Sex, Sluts, and Pizza: The perfect equation for the Gender Progression discussion on slut-shaming. If you don’t know, slut-shaming is the degradation of a person, usually a woman, for their sexual history and experiences. Due to slut-shaming’s gendered nature and the effect that it has on everybody in our society, it was the perfect topic for Gender Progression’s first lunch and learn this year.
The lunch and learn began with a video of a women attempting to discover what a slut really is, and in her pursuit she discovered that it does not exist. Every person that she asked had a different depiction of what a slut is and absolutely no idea how to back up their claims. This video jump-started the discussion. Students had different ideas about why slut-shaming occurs and how to combat it in our school. Some students thought that slut-shaming is a universal problem that can only be destroyed by teaching people to care less about sex. Others believed that slut-shaming could be attacked by desensitizing people to the word; reclaiming the word “slut” and turning it into a word with no negative connotations will end slut-shaming. Despite different opinions on how to end body policing and slut-shaming, there was a general consensus on why the epidemic occurs. Slut-shaming is a way to force people, typically women, into suppressing their sexuality and being afraid to own their bodies.
Slut-shaming isn’t only a tool to stop people from embracing their sexuality. It is also a way to skew the meaning of sex for so many people. The existence of body-policing affects everybody. Young girls are convinced that the number of times that they have had sex determines their purity and young men are tricked into believing that their number of sexual partners determines their manliness. So considering body policing’s influence on a large number of people, it’s interesting that the lunch and learn was met with some shock and discomfort.
Many people were excited to talk about slut-shaming as it is something that a lot of teenagers have experienced, but some people were uncomfortable and thought that the usage of the world “slut” was controversial and weird. Despite the fact that many people in our community openly use words such as “slut”, “whore, “prude” et cetera, they did not feel comfortable with the words being said publicly with the intent to end body policing. But no matter what your opinion on the use of these words is, the fact still stands that slut-shaming is wrong. It is not our right as human beings to tell other people what they can do with their own bodies.
The Gender Progression lunch and learn on slut-shaming was a success. Ideas were shared and different perspectives were heard. It is clear that our community is one of acceptance and love, but we still have a long way to go. The lunch and learn has just opened the door to further conversations; it’s our responsibility to act on this opportunity.