June 29, 2011
SLUT

What is a slut?

This question I have asked myself today. Is it the girl who paints the town red every night, takes home a new boy, lets him have his wicked way and then never calls him back? Is it the girl who, in one silly moment, kisses someone other than the one who has held her hand for months on end? Or is it the generic term used for any woman who uses her sexuality and assets to make the best of herself?

Today, for the first time in my life, I was called a slut. I was guilty of no infidelity to my boyfriend. I was not being deliberatley provocative. In fact, I was calmly trotting up Fossgate, hand in hand with James, on our way to the train station. The first catcalls came ‘nice legs, love!’. Now as my legs are around six inches long from ankle to hip, I didn’t immediatley think the calls were aimed at me. Then another one came ‘Oi, ginger! Can see your fit arse through them shorts!’. I knew then that these lewd calls were aimed at me, so turning around, I offered a few choice words to the perpertrators, a group of maybe 20 year old lads, and told them to leave me alone.

To which the shocking reply came ‘Shut the fuck up, you silly little slut’. James steered me to the top of the road and sat me down. He was shaking with rage as I began to cry, telling me he was going to go back and punch them. Thank God he didn’t, he’s only about four inches taller than┬áme, bless him.

After I had calmed down a bit, I began to reflect on what I had been called, and then I was suddenly overcome with a deep sense of shame. I had been made to feel degraded, simply for showing off my legs on a hot day in a pair of shorts. I had been made to feel that I was exploiting my gender, that I was sexually provoking any male on the street I happened to walk past- all from being called one stupid, silly four letter word. I felt ashamed as I remembered I too have been guilty of using that word against others- that everytime I have said that word to or about someone, their cheeks too must have burnt with the shame of being branded as a harlot, a whore, a scarlet woman. Call it whatever you want. There is no male equivalent. It is a universally sexist term.

And then I thought, okay, so what does the word slut mean? Is a slut a girl who might look in the mirror every day, cry at what she sees, feels so depressed and self-loathing that she feels a need to go out every night and have sex with a different man to feel self-validated? Is it a girl who is stuck in a relationship with a man she doesn’t love, who for one mad moment kisses someone else to finally feel some passion?

There are two sides to every coin, and as of today I will never describe any woman as a slut again.

Is a slut a girl who takes charge of her own body, who wears whatever she wants to wear for herself and not for anyone else, who is proud of her legs, or her boobs, or her bum, or whatever other part of her body she may wish to show off? Call me a slut then. There is a much worse word I could use to describe the people who abused me on the street today. And that word is ‘ignorant’. Something I hope to never be.