Slut is one of my least favorite words in the world. I hate it so much. Why? Because it’s basically only used to describe women and it’s used to tear down any woman who is comfortable with her sexuality. It’s also used when a woman rejects someone’s unwanted sexual advances, which makes no sense because isn’t that technically the opposite of being a slut?
Survivors of sexual assault are frequently called sluts when, in reality, they were violated without consent. A woman will be called a slut because of what she wore, whether it’s a dress or leggings. I’ve been called a slut more times than I can tell you for everything from simply walking down the street to telling a guy I didn’t want to see him anymore.
“But men can be sluts too!” If that is true, then how come men are identified as “man sluts” or “man whores?” No one calls a woman a slut and says “woman slut” or “female slut.” That’s because this word is 100% charged and directed to be an insult for women.
The problem with slut is that it makes being a woman who is in charge of her sexuality and who has sexual freedom a bad thing. The derogatory meaning behind it means that you can dismiss a woman as a human because “she’s a slut.” Calling someone a slut is like calling someone crazy: it invalidates them and makes their feelings and thoughts irrelevant. It also perpetuates this ridiculous idea that anyone has the right to judge or decide what is appropriate for someone else’s life. Since when did someone’s sex life become your business? Oh, right. It didn’t.
There have been a lot of attempts to take back the word slut or to remove it from people’s vocabularies, but I feel like nothing has really worked. Every time I hear someone say it, I make a point to explain why it’s not okay and how it’s unhealthy toward women. Almost every time, the person who said it says, “I never thought of it that way.” And that’s because the word is so widely used and accepted when it absolutely shouldn’t be.
When I heard about The UnSlut Project, I was really impressed with their outlook. Founder Emily Lindin started The UnSlut Project in 2013, using her own diary entries reflecting on how she had been called a slut when she was just 11. She told The Huffington Post:
“I thought that my real, personal diary would offer the insight of what exactly might be going through the mind of a girl who is in that kind of situation. Within the first month of the blog, women from all over the world started submitting their own experiences, and it became clear that this was a really common experience.”
Since it’s inception, The UnSlut Project has grown to include stories from women and men all over the world from all walks of life. It’s proven that slut is all too common and is used in a way that doesn’t even make sense at all. And that’s the point anyway. Lindin hopes to “undo the whole idea of a ‘slut,’ so that it won’t even make sense as an insult.”
In addition to the project itself, Lindin launched a Kickstarter with director Jessica Caimi to fund Slut: A Documentary Film. They raised over $20,000 for the film, which tells the stories of women who committed suicide as a result of sexual bullying. It also features interviews with sexologists, psychologists, and media figures who believe that “slut” needs to stop.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really excited about this documentary and movement in general. Within the webpage walls of Gurl, we’re certainly open about sexuality and embracing your sexual freedom, but there is still a long way to go outside in the real world. We live in a world where people refuse to accept that women are sexual creatures just as much as men are. We live in a world where a woman who embraces her sexuality is less than, and that is not okay.
But, what do I know? I’m probably a slut for even writing this.
What do you think about the word “slut?” What about The UnSlut Project? Tell us in the comments below!
You can reach this post’s author, Caitlin Corsetti, on Twitter and Instagram!