Saturday, March 29, 2014

Why I Believe in "Slut-Shaming"

Don't freak out--yet. Just hear me out.

Today in my research for a Brit Lit paper, I got vastly distracted. One thing led to another, and I ran across the most obnoxious online strain of feminist tirades I've read in a long time.

As you probably know, I'm a pretty proud person {...who alliterates}. And that is why I can live my life as a young woman without demanding to be treated like a man. The feminist argument is essentially "Look how great women are! We can be just like men!" Um, irony, anyone? The logic just doesn't jive.

The article that most captured my attention was a crusade against "Slut-Shaming:"

"Slut-shaming occurs when a source attempts to elicit feelings of inferiority or remorse [by] attacking a woman’s perceived or actual sexual behavior or feelings." - Feminspire

I see.

Are there not perceived or actual sexual behaviors for which people should feel remorseful? Because basically what I'm hearing in that definition is that it is now unacceptably offensive to label promiscuity as a bad thing.

What is this, A Brave New World?

We talked about free markets in International Relations this morning. If you create a product and it doesn't sell, you either improve it, or you create a different product. The feedback from people, positive or negative, guides you to produce the best product you can.

I think the concept of discouraging promiscuous behavior can work the same way.

Unless you have no respect for individuals, you view luring people to bed-hop as a contemptible behavior. If you're a Christian, you believe that sex/sexual thoughts belong in a specific context--and that context is not strutting around the mall. If you're a feminist, you rabidly oppose instances where people--specifically women--are objectified. Really, there should be no version of sleeping around that isn't frowned upon.

So give the "product" of promiscuity negative feedback. If you don't like it, if you don't want it on the market, if you think it's a bad product, discourage it.

One way to do that is obviously not to "buy the product." If a girl is getting nowhere with her physically flirtatious behavior, theoretically she'll quit. However, there will unfortunately always be someone willing to take advantage of a girl's availability.

I guess that's just too bad, right? If you think something is wrong, but it seems to be successful, you're just supposed to let it go.

Well, no one seems to think that when it comes to drugs, animal testing, Chick-fil-A's stance on homosexuality, tobacco use, or a whole host of other things.

Success should not exempt something from criticism, especially if you believe it to be immoral.

In addition to not "buying the product of promiscuity," offer an additional kind of negative feedback.

Basically, SHAME IT.

If you think something is wrong, is it not right and natural to speak out against it? In our culture of hyper-sensitive political correctness, no one is allowed to believe in absolute morals because it might hurt someone else's feelings.

I hate to break it to you, but Flannery O'Conner has it right:  "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

Now, I'm not saying that it's okay to ridicule someone. People are insecure enough without being torn to shreds by the judgmental public.

But some behaviors are objectively inferior to others. {"Love your neighbor" > "Eat your neighbor"}. I believe that being a sexually forward, indiscriminate young woman is an inferior behavior.

Should that behavior be called inferior? Yes. Should that behavior elicit remorse? Yes. Do I then support "slut-shaming?"

I guess you could say that. But I prefer the term "promoting self-respect."

Now, what was I doing? Oh yeah. Writing a Brit Lit paper...

~Stephanie

12 comments:

  1. Okay, tell the truth. You may have suspected I would 100% disagree with you, right?;)

    Although I can see your perspective, really I can.

    I just have absolutley zero belief that I can judge what consenting adults do with their bodies.

    I freely admit to being a feminist (I know, it sounds weird coming from a gay guy), but I do not see how slut shaming accomplishes anything other than making other people feel superior. Okay, don't buy the brand. There are many brands that I do not buy out there, because they are not for me. But I do not want them off the self in the corner store. Why? Because maybe my neighbor likes them. And I think personal choice should be just that. Personal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with you up to the shaming part. Someone living by Christian values believes their choices are wrong and if asked their opinion then a Christian is morally obligated to speak the truth but Jamie does have a point…if they're adults then it really is their choice how they act. I will say when I believe something is wrong but I don't think it falls to me to try and change their behaviour unless they want it.

    You make a really good point about truth being truth regardless of whether we can stomach it or not. Personal choice doesn't change whether something is wrong or not and when it comes to sexual morals personal choice only exists for someone who doesn't believe in God.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i totally agree with you here, that we should not condone behavior that we find and believe to be wrong.

    hating confrontation, i don't think i would bring this to someone attention though. when Nathan is going through his Chive pictures of the week and I'm sitting next to him i just shout "slut" and we move on.

    i feel kind of bad for those girls though, who are posting sexually promiscuous photos of themselves on the internet. What horror have they lived through, what values are important to them, that they feel it necessary to show off their mostly naked bodies in hopes of other people building their self esteem?

    Do they not understand that there are other way to get healthy attention that will make them feel fuller longer, and more valuable as a human?

    It is really sad to me that in our culture this is how girls are acting, and that it's pushed on them in every day life whether they realize it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jamie: Hey! Good to hear from you again! I think your opinion is also perfectly valid. But because I think some behavior is actually wrong, I also think that it should be addressed.

    Jay: I think we do mostly agree. I think that as Christians though, it's part of our calling to help others see truth the way we do. Not to look down on them, or berate them, or "shame" them in the usual sense, but to make them rethink wrong behavior or thought patterns.

    Natalie: Agree 100% :)

    ~Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
  5. In that sense I agree with you. I think I took the shaming part farther than you meant it. In a way I think the reason some people who are engaging in wrong behaviour are so defensive about it is because they feel some elements of guilt and are burying it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't think you are right about that Jay. Sure, possibly some, but I think most people just find others judging them for their private life is just intrusive, rude, and frankly, against the "Christianity" you are claiming to be judging them from.
    Not claiming to be a biblical scholar, but I am pretty sure Jesus (in the bible anyway) did not say anything about good Christians slut-shaming. I seem to recall a thing about "let he is without sin..." and a few words about not judging. Yet surprisingly not a damn word about how it is your job to slut shame. Just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No you're not a Bible scholar. The words "let he who is sinless cast the first stone" is from the King James Bible. The oldest manuscripts don't have that passage so likely Jesus never said it and numerous Bibles leave it out.

      That being said Jesus