheets’ in her college paper. This is part of the reason why we are such good friends. Hilarious.

"Slut Shaming": & Why you look like an ignorant ass-hole when you do it.

Maddy noted that she got a lot of judgmental looks….. get this… from girls. Overall, she felt an obvious feeling of discomfort and nervousness to be seen as someone who “had just slept over at a boy’s house”… how dare adult-women do that, right? Which brings me to her conclusions (the most important part):

I felt a tad embarrassed to do this assignment. Although I believe that sexuality should be embraced and not looked down upon, I still questioned whether my friends, peers, and professors would view me as unprofessional and not respect-worthy. Overall it was fun because I wanted to see if it would work and I was happy to explore the topic. I think that the view of this deviant act should be overturned. More often than not men are celebrated for their sexual experiences and women are looked down upon for the same act. It is not fair that men are able to partake in causal sexual experiences, but when their sister, friend, or classmate wants to experience the same they are automatically ‘slut shamed’. I honestly think that my ‘deviant behavior’ looked natural. My act was not in your face, it was subtle enough to not point all eyes in my direction but apparent enough to draw some attention.

I think that my experiment highlighted Becker’s point of view on deviance. He believed that “deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an “offender” (Becker, pg. 9). In other words, deviance is not a quality that defines a bad person but is the result of someone defining someone’s activities as bad. I can contest, as am sure my friends and family would too, that I am not a bad person. However my ‘activities’, pretending to be a shacker, are deviant because being a woman who ‘shacks’ is defined as bad. Furthermore, I argue that my experiment embodied Becker’s theory fully for he theorized that “deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.” (Becker, pg. 9). I was labeled as deviant for people concluded, based on my attire, that I had engaged in specific actions. I had not engaged in said deviant actions but I was labeled deviant by ‘the people’ regardless.

My favorite part of her conclusions comes next. My. Favorite. Thing.

The idea of “secret deviants” is also important. For as many men there are publicly claiming that they had a sexual experience there must be a number of women that also participated in the experience. However, these women keep their actions secret for the stigma that casual sex embodies. Becker states that one of the most important aspects of a deviant career is “the experience of being caught and publicly labeled as deviant.” Theoretically since I have been regarded as deviant publically, others’ reactions to me will now be focused on this deviant piece of my identity.

"Slut Shaming": & why you just look like an ignorant dumbass when you do it.

I mean, do y’all just love it, or what? As soon as she told me about her experience, and was reading her final paper to me, I knew this was too good not to share.

I think I should mention here that I am not, by any means, promoting that all women go shouting on the rooftops about their sexual activity, but I do promote the idea that women should not be ashamed of such acts.

So, here’s why I care so much: The first time I was referred to as a ‘slut’, I was 12 years old and visiting a new school. I had chosen to wear a pink, eyelet skirt on the day of my visit. Cute, right? Uhhh, no. A few girls at said school were extremely unhappy about my choice of attire (which was honestly, probably my Mom’s choice), because some brace-faced, knock-kneed boy had made a comment about me being “pretty.” Middle school boys… is there anything worse? ( Oh yeah, middle school girls.. ) So, these girls banished me to the land of the ‘sluts’. Can I just say, that me, at 12-years old in a mini skirt was probably the least-sexy thing that has ever existed. My green-bean legs, huge flipper-sized feet, matched with an extreme level of social anxiety.. I was the embodiment of the word “awkward.” All through middle school, I kind of got used to hearing people say bad things about me. Luckily for me, I started not to care at a very early age what girls said about me, and I am sincerely proud of myself for that.

It often takes girls a long time to realize: You give the people who speak negatively of you power when you even consider anything that they have to say of any value. They want to see you negatively-affected. Don’t give them that power… because if they were that badass, they’d be busy doing cool things & wouldn’t care about your life so much.

Entering high school, the drama started up again. Girls had, yet another, vendetta. I got phone calls & myspace messages ( yeah… Myspace days ) from upperclassman girls using the word “slut,” among other things. Now, keep in mind, I was 14 at this point, still had never kissed a boy, and got nervous when any male made eye contact with me. I’ll be honest, I was still a skinny little twig with NO boobs and the same social-awkwardness. The point is: girls will call you a slut no matter what. They are ruthless. At age 16, I was literally a renowned ‘slut’ in my town. At this point, I was becoming more okay with hugging boys………….. but still not quite sold on the idea. Lip action had still never happened… super slutty, right? A couple months after I turned 17, I had my first kiss, and girls with their boring lives everywhere were going “Seeeee? She IS SUCH A SLUT OMG!”

My point with all of this is: I would venture to say that most girls I know are sexually active. Its a human thing, and personally, I don’t believe it is an evil act ( *this is my opinion only… everyone is entitled to their own* ). And yet, when we look at another girl (who is, more-often-than-not, beautiful or attractive in some way), we dare to call them a slut.

The hypocrisy is the worst part. To look at someone doing the same thing as you do (hell, the same thing as everyone does), and speak of them in a negative way: i.e. slut, whore, gross, etc. Where is the logic in that? Its the classic pot calling the kettle black, and I’ve never been able to understand that idea (not only in terms of ‘sluttiness,’ but other facets of life as well). And, as noted by Maddy, this is an epidemic in GIRL world. We are doing it to our fellow people! We’re all supposed to be teaming up against stupid boys (lolz), and yet, they are mostly the reason we call each other such things. Uhh… c’mon.

I just believe that, as women, we should all look to empower one and other, rather than slut-shame and bitch-call. If you have time to do that, you should probably re-evaluate your priorities and use that time to better yourself or the world, because that is way too much energy to be expelling on something so petty.

I’m hoping that we can all blossom into real, adult women who get shit done, rather than remain little bitchy middle-school girls with a need to fit in, sooner than later.

Are ya with me?

[ PS ]

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses
  • Carmel
    09 . 25 . 2014

    Thanks for sharing this interesting read. This is actually more rampant in my very Catholic country.

  • Raewyn
    09 . 28 . 2014

    SERIOUSLY the best post I’ve read all week! Thank you so much for sharing her experiment and your take on all of it. This is so important for all of us women to acknowledge. I’m sharing you on my weekly WQ links today! 🙂

    • Ramblings Of A Wild One
      09 . 28 . 2014

      Aw, thank you! Love to hear that people want to hear about things that I find so important!!!