Our culture has reflected its misogyny at us through language. A man who beds many women is a ‘stud.’ He gets pats on the back from his peers; he’s envied and admired.
Not so with women. A woman who beds many men is a Jezebel, a whore, a loose woman. A slut.
Part of this reasoning is a narrative told to us through the centuries, that only men find pleasure in sex – that women ‘endure it.’
So much what we’ve been told about womanhood and sex, and how those two intertwine, is grossly inaccurate and severely toxic for women.
The slurs used against women for daring to show and exercise our sexuality vary with the times and with the cultures. ‘Bitch,’ ‘whore,’ and ‘slut’ have similar but slightly different connotations.
In Spanish, the word ‘perra’ (‘bitch’) is not used to describe an argumentative or unpleasant woman – it’s described to dehumanize and debase a woman, refer to her as a base animal. Slurs frequently take a smidge of truth, then twist it to take power and dignity away from one group, and confer it upon another. Sex is indeed often a very animalistic act. A woman on all fours, getting pounded from behind, is not engaging in an intellectual pursuit. She’s experiencing a raw physical experience. A part that ‘perra’ omits is that a woman’s whole experience is not defined by this moment of doggie-style pounding. Another part this view omits is that the man fucking her is just as lost in animalistic lust as she is. And a third part this view gets wrong is the inference that there would be anything wrong in such a moment. Religion gets into this, and insidiously makes us ashamed for eating, shitting, lusting, sweating – makes us embarrassed of our animal nature. This shame is an essential part of the manipulation of religion – to get us to aspire to spiritual and intellectual sublimation. Because the idea of our messy human experience embarrasses us.
The word ‘puta’ in Spanish applies to both the whore and the slut. It’s primarily intended to convey that the practice of sex by a woman in a transactional model is shameful. But it throws a wider net, conveying that ANY practice of sex by a woman is shameful – unless she’s performing her wifely duty. In which case, she’s not supposed to enjoy herself.
In English, we make a distinction between the word ‘whore’ (a woman who transacts sex for coin or favor) and ‘slut’ (a woman who practices sex simply for her own pleasure). ‘Whore’ is seen as reprehensible because supposedly it weakens society. Nevermind that sex work affords many women a wage. Nevermind that many lonely men need companionship and comforting. Nevermind that it’s a victimless ‘crime,’ between consenting adults. Nevermind that, in the case of the cheating husband, it is the MAN who is transgressing – not the sex worker.
But ‘slut’ is the real threat. Sluts are women who engage in sex as free people. Not for money, but because we like sex. Because we enjoy it. And the idea of female sexuality unleashed weakens Patriarchy and its institutions. Religion. The nuclear family.
Sluts are a threat to the status quo.
We believe the status quo deserves to be threatened, deserves to be toppled. We believe it’s time for a new social order – one of gender equity and women’s empowerment. One where women are not only free to fuck, but free to vote, free to take on any role in society, free to walk home unharmed from the local bar.
We’re not a threat to free men.
We ARE a threat to those who would see us subjugated.
An angry man once called me a ‘dumb slut.’ I told him he was half-right.