**5 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SLUT SHAME THIS HALLOWEEN**
1. Calling women sluts/whores/skanks is a form of sexism.
When it comes to costumes, clothing, and sexual behavior, women are judged by a very different rubric than men. When a guy has a lot of sex, he’s a stud. If a woman behaves the same way, she’s a “whore”, “dirty”, “used up”, and doesn’t deserve to be treated with respect. While people may use terms like “manslut” or “manwhore”, the consequences for the “manwhore” are not nearly as extreme. People don’t see him as unworthy of respect. He won’t be degraded, bullied, or have lies and rumors spread about him. His reputation won’t be destroyed. Being a “manwhore” is dismissed as him *~just being a guy~*.
Because slut shame is a result of sexist ideas about what a woman “should” be or is allowed to do/be in the first place, women slut-shaming each other is a form of internalized sexism. This is where a woman believes sexist things about herself and other women. It can be very disruptive and harmful to women’s relationships with each other.
These are some of the ways slut shame is entrenched in sexism.
2. Slut shame limits women’s freedom.
Calling women names and degrading them when they *break the rules* about how a woman is SUPPOSED to dress or behave ensures that women don’t have the same freedom men do. They are not allowed to dress or do what they like…unless they want to pay the price of being bullied or dehumanized for it.
3. Slut shame is one of the ways women compete with each other for male approval.
Slut-shaming creates a divide between women. There are the “slutty stupid ones” with “no self respect” and there are the “proper ladies” who deserve to be treated as human. Instead of building women up and cultivating healthy friendships, slut shame turns women against each other so that the slut-shamer can prove she’s “not like that” and therefore worthy of respect. It puts women into harmful categories based on nothing more than how someone dresses or is perceived by others.
4. Slut shame is a form of bullying.
Girls who break outside the mold of what they are supposed to do/be sexually and are thusly labeled sluts are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide. There have been many suicides that started with bullying in the form of slut shame. RIP Felicia Garcia, Amanda Todd, Phoebe Prince, Hope Witsell, Stacey Rambold’s unnamed victim, and all the other young women who have tragically taken their own lives because of the heartlessness and sexism of their peers.
5. Slut shame leads to rape, sexual assault, and sexual violence.
Because people see “sluts” as unworthy of respect, she is therefore not entitled to say no. In this mentality, “sluts” become a target of harassment, assault, and even rape. After the violence, she is then blamed for it. After all, she was just a dumb slut….she asked for it, right?
This Halloween (and always) be a good person. Respect women, respect their choices, and check yourself when you find yourself thinking or saying someone is a slut. It’s a deeply held attitude about women that we all learn from our sexist culture, and it is vital that we all take the time to unlearn it. These attitudes are more vicious and dangerous than they might appear.