Or, “I have better things to worry about then someone else’s vagina”
This may not come as a shock to you, but I spend an absurd amount of time on the internet, and tend to stumble across a multitude of interesting terms and ideas. A lot of them wind up on this blog as a way of trying to understand them in a feminist context, and today is no different. I’ve thought about this for a long time, and it’s a broad subject to tackle, but I think that as an act of solidarity with my fellow women, I need to address this issue.
When I’m not reading the angry comments left by trolls on political articles on Jezebel or what have you, I’m wasting time on websites such as the “Fedoras of OKCupid.” One post was a link to an actual (although I pray it was fake) OKCupid account, in which some delightfully dorky young man stated that his potential match must be a virgin, as he “hates sluts.” This struck me as odd because he is essentially saying (as do a lot of hardcore abstainers) that simply not being a virgin makes someone a slut. Now, I believe he is both woefully incorrect and doomed to die alone if he holds all women to his unrealistic standards, but it got me thinking…why does he hate sluts? And how exactly is he defining “slut”?
I’ve done the Google searches with the questions “what is a slut” and “why do people hate sluts” and had to go sit in the shower hugging myself for awhile. Now that I’ve composed myself, I discovered that, strangely, the most straightforward and seemingly unbiased definition thereof was to be found on Cracked.com:
- The average American woman has sex with 5 men in her lifetime.
- The average American man has sex with 12 women in his lifetime.
- Sluts are the brave women at the edge of the bell curve who make the above statistics possible.
Now, technically those statistics are only correct if you calculate in the possibility of men having sexual partners that aren’t American women, because if not, then the interviewees are lying as there is a population ratio of roughly one man for every woman in the country so the numbers of sexual partners between the two would need to be closer.
However, for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that I will only be examining the stigma of the female slut, and that “slut” in today’s post will be defined as a woman who, in her mid-twenties, on a yearly average engages in casual sex with a new partner every couple of months. The number seems high to a lot, and conversely may seem pretty tame to some – but bear with me.
The question I want to answer is, “why do people hate sluts?” I started with asking my Facebook friends and reading a lot of forums, and the majority of the answers seemed to agree with one another when it comes to men hating or resenting sluts.
Why do men hate “sluts?”
Here is a laundry list of reasons I have managed to scrape up:
- The fear of STDs.
- The assumption that a “slut”, while in a relationship, can’t control herself and is going to cheat on you.
- A slut will seemingly sleep with any guy…except you.
- It takes the fun out of the chase – you get no kudos for hooking up with a slut but rather for hooking up with a virgin (I suppose).
- The idea of conquest, i.e. the term “sloppy seconds” used in any capacity.
- The emotional inability to deal with the fact that your girl has a sexual history that rivals yours and/or doesn’t include you.
- She is defying your idea of propriety regarding sexual congress as defined by your own morals or religious beliefs.
So, while numerous, the reasons why a man would hate “sluts” are pretty straightforward. She’s not acting Christian enough, she’s too easy, she might cheat on you, if she’s so easy why won’t she sleep with me, etc. The answer to all of these is also pretty straightforward: A woman is perfectly capable of her own sexual agency. That’s what it boils down to. A woman can and should decide when and with whom she has sex, and while you don’t have to like it, you have no right to get angry.
If you hold yourself to certain moral and religious standards, you have no right to hold others accountable as well. If your girlfriend has had a lot of sexual partners, it does not mean she is going to cheat on you. If she was smart about it, she avoided any sexually transmitted diseases, and understands the unspoken promise of monogamy between the two of you. If she does betray your trust and cheat on you, then you two have bigger problems than the notches on her proverbial bedpost. If you so desperately need to find yourself a virgin to marry, then go ahead – but I think you might need to examine your insecure need to win at the game of sexual conquest.
The question as to why women hate sluts is far more complicated. As a woman, I couldn’t care less about how “slutty” other women are. As far as I’m concerned, unless her hand is down my boyfriend’s pants, what she does with her body is none of my business. What offends me regarding sex is limited to rape, sexual coercion, and infidelity. I don’t care about the number of sexual partners someone has had because that’s not what defines “slut” for me. I see a “slut” as someone with a certain attitude towards sex. I know a lot of people who simply are sexual beings, enjoy sex and pursue it casually – as long as they’re honest, I see nothing wrong with it. “Slutty” behavior to me is when someone desperately seeks attention, affection, and affirmation by engaging in a lot of sex with multiple partners, dresses and acts a certain way, simply to assuage their fears of inadequacy and get attention. “Maybe if I do him in the bathroom of the club, he’ll love me…or maybe if I cheat on my boyfriend with the bartender, I’ll get attention from them both and a free AMF.” That’s a slut, in my opinion.
But even in that situation, it doesn’t actually bother or offend me. It’s none of my business!
However, why do women hate sluts? There seems to only be a few concrete reasons, and they’re far more convoluted, as they are possibly combined:
- Casual sex violates their self-prescribed moral or religious code.
- She may steal your man with no remorse (which ties in to the idea that sluts will by default cheat on their significant others).
- Resentment of the attention from men.
The final reason is the one that strikes me as the most interesting. Women, it seems, still subconsciously abide by an unspoken set of rules for behavior in order to achieve a certain outcome. You don’t sleep around, you dress modestly, you do all of the right things, and you will get a nice guy to come and sweep you off your feet. However, things don’t follow that equation in the real world, and men often pay attention to a “slutty” woman because she is sexual and exciting. This results in seething jealousy and resentment – a woman got something and didn’t follow the rules to do so. You could also see it from the viewpoint of a curvy girl going out to eat with her skinny friend. Her skinny friend can inhale three pieces of cheesecake without gaining an ounce, and the curvy girl feels the cold sting of jealousy. I eat right and follow my diet and yet here she is, chowing down on dessert and is still skinny. Where is my reward? Where is her punishment?
The way I see it, a relationship is only worth fighting for if your bond is strong enough to not be broken by the presence of sluts. If your relationship is not that strong, or the guy you like so much is that easily distracted by a “slutty” girl – then you have bigger problems than the “slut” next door. Stop making “sluts” your scapegoat.
Maybe your boyfriend cheated because you haven’t had sex in three months and you’re being controlling and unpleasant. Maybe that guy you like chose the slut over you because you’re uninteresting and she offers adventure. Maybe he’s just really shallow, or is only seeking casual sex, and therefore your problem is the guy you picked, not the slut.
I will leave you all with the advice to mind your own business and leave the sluts alone. As stated above, unless a “slut” has her hand down your boyfriend’s pants, then relax. If a woman simply exercises her sexual agency and has a lot of sex partners, what does it matter to you?
And, in conclusion, here is a list I compiled of things that I think are far worse that slutty women.
20 Things I Think Are Far Worse Than “Sluts”
The Westboro Baptist Church
Using the word “gay” or “fag” in any context other than “joyful” or “British slang for cigarette”
Rapists and rape apologists
The fact that the “Nice Guys of OKCupid” Tumblr was forced to be taken down while websites such as this (http://www.antifeministtech.info/) are left untouched
The Twilight series
The people who incarcerated Tim Dechristopher
The tragic inability to separate the Christian church from politics in this country
People who dress up Chimpanzees and have them “act” in movies.
Also, this video is pretty awesome.
“Moira had power now, she’d been set loose, she’d set herself loose. She was now a loose woman.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale