young feminist musings part 1: slut shaming and victim blaming

Featured image: Arvida by Arvida for The Ardorus

So I’ve been meaning for a while to talk about something less frivolous than like, I dunno, whatever I talk about that you guys may consider frivolous. And I generally have alot of meaningful thoughts and confusion in my head. So I thought I’d try once more to articulate my (intersectional and mostly consistent) feminist views as well I can. I identify as a feminist and I guess I’m not really involved in much activism, but I do alot of watching and learning. For me feminism is about awareness, it’s more trying to change the things in day to day life that are really sexist or transphobic or dumb that people just regard as normal because ‘that’s just the way things are’ or something stupid like that. There is like a wierd stigma around feminism: that you hate men, or have to not shave your legs because that’s un-feminist, but really it’s more about freedom and choice. You know, like for me, feminism isn’t an aesthetic, it’s not a dress code, it’s a belief *geez that sounds cheesy* Feminism has kind of resurfaced lately with the help of lots of people: Tavi has helped in trying to portray feminism as something that doesn’t have to be an angry, scary thing, but can be a progressive conversation and process (as she explains in her TEDXTeen talk)- she tried to explain that you can be a feminist and like fashion. You can be a feminist and like dressing up and not dress for men. I guess it’s encouraged a wave of feminism-fashion association (does that make sense?) on the internet and of course then there was this whole: ‘you’re-not-a-real-feminist-cuz-you-wear-creepers-and-like-glitter-’ Arabelle Sicardi vs. Isabel shitstorm about the ‘whole wierd girl trope’ thing. Basically people were complaining and blaming other bloggers because they weren’t feeling validated, basically because of the way the other bloggers looked. It was wierd. I admire Arabelle’s sassyness and punctuality when expressing her upset about the matter on her blog- the blogosphere is sometimes messed up and I’m not taking sides but seriously you should CHECK IT OUT. Also my good ol’ friend Celia does a really great video on the words hipster and pretentious and categorising people and all that shiz.

Anyway, back to my deep rant. I guess I feel as if I’m so young and still such a foetus to the feminist world, there are so many older more knowledgable feminists than me, it’s crazy how worried I am that I’ll say something wrong or offend someone. Like, there’s so much you can say wrong. Before I got into feminism there were so many things I didn’t notice in society that are kind of COMPLETELY fucked up. I try to be unapolagetic and confident and not always say sorry all the time, like my opinion is totally dumb or invalid, but I can’t help feeling ill-informed sometimes. I don’t want people to have to educate me. I do alot of half-sure wondering though. The conotation to feminist has evolved over time, like it used to be ‘hairy legged angry man eaters’ (I think) but now it’s like ‘sparkly flower crown’ girls, which always makes me feel uncomfortable to say I’m a feminist because I don’t want people to think that I think I’m really amazing at everything, cuz I know what sexism is. Hollie basically explains all this on her blog, but I kept just sitting here being like ‘wah everyone around me is so smart and perfect’ and I wanted to actually say something. As Hollie says, coming from a young white, CIS and heterosexual girl I feel like everything I say must seem super rich, I don’t want to come across as naive or ignorant, you know? So I just wanted to start off with something that I feel I can handle talking abou. It’s been coming up alot lately.

So lets talk about slut-shaming. So what is a ‘slut’ defined as: a woman who is sexually active, a woman who wears too much make-up, a woman who wears clothes that are revealing, a woman who tries to get the attention of boys or flirts enjoys their company. Can no one see how fucked us this is? Can we not go out without being judged. BY LIKE EVERYONE. See, I’m not just talking about boys calling out girls here, I’m talking about girls calling out other girls too, which is maybe why boys are calling out girls, because they think if the girls all call each other sluts, then they’re allowed to too, right? But also, are men called sluts? Are men labelled a dirty, unclean, ew creature once they are sexually active? Methinks not. Laci Green explains that a sex positive way of looking at the word slut is defining it by: ‘a person who believes the radical proposition that sex is nice. I think that reclaiming the word and telling people that words like fat and slut aren’t insulting anyone anymore is important. Another internetzzz shitstorm was Jenna Marbles video on Sluts. I’m not attacking her and I think some of her videos are funny, and she deos mention looking out for other women, but most of the stuff in that video was really, really bad. And considering the fact that most of her watchers are probably young girls. She’s not really promoting a great opinion is she? You should watch these video responses to it…

Anyway, the main reason that slut shaming really sucks is that it feeds into a bigger issue called victim blaming. So I’m not saying here that only women get raped and that men don’t get raped, but I’m just looking at this through a kinda more feminist lense. So victim blaming (it’s kinda in the name…) is when people (let’s just say women for now) are blamed for being raped or for being sexually abused or just abused in some kind of way. Like, well, “you could’ve prevented getting raped by not wearing such slutty clothes that night, that was stupid”- WELL GUESS WHAT. It doesn’t matter how late you are out, how much makeup you wear or whatever, it’s never okay to take advantage of someone. Let’s stop telling people to stop getting raped, because, tight clothes don’t rape people, rapists rape people. We shouldn’t have to go changing our hair and makeup or clothes because rapists can’t control themselves, it’s not fair. It is never the victim’s fault. That is why they’re called the victim. Ew. This is just messed up and has to stop.

