I had the wonderful experience of writing this piece for Wild Sister, I thought I should also post it on this site. Hope you enjoy and it sparks you to think on a full scope whether you agree or not.
As you read this title you might be thinking how can empowered and slut be in the same sentenced, even more, egregious side by side? I say why not? The definition of empowered by Merriam-Webster dictionary means:
1: to give official authority or legal power to empowered her attorney to act on her behalf
2: enable 1a
3: to promote the self-actualization or influence of
The definition of slut by Merriam-Webster dictionary means
1 chiefly British: a slovenly woman
2 a: a promiscuous woman; especially : prostitute
b : a saucy girl : minx
In modern times the number one woman we know who embodies these two words are Amber Rose. Amber Rose is a former stripper turned video vixen turned business woman using her body and sexuality to get her far in the entertainment business. Along with Amber's career came many disparaging names due to how she flaunts her curvaceous body, how she speaks candidly about her sexual rendezvous and is unapologetic about being an attractive woman who uses her body to get to where she wants. Many critics both male and female have not always or perhaps never agreed with Amber Rose's actions; therefor they use words like slut to shame her. Instead of crawling into the hole of oblivion Amber embraces the titles slut, whore, thot etc and chose to be empowered by them rather than be marginalized.
Nope, this blog post isn't about Amer Rose or her sexual history. What this blog post is about is women's sexuality and what it means to own it under this misogynistic, rape culture induced patriarchal system. Now many of us have heard about the SlutWalk, if not the SlutWalk is an international movement of rallies and marches to bring an end to rape culture. The participants there protest against victim blaming and rape apologists who use women's appearance as a reason for women being raped. The first SlutWalk began on April 3, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada because of a Toronto Police officer who stated that "women should avoid dressing like sluts" to avoid being sexually assaulted. Insinuating rape occurs because of what a woman wears. Since then most attendants at the SlutWalk are young women who dress like “sluts” in revealing sexy clothing like tight shorts, low cut shirts, see-through clothing etc. Amber Rose in 2016 took it upon herself to do her version of the SlutWalk titled The Amber Rose Slut Walk. Not only does she cover the original intent behind the creation of SlutWalk but adds on being slutty is a choice that women can make and if they choose to do so, it is their right and need not be ridiculed for it.
In society, we have been ingrained probably since the Victorian age and beyond that to be a “good woman” you have to forgo your sexuality. You have to be the example of what men like and if you meet those 101 criteria that differ from man to man, then voilà, you're worthy but if you GOD forbid choose not to and go against the grain by owning your sexuality plus publicize it not only are you an 'unruly' woman but you're a slut. And nothing is worse than a slut. Not even a pedophile. Women for ages have repressed their sexual nature to fit into these pretty little male dominated boxes with little to no successes. They have repressed sex, vocalizing what stimulates them during sex, stopped wanting to fulfill their urges to have sex or a full blown orgasm. Why? Because under patriarchy the man takes lead, even in sex and the purpose of sex is for the man to get off, the woman is just the object used to get him off. Reciprocity is a foreign concept and that should be accepted by women. To own your sexuality is to undercut the male ego thus saying he's not man enough to control your sexual needs or he's slipping in control by allowing you to have sexual autonomy.
Then there are the few who choose to own their sexuality and the category of 'unruly' woman by not only having sex when they want with whom they want, but they make sure reciprocity is the name of the game. These women dare to speak their sexual desires, live their wildest fantasies, tap into the carnal thoughts of the male brain and use what she got to make it to the top. To many of us who aren't accustomed to women acting like this we revolt. We demean. We question their morality. We label them as “unworthy” but they are catching the rides of their lives with multiple orgasms while the majority of women have yet to find their g-spot or how to assert their sexual wants to their mate who might have a slut mistress that will fulfill the desires the girlfriend/fiance/wife won't do or doesn't know how to do.
The reason for this anti-slut rhetoric for women is that many women, especially young women who are building their identities live through the status quo of men. Men run society so to get the best man and best position, one must cater to men and their egos. But not too soon these women find out that these standards men have are built off of hypocrisy. Although they hate the slut, porn is a booming industry. Although these women are revered for their 'worthiness' because they aren't sluts, they get cheated on and the other woman is the slut she, the good girl was taught to stay away from. These women many times have a low-key jealously and admiration for the slut. The slut can live her life carefree from the opinions of these men. Be the target of their public disdain but still have the ability to have these same men drop to their knees behind closed doors. The reason for this anti-slut rhetoric for men is to shame women who are empowered sluts. There's a subconscious desire to control these women and these men hate that sluts have the power to seduce men by a mere look or the way the fabric of a slut's shirt caresses her breasts. In patriarchy, everything is about domination and if a woman cannot be dominated and has the power to dominate men by her beauty bringing men weakness, then the best thing to do is to deface her image to regain pseudo-power/control. The rhetoric is 'I hate that I lust for you' type of mentality. Its nucleus is often embedded in aggression and violence.
Empowerment by way of “slutting” does cost tremendously. Not only in the form of energy from exchanging fluids while in the sheets, but in reputation. See, your reputation is your representative before you walk through the door. Your reputation can travel faster and further than you could by foot. It has been said it is best to have people have no opinions of you than to have bad opinions of you. And because in this patriarchal society female sexuality is feared, there comes a mentality to reject women who own their sexuality even when they're harmed. People who are anti sluts often have a dismissive few point of these women even when they are raped. The belief is 'If she wasn't so slutty she wouldn't have gotten raped.' Remind you children and nuns get raped. According to RAINN (Rain And Incest National Network), the greatest risk years for sexual assault is between the ages of 12 and 34. People with this disregard to raped women are consciously or subconsciously vouching (rape apologists) for the rapist who is usually a male. In patriarchy, men are almost always exonerated for their actions or given excuses as to why they did what they did. Thus victim blaming by way of slut-shaming. These men are saying 'Men, in general, have to be in control but when a woman who is dressed like slut comes around, he looses his control and thus is not held liable for his actions. After all dressing slutty and being a slut is solely for the purpose of getting a man aroused. Well, she found what she was looking for so why is she complaining?'
Whether you as a woman define yourself as a conservative or a slut, no woman should be raped and no rape should be validated by what a person chooses to wear or act. If this is the case we are sliding down a slippery slope of excuse making and thus anything goes, even child rapists. Am I supporting women having reckless sex and dressing like vulgar prostitutes and using feminist ideologies to get you to conceded to my point of view? Yes and no. I personally, think clothes are an expression of you as an individual. Your attire speaks before you do. A suit and tie usually says conservative, middle management, and serious. Sweatpants usually says athlete, super casual, fitness. A hijab usually says Muslim, faith driven, modest. Short skirt and a tank top usually says what? And if your answer is slut perhaps you're right and if you are does that mean she's not worth the same respect and safety of her body as a woman wearing a pantsuit because she's an empowered slut?
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