When four psychologists studied the phenomenon known as “slut shaming”—defaming a woman for the presumed frequency of her sexual activity—they learned the extent to which women shame each other, often for reasons that actually have little to do with promiscuity.
The quote above was excerpted from a longer article published in Psychology Today that snagged my attention. I wanted to ignore it and just let the whole thing pass by without comment, but I’m being prompted (read: cattle-prodded) to meet it head-on.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “slut” has been around since the 15th century, although the spelling has changed a bit. It was slutte in Middle English. Even so, the definition has remained the same: a slovenly woman; a promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute; a saucy girl.
Hmmm. Really? If saucy = slut, then I am all that, baby, and then some. I hope you are, too!
So, both men and women have been tossing this damning little word around for over 600 years, all because of prudishness and some very warped views about sexuality that grew like weeds right along with the church’s dogma. Whew. Could we just stop giving that word so much power, please? We have reduced it down to four letters. I think it’s time to wipe it out entirely.
While slut shaming is nothing new, the article does at least shed some light on why women go there in the first place. It appears to be more of a class divider, and that only serves to keep women locked in the same downward spiral of catty competitiveness that prevents us from being stronger together.
Listen, my dear sisters. Whatever you do with your body is your business. Whatever I do with mine is my business. Our foremothers fought very hard to give us more sexual freedom than they ever enjoyed, so why destroy that by shaming each other?
We are all just spiritual beings in human form, learning our lessons and doing the best we can on this earthly plane of existence. How about we make it a little easier on ourselves?
Let us erase “slut” from our vocabulary. Let us all stop passing judgement upon each other long enough to realize that we are all goddesses. We are all free to express our wild, juicy selves in whatever way that brings us joy. We are stronger than the labels history has passed down to us if we choose to be. Real power and real social status is achieved by women who inspire others and lift them up, not by scared little girls who climb to the top of a ladder by pushing everyone else off.