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Death To This Debate: What Makes A Person A Slut?

One of my most shameful moments as a person was in the fourth grade. I was fairly invisible within my class, but had a desperate desire to be liked. There was another girl in my class who also was not popular and was picked on fairly often for being a little grubby. One day, in what I guess was an attempt to appear cool and funny to my classmates, I picked on her too. I told her she was dirty and that she reminded me of used toilet paper, whatever that means. Then I told her she was a slut. She cried. I still wasn’t popular after that, so the point was lost, and I’ve clearly spent the last 18 years thinking about how mean I was to her. But the thing is, I had no idea what the word “slut” even meant, I just knew it was a bad thing to call a girl. I still don’t know what a slut is and that’s because I don’t think there’s any definition that everyone can agree on. The debate over what makes a person a “slut” is so…ridiculous. Can’t we just retire it already?

Slut \Slut\, n. 1. An untidy woman; a slattern.
Sluts are good enough to make a sloven’s porridge. –Old Proverb.

The most common use of the word “slut” describes a person, usually a woman, who is promiscuous — another word that’s definition is totally open to debate. I suppose if you’re, say, a practicing Catholic, you’re a promiscuous slut if you’re having pre-marital sex. If you’re a person who thinks sex should occur between two people who love each other, someone who has sex with someone they only like may be a slut. Maybe your definition is a numbers game — five sexual partners in ones’ lifetime is a-okay, but anything over that and damn, it’s obvious you don’t respect your body. People who throw around the word slut love to pretend like there’s a concern for the slut’s body, and her lack of respect for it. What does “respect” in this context mean anyway? Certainly it’s possible for a woman who’s slept with 40 men to respect her body more than someone who’s only slept with one person — maybe she respects her body’s desire to experience pleasure, rather than her body’s desire to follow rules put upon her by someone slipping a purity ring on her finger, for example.

The fact of the matter is that what respect is, what promiscuity is, and what a slut is, is so totally subjective that to debate it is ridiculous. And a waste of time. And frankly I am tired of hearing and participating in, however peripherally, that debate. So I’m putting a moratorium on the subject all together. Who’s with me?

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