Slut Shaming

Chloe Angyal wrote a piece for the Christian Science Monitor about slut shaming. I’m glad to see this piece on CSM. It’s a very succinct, well written article. It uses an episode of the ABC show What Would You Do show as a lead-in. The show hid cameras in a diner, and filmed patron’s reactions when women, actresses, were abused by their assumed-boyfriends, actors.

Not surprisingly, the patrons defended the women and confronted the boyfriends when the women were modestly dressed, though they were slower to react when the actors were POC, which is a big issue, all in itself. However, when the women wore low-cut dresses, the patrons did nothing. Two even speculated that the women were prostitutes, and when later interviewed, offered that as the reason they did not intervene.

One of the actresses asked, “What difference should it make if she were a prostitute?”

What, indeed.

Women’s clothing is coded socially. Revealing clothing indicates a woman’s sexual status in our culture. Low-cut tops and short dresses or shorts are given meaning, namely, that a woman is sexually active and available. Clothing is of course neutral, nothing about them tells us anything save their fashion choices. But people take intellectual shortcuts in judging people, and clothing is one of those shortcuts used. It’s wrong, of course, and it hurts a lot of women.

Race is another social shortcut. POC women are hyper-sexualized in our culture. Chloe’s article was a good one, but she left out this aspect, and it needs to be addressed. Racist “cultural” indicators of sexuality are part of our society, and they shouldn’t be. Race is intellectually neutral, yet we attach meaning to it. Men of color are violent, criminals. Women of color are extremely sexual, aggressive, bad mothers.

Slut shaming is not complicated, but it is intertwined with sexism, racism, and a whole slew of other isms. Once you examine it, it’s easy to see. Exposing slut shaming in a popular newspaper, and breaking it down for those not familiar with these facts are key to educating, and then eradicating it.

A lot of people are afraid of the f-word, or rather intimidated by it, convinced by all the man-hating, shrew propaganda that’s been perpetrated for years. Blogs are not yet seen as valid sources by many. But a piece in a large newspaper? A good piece to refer friends and loved ones to when trying to talk to them about this issue. We’re trying to change the world–by activism. And talking to people, educating them, is a big part of that.

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About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

One Response to Slut Shaming

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Slut Shaming « A Bookish Beemer -- Topsy.com

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