“Slut shaming” perpetuates societal degredation of women

Slut shaming is the act of attacking a woman for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners and/or acknowledging sexual feelings. The outpouring of hatred toward Kristen Stewart following news of her and director Rupert Sanders’ affair is a prime example.

The amount of energy put into slut shaming is beyond disgusting. When there are so many other issues that directly affect women and deserve public outcry, a 22-year-old’s romantic mistake is not one of them. Slut shaming is a damaging habit that needs to be recognized and stopped on a personal level; it is adding fuel to the fire for those who wish to drag us back into the 19th century.

Excess money, passion and outrage are being funneled into the Stewart scandal: T-shirts labeled “Trampire” are available for purchase and people have posted countless videos clamoring to tear her apart. Stewart canceled her MTV Video Music Awards appearance, and there are rumors that she has been cut from the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman.

Stewart is just one of many celebrities who have been slut shamed and one of millions of women outside Hollywood. It would be nice to say that only men slut shame, and the type of men who spout these notions – such as the claim that not all rape is “true rape” or that women should undergo an ultrasound to “hear the heartbeat” before having an abortion – are few and far between.

This, however, is not the case. Today, words such as “slut,” “whore” and “tramp” are casually thrown around in normal conversation without a single notion of how degrading and damaging they truly are for all women, not just the selected target of the moment.

Slut shaming pits woman against woman during a time when the “War on Women” is being dug up and revamped. Therefore, those fighting for women’s rights need to present a united front. Both women and men who believe in women’s rights must continuously support women through what they say and do, not just through whom they vote for.

People must realize the negative consequences of slander. Each time people call a woman a slut for making a mistake or being a sexual human being, it’s easier for those in the media and government to drag all women down.

Public outrage ensued after conservatives called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a slut, and rightly so. If people are going to riot against such an incident, however, they must question why the language is acceptable in everyday conversations. I am not comparing everyone to Rush Limbaugh – that would be too much of an insult – but people need to carefully think about what they are saying.

The public must also ask, “Why?” Why are we so quick to call a girl out on a “walk of shame?” Why is one partner exonerated and the other judged? Humans have to reproduce to survive; sex is a part of life.

Slut shaming is not only wrong but also a senseless waste of time: a distraction from what really deserves our attention and outrage.

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