Slut: a “how to” on being a whore in the 21st century 

“She needs love from her parents”

“She’s going to hell”

“Here’s some attention! Stop being a hoe”

These are but a few phrases I saw as I scrolled through the timeline of an 18year old girl whom had just posted her body under the hashtag #BodyPosi on Twitter.

For those unfamiliar, BodyPosi is a movement that began some time ago to encourage and uplift women in the acceptance of their bodies, which may or may not fit what is deemed to be the “beauty standard”, namely: petite, athletic bodies with perky breasts, firm thighs , clear skins devoid of acne, wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and long hair; All of which are supposedly the pinnacle of American femininity. While these features may differ race to race and country to country , African Americans may say they prefer a more curvaceous woman for insistence , the point still remains: the normal everyday girl does not look like that and usually can not look like that even with diet and exercise.

Unless she has surgery or acquires an eating disorder or two.

It’s easy to say “love yourself” when you’re on the outside looking in and arguments arise as to the right way to express ones sexuality, and in some cases, if women have one to express at all that isn’t devoid of the “hoe” label. Is exhibition online an outlet for attention – turning #BodyPosi movements into an outlet for promiscuity and not the empowerment of women , or should we seek other methods of expression which are not as public – perhaps with an audience of one, our male lovers?

I’ll say this, self expression and sexuality is a journey. The methods in which one woman expresses herself will never be exactly the methods in which another women chooses to. And that’s what it comes down to, choice, and people respecting her decision to make that choice without predetermined “correctness”.


I looked up the definition of “Slut Shame”:

The act of criticizing a woman for her real or presumed sexual activity, or for behaving in ways that someone thinks are associated with her real or presumed sexual activity

This is wrong. Slut shaming isn’t simply “criticism” which can be positive or negative, it’s a character attack directed towards a woman for the choices she has made in reference to any act which the viewing audience as deemed sexual. This can be anything from her number of sexual partners , to the clothing she is wearing – hence the “deemed”.

What I saw on that girls Twitter page was slut shaming.

What shocks me is when women do it to each other… As if we don’t get shamed when we’re covered up and like men don’t look for any reason to call you a hoe. It’s as if some women think they’re exempt from that “whore” label, that because she carries herself a certain way or dresses a certain way or reserves a certain garment of clothing for only a certain time she’s not the same as her peers.

I have to say when I first saw bare breasts on my news feed I was confused and turned off. But with time I’ve learned that people just look for reasons to attack you and women experiment with their comfort zone.

There’s a picture of me in a bra floating around Twitter somewhere. Another one in a green dress that barely covers my bottom, my cleavage is pulling through, that ones on Facebook and I took it when I first hit puberty and my breasts grew.  I have pictures in crop tops and bikinis  that I later deleted because I didn’t like the attention. Others in body suits and sundresses , I choose which I keep and what I want to share as a representation of me, which is ever changing.

Everyone has to learn what they’re comfortable with and that takes time and practice. There’s things I post now that I could never imagine doing before as well as things I’d post before that I would not post now, not because of the level of exposure but because of my level of comfort with my body at whatever weight and fitness I was. What remains the same however , is that the kind of backlash and name calling I got for a photo of me in a dress that hit the floor is the same I got for a photo of me in lingerie.  You’re a whore either way, not of your own volition but upon that of whoever decided to make you one.

That label has nothing to do with you at all., it’s people trying to control and police your activity (whether conscious of it themselves) to fit what they deem as acceptable and what they can understand as appropriate for a woman. Odd as it may seem, some people think this is productive. That if they simply correct the wayward woman she’ll fall back in line and behave accordingly… neglecting the negative emotional and psychological repercussions associated with verbal attacks and derogatory remarks. We dehumanize women. We belittle them and demean them down to just the acts they do in the name of love and exploration of self and call it “criticism”.

Women deserve the room to mess up and make mistakes like anybody else. Maybe she’ll regret it one day, maybe she won’t , time will tell but she deserves the room to “be a hoe” and make those decision herself, affording her the dignity that she is, in fact, intelligent enough to draw her own conclusions.


The Internet is a public forum. When you click *post* you welcome in opinions and thoughts which may not support whatever you are doing. I believe that’s a fair statement.

But this brings up 2 predominant issues:

  • Who cares? Arguably, the internet Is saturated by naked bodies to the point of it becoming routine. I cry of boredom while you cry of breasts.

Women literally post their vaginas and get married the same year. SOMEBODY is going to  want her. As we’ve all seen.. You can post your pussy (shout out Joseline Hernandez ) post your nudes while married (word to Kim K) post them at random ( Twitter/ Instagram girls) and a man somewhere will still marry you . Love you. Respect you . Like NOBDOY has ever seen you before.

