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June 10, 2011 / tallulahspankhead

More slutting it up.

 

I am, by any reasonable definition, a slut. I’ve had multiple partners, I’ve had one night stands, I’ve sexted, I’ve flashed my tits, I’ve been drunk in public, I’ve worn short skirts and see-through tops, and red lipstick.

Slut is a horrible, amorphous word that is used to silence us, to be spat at us, to shut us up when we dare to own our bodies. I say ‘reasonable definition’, but there’s no such thing. It means a different thing to every person who uses it. To the dude who used it on me multiple hurtful times for a couple of months, it was a way to shame me, to make me feel worthless, because a slut is the worst thing you could possibly be. No one could possibly want a slut. The guy who shouted it at me on the street thought he was commenting on my heels and shirt, and giving the world an indication that it would be OK to abuse me, like he had, because I was clearly not worth worrying about. The man who whispered in my ear “whose slut are you?” was using it was a term of endearment.

I’m not saying anything I haven’t said before, am I? No. But I’ve had a number of conversations recently, and read some blog posts, where woman who have reclaimed Slut seem to think everyone should do it. The we should forcibly reclaim it, and that if you’re not, you’re letting the side down.

The refusal to acknowledge that the very name of SlutWalk is problematic for some people is something that would actually make me not go. If I hadn’t already planned my outfit. I understand the attention and headline-grabbing name, of course. And as I’ve (hopefully) established, I support the cause. But my sign won’t have the word slut on it, and I won’t be using the word in a chant.

Which is what I would like those other people to understand. Reclaim it for yourself, by all means. But don’t force it on the rest of us, thanks very much. That rather undermines the point.

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2 Comments

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  1. Deborah / Jun 10 2011 7:17 am

    Yes. Good. I don’t use the word of myself, and I don’t think I would, and I don’t want someone to tell me that I ought to use it, but damned straight, if someone wants to use it to describe herself, then that’s her business.

    Come to think of it, I think have used it of myself… in the traditional sense of untidy, when gossiping with one of my colleagues.

  2. Craig Ranapia / Jun 12 2011 10:58 am

    Well, quite. I have serious issues around the idea that “nigger” or “faggot/queer” can ever be re-claimed; and I’d never use either term as self-definition. But you know what, if that works for you I’ll register my dissent (with a “we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this” tag), and suggest anyone who puts that on me will promptly require the services of a specialist in cosmetic dentistry.

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