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Editor-in-chief ramblings: slut shaming derives from cognitive dissonance

Veronica Liow, Editor-in-Chief

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A friend of mine walked into class wearing a new skirt.

“Ugh, she’s dressed like a slut,” said the person next to me, as if my friend’s clothes correlated with her promiscuity.

In today’s society, “slut” holds a negative connotation, as it often refers to a person, usually a woman, as “easy”, in that she or he  is promiscuous and engages in sexual activities frequently.

I’ve always wondered how “revealing” clothing such as shorts and crop tops came to be automatically associated with sex. I’ve always wondered in general how slut shaming has come about.

We can all agree that sex is taboo, mainly because America was founded on Christianity while the media simultaneously reprograms the act as the “norm”. As a result, sex holds contradictory ideas, as although it is viewed as a sin, it still seems as if everyone around you is encouraging you to partake in the act. Otherwise, you’ll be deemed a prude. And on top of the raging hormones that affect how teenagers sometimes irrationally think and act, sexual activity is a ultimately a Catch-22.

As a result, people result to slut shaming in order to alleviate themselves of the cognitive dissonance that stems from the differing viewpoints society, as well as their body, is telling them. When not partaking in sex, it’s easier to belittle those who do or those who seem they do as to better one’s self esteem. When partaking in sex, it’s easier to form excuses differentiating oneself from other “sluts”.

Though it’s possible to alleviate one’s cognitive dissonance in the short run, slut shaming results in a variety of consequences that hold detrimental to society’s well being in the long run.

For starters, clothing is not indicative of one’s sexual promiscuity. Through associating the two, not only can people become sexualized but also can victim-blaming perpetuate.

“She was wearing a tank top; she was practically asking to get raped.”

This type of thinking gives rapists justification for violating other people’s privacy, as they are not blamed for the rape but rather the victim is.

But, no. Consent to show one’s shoulders is not equivalent to consent for sex.

More often than not, slut shaming is geared towards women. In today’s society, unless it’s for a Vogue magazine of some sort, women are not encouraged to be “too revealing”. They’re belittled for having sex and talking about it publicly while men aren’t. In fact, men are praised for the amount of sexual partners they’ve had. This proves to be detrimental to morale, as both men and women who do not fit the double standards feel out of place.

While men are proclaimed “studs” the more they have sex, women are labeled “whores”. Women fear reprimand from those who shame them for their choices in sexual activity or lack thereof. Women who dress in a “promiscuous” way fear the people who objectify their body from their thighs to their arms and thus forget to treat them as humans. Men who choose to not have sex are belittled by their peers for “being a wimp.”

The double standards hurt everyone, as people live in fear of conforming to something they are not comfortable with due to the fear of criticism.

All in all, slut shaming, which stems from the taboo of sex, and its negative implications in society only decrease morale. It ultimately gives rapists a justification for violating others, as the victims are often blamed for their clothing choices. It leads to the objectification of women. The entire scenario creates these double standards that men and women are pressured to live up to, overall again decreasing morale.

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
Editor-in-chief ramblings: slut shaming derives from cognitive dissonance