  • People assume you’re doing it or wearing it because you’re trying to either attract attention or attract a man, but maybe it’s happening because it makes YOU feel good.

A lot of women aren’t comfortable with their bodies,  even in adult hood. We don’t fit whatever our race, age, or society deems beautiful and that can either make you rebel or feel ashamed of yourself, both results are damaging. Thin women, those with short hair , those with more delicate bodies may be reduced to men and their feminist discredited. Conversely, women who are curvier are a more sexualized. Objectifying her, she could be wearing jeans and someone’s going to think it’s “too much” because of how it sits on her frame. Furthering this, larger women face some of the same issues as those previously stated in that their femininity is often taken for granted and belittled or fetishized as a method of “appreciation”.

Sometimes you’re dressing up or dressing down or undressing because that’s how you’re learning to love yourself  and build the so called “self esteem” people claim you’d have if you weren’t “naked” to begin with. Sometimes the guy or girl or whatever audience is just an accessory: Yes, you’re here. Enjoy the show! But it really wasn’t intended for you. You just happened to walk in at that point in her life.

I will admit I had to learn this one for myself. One of my first thoughts when I initially encountered a naked woman was “you’re making this too easy for men”. But that mentality is poisonous . It states that our bodies are for male consumption, that there is no free will of choice to control our sexuality in lieu of male presence and pleasure and that the male agenda circulates around the pursuit and acquisition of the female body – as if we are nothing but goals and trophies to be won.

That is the premise behind women “reclaiming ” their sexuality: It’s not simply for consumption by men or other women. She can be naked clothed or any variation of the two because at that point in time that’s what she’s choosing to do and be. Not because she’s trying to excite a reaction but because she simply WANTS to be.

That ownership does not end because a woman becomes married, agrees to a relationship, becomes pregnant, dresses a certain way, or engages in any sexual acts in part of or outside of the sex industry. Her body is hers and that is an irrevocable  human right.


We live in the Information Age: The other day I saw a boy post a love note his father gave to his mother .. Days before I saw another post a photo of his mother face down on a mattress, naked , surrounded by men. When I search my name, my photos come up , some of which I forgot I’d even taken. An acquaintance of mine joked over this some time later , happy that we had been “smart” enough to hide some youthful transgressions behind aliases and nicknames we no longer go by, as she now has a son.

This introduces one of my favorite arguments on the topic: What about the children? 

Weren’t some of our generations parents / grand parents hippies? Reality is: there’s  probably a video of your grandmother getting gang banged or running around Woodstock topless, or if you’re black, your mom getting ran through at FreakNik, hushed up in some room with a man or two that’s nothing close to being a DNA match for you. Some of your mothers can’t even tell you who your fathers are, and if you’re lucky and they can, they’re not men of high repute you even want to know- as your conception was under conditions far less than “immaculate”. So Now what ?

This isn’t an attack on your mothers.

We forget that women are people, with lives that are very much their own and intended to be lived out day by day and experienced to the fullest. Pressuring women to curtail their behavior in lieu of theoretical families is backwards thinking. There’s a notion of sacrificing now for your future offspring, putting aside pleasures so they may do better than you, as honorable as that may seem this appeal is one better left in theory.

At best, we may ask men how they plan to explain their treatment of women and of their own bodies to their future children . Are you going to tell your daughter you called a random woman you’ve never met  a whore because she was in a bikini? Explain the video of you and your friends running a train on some girl, then posting it online captioned “bitches don’t even respect themselves”.  Or explain to your son that you slept with X number of women while chasing some notion of manhood ?

Maybe. Those are all discussions yet to be had. Perhaps you’ll appeal to pathos, use the bible as reference, or some rap song? Either way,  I assume you’ll conquer them when and if they arise and at a time when it is an appropriate discussion for your child. In this same manner women handle the question concerning their children: educating them on their mothers choice, why, and the point she was in her life that led her to decision.


Although we aren’t in any position to diagnose someone’s intentions, perhaps she is seeking attention, crossing the ” line between self love and love of attention due to the lacking of self love”,(Noir, 2015), indulge her humanity and her inner exhibitionist and allow her the space to come to those terms herself. Your negative commentary , attacks, and lude remarks will not help in her healing. Arguably, you may fuel the fire and cause more damage.

At times it seems we forget just how little power we have over another person: You’re in the audience, and like any show you may leave when you are displeased or unapprovingly of what you are seeing. Exercise your right to do so without disrespecting her right to display her body and understand that no amount of fuss or fight is going to stop her from making that choice.


