Why Do We Shame Girls For This?


Slut-shaming can be as big as revenge porn or as small as — actually, none of it is small. Every time a woman/girl/female-bodied person/female-identified person is judged for assumed or actual sexual history (or for just liking her body) we should rally around that person and strive to make her feel safe. But no matter how many times we see PSAs and articles on this topic, it feels like there are still people who give a voice to the negativity. It doesn't matter who you are; if you're female-identified, there is a good chance this has happened to you. Ariana Grande, Sasha and Malia Obama, Lindsey Lohan, Amber Rose...the list of women who have experienced slut-shaming just keeps going.

Slut-shaming is rarely directed at men. The double standard is so intense that men who show off their bodies on social media still manage to shame women who do the exact same thing. Case in point: @CardsAgstHrsmt, who reposts male Twitter users' shirtless selfies alongside the same users' woman-shaming captions ("if you post pics half naked you are not wife material").

This isn't something that just happens. We divide each other from a young age; think about the way we talk to kids. We hammer gender biases into children when we say "sit like a lady" or "boys will be boys." We teach girls to remove themselves from their genitalia when we tell them to close their legs while sitting, to keep their periods a secret, not to touch "down there." Right there is how we create shame.

What's even sadder is that we teach women to do this to other women. In a previous Refinery29 article, we explored the comments surrounding Lindsey Lohan's television confessional about having a miscarriage and why people felt the need to shame her. As the article's author, Lexi Nisita, points out, "the word 'slut' can quite easily devolve into hate speech, and in using it, women can do just as much damage to other women as any misogynistic man."

All of us are affected by trolling words. It's not enough to just stay out of the conversation, because when you read other people bashing women's bodies and sexualities, you're involved. As Ms. Norbury (Tina Fey) said in Mean Girls, "You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores."

In the above video, we spoke to R29 staffers about their experiences with slut-shaming, whether they have ever shamed another person, where their own feelings of shame come from, and more.
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