That’s all for today, I’m sorry if this is intensely boring or something (I hope I haven’t offended anyone)- in my next musing I think I will talk about ‘the male gaze’, conforming to societys ideals, leading onto not dressing for men and fashion as a feminist. I should probably have some sort of cool secret online identity name like Romilda or something. All the school creeps will probably all be like omg you actually use your brain to expell views.  And it will be all awkward cuz I’m talking about sex oh, how awkward everyone. GET OVER IT you guys. Please. See you guys soon.

Comments
14 Responses to “young feminist musings part 1: slut shaming and victim blaming”
  1. kezdaqueen says:

    “Slut shaming”-(whatever next?)

  2. theo says:

    this is amazing opi <3

  3. Bella says:

    this is a great complication of references with your own views, i really admire you for educating yourself so well! (even ignoring your age, it’s not so common for many people to know so much and be able to express it so well!)

  4. donnawebley says:

    Reblogged this on lolita.

  5. thecoolcustomer says:

    You’ve voiced the ranting in my mind exactly. Thank you.

  6. MoyaSoya says:

    These videos definitely changed my perspective on Jenna’s initial video. I agree on most points, and agree that slut-shaming is terrible. I would never discriminate against a girl because she was a so called ‘slut’, but personally I think that no matter what most girls say, inside they probably ‘respect’ themselves too much, too sleep around or dress provocatively on a day to day basis, and if they believe that, you can’t say that inside they don’t pass some sort of judgement. I am not hating on this whole concept nor agreeing with Jenna, I am just trying to be realistic and in some ways I think that was what Jenna Marbles was attempting to do, ‘however exaggerated.’

    Oss,
    Maya

  7. Yasmin says:

    You are so intelligent for your age! I totally understand what you’re getting at and think that it’s great that you’re trying to publicise this more.
    X
    Yasmin

  8. Claire says:

    I love and agree with your views! I admire that you’re feminist, but you’re not against girly things. That’s kind of how I am, but not near as deep as you yet. I love fashion, but I don’t think it should be for pleasing men. Good points on sluts too! Keep sharing what you believe!

  9. Totally agree, although I am a big fan of Jenna Marbles haha.
    Well done on this post, I love how much work you’ve put in researching and stuff.

    By the way, I’ve nominated you for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ award.
    If you pop over to my blog [ http://bit.ly/PHpxrj ] you can find out more :)

    - Danielle.

  10. Erica says:

    Nicely said. I’m a middle-aged feminist who came of age in the 80s, when feminism was considered passe or irrelevant by many women my age (because, like, we could play sports and get medical degrees and stuff now, and feminists were really just a bunch of man haters who didn’t accept that the sexes are really different and like to be different) and by people from different cultures, because they claimed that feminism was mostly a white, upper middle class movement that didn’t address many of the issues faced by poor or minority women. And boy oh boy, there was also the dawn of the social conservatism movement . Many women claimed that feminism was devaluing traditional women who wanted to stay home and raise their kids etc.

    But I considered myself a feminist because I saw that the world still had so many injustices, and I really wanted to see it evolve into something that interfaced with other empowerment movements. I think it’s doing that now, and I’m really happy to be running into more young women who are thinking of these things.

    Slut shaming is indeed a nasty tactic. It serves to discredit the victims of sexual crimes and to discredit women who stand up and agitate for sexual equality in various ways (like Rush Limbaugh’s vicious personal attack on Sandra Fluke). It also serves to shift the focus of the debate or to reframe it. So the discussion of important issues like the root causes of rape, or about how to make contraception available and affordable everyone in our society who wants it suddenly becomes trivialized because it’s framed as “really” all about “immoral” attitudes about sex (and then the puritans come out of the woodwork).

    Stereotyping feminists as “all” being hairy-legged man haters is similar too. Feminists come in styles, with some being very traditionally feminine, some being the opposite, and most falling somewhere in between. It’s really about women being allowed to define for themselves what they want and about living in a world where one’s biological sex or social gender does not dictate how you “have” to be, what risks you face in your daily life, or what opportunities are available to you. Men benefit from this too.

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