In a five-year study of college women, sociologists found that the term “slut” is capable of changing meaning to accommodate the pernicious goal of controlling women and creating hierarchy. The study interviewed 53 women on the floor of their dorm at the University of California at Merced. “All but five or six of the women practiced ‘slut-shaming,’ or denigrating the other women for their loose sexual mores. But they conflated their accusations of ‘sluttiness’ with other, unrelated personality traits, like meanness or unattractiveness.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Last week’s shooting in Santa Barbara provides an tragic illustration of how illogical slut-shaming is and how destructive it can be. The shooter, Elliot Rodger, vowed to “slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut”— all while complaining that those very same “sluts” refused to sleep with him. “[T]he shooting highlighted that ‘slut’ is simply a misogynistic catch-all, a verbal utility knife that young people use to control women and create hierarchies. There may be no real sluts, in other words, but there are real and devastating consequences to slut-shaming.”