I've Been Slutshamed Again

Here’s a brief definition of “slutshamming”: “Slutshamming is the act of degrading women because of their sexual behaviors, way of dressing, amount of partners, etc”.

So, here we go, I’ve been slutshamed again.

And by a girl.

Openly, to my face.

I will change the names of the two people I am going to evoke to preserve their identity. One, the girl who slutshamed me, could be, let’s say, Orla. The man I am going to briefly talk about will be named Lewis.

I was having dinner with Orla earlier this week, rum and coke for drinks contrasting with succulent food burning our tongues, and Orla was rambling about her life or some girl from her class, on and on again, when she stopped to say: “I keep on talking, tell me an anecdote about you”. At this exact moment, I had received a text message from a friend. Lewis. We have had a friendship for months, almost a year now,  but at the last party we had been too, he somehow initiated a certain intimacy that blurred the boundaries of the platonic relationship that we had. I was intoxicated and let it happen without realising what was happening. However, nothing seemed to have changed afterwards and we were still the friends that we used to be. Yet, as the days went on, I felt something strange, a sad little thing itching in my chest: I wasn’t feeling okay with what had happened. I was also afraid that things would change between Lewis and I.

So that’s what I told Orla, and here’s what she replied, clear and loud, without shame: ‘Why do you always end up with guys when you’re drunk anyway?’

My heart started to race, I put down my fork and stared at her, shocked. Guys? It was one of my closest friends, to start with. ‘Wait, what?’ I exclaimed. ‘I’m not sure to understand right now.’ And I did the mistake of starting to justify myself over this stupid story, just like if I was guilty of something. ‘We had to share this bed because it was assigned to us, the other guests were sleeping in other rooms.’

On top of that, Orla had a slight laugh and said, a bit arrogantly: ‘Well. I mean. I guess you should just drink less.’

I was shaken by sudden nausea, the desire to overturn the table and scream at her until she would cry.

‘To drink… less?’ I repeated.

‘Well, yeah,’ she laughed.

I went silent for a couple of seconds as she kept on going with her happy rambling again, until I stopped her, still unsure if I just had a bad dream in which many girls and women are still sexist, uneducated and profoundly unsupportive to their own gender still struggling in the 21st century.

‘Orla… Do you realise what you just did?’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘You just openly slutshamed me. It hurts. And it mostly doesn’t make sense. It’s bullshit.’

She didn’t reply and took an unbothered face. ‘Well. I say that for you.’

‘That I should drink less? And all that shit?’

She sighed and nodded. I really wanted to throw up. ‘To drink less, like, girls should behave well for things not to happen to them? Like, you’re suggesting that if I would have been a well behaved or whatever girl, Lewis wouldn’t have cross boundaries and it wouldn’t be weird today? Because, as a human being who disposes of the organs that I have, my fault, right? My fault no matter what? Do you realise how insane what you say is?’

She did not realise or maybe did not want to. So I left the dinner. Without overturning the table or getting crazy, – which I would have been in my right to -, but just left. And how liberating that was, even though my anger grew on me that night and it took me a few hours to calm down.

Now here’s why what happened is sadly important and profoundly impactful: not that men should have more credits than women when it comes to slutshamming or violence of any sort, but when this insanity is coming from women themselves, I can tell you it feels even more painful. Not because you’re wondering if they’re right – the way they perceive the world is a sad, limited and bitter vision of things they had been feed with since birth – but because from the people who just like you have known, in any form of manifestation, an omnipresent violence for the only reason that they dare existing in the body they were born in, you expect respect. Support. Intelligence. Solidarity. Empathy.

We are in 2020. And if you’re still blaming women for things you wouldn’t blame men for, you are the one having serious issues and we shall have no time for the ones who refuse to be educated. The miserable part of this story is that some women perpetuate the oppression and patriarchal values we live in, the misconception and violence that is punched in the face of all women on Earth, and this is not acceptable. This will never be acceptable. So if you get slutshamed, or disrespected, please, leave the table – get crazy if you need to – and go outside with the sensible, smart and empathetic people to help change the madness we still live in.

Not all women are sisters.

Stick with the ones who are.

Maëlle Leggiadro

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