sex

Concealed Slut-Shaming, Uncovered.

 

I work well within sequential contexts, so I will list a few questions for you to answer:
  1. What do you call a man who enjoys sex?
  2. What do you call a teenage boy who has had multiple sexual partners before the age of 18?
  3. How does one describe a male who explores his sexual tension and/or gratification through masochism or dominance?

While I have no concrete answers for the three questions above, I’ve identified four common descriptive words used to shame the opposite sex:

Whore. Slut. Fast. Freak.

How did we get here?

I was getting my hair done a few weeks ago, and like many of us, I usually allow my mind to wander while I sit in the chair and get groomed.

What overcame me was unexpected, but not entirely surprising. After a marathon of seemingly unrelated thoughts, my mind recalled a text message I received days prior and felt triggered. Somebody, who happened to be a man, made a remark and called me confident after I shared a photograph with him.

What led me to ask the three questions above and interrogate them was that the compliment didn’t register as a compliment. Instead, it reeked of “Oh, wow.”/“Look at you, that’s pretty out there” undertones.

To be fair, without analysis, he could have very well implied  I admire your confidence. But my priming (the over-thinking women are overcome with when receiving back-handed compliments from men) has conditioned me to become hyper-aware to the point of no return. It is exhausting. And I don’t recommend it.

Here’s what that looks like:

The expectation to become a great conversationalist, in this instance, is that one must [balance] question everything, yet revel in spontaneity. You must be careful of not being too uptight, but be prepared to face the ultimate judgement: Why is she so free-spirited?

Translation: How many people has she fucked to be so comfortable with herself?

Back to men.

I love men. I am proud to have fostered relationships with wonderful and considerate men. And because of this, I don’t subscribe to the rhetoric of modern feminism, suggesting all men are horrific and deserve to be banished from our little rock here on Earth. But I must also be honest and mention though not all, most men I’ve observed follow a similar speed.

They border curious and judgmental, and upon convenience, some may even dance between explorative and reserved personalities. I could argue that most people are like this and when intellectualized, these traits are a baseline for thinking and reasoning. Fortunately for you though, I’m not writing an antithesis today.

What’s the fuss then?

It’s called slut-shaming.

When you decide she’s sexy, and then you argue why she’s a whore when enforcing her agency. It’s when you compliment her on her frankness and then question her sexual prowess. Because if you’re overwhelmed with overt femininity,  WTF, right? Wrong!

For the sake of indulging the reality that is, we must ask an important question: What are the potential drivers of this testosterone-heavy cognitive feedback loop, resulting in slut-shaming?

Is it:

  1. What the fuck?: Misplaced suspicion  — what is this unfamiliar and overwhelming feeling I’ve been overcome with?

or

  1. Who the fuck: Aggressive evaluationshe’s not what I expected. Who is this person really?

or better yet…

  1. How the fuck, quickly leading us to (what I really suspect it is) How ‘many’ the fuck: How many people has she been intimate with in order to gain this level of experience in seduction, confidence, self-assurance?

Slut-shaming takes place in many forms. In the example shared, my personal experience could’ve easily been shrugged off. But for the younger me, and my peers, some who are 10 years my senior, and deeply frustrated with no clear path on how to absolve themselves of misplaced shame placed upon them,  this is really for all of you.

Become familiar with how primed you’ve become to accept concealed and overt slut-shaming, and be proactive in addressing it. Contrary to the West’s messaging on progressive conversations and debates, I’ve learned that many of these conversations can be had in a calm, and dare I say, an elegant manner.

This piece, as an example, is not call-out-copy. Most of the men who read this, and know me well, will most likely be inclined to have a follow-up conversation with me. And this is only because we’ve had multiple open conversations to address the problematic behaviors that exist, including the grey areas that need to be explored.

Conversations, accountability, self-awareness — coupled with action. This is really what it takes to be proactive.

The Bottom-line

A disclaimer:  Because slut-shaming starts at a young age, I’ve transitioned the salutation from men to boys, and women to girls. Furthermore, I believe we are all, intrinsically, tending to our inner children. That said, read and evoke the part of yourself hurting and healing. You deserve that much!

To the boys: We’re not toys. We’re not objects. You don’t get to claim us, and then decide who we are when you’re bothered.

Consider yourself an ally and looking to address any slut-shaming you may have inflicted? Watch your tone the next time you share a back-handed remark. Better yet, I don’t doubt your capacity — I would offer you use that capacity to reflect.

A journal prompt: Where do you think those impressions which arise and translate into misplaced judgment come from?

To the girls: You have much responsibility. It is true that your clothing and assertion can impress incorrect assumptions about who you are. That’s not to say you change who you are. Rather, a reminder that you decide who you are. The aforementioned responsibility is power. You get to decide who you are and own that role. Do not fear judgment. If anything, judgment is data.

You will find, mostly in the case of sexual double-standards (showing its face as slut-shaming) the data is not about you.

Supporting Resources:

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Nicole Mountain is an intense creative. When she is not writing, she focuses her efforts on empowering women to build their businesses, proto-typing sustainable solutions, or practicing Sudarshan Kriya.

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