My whole life I have had men and women call me horrible degrading names just for losing my virginity or having consensual sex while single, for wearing revealing clothes or make up etc. I've had boyfriends yell at me for wearing bikinis or showing cleavage in a selfie even though sometimes I can't help it as I'm heavy chested. I've had boyfriends mothers find my instagram and say judgmental things to my boyfriend about it, who doesn't even think there's anything bad on my social media. I've been told to cover up around men, to not go out in revealing clothes or ill attract danger. I've had guy friends say girls were sluts and worthless and not worthy of love because they had slept with a large amount of people. I've had people who as soon as they find out you've had a life before meeting them and have had sexual experiences in the past, suddenly lose interest in you or think you are less worthy as a human being to be in a relationship with or think you are dirty. Ive had guys who I've started dating immediately ask me how many people have ive slept with. Should I really feel bad for having sex in the past? should I really feel bad about my clothing or selfies, or any of this? Do people even have a right to know these things? What do I say back to these people?
top of page
bottom of page
Great support and advice. Thank you for the work that you do, Jordan...
Thank you for coming to Asking Jude for advice. Firstly, I am so sorry that you have to deal with constantly being guilted, shamed, and pegged as a “slut” simply for making your own decisions on what to wear and do with your body. That is a completely wrong, though sadly common, thing for women to face on a daily basis.
There truly is no such thing as a “slut”, despite it having a definition when googled, because “slut” means so many different things to different people. Most people think of the concrete definition of a slut as someone who has sex with a lot of people. However, this is so subjective. How many people is a lot? What counts as sex in these relationships? For people who are waiting for marriage, anyone who has sex before marriage may be seen in their eyes a slut. For some who have high body counts, someone who has had sex with 30 people might not be a slut, but to those with low body counts, the same person may be seen as the sluttiest person they know. It is all so subjective and personal, in the same way that someone’s decisions about what they want to do with their body should be.
The meaning of “slut” has been altered in many instances over the years. Like you said, many will classify someone as a slut when they wear more revealing clothing, go out to parties often, or show off their bodies in instagram posts. However, this makes no sense, because someone can be a virgin while doing these activities, while another can be having sex with multiple partners while dressing conservatively, never going out, and only posting very modest photos online. The bottom line is, what you wear and your lifestyle do not factor into how “slutty” you are. This word was only created to put women down for their behavior, making them think that being confident and “showy” is wrong. The type of clothing you wear, how you dance, who you hang out with, and what you post should never be seen as “asking for it”, and simply adds to the sexist misconception that every decision a woman makes is for male attention.
There are people out there that understand how wrong slut shaming is, and how it is completely sexist and very harmful to a woman’s mental health and self esteem. Unfortunately, it seems like you have come into contact with many people who simply do not understand this, and instead have been brainwashed by the stereotypes and sexist social norms that have been fed to us since we were young. Have you stood up for yourself when people make these types of remarks to you? I would assume that if someone called you a slut right to your face you would defend yourself, but it’s the little passive aggressive remarks that people give you that are most likely harder to talk back to, as you may be worried about coming off as aggressive. However, it is often the small remarks that hurt the most.
Sometimes asking people to explain themselves makes them backtrack and realize that what they had just said is extremely hurtful and sexist, whether it was intentional or just based on ignorance. For example:
In response to someone being mad at you for wearing a bathing suit that shows cleavage: “Would you be mad at me for wearing this bathing suit if I had a small chest? Why does me wearing a bathing suit to the beach make you so upset?”
In response to guys saying a girl with high body counts does not deserve love: “So, men can sleep with however many people they want and be praised, but when a girl does the same, she is worthless and should never find love?”
In response to potential partners asking about your past: “Why does this matter? Does the information I just gave you really change how you saw me 5 minutes ago?”
These questions make the person reflect on what they just said to you, and may make them realize that they were wrong for saying it. Keep doing what you want to do as long as it is not hurting you or anyone else. This is your life, and if people are judgemental and hurtful towards you for doing what makes you happy, then they should not be the type of people you allow in your life. There are so many people out there who will love and support you for you, despite the way you dress or how many people you’ve slept with, because this is just a part of your life and should not define you as a whole. You are not “dirty” or “used”, and you will always be valuable and worthy of love. This has nothing to do with your past or present sexual encounters, how you dress, or how you take your photos. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are not worth your time.
Here are a few resources that may help you further:
There is No Such Thing as a Slut: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/05/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-slut/371773/
Effects of Slut Shaming: https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-effects-of-slut-shaming-on-teen-girls-460586
Casual Slut Shaming:
I'm addressing this to 'no name.' Without knowing any details about your life in addition to what you are sharing here, I think you need to find a psychologist or psychiatrist to talk with. People's judgment about you should not be impacting you as deeply as you describe it in your ask. Good luck to you...