What Is Slut Shaming?

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Have you heard the term, "slut shaming," and you're wondering what it means? Or perhaps you're familiar with the expression, but you're wondering why it's become such a hot button issue? For so many girls and women today, being labeled a "slut" has become a kind of scarlet letter that they have to bare, which manifests into a tarnished reputation that they can't shake. 

What Is Slut Shaming?

Slut shaming is when women are stigmatized, criticized, and even ostracized because of their actions or mere reputation for being promiscuous, dressing in a provocative way, or basically going against the expected social norms of sexuality for women.

Women are harshly judged and disparaged because they are perceived to act, behave, and dress in a sexual way that others view as inappropriate and unladylike. 

Why Is Slut Shaming Such a Problem?

When it comes to slut shaming, it's important to understand why this type of label can be a denigrating, demeaning, and harmful categorization with long-lasting consequences for both girls and women alike. While you may think this type of treatment is harmless or not that big of a deal, slut shaming has many negative repercussions of which you should be aware.

1. Women Face a Double Standard

While men are often praised, romanticized, and respected for their intimate acts and sexual liaisons, women receive the exact opposite treatment by society at large. Men are labeled as playboys, players, and serial daters who are admired by their peers because of their promiscuous sexual behavior, while women are labeled as sluts.

But women shouldn't be afraid to embrace their sexuality much like their male counterparts, and this is why slut shaming is such a double standard and sexist message. Women shouldn't be ridiculed, scorned, or denigrated because they're in touch with their sexuality, and yet slut shaming makes this type of cruel and unfair treatment perfectly acceptable.

 

2. Women Are Often Bullied Online 

Slut shaming is also a problem specifically for girls and women today because of social media. This type of public forum enables women to express themselves, but when it comes to posting a picture on Instagram in a sexy bathing suit, posing in a provocative way, or even making sexy faces on Snapchat, women can receive backlash from friends, followers, and strangers alike because of this type of "inappropriate" behavior. And while girls and women should be free to be themselves, it seems as though they can't cross the line into sexy without criticism and shaming from their social circle and beyond. Women are frequently victims of online bullying, and whether these criticizers are under a cloak of anonymity or not, this type of forum makes it acceptable to gang up on women, call them sluts, and demean them in this public space. 

3. This Label Can Have Dire Consequences

When a girl or woman is labeled a slut, this kind of denigrating classification can have lasting negative consequences for her. For instance, if a girl is believed to have been sexual in some capacity with someone in her school, she can be labeled as a slut for years to come. And whether these sexual acts even occurred or not is inconsequential, as it's simply the belief that a girl is a slut that can create this type of reputation that's hard to shake.

Even worse, the proliferation of slut shaming has made it easier for others to blame the victim in many different unfortunate situations. For example, if a woman is taken advantage of sexually, slut shaming has suddenly made it more acceptable to insinuate or blatantly state outright that the woman's clothes, demeanor, lower back tattoo, or some other aspect of her personality made the act of sexual violation, violence, or misconduct more understandable or impending.

How Can You Help to Stop Slut Shaming?

The first step in putting an end to slut shaming is to go on the defensive in support of women today who receive this kind of label. It's also important to tell girls and women that there's nothing wrong with embracing their sexuality, and they should be proud of who they are and proud to express themselves in any way they'd like without the fear of backlash.

It's time to rid the slut stigma and champion women who are free to be themselves.