Concerning Slut Shaming

Maybe I’ve just been out of high school too long, but slut shaming sounds to me like the worst idea since New Coke.

When I first heard the expression ‘slut shaming,’ I had to rerun it through my mind a few times and truly understand exactly what it is we’re talking about. The radio show The Takeaway talked about this topic via the WNYC Radio Rookies program that gives teenagers a microphone and lets them report on stories that are important to them and their peer group, and, while I’m aware of cyber bullying and that sort of thing… it still blew me away. You can hear the story on their website.

I’m aware of the dark side of the internet, and I saw Easy A (which is obviously a comedy and not meant to be an accurate representation of life), but sheesh! Maybe kids aren’t more vicious than I remember, but the internet gives everyone a shield of sorts – a relatively safe way for them to say whatever they want from a distance rather than having to say something to one’s face. This isn’t news, but I had no idea that this sort of thing was going on. Maybe my high school was too small, or maybe I was just too wrapped up in whatever I was doing, but I don’t remember any girls having a reputation for being especially promiscuous or… uhm, accessible. That always seemed like the stuff of bad TV, not real life, but maybe it’s just my inexperience – maybe people just didn’t whisper to me about whoever. And yes, I’m aware that life isn’t all peaches and roses – I read about the Ohio story concerning an unconscious girl who had been sexually assaulted over several hours while others watched. Bad shit happens out there – it’s a rough world. But the stories they talked about on The Takeaway left me scratching my head.

Most of the stories in the Radio Rookies show revolved around teenagers doing what teenagers do, except that the guys in question had photographed or video’d their encounters and then shown it to their friends and/or posted it online. This… I don’t understand, and it’s not a rare occurrence. Don’t guys talk in the locker room anymore? When I was in high school, guys talking went something like this:

GUY 1: How’d that date this weekend go?

GUY 2: It went good.

GUY 1: Good?

GUY 2: It went REAL GOOD!

high fives are exchanged

Maybe it’s not like that anymore. Maybe, in the 21st Century, where everybody has a hi def camera in their pocket, it goes like this:

GUY 1: How’d that date this weekend go?

GUY 2: It went good.

GUY 1: Good?

GUY 2: It went REAL GOOD!

GUY 1: But do you have documented proof via photo or video?

GUY 2: Duh, of course I do! Check my Facebook. Or my Twitter. Or Tumbler. Or PinIt.

texts of congratulations are exchanged including status updates to the tune of, “Yo! My boy hit dat! Hit the link for pix!”

I have to wonder if my friends and I would have succumbed to this sort of nonsense had the technology been available, but I like to think not. When I was in high school… I don’t know. Nobody ever asked me anything. Ever. They saw me with a girlfriend, saw her holding my hand, whatever, a kiss between classes, and my boys were like, “Well done, sir.” That was it. Nobody was pissed at the fact that I didn’t install a hidden camera in my ceiling. I don’t get it. What facilitates this behavior? Reality TV? I don’t like reality TV, so let’s blame that.

I do get the need for guys to prove their manliness to other guys… but… and maybe I’m just making an assumption here… if you posted a picture of a girl that’s… you know, whatever… what girl would ever want to be with you again EVER? I guess what I’m saying to these guys is, “I hope you had a good time with that girl, because it’s never going to happen again. You think someone wants to go to the prom with the dude who posts nasty pictures? I’m pretty sure they don’t. So good luck. Not to mention the fact that what you did was illegal and you might end up in jail. Jackass.”

So there’s that side of it – guys who think they need to share evidence of their adventures. But there’s more to it. Not only do girls judge other girls (obviously, he guys are judging them, too), but there are all sorts of pages on the web (including Facebook) devoted to this. And there’s this meme, “Girls, did you know that boobs go in your shirt?” That seems harsh coming from one girl to others. I guess everyone has their own standards on what is and is not OK, and I know people have a hard time keeping from applying their own standards to others, but wow. I had no idea it was so prevalent.

I don’t know what else to say… slut shaming. Wow. What a concept. Kids, trust me – it’s not worth it. Stop calling each other names on Facebook. Stop taking pics and video of each other and posting it online or showing it to your friends. This is the worst idea ever. If your boys don’t believe your… whatever. When it comes to high school, you’re only stuck with these people for a few years anyway, and whether they think you’re cool or not, there’s still a 50/50 chance that you’re going to be miserable, anyway. Not to mention the fact that this is so obviously wrong… so just… stop.

Try and be normal, millenniums. Give it a shot – you might like it.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com, BomberBanter.com and editor in chief of ComicBookClog.com

Posted on January 8, 2013, in observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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