Teams and Slut Shaming

One of the really difficult things about being a woman at this college is the dynamic of athletic teams.  When a girl hooks up with someone on a men’s team, the whole team feels licensed to make a judgment of her character.  The man, of course, gets off scot-free.  I have friends who have turned entire teams against them because of nights that should be their business and no one else’s.  We are so quick to make moral assessments of women based on their sexuality.  As we’ve discussed in class, women also judge other women just as harshly, if not more harshly, than men.  I’ve never heard a man put down for hooking up with too many women at this school.  He’s just a “player” or he “gets around”.  The English language doesn’t even have the words to make a moral judgment about a man based on his sex life, but we have plenty to use for women.  Using the words “slut” or “whore” to describe a man just sounds comical, or even like a positive thing–something he should be proud of.

In the post My Problem with Rashida’s Tweet: #stopactinglikewhores, the author talks about how in her tweet even though Rashida is speaking out against the sexualization of women in the media, she normalizes the behavior of both sexualizing and making moral assessments of women’s characters in ending her tweet with “#stopactinglikewhores”.  She seems to be perpetuating some of the behavior she is denigrating by blaming women for acting this way when the media has told them this is the way they should act, and consumers are the ones who have labeled them as whores.  It seems that even when we’re criticizing the sexualization and objectification of women, we get caught in this language of judgment and questioning morals.  How depressing.  I am so tired of this.  We need new language to talk about sex, or maybe we just need to get rid of some of the old language.

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One thought on “Teams and Slut Shaming

  1. Do you think that may be we should all be talking about sex more in general? I ask because of a talk I went to last year by a gay porn star that made the case for a more free flowing discussion of sex. As it stands, sex is a bit (o.k. may be more than a bit) of a taboo subject. The idea is to break the taboo by having everyone simply be more open about their sex lives, thus reducing its scandalous aspect. Not sure if this is the way to go, but it may create a beneficial ambivalence towards one’s sexual history. The problem, of course, is how to get everyone on board. Otherwise, we just create a set of sexually expressive people who are still stigmatized by their judgmental counterparts.

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