featuredImage

Chick-Chat: A Manifesto To End Slut Shaming

Hi, I’m Lydia. Chick-Chat is a column for me to engage you in a light flow of conversation about girl stuff and casual gossip because everyone needs some girl talk.

When Emily Lindin first started The UnSlut Project, many people didn't know what slut shaming meant. Sure, most women had experienced it but it was yet to find its label.

Three years on and the phenomenon of slut shaming is on everyone's radar. When Amber Rose isn't propelling her slut walk movement to call out the policing of female sexuality, we're defending women's rights to do what they wish with their bodies online and IRL.

All is well and good with awareness and the conversation on ending slut shaming is spiralling to new equal heights every day as we try to combat the status quo of labelling sexually active women "sluts". And yet, we still need to end slut shaming once and for all.

Emily Lindin, founder of The UnSlut Project (Photo: Emily Lindin)

Emily Lindin, founder of The UnSlut Project (Photo: Emily Lindin)

Brainchild of an UnSlut book and film, Lindin – who is now in her own right the anti-slut shaming messiah – tells me of her early experiences being branded the "school slut" by everyone. She explains: "At the time I didn’t know it was slut-shaming or bullying. I thought there was something wrong with me and it would never go away; that was who I was forever."

Luckily with supportive parents and a creative outlet, she was finally able to overcome the hardships of vigorous slut-shaming. But as she has learned through The UnSlut Project, where people submit personal stories of slut shaming, "not everyone is so lucky".

Living proof that female sexuality-policing starts young, it's obvious something needs to happen to not only put a middle finger up to slut shamers but prevent anyone ever becoming one.

So, together with Lindin, Konbini has compiled an exhaustive, all-inclusive manifesto to kick slut-shaming in the ass.

(Photo: Tumblr)

(Photo: Tumblr)

The end of slut-shaming, a manifesto

Comprehensive sex education

Slut shaming starts young, there's no doubt – it's currently one of the most common forms of harassment girls face in schools. Whether it's sexist dress codes or bullying, frighteningly young girls are branded as sluts. But with good, sexually positive, healthy education this all could change.

 

“[Sex ed] is deplorable," Lindin says. "We have abstinence-only education, which has been proven time and time again to correlate with unwanted pregnancies and STIs. It’s really dumb."

 

It'll take time but the most important factor in ending slut shaming is "educating kids about healthy relationships in age-appropriate ways." Until we can rely on our education systems to catch up with how society is progressing, we need to teach our young people how to sustain healthy relationships.

We can all do that, even without an education minister job title. Young family members? Start a convo about sex and the double standard of promiscuity. Got a friend who keeps slut shaming? Teach them a lesson and school them on why it's a terrible act.

Don't use slut as an insult

We can reclaim the word, for sure, but that can't happen instantly, especially when it comes to labelling others. Instead, Lindin says, "we owe it to all women to not use the word 'slut' to imply that what's wrong with her is her sexuality."

For example, if you don't like a gal, for whatever reason, think about what you actually don't like about her (she's mean, critical, pretentious...) and go off of that if you must use an insult. We don't have to like every female, but when we don't actually internalise why before spewing the 's' word.

Language has the power to indoctrinate certain messages in our collective minds. So pinning 'slut' on a girl just because you don't like her is regressive and really isn't helping anyone. The only thing it helps is furthering slut shaming.

"If she's cheated on you, call her disloyal," Lindin says. "Point out that she betrayed your trust. It doesn't have to be about the sexual aspect of it, because it does none of us any favours."

(via GIPHY)

More feminist porn

In the last couple of years female-focused porn has been making huge waves in the adult movie world. Incredible, creative women like Erika Lust are pioneering narrative-driven, empowering porn. As an alternative to the aggressive offerings out there, we need to pave the way for more feminist erotica that teaches not only sexual enjoyment, but healthy sex lives.

"I'm not anti-porn as a concept but the industry is really messed up," Lindin explains. "We need to be able to create feminist alternatives to that so people can enjoy being visually stimulated online."

"Porn is just another type of medium and it's not something we're going to able to eradicate so we need to make it around and acknowledge that people look different ways and are turned on by different things. It doesn't always have to be by men for men."

Share and listen to more stories

The Unslut Project is giving a voice to many that have been exploited as well as furthering our chances of alerting the masses of the damages of slut shaming.

Sharing stories is something we can all do to promote a change. Emily reckons we all need to just share what's going on in our own families and friend groups.

"Feel comfortable if we're not already listening to other people's experiences and validating them. Acknowledge that even as a cis-gender, straight guy you haven't experienced slut shaming, doesn't mean that your friend or girlfriend hasn't."

(via MIC)

Taking responsibility to change

With listening to our fellow girls' tales, everyone can take responsibility to actually change the way the narrative will go in the future. Although women are just as guilty of shaming other women as men, it's not just on the female agenda to break slut shaming. Everyone can.

And just because some of us have been slut shamed in the past, that doesn't mean we completely avoided getting involved with it too. Emily tells me how even a few years ago she was a part of the problem. But because slut shaming is so ingrained in culture, she didn't even notice it was an issue.

"I have to say I slut shamed people until I was probably 25. I participated in the culture having been labelled a slut but I didn't see the disconnect."

"You know, if my girlfriend's ex-boyfriend was dating someone new we'd look her up on Facebook just to slut shame her. I mean, it's not bizarre behaviour, it was really normalised."

"It's a conscious decision you can make and make the change to be part of the solution, to be part of the movement."

To see more from The UnSlut Project head to the website, Twitter or Facebook.

Hyper-sexual anti-slut shaming photographer Millicent Hailes (Photo: Millicent Hailes)

Photographer Millicent Hailes who champions powerful female sexuality (Photo: Millicent Hailes)

Read More - > MPs launch #ReclaimTheInternet campaign to fight online abuse

By Lydia Morrish, published on 27/05/2016