THE SLUT PARADIGM

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2018 is a whirring cauldron of topical discussions pertaining to women’s bodies.  On the one hand, hot off the back of global movements like #TimesUp, the post-Weinstein landscape, and not just in Hollywood, is seeing a wealth of positive change and action.  On the other side, the age-old double standard of women being branded with the word “slut” for sexual behaviours, when a man with similar behaviour may instead receive a pat on the back, and called a stud, is still prevalent.  

Now this obviously depends on cultural settings and societal viewpoints. But in the fabric of human life, a woman’s virginity and chasteness has long been placed upon a desirable pedestal, and still continues to be, arguably in some societies, as prevalent as years gone by.  With such emphasis placed on female chasteness, even paid for in high-profile cases by women looking to cover, for example, their university fees, where does that now leave the discussion when women are compounding this ethos, by selling their own virginities to the highest bidder?  Either way it still illustrates the value of virginity, with a recent case (as per link above) of a young woman looking to pay for her college fees and travelling selling her virginity to an Abu Dhabi businessman for £2million.

I don’t need to discuss how men and women have the same emotional and sexual appetites, desires or needs.   It isn’t 1950 and we have long moved on from that.  But what I am keen to explore is, why in the context of bold movements like #MeToo, with a clearer no-more acceptance conviction of sexually predatory behaviors, is the word SLUT still bandied about?  Why are girls and women still being “slut shamed” in our modern day, when we are at a point in humanity where it is more accepted that we are in control of our bodies and our choices, and that as adults, it is our decision as to who we may or may not spend time with, sexually or not?

The double standard of Slut/Stud hasn’t ceased to exist in terms of a man or woman may describe a woman as a slut, and make her feel negative about herself who she is, who she decides to be intimate with or present herself.  Movements promoting sexual positivity and an abandonment of that tired double standard are thriving, but many women still suffer the indignation, whether it is factually true or not, of being labeled a slut at some time in their life, which can be emotionally damaging and destructing.  Flip it and reverse it, a lot of men wouldn’t have been tarnished with the same brush, and in fact, that very accusation can be seen as something to take pride in, making a man a “stud” and adding notches on the bedpost to boast about. 

Even if one is enjoying what could be deemed a more “promiscuous” sexual life, hell, it is their own choice, and business.    If we are to embrace the tide of positive change which comes from the breaking down of stereotypes and destructive behaviors, the fact that ultimately, sex and the decision with whom someone has sexual relations with is their decision, and no one else’s concern, must breakdown that age-old stereotype of Slut V Stud.  

Where sex has been in the past viewed as an act of shame, as something for women to “lie back and think of England” of, we have as a society ridden the tides of change, from movements in the 1960's with the introduction of the contraceptive pill and free-love in the 70's, to our modern day, where a zero-tolerance approach to predatory behavior and actions is seeming to be at the fore, and prompting change.  

Breaking down of these destructive sexual stereotypes and embracing the notion that one’s sexual life is one’s own business, and that for either sex, partners are not to be viewed as conquests or to be judged for their private.  Let’s rid the world of this archaic and damaging double standard, finally.