There may come a time in your life when you wake up in a stranger’s bed, last night’s glittery eyeshadow caked on, hair in an untamed state and someone next to you who may or may not have been worth hooking up with. Before the hangover can set in, you decide that you need to vacate the premises immediately, because you have no interest in exchanging words. After scurrying around to find your shoes, bag and underwear, you quietly sneak out and thus begin the “walk of shame” back to your place. You’re suddenly subject to the possibility of derision, moral judgments and general degradation from anyone who sees you. If this were something that could happen to anyone, there might not be much to say about this, but much like everything sexual, there is an inherent double standard placed upon women that does not exist for men.
The walk of shame is a totally gendered activity for a few reasons. Part of it stems from how unnecessarily provocative women’s sartorial choices can be. Guys can go out in public looking schlubby, and no one is really going to think much of it. Our clothing choices as women, on the other hand, are always scrutinized. People look at us and make baseless assumptions about our promiscuity, intelligence, integrity and morality. This is especially heightened when we choose to wear clothing that is deemed sexy. So if we’re caught out and about the morning after a “slutty” night in last night’s “skanky” dress, then we’re supposed to be ashamed or regretful of our decisions to not only have casual sex, but then have the nerve to show ourselves in public afterwards. Oh, the horror.
Women having casual sex is still considered scandalous, while it’s totally cool for men to have as many casual conquests as they want. And therein lies the key to the double standard – men are still considered to hold the power. If men want to have sex with us, we’re supposed to be flattered and acquiesce, but ultimately, we should feel dirty and gross about it. The idea of a woman being empowered in her sexual choices is scary and threatening to the status quo. Which is even more reason for you to eschew the shame in your walk of shame.
You don’t have to be embarrassed about the clothes you wear. You don’t have to feel awkward about the fact that you had no strings attached sex at someone else’s house, and you really shouldn’t feel bad about needing to get home or wherever after the fact. Assuming that you practiced safer sex and everything was consensual, you should feel fine about your decisions, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you may look a little sloppy, but plenty of people go out looking grimy, and a lot of them don’t even have an orgasm to show for it. The perpetual shaming of women who choose to be sexual is completely intolerable and obnoxious. There have got to be more interesting and relevant things in life to occupy our collective time than denigrating ladies who have sex and enjoy it.
[lead image via Hasloo Group/shutterstock.com]