Slut-shaming is not uncommon, even in 2020

In the age of #MeToo and woke culture, everyone is quick to say they respect women. Donald Trump, who famously bragged that he “grabbed a woman by the p***y,” claims that no one has more respect for women than him. If these are the standards of respect that the president of the United States holds, to what standards do we hold the men around us? 

I was sitting in the school dining hall once when I heard something that made my jaw drop. “She’s such a f***ing slut.” I heard a boy’s voice say. “She might hear you,” another said as if that was the worst part. “Who cares if she hears us? She’s a h*e anyway,” The rest of the boys at the table offered more variations of incredibly offensive words to describe women as if what they had already said wasn’t enough. I felt sick to my stomach a mix of extreme anger, hurt and shame. How could boys that I know, that I talk to, who are receiving the same education as me, speak about women like that? 

The most disturbing part was that this is hardly the worst of it. 

It is baffling to me that even at a place like Woodstock, people have the mindset that a girl who dresses in revealing clothes does not have respect for herself. That a girl who dates multiple guys is begging for attention. That a girl who posts a picture in a bathing suit is allowing vulgar comments and lewd direct messages. That girls who make these choices are not worthy of their respect. 

The same people who make comments like that are the ones who claim that feminism is not necessary in today’s day and age and that women are completely equal in terms of opportunity and choice. If that is the case, then why are words like “sl*t” and “wh*re” still thrown around? Why do we use words like that to describe women that are simply living their lives the way they think is best? Why is the male equivalent of the word whore “man-whore,” implying that by nature, only women can have that kind of character? 

Why is it that women are still policed and scrutinized for every decision they make, while men get a free pass for nearly everything? 

This is not an attack on all men. It is a reminder to women to hold the men around them to high standards of respect, to never accept being called words that reduce them to an object, to hold boys, even their own friends, accountable when they speak about women from a perspective of misogyny and male superiority. 

Words hold a lot of power. They have the ability to make someone feel on top of the world, but also to completely tear them apart. We need to eliminate words like “slut” and “h*e” that lessen women to their clothing, sexual choices and appearance from our personal dictionaries, and leave the concepts behind them in the past, where they belong. 

 

Aadya Aryal is the features editor of The Woodstocker 

Edited by Janvi Poddar

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