Slut: The Dirtiest Word In The Dictionary

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How many times in a given day do you hear or use the word “slut?” Probably more than you realize. We use it to describe our clothing, our actions, our choices, or the way we carry ourselves. We use it so frequently that we’ve forgotten how insulting, how objectifying, how positively archaic the true definition of the word actually is.

“Slut,” a word that was once used as a way for men to put women in their place sexually, has now infiltrated the vocabulary of women as well. Its use is so frequent that men and women alike have become completely desensitized to the word. And while “slut” has evolved into a major component of our daily vernacular, its core meaning has not been lost.

Dictionary.com defines the word “slut” as “a slovenly or promiscuous woman.” The fact that this insult, by definition, applies to women specifically is a testament to the sexual double standard that continues to exist in our society. And no matter how many strides have been made towards advancing women’s rights, gender inequality is still a major issue that women face every day, especially when it comes to sexuality.

“It’s a common comparison, but it bears repeating,” said Lizzie Jekanowski, chair of Boston College Students for Sexual health. “A sexually promiscuous man is a stud, the same woman is a slut.” While this argument is made rather frequently, it’s a valuable one. Even when a man is chastised for being overly promiscuous, he’s referred to as a “man-whore” or a “man-slut.” There’s no word for a “slovenly or promiscuous” man, so we have to qualify the gender in order to get our point across.

When a woman is condemned for her sexual choices, it’s called “slut shaming. ”Slut shaming is an enormous problem that women face on a daily basis, and it’s completely detrimental to our social progress. The casual use of the word “slut” by men and women alike only further perpetuates this issue.

“‘Slut’ is a derogatory term to denigrate any woman who is too loud, too outspoken, too curvy; who drinks too much, whose breasts are too big or whose skirts are too short,” said Jekanowski. “Namely, ‘slut’ is a term for a woman who doesn’t act in accord with what the patriarchy says we should be – quiet, pleasant, and non-disruptive. It is a threat that puts women ‘in their place’ as second class citizens.”

 Every time we call another girl a slut for bringing a guy home, for wearing a tight dress, for having casual sex, for flirting without restraint, we chip away at the sexual progress that generations of women before us have worked so hard to achieve. As long as this word is still in our vocabulary, women will continue to be inferior to men. As long as this word is still an accepted part of our lexicon, women will be continue to face sexual repression and guilt. Only when we stop using the word “slut” will true feminine progress be made.

 

Photo from xojane.co.uk

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