I went to an all-girls school where, at some point, every single girl got called a slut.
Even the neighbouring boys' schools said we were the slutty school based on the years passed. And our unfounded reputation for being promiscuous.
Being called a slut has been nothing new in my life, I'm sorry to say. At first, I used to brush it off. I knew who I was, and what label to give myself should I label myself anything at all.
But as I've gotten older, and growing ever closer to starting a family, I think about the women having to endure this label.
And how messed up the whole thing is. I'm not here to start some feminist rant about equal treatment for women. In my world, that's a given. I don't even need to say it.
If you still think about sluts in this way, where you brand women who sleep around like a man as promiscuous, you have no idea what you're talking about.
Truly, you have the wrong end of the stick.
There is no such thing as a slut
Let's bust out the Cambridge dictionary. They define a slut as:
A woman who has sexual relationships with a lot of men without any emotional involvement
If you ask me, this is a pretty fast and loose definition that has way too many problems with it.
What does a "sexual relationship" mean?
I'm not an idiot, I know what the idea is. But in this day and age, do blow jobs count? Does casual groping count? Is it just sex? Is it more than sex, as in having threesomes and the like? How far does a woman have to go with a partner before it becomes a sexual relationship?
By the way, we could debate that until the cows come home. Let's leave that for another day.
"A lot of men."
What constitutes a lot? If we go by the views of fifty years ago, when women still belonged in the kitchen and not anywhere else, any more than one would be a lot. Is a lot in the double digits? The triple digits?
There's a big problem we have to overcome. The number that means a lot to me could mean nothing to you. A lot isn't a quantifiable amount.
And "emotional involvement"?
I assume that means you're not in a committed relationship with them. I appreciate that is my assumption. But you can't have any sort of sexual relationship with someone else without any type of emotional involvement.
What people fail to realise is that defining a slut is impossible. With such impossibility, you're always going to get it wrong. And as society changes the way it views sex, this definition doesn't make sense anymore.
It applies to any idea that belongs firmly in the history books.
Sluts don't call themselves sluts
To call yourself a slut means to brand yourself other than human. It's giving a label for your sexual behaviour.
Women who have sex with men outside of relationships don't see this behaviour as warranting a label.
Why should it come with a tag?
Why should we highlight this behaviour as weird? It's not to them, and it shouldn't be in today's society. So why use the word?
A slut would never call herself one.
We've even come up with the term slut-shaming now to help remove the stigma. Adding shame to the word slut puts in back on the person calling a woman a slut.
A woman you would call a slut rarely slut shames another woman, by the way. Even in gest, she is careful about how this term gets thrown around. She knows it would break her heart if said about her.
She's no hypocrite, that's for sure.
Someone called her a slut
As I mentioned earlier, most women I know have been called a slut at some point in their life. Perhaps it wasn't even for what they did with a mate.
It could have been because of what they were wearing, or how they danced at a party, or because they confessed to liking someone they shouldn't.
Most women have unfairly received this branding if we go by the conventional definition.
It's because of that, the term loses its meaning.
I remember being in a very religious city in Europe (I won't name it) and I was wearing a singlet top. It was forty degrees and the middle of summer. The men hollered at me everywhere I went, calling me a slut.
Did it mean I was suddenly a slut because someone called me one? No.
That's one of the most misunderstood parts of this slut labelling; listening to other people who brand a woman a slut.
How right do they have it?
Or more to the point, how wrong do they have it?
Girls who sleep around "a lot" aren't diseased ridden
This is such a cliche misconception about anyone who has multiple sexual partners.
Diseases. Body problems as a result of copious amounts of sex. Problems that only a sexual health doctor can fix.
What this misconception fails to acknowledge is that women are often more cautious in the bedroom.
I've seen it with all my female friends; they don't jump into bed with any old person. They aren't so reckless or quick thinking with their body, nor do they enter into situations without their own protection.
My husband used to work as a financial planner, selling varying types of life insurance.
When he used to quote income protection for women, insurance that covered when you aren't physically able to work anymore, insurers charged women more than men.
Because women were more likely to go to the doctor and get checked and find something wrong. And therefore claim on their insurance.
Insurers charged men more for life and TPD (disability) insurance because they were more likely to claim for doing something reckless. Like killing themselves on a jet ski joy ride, for example.
Women naturally look after themselves.
Easy? Not necessarily…
Sluts and being "easy" go hand in hand. If you're willing to sleep with a lot of people, you mustn't be too fussy about who it is, right?
This is an oversimplification of what women do. And men for that matter. In fact, I would say women who've slept with a lot of men are more likely to be fussy about who they sleep with.
They've had a selection, now they only want the best. You could say they've got high standards, not low ones.
In my opinion, these so-called sluts almost make the most perfect partners. They know what they want in the bedroom. They've been through a sexually explorative journey.
You don't need to worry about them running off on you to have a fulfilled life they haven't had. They're good.
They can settle down knowing there is no regret.
Am I slut?
The million-dollar question, I know. Well, in true "slut" style, I'm never going to say that I am. I'm never going to put a label on my behaviour in the past (because I'm married now and only sleep with one man).
And I would never quantify what is too much, emotional connection or pass any judgement on how many people a woman wants to sleep with.
That's what it comes down to.
The term slut has been a way to pass judgement on a woman's sexual behaviour.
We are smarter than that now. We're wiser and have better emotional intelligence now, enough to know we don't need the labels.
And even if you want to call us a slut, we don't care anymore. We know better.
You should, too.
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