Tuesday, February 19, 2013


"You've gotta stop calling each other sluts and whores. It only makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores." - Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey), Mean Girls

Recently, I've had an epiphany.

I don't understand the word "slut" and I never have. Not only do I mean that it is derogatory, judgmental, and sexist, but I'm literally saying that I do not understand what it means. I mean, I kinda know what it means, I've been to middle school before. But the longer I live and the more contexts I hear it used in, the less the concept of a "slut" makes sense to me.

If you ask Webster, he'll tell you that a slut is "a slovenly or promiscuous woman." Webster's drug-addled cousin, Urban Dictionary, describes a slut as "a woman with the morals of a man." Personally, I am not satisfied by either of these definitions, mostly because I am literate and have a properly functioning brain. "Slovenly" and "promiscuous" are pretty vague words, how do I actually use them to determine who is a slut and who is not? What types of acts qualify for "sluttiness"? Kissing? Sex? Anything in between? (I've heard people called "sluts" for doing all of the above.) How frequently must said subject engage in such acts to be a slut? With how many partners must said slut-candidate engage to qualify? Is there a benchmark figure? Five partners? Ten? Fifty? As a person who likes to know how to properly use words, I am confused.

Secondly, let's all take a deep breath and lower ourselves into the deep crevasse that is the prejudice and stupidity of whoever submitted the previously mentioned definition to Urban Dictionary: "A woman with the morals of a man." (Unfortunately, I have seen this quote made into a meme on Pinterest a lot.) I happen to know many men, and they all have completely different value systems. Just a few examples: I know a guy from Mississippi who addresses his grandmother as "ma'am." One time one of my beefcake co-workers microwaved a dead bird. My little brother doesn't like to call girls "hot" because he thinks it's disrespectful. Another dude that I know forged a letter from his boss to get into Penn State. My point? Every man is not the same, regardless of the fact that they have similar genitalia, when it comes to women or scholarship applications or animal carcasses. So, question...how the hell does that definition hold up when I know men with "better" morals than a lot of women and vice versa?

I have heard the word "slut" thrown around by many people in my lifetime, and I have concluded that there is no universal definition. Here are the instances where I've heard people (mostly girls and women, again) called sluts:
  • That girl is really popular and I heard she did this thing with this guy in the parking lot behind the playground. She's a slut.
  • That girl is dating the guy I like. She's a slut.
  • I used to date this guy but we broke up and he's dating her now. She's a slut.
  • I heard that girl cheated on her boyfriend. She's a slut.
  • That girl is really pretty and posts revealing pictures on MySpace and has a lot of guy friends. She's a slut.
  • I like this girl, but she's way out of my league, and she's dating some other guy instead. She's a slut.
  • I used to date that girl but she broke up with me, I don't even know why, [possibly a perfectly legitimate reason] and now she's dating all these other guys. She's a slut.
You'll see a common theme in all of these scenarios. They all involve a) unconfirmed rumors, b) assumptions, or c) JEALOUSY.

Based on this information, here's what I've determined is the actual, practical definition of a slut (n): A person--most likely a girl or woman--that engages in social behavior any given individual doesn't approve of. Bottom line, a "slut" is just a girl you don't like! It has nothing to do with who she did what with or how many people she did it with or how she dresses or whatever. You just hate her and want to call her something dirty, and so we made up this word that has no real meaning and throw it around whenever we're angry or jealous or presumptuous.

Don't buy it? Think about it this way: we all have friends that might actually be considered "sluts" by some people. I know which friends of mine would fall into that category. But we would never call our own friends sluts because we like them! At most, you just roll your eyes and say, "There goes Kelsey again," when you're out one night and Kelsey is hanging all over some dude. You might express concern over her actions or intervene if she was doing something potentially dangerous, but you would never put her down over her number or frequency of partners or the way she looks. (Assuming, of course, that you are a good friend.) I've noticed that we would never speak about our friends' personal lives the way that we speak about the personal lives of those we don't know or don't bother to get to know.

There's a reason that "slut" is used mostly by teenagers. It's juvenile; why do you care what some girl does? She's going to have to face the consequences of her actions anyway, calling her a slut isn't going to do anything to help either of you. She's prettier and more popular than you? Build some self-esteem. She stole your boyfriend? Well your boyfriend wasn't worth dating. She won't date you? She's probably not right for you. Just move on, don't waste time mouthing off. This isn't The Crucible; you might as well call that girl a witch. Calling someone a slut is just an immature, outdated way to put someone down. And if you must use it, at least admit that it's just because you don't like her so you're going to use her sexuality as an excuse.


If you don't agree, I hope I've at least given you something to think about.

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