The Internet culture: ‘Slut shaming’

Taylor McGraa,

I am going to start this article as I intend to finish it; honestly. And honestly, I’m pretty afraid that it may cause some offence. But then again, what more offence could it cause than ‘Slut Shaming’ itself?

ID-10095387First, I want you to imagine. Imagine you are in a club and you see a young girl dressed in her Topshop bralet and those American Apparel shorts that eat your arse. What do you think? ‘I’d tap that’? ‘I like her top?’ ‘Slut’?

This time last year, and being a straight female, I probably would have gone with the slut option.

I probably would have also assumed a fifteen year old girl pushing a pram to be a slut that slept around too much too young. And I even would have said the same about the girl who hypothetically kissed my best friend’s boyfriend in town last night.

But in the past six months I have grown up and my mind has become more open; more open to situations such as a condoms splitting, paracetamol cancelling out the pill, and people who lie about their sexual status.

But another thing that has changed in the past six months, other than my perception of society’s sexual taboo’s, is the increase in ‘Slut Shaming’.

‘Slut Shaming’ is a new so-called ‘trend’ that has recently begun to spread all over the World Wide Web like a bad rash. If I were to define it more clearly, ‘Slut Shaming’ is a new form of online victimisation in which websites have been produced for the sole reason to name, shame and tear apart both men and women that the readers consider to be ‘whores’.

Now, this type of harassment is nothing too new or ground breaking to the world we live in. For years we have been calling each other these lovely names such as Slut, Whore and Hoe. But what has changed is the concept of this offence and the popularity of its use – all thanks to the power of the internet.

Websites such as Dirty.com, are reliant on user contribution to post cruel comments along with pictures in order to bring social humiliation on those they consider to be sexually promiscuous. But what sickens me the most about these sites are the type of comments which will compliment a woman’s hair, but in the same sentence call her a fat whore. Now tell me, where is the humanity and sensibility in that? Social networking sites have further encouraged the use of ‘Slut Shaming’ by providing the option to make your comments anonymous, allowing the attacker to remain faceless. Cyber abuse seems almost the norm these days, and it needs to stop.

ID-100124417As I mentioned previously, I feel that the actual concept of the offence has been manipulated over the years or simply evolved with society. What I mean by this is that ten years ago, if you had regular casual sex and saw multiple partners, you would most likely be labelled a slut. However, in today’s society, all I would have to do to be called a name of a similar nature would be to draw on some scouse-brows, put in some extensions and wear a low cut vest top. Today, culture appears to say that flaunting your body other than in the bedroom makes one person morally worse than the next. Isn’t this just another form of discrimination? We tell each other to wear what we like, and that if some people dislike it, then tough. So why are we so bothered by a mini skirt? You wouldn’t have guessed that a couple of centuries ago, attracting the opposite sex in order to mass produce babies as early as possible was the best way to save your reputation – not destroy it.

The internet only really allows us to make our judgements of others on appearance; especially on websites such as YouTube and Tumblr. This means that making a fair judgement of others is difficult, as we know next to nothing about their personal life, nor their mind set. But what we can do, is keep our more cruel and ruthless opinions to quiet off-screen conversations.In one of her videos, YouTube star, Trisha Paytas, labelled as the ‘YouTube slut’, claims that she is assumed to be sexually unrestrained, but that in reality she remains ‘celibate’ and has only had ‘three serious boyfriends’ in her 23 years. Instead of being categorised due to her sexual behaviour, she is blamed to have casual sex based purely on her online appearance.

I mean, if you don’t have anything nice to say…be quiet and stop broadcasting about it.

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