So in case you missed it, to answer the question you must have in mind: how do you become a slut in the 21st century? 

You do so by owning a vagina and simply existing.

 

photo cred: Model, Lexi Extra and photographer, Chandler Easley. Thank you for letting me use your work!

 

 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. prynczzwonda says:

    I read through this article with intentions of countering most of the points raised. And that had me thinking about this whole sexuality thing and how quick we are in choosing sides. Now, when it comes to sexuality I’m very conservative. I believe you don’t need to bare your body to prove a point, and I strongly believe that people do these things just to rebel against the social norms. It has little to do with who they are or how confident they feel. But that aside, I don’t think people should be attack for what they believe in. Calling a lady name’s because of her sexuality doesn’t serve any purpose for me. I’m a Christian, and though my sect kick against such things, I believe there was a scenario in the Bible where a harlot who was about being stoned to death rushed to Jesus, and his reply when asked what her punishment should be said; ‘he that is without sin should cast the first stone.’ The lesson there is simply—you can’t change someone or learn from someone or appreciate their views by judging them. Love and understanding brings two people with extremely opposite views together and at the same time make room for compromise. Yes, there is need for compromise because one cannot function in a social system by sticking to their presumptions about how things should be.
    Now let me address some of the points you raised. You made mention of choice and how people should be given the liberty to choose and such choices should be respected. I agree totally. But now I feel if you are given such a luxury, you should at the same time allow people to choose what they like or not. I have had several encounters. I could say something like, ‘hey I don’t support nudity’ and I get attacked and sometimes labelled ‘a sexist’. So you see it a double edged sword and this issue should be addressed on both fronts.
    Secondly I don’t feel people post not so discreet pictures online for themselves, if that was the case, the pictures are on their phone already. They could just browse through their photo album and look at it. When you post something online you want people to appreciate in some way which is not always the case. And this idea of women not living for men is a big, in the sense that issues that have to do with sexuality these days has turned into a battle of the sexes—women vs men, or the other way round. It more than just men wanting to slut-shame women, or the 21st century women being rebellious—it is a mind thing. People need to be enlightened, and that can only be possible if we take a neutral ground on this issue, and address it from both perspectives.
    All in all, I enjoyed reading your post

    1. perarl says:

      I appreciate your response ! Thank you for reading. I’m going to try to tackle the issues you rose:

      Yes, I do agree that people should choose if they don’t want to see it or not. The Internet is cramped hit spacious at the same time. If you don’t like something you can go( unfollow unsubscribe block mute delete log off ) that being said you might have to see it again on another forum. It’s like we’re all neighbors and roommates at the same time . I won’t act like I haven’t removed myself bc i didn’t want to see something, only to encounter it later somewhere and somehow else. So the answer to your first point is tough bc we can’t control someone else but also shouldn’t be forced or subject to something WE aren’t comfortable with. The only real solution here is for everyone to think the same, which simply isn’t feasible so maybe we can work together and just middle ground and find a way to tolerate each other – cus I’m sure there’s things I post or you post that those people don’t want to see either and are forced to.

      Your second point; I don’t think it’s a gender war. It’s a respect war. We aren’t fighting each other as in THIS IS WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING it’s simply respecting a woman’s choice. It’s a bit demeaning to think that everything someone does is for the pleasure of another, As if we can’t even comprehend wanting things for ourselves or doing it just bc we can.
      I said that in the article, it’s not about men all the time bc sometimes I just want to see me and I can do that a number of ways. Theres images that are as covered or uncovered that I have posted as well as just saved in my phone and some I wanted to post but didn’t bc I know people wouldn’t give me the room to just .. Be , and I wasn’t even “naked”, so I chose to forgo it.

      I think we’re in a new age where women are more vocal and expressive ( even to the point of fault ) and a lot of us are goring up with a magnifying glass of “followers” and likes charting us as well as special networks full of posts images and comments at various stages of our development.. We essentially have an audience watching us grow up so a lot of things seems brazen or obscene but honestly .. We all do it , it’s just more exposed now. The same way you leaned about yourself is the same way she (or he) is, just a different platform. I think this calls for a little patience on our part but I do agree on middle ground. Just getting there and deciding the terms will be very tricky

      1. prynczzwonda says:

        very well said…and we just reached a middle ground, given our ideologies are a kind of different. And i hope this would serve as an example for other readers who would read this post that we can’t all agree on certain thing, but we can still have a civilized conversation devoid of insults and threats. (please follow back and if you have have the time read some of my articles and share your thoughts. it would be greatly appreciated)

      2. perarl says:

        You got it !

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