Friday, August 24, 2012

Sluts & Whores.

This is inspired by an ancient discussion I had with a friend around the time Miley Cyrus had released her music video for "Can't Be Tamed". In this video, Miley unashamedly displays a bolder, sexier persona, which had left a bad taste in people's mouths. Bear in mind this was still while Hannah Montana was on the air and Miley was still considered a Disney-esque teen queen. I can't begin to remember how often I saw the words "slut" and "whore" thrown around throughout the music blogosphere. This is something that's gotten under my skin many times. People cried "slut" when Mariah first shed her girl-next-door image and stripped into a teeny tiny bikini back in 1997. People cried "whore" when Britney Spears danced around in seductive schoolgirl attire. Throughout history, we've belittled women simply for growing up and connecting with their sensual, sexual side.

Part of growing up and becoming a woman (or man) is getting in touch with your sensual, sexual side. For some, sexuality and being in touch with one's body and desires are a driving force in their life, something they are not ashamed of and definitely not afraid of. In these types of people, their sexuality embodies much of who they are (Madonna). For others, it is a bit more complex, some women fall prey to using their physical sexuality as a crutch, a method of hiding insecurity, and never really seem to "own it". They dress the part but are more or less conservative. Think Mariah.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. This isn't about any of the above mentioned women. It's about all women, and men for that matter. I don't think it's right to call a woman a whore simply because she shows leg and cleavage, and God-forbid, expresses her sexual nature. It's backwards, sexist, and demeaning.

Sexuality is as natural as can be, yet it seems we aren't granted our right to be a sexual being without being degraded or looked down upon. What's worse is that there is an incredible divide between how society has determined men and women should express their sexuality. Men can show off their ripped abs and pecs and it's fine, wear sagging pants that display underwear, and even pose nude. There is little to no backlash. If anything, the man is praised by women, and the envy of other men (assuming we are talking about someone who is in great shape). But all a woman has to do is show a bit of cleavage and leg, and she is called out for it, labeled a tramp by both sexes. This extends toward sexual actions as well, but that's a tangent for another time.

Examples in the media are Elvis Presley and Boy bands vs. Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears. Elvis Presley was quite sexual in his performance. His gyrating hips were considered too sexy for television at the time and were censored. Male pop stars often show off their bodies in music videos. The Backstreet Boys were allowed to pose in videos with shirts off, or white shirts that have been wet, bringing the abs and pecs to the forefront. If a female pop star engaged in this "wet t-shirt contest" behavior, she is a slut. It's all connected to the incredibly sexist and ancient double standard. A man can sleep with 5 women and be "the man", a woman sleeps with 5 guys and she's a dirty whore. The same idea extends to attire and behavior.  


I know many people aren't serious, and people often throw these words around as more of an attempt to be humorous. I do a have a sense of humor and can laugh about it. I realize these are media figures we're talking about, and they are going to be overtly scrutinized no matter what, but these are issues I see everyday in the context of the real world, and this is a problem we need to address. I'm simply tiring of women who show off their body being labeled this way. I'm sure not many of us know these women personally, nor do we know the intimate details of their sex lives, so how about we stop the juvenile, baseless judgement?

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