So I was on the train the other day, casually minding my own business, when I heard a small group of girls a few rows down from where I was sitting (who looked to be in their late teens) talking about a “slut” they knew. Not bothering to keep their voices down – I’m assuming it was because there weren’t many people in the carriage – they gossiped with abandon about how this girl had supposedly been with many guys, and how people had found out and bullied/bad-mouthed her about it.
Now, I know what they were talking about is nothing out of the norm, but what was unsettling was that they seemed to relish the fact that she was being bullied. I won’t elaborate on how the girl was apparently bullied or to what extent, but the fact is that she was, and that these girls felt it was justifiable. At that moment, two things simultaneously popped up in my mind; I suddenly thought of pop artist Lily Allen’s latest single, Hard Out Here (where she sings about the inequality in treatment between promiscuous males and females), and mentally asked myself if these girls would relish or at least relish it as much if a promiscuous male was bullied, or bad-mouthed etc.
The answer in my mind was most likely not.
Because judging from other times that I’ve seen or heard people talking about similar matters, such males are only called reasonably offensive names and more often than not, they’re simply regarded as “players”. Whereas with females, the words “slut” and “whore” are often used with a heavy intent to denigrate them, and in some cases, almost make every word or action of hurt that comes their way seem justifiable.
So it’s obvious they earn heavier societal repercussions than their male counterparts do, and that is something I fail to understand. If, for example, both a male and female were to have the same (large) number of sexual partners and/or encounters – and the word “large” is very subjective here – it would most likely be the female who gets degraded and vilified more heavily. Lily Allen candidly sums this up with her lyrics, “If I told you ‘bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut…When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss…”
I know this topic/issue is nothing new, but having seen and heard people slut-shaming (as it is casually referred to) every so often, it’s irritating to see the discrepancy in treatment between both genders – especially when we’re supposed to be living in an era where males and females are equal, in a sense. I mean, I know it’s obvious that religion, culture, society/social norms and upbringing etc influences or helps to shape our views and opinions on these matters but to be honest, it’s simply unjust and demeaning to females, to say the least. Allowing males to do as they please in terms of sexual ventures and having any number of sexual partners without the harsh condemnation sets females back by far – in a way, it’s like restricting a right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being a misandrist, and I’m not going to inject my own views on promiscuity here either – as it is both unnecessary and irrelevant – nor am I aiming to sway other people’s views on it as it is a quite a complex and subjective matter – for example, people have different opinions on what it means to be promiscuous, or if it’s morally right or wrong etc. But what certainly needs to be pointed out is that in this day and age, females should have more rights than they have had previously, and having the right to be treated as equally as males in terms of sexual ventures and experiences is one of them.
- by Rosemary Nguyen