The first time I was called a slut, I was in sixth grade. I wasn't sexually active at the time, so it didn't bother me. It was very impromptu — he wasn't my boyfriend, or even someone I knew well.
Sandra Fluke heard it when she talked about insurance coverage for birth control. Sara Brown from Boston told me she was first called it at a pool party in the fifth grade because she was wearing a bikini. Courtney Caldwell in Dallas said she was tagged with it after being sexually assaulted as a freshman in high school.
Milburn High School in New Jersey is known for making Newsweek's list of the top schools in the nation. But the high school is also fast becoming known for another list, the "slut list. For about 10 to 15 years now, popular senior girls have developed the list and passed it around, according to Leslie and other former classmates.
It was a way for the community to shame her for her adultery. Slut-shaming is a form of cyberbullying where girls are targeted on social media and bullied through degradation or humiliation for their sexuality. What this means is that girls are often ridiculed for the way they look, the way they dress and their presumed level of sexual activity. One third of all middle and high school students experienced having someone make unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures about them.
When two clothing brands released graphic tees this summer with cheeky allusions to how many ex-boyfriends Taylor Swift has, they couldn't have known the amount of controversy they were about to cause. Fans pounced, claiming the companies were implying that Taylor is a slut. The outcry is a reminder that slut shaming—the act of making a girl feel embarrassed for her sexuality, whether she's sexually active or not—is still as much a force in as it was years ago.
All of this has led to a big question: Why? Why do so many women agree to unwanted sex? One answer is that their conditioning starts young.
If you're asking "What is slut shaming? September 9, Rebecca Sedwick12, jumped to her death after being tormented relentlessly about how far she'd gone with a boy she had dated. December 9, Jessica Laney16, hung herself after being called a slut and whore online.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is an astonishing movie about a year-old girl as she discovers the power and pitfalls of her sexuality. Minnie Bel Powley has an affair with her mother's year-old boyfriend, Monroe Alexander Skarsgardwho in legal terms commits statutory rape; yet she does not see herself as a victim, nor does she behave like one. Minnie is ravenously sexually hungry, yet her appetite is portrayed as utterly normal. The surprise of this movie, based on the autobiographical novel by Phoebe Gloeckner and set against the backdrop of s San Francisco, is that it portrays Minnie as someone in control of her body and her life -- even when her surrounding circumstances may lead us to conclude otherwise.
WMC Women Under Siege investigates how sexualized violence is used as a weapon in conflict and beyond. WMC Fbomb is an intersectional teen feminist media platform created by and for socially conscious youth. WMC SheSource is an online database of media-experienced women experts who we connect to journalists, bookers and producers.
InEmily Lindin started the UnSlut Projectwhich is a collection of her old diary entries from middle school that show the kind of devastating damage slut-shaming causes. She wanted to help other women and girls who also experienced sexual bullying who, like her, might not feel comfortable confiding in adults. Her openness, however, sparked others to contribute their own stories too, which brings us to the UnSlut documentary.