Equating women with vaginas: What's wrong with the words slut and whore anyway?

It's time women actually started reclaiming the insults thrown at them.

Dipannita Saha Dipannita Saha May 31, 2017
Why are the words slut or whore used as insult in the first place? Photo Courtesy: Pinterest/CrunkFeministCollective

 

How many times have you jokingly called your friend a slut because she had too many guy friends or boyfriends? You probably said innumerable times. And you aren't alone because unknowingly we all have used the words slut and whore as an insult.

If you are well-versed with the world of Internet and social media, you may have seen excessive use of these words. Even singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya's Twitter account was suspended because he indirectly called a woman a slut. And why? Because he wanted to win an argument.

Also Read: Why do people like Abhijeet Bhattacharya think it's OK to attack a woman's sexuality to put her in her place?

And this isn't an isolated instance where these words have been used to address women. In fact according a to 2016 social media survey conducted in UK had revealed that 'slut' and 'whore' were tweeted 200,000 times in three weeks. Yes, the number is indeed shocking.

But, what does these words actually mean? These words are generally used as a slang for prostitutes--women who charge money for sex. And mind you, even prostitute as a word isn't used anymore, instead they are called sex workers--because it is indeed a work.

Sex workers provide services, for which they charge money. Their work isn't something demeaning, it's actually what we, or rather the society, have made it to be.

So when or what makes the society use such words to address women? Well, it's mostly got to do with promiscuity and patriarchy. Let's explain it better. You probably are familiar with the Hindi line that says "ladka kare to stud, ladki kare to slut?"

When a guy is promiscuous, he is either considered an adult because he's having sex or a stud because he can get as many women as he want. However, calling a woman slut or whore has more to do with shaming her for being liberated than the act of sex itself. It starts with the belief that a woman's honour somehow emanates from her vagina and if she's sexually active, she's dishonourable.

Also Read: Can someone please tell me what does having sex have to do with adulting?

And let's be honest, women in our society has always been considered second-class citizens, with no right to desires or self-expression. Because obviously, how can a woman ever be interested in sex out of her own will, right? Wrong.

You see, our patriarchal world segregates women into two groups--sanskaari and the sinner. Sanskaari women are those who remain virgin until marriage, and only engage in sexual activity with the aim to procreate with their husbands.

While, sinners are those who take charge of their sexual identity and express any desire for physical intimacy. In the eyes of patriarchy, a woman's sexuality makes her less of a woman, because she's born to please her husband and not herself.

But the question here is what's the harm in taking charge of your body and sexuality? Why when a woman consents to sex, willingly has sex, is considered to be rotten, while it's okay to rape a woman if she's your wife? Which is exactly why we need to reclaim the words--because they are not bad words.

Because sex is not a bad thing or something to be shamed for. It maybe according to this society, but it's the same society that gave the world Kamasutra. So, each time you mistakenly think a woman is a slut because of our choices, remember that you are trying to stop her from being liberated.

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