Why Slut Shaming Must End

“Why Slut Shaming Must End”– J.Adam Snyder

I often share nude and near-nude photos and artwork of women for my erotic stories and poems, and sometimes I receive negative criticism from those who are more steeped in religious fundamentalism and socially conservative viewpoints. Among the most common complaints I receive, the two usual suspects are (paraphrasing) “You are encouraging women to be sexually promiscuous and you are devaluing the sanctity of marriage.”, and the unfortunate more blunt critique “You are turning women into sluts!” Anyone who has actually read my work will tell you that such an attack is as unfair as it is ludicrous, but this topic isn’t about my work, it’s about the unfair and ludicrous attack that our society has on feminism, women, and their rights.

There is nothing wrong with a woman (or man) feeling sexually empowered and being proud of their bodies. In fact, it is something we should all be and something we should all encourage. It is only the extreme, Judeo-Christian religious cultural influence in our society that says otherwise, the same extreme religious culture which regarded women as second class citizens for much of their history and still continues to this day among the massive outcry against women breastfeeding in public because they wrongfully see it as indecent and offensive.

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We as a culture must come to a realization that our bodies are living works of art, and not anything to be ashamed of (because all body types are sexy). A nude or sexually empowered woman is not a “slut” or a “bad person,” she is her own individual who has the right to make her own lifestyle choices, and those choices should respected just like they are for men. Women can therefore dress how they damn well please, they can show as much skin as they damn well wish, and they can even be completely nude if they damn well desire to. It still does not give another individual the right to harass them, judge them, or sexually assault them.

Slut shaming is far more than mere hateful slander, it creates a dangerous mentality that has become so engraved and widely accepted in our society in which it believes the blame of a female rape victim does not lie solely on her assaulter, but instead on false superficial aspects of what the woman was wearing, what part of town she was in after dark, and on the very woman herself. Everything except the person who committed the crime (though make no mistake, men as well can be and are victims of rape). This is why rape is unfortunately not taken seriously when it does happen, and our society focuses on teaching women how “not to get raped” instead of teaching people not to rape in the first place. A woman should feel safe walking home at night alone, feeling comfortable at a party, and not fear being judged or harassed while wearing more revealing attire. The problem does not lie with the woman, it lies with the individual and the society that shames the victim and not the perpetrator.

The slut shaming mentality also leads to women feeling negative about themselves and even severe depression in many cases. How often has it been stated in our culture that if a woman chooses to have sex before marriage, or has had multiple partners, she has “sinned” and is no longer “pure” nor “desirable” for any “decent” man to want a serious relationship with. It is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually abusive to teach this misogynistic and religious fundamentalist bullshit propaganda to both girls and boys.

Neither my girlfriend (who is the love of my life) or myself were virgins when we met. We didn’t care because it doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t to you or anyone else either. It is hateful and judgmental to believe otherwise, and it is a mentality that must be stopped if we are to create a truly egalitarian culture, which is the true goal of feminism (and yes, men such as myself can and should be feminists as well).

©-J.Adam Snyder

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