I am sure we all remember being told at some point during childhood that if you didn’t have anything nice to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all. Apparently that particular lesson didn’t stick very well. More and more I am noticing people’s casual use of demeaning words like “slut”, “whore”, and “ho”. Not just men but women. What’s most disturbing about this trend is that women get angry when men call them names or degrade them but they seem just fine to do it to each other.
I just read an article on the Choices Campus Blog, about women’s use, and especially our generation’s use of derogatory terms and how they have become so common in our society. In her article, Jacqui Logan, talks about how the continuation of using these slurs is creating problems like reinforcing the idea that gendered insults are okay. Logan raises some really good points and after reading her article, I kept thinking about how much my generation uses terms like “slut” and “bitch” and some other creative terms that wouldn’t be appropriate for this blog.
In some ways I feel as if it has become so normal to call each other “bitch” (in a mean way or casually) or to label someone a “slut” or a “whore” because of what they were wearing or how they were acting that we don’t really think about what it means. I can’t tell you how many times while talking to a girlfriend they would say that some girl was a “slut” because she was wearing a skimpy outfit or they would refer to their own behavior as being “slutty” because they made out with a random guy while at a party. Why do we do this to each other and ourselves?
In terms of how some woman dresses, aren’t we trying to get across the message that no outfit condones derogatory behavior or sexual assault but then we continue to call each other “sluts” for the exact same thing? Or how about some girl hooking up with a guy? Why do people call her a “slut”? If you think about it there isn’t a male version of that insult. Part of fighting for equality includes fighting for the abolishment of double standards especially when it comes to sexuality. With society perpetually pressuring women to be virtuous and to not engage in sex as freely as men having been doing for centuries or at least not to openly talk about it, you would think that instead of buying into the “slut”/“whore” labeling we would stand up for each other and embrace our own and our friends sexuality.
No woman should be made to feel ashamed of herself, demeaned, or be called any type of derogatory slurs, but it happens. But perhaps instead of doing it to each other and giving a bad example for society, we should choose our words more carefully. Call me crazy but I believe that we as women face enough challenges without creating division and competition between ourselves and hurting each other.