dancing as an adult.

A conversation I have quite frequently is about my dance troupe.

10418409_956558517704059_5604782929156133601_n

“I see that you’re doing burlesque now!” folks will say to me, usually with one eyebrow raised. The statement itself provokes a particular image–a scantily clad woman slowly taking off her clothes to the cheers of others, engaging in consenual objectification, and using her body as a weapon of mass arousal. The raised eyebrow can mean several things–intrigue, disapproval, a “Does your mother know about this?” gaze.  Continue reading

Why Slut Shaming Makes You Look Bad, Not Other Women

I’m so tired of women using the word “slut” to describe other women, or using the word as an adjective to describe another woman’s behavior.

It reminds me about when I was going into middle school. An older friend of mine sat me down and explained the hierarchy of my new personal hell school. “There are preps and jocks, weirdos, nerds, but you definitely don’t want to hang out with the sluts,” she warned.

“What makes someone a slut?” I asked. This word was new to me, and I wasn’t even sure what it entailed.

“It’s a girl who always flirts with other guys, does things with them,” my friend explained. I didn’t quite understand how a girl who got the attention of guys was someone I didn’t want to be friends with. Or how her behavior was any different than my popular friends who turned into giggling maniacs whenever a dude entered the room. I tried to agree that yes, being flirty with boys was so not okay, and entered middle school with a sexist knowledge that would take years to erase.

It is because I learned the word “slut” in middle school that I associate it with juvenile behavior today. Not that being promiscuous is juvenile, but rather caring so much that you give it such a demeaning title makes me think you are a lot immature, and perhaps a wee bit jealous.

I never grew up in a home where words were used lightly. “Shut up!” was the equivalent of dropping the F-bomb, or maybe even less tolerable. My parents never described other women as “sluts” or “skanks”, and corrected me when I was a teenager. I remember casually calling a classmate a “whore” at the dinner table, and my dad asked calmly: “You have prostitutes in your class?”. When I immediately told him that of COURSE we didn’t (c’mon, dad), he responded “Then you shouldn’t call anyone that.” It sank in.

Throughout my young adulthood I have had friends that view sex on a varying degree, ranging from those who want to wait until marriage to those who want to wait to the end of this sentence. I can’t remember a time–as a young adult–I’ve ever truly cared about their preferences. I do not view those abstaining any less than those who are bountiful in their conquests, or visa versa. As long as it is being consensual (which sex should ALWAYS BE)…

what the hell do I care?

I feel that slut shaming is one of the biggest detriments we have to modern feminism. The classic dichotomy of virgin versus sex-crazed maniac is a double edged sword that does nothing for either side. Everyone’s personal view of sex is just that–personal–and should be viewed as such. Just because I have been in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship for the past three years does not make me better (or worse) than anyone else, and I don’t claim to know the best way to have a relationship for everyone. I know what is right for my sexual and mental health, and I want that for everyone. You should not be having to combat society’s stigmas while simultaneously trying to figure out your comfort levels with sexual behavior. Using words like “slut”, “ho”, or any variety of the word do nothing for us as women but bring us down.

There is the argument of reclaiming words like “slut” in the positive sense, and if that is your choice, by ALL MEANS, go for it. However, using that word in the negative sense is not pro-woman, and just not okay. If you are calling yourself or another woman “slutty” to bring about a negative view of a behavior or individual, you are not doing anyone any favors. Your personal view of sexuality does not need to be imposed on every woman. If you have a voice, you should use it to advocate for women’s sexual rights rather than demean them.

I understand that a lot of times, a woman’s sexuality is viewed as something that is done for the attention of men, and that in itself rips it of it’s empowerment. To that I say “poo poo”. Not all women are having sex solely with straight men, and your view of “why” a woman should have sex is just as damning as a man’s thoughts that he is owed sex. A woman should have sex because she wants to and is digging it with the partner of her choice.

So what I’m saying is this: if you identify yourself as a feminist (which everyone should, because it is 2014 and we’re not a bunch of idiotic Neanderthals), stop using the word slut negatively to describe the behavior of women. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s hurtful and sets us back about 40 years. If you have concerns about a friend’s sexual choices, find a different way to approach it. You can inquire about someone’s sexual business with different words or tones.

Or keep your damn opinion to yourself, and keep doing you. If that’s what you’re into. 😉

tired.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of living in a world where a man thinks that sex is owed to him. I’m tired of living in a world where if a woman is not interested, she risks being threatened or harassed. I’m tired of living in a world where a 23 year old male can justify killing others because he is a virgin, just not by choice. I’m tired of misogyny being dismissed because it “isn’t a real issue”.  I’m tired of there being pockets of the Internet filled with men’s rights activists, who think that their male privilege isn’t enough. I’m tired of these men thinking that women are the enemy, when it’s their behavior that is their true enemy. I’m tired of people saying “It’s a mental health issue” when it’s just as much a sexism issue, too, and that our world doesn’t tell men “No, women do not owe you ANYTHING simply because they are WOMEN.”

I’m tired.

I’m tired of seeing social media doing the dirty work for bringing home girls. I’m tired of seeing celebrities, hashtags, memes, and internet “awareness”, when what happened to those girls shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I’m tired of hashtags attempting to change the world instead of people. I’m tired of people thinking that uploading an image from their smart phone taken in a comfortable home, place of work, or otherwise is doing some sort of good. I’m tired that this world needs celebrities, politicians, and people of power to take selfies showing their dismay, rather doing the right thing and sending those girls home where they belong.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of wondering how I’m going to walk back to my car alone at night. I’m tired of clarifying my decisions about my body. I’m tired of listening to men calling themselves “nice guys” and justifying their harassment and patronization of women. I’m tired of seeing link after link after link after link on my Facebook about how women are being trampled, killed, silenced, or ignored. I’m tired of hearing excuses. I’m tired of knowing that the teaching profession is suffering because it is a profession vastly occupied by women, and people don’t care to save their teachers because they don’t care to save their women. I’m tired of listening to the drone rhetoric of the patriarchy that is insisting that all things are equal now, when clearly they aren’t. I’m tired of people saying women deserve to be raped. I’m tired of stereotypes of women in the media. I’m tired of biting my tongue when someone condescends me based on my gender. I’m tired of being ridiculed for being a feminist, and being ridiculed for not being enough of a feminist.

I’m tired.

And I don’t want to be. I want to stop being tired. I want there to be justice and revolution and change and miracles and the whole world to wake up with me and say “ENOUGH.”

If you’re not tired, you should be. And you should have had enough.