Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Slut-shaming" versus virgin-vilifying

Lots of people argue by slogan these days. There is a slogan now being used that way, "slut-shaming", and they say it like it's a bad thing for a "slut" to be ashamed. Granted, I wouldn't choose the word "slut" -- it's harsh and insulting and communicates nothing but contempt. So I wouldn't introduce such a word into the conversation myself, and will take this opportunity to say some words that are more accurate: foolish, irresponsible, using and being used, selling your future short. The feminists see this as an issue -- that men are not called to account for the exact same bad behavior -- then conclude that therefore women should behave just as badly.

Many feminists are genuinely trying to take a stand for fairness; but I wonder sometimes whether they realize that they're being played. Would it bother them to realize that "feminism" has become a tool by which the men play the women to get what they want? And the feminists are defining "success" in terms of "doing what men are doing" -- as if what men are doing is automatically smart or right or desirable. Why did that assumption pass unchallenged, especially among feminists? Does an "empowered woman" want to be a copycat of the men?

Women have traditionally been held to higher moral standards -- at least when it comes to sex -- because we're the ones who suffer the consequences of idiocy or short-sightedness. We're the ones who face the "choice" of aborting our children or raising them alone, often in hardship. The stakes of the game are far higher for us, so we were expected to play smarter.Why aren't men ashamed of lying their way into a woman's bedroom? Good question, but that doesn't make it smart for us to give them a free pass and condone it. And make no mistake, the men have played the feminist movement so that now they have women standing up for the "right" to play the game the way that men want them to.

Except conscience is a tricky thing. If, deep down, we know we have been irresponsible with our lives, our bodies, our hearts, our emotional well-being, possibly even our futures or our potential children's future -- our consciences demand that we notice. The "feminization of poverty" -- the fact that the poor are more and more likely to be women and children -- is directly because we have stopped playing smart, and started defining "success" as "imitating men at their worst". And we could be a little smarter. This is an age where people are security conscious. People wouldn't dream of giving out their ATM pin to someone they just met, or having their password that's something ridiculously easy to guess. I would suggest that most women need to change the password to their pants. "I love you" is just too easy to guess. It's a sure way to get lied to and played.

As for virgin-vilifying, it has become a recurring action in pop culture. In The Breakfast Club, there's a scene in which the most disreputable character continually insinuates that there is something wrong with anyone who isn't sleeping around. And in that conversation, it looks as though he's the only one who may be sleeping around -- but the others allow themselves to be treated as if their patience or self-control -- or waiting for the right moment -- is somehow shameful. On The Simpsons, there is an episode in which we learn that Principal Skinner is a virgin -- and the town reacts in shock and disgust as if something was badly wrong with waiting for the right person, the right moment, the right relationship, or even marriage. There have even been some feature-length movies that have as their premise that there is something wrong with you if you are past a certain age and still a virgin. It was entertaining to see this virgin-vilifying turned on its head in the movie Easy A, where the main character helped other peoples' reputations -- that is, helped the reputation of vilified virgins -- by claiming to have slept with them.

On this particular topic, the feminist movement reminds me of a scene from the play Guys and Dolls in which Adelaide sings, "Take Back Your Mink". The lyrics are all about how powerful she is and how she is taking a stand and won't be played by the men any longer -- but the actions are all about her undressing herself for men's entertainment in a strip club. When it comes to the topic of "slut-shaming", the feminist movement is taking the role of Adelaide, singing about how sleeping around is "empowerment" while the men hoot and applaud, and maybe not realizing that was exactly what the men wanted them to do, and that the men are quite firmly in control of that situation.

4 comments:

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Very astute remarks. Thanks for these.

Anna Ilona Mussmann said...

Very thought-provoking post.

I think your argument helps explain why our culture is so horrified when anyone speaks negatively of birth-control, and why we tend to obscure and underplay possible side effects or limitations of the pill. The pill is necessary to maintain the illusion that women can play "the game" on a level field.

Martin LaBar said...

I hadn't noticed this trend, but it's pure evil. What can we expect from an evil society?

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi all

Anastasia - Thank you for the encouragement.

Martin - Strong words there, but I think you're right.

Anna - I saved you for last because my comments are longer here. I myself have never taken the pill. (Probably more than you wanted to know but there it is.) I dislike taking medicines unnecessarily. I am cautious about taking medicines even when I'm sick. I make every possible effort to solve them problem with nutritious, natural, and "lifestyle choice" alternatives first, and only if none of those have worked will I consider pharmaceuticals. I can't imagine taking them when I'm well in order to interfere with my body's healthy normal functions. I really have to agree with you about the pill.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF