Ah the slut, we all know her very well. She is the girl slurring out “another vodka tonic please”, the girl wearing a dress that looks like it would fit your ten year old sister perfectly (as a t-shirt), the girl stumbling home with your crush. She is the girl that other girls whisper about and that the boys will happily stumble home with.
If anyone outside your social circle called you a slut, you would be pretty pissed. So I must ask: why is it that when my best friend greets me with a cheery “Hey Slut” I am not in the least bit offended? Rather I know that we have reached an extreme level of closeness?
I can’t count the number of times I’ve called my friends sluts as a term of endearment. One of my best friends, Lauren, is better known to me as ‘Laur-Whore’. And how many times have you come across pics online titled: “me with my favorite sluts!”
Why is it that close groups of girls can call each other a name that society has deemed taboo for others outside that circle to label her as? Much like the N-word, Slut is most often used in a derogatory and demeaning fashion. So why do both African Americans and women alike, make light of words that have historically taken away their place in society to be seen as equal? And instead, belittles them and places untrue and unfair stereotypes upon them?
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word slut as either a: “slovenly (dirty/disheveled) woman”, or a “Promiscuous girl, especially a prostitute, a saucy girl.” Yet this is what we call each other to express our love and closeness for each other?!
By using the words slut/whore/skank as a term of endearment, we are only perpetuating the use of such a degrading word, enabling both men and other women to use it to judge, demean and label us.
“Slut” has become so commonplace and casual that there are even slut products promoting the word. You can order a Red Headed Slut at the bar, buy slut lip balms, bubble bath and more. Us women can’t escape the word, and more importantly the label. If you drink too much coffee you’re a “coffee slut” if you spend countless hours online, clearly you’re an “internet slut”. But please someone tell me — why does society get to determine how much coffee, online time and sex is too much?
By using the word slut in every day chit-chat, we are continuing to give the go-ahead to society to define us and to keep placing stereotypes upon us based upon their personal judgments of our sexuality. So what if I wear a cleavage-y top to the bar? Does that make me a person who sleeps around? And If I do, how does that make me less of a person, much less a prostitute? Women have become captive to the sexual double standard in this society for far too long.
So my fellow ‘sluts,’ let’s stop throwing around a word that continues to hold us back. And next time I see you out on the street, it may be old and boring, but I’ll be sure to settle for a “Hey, what’s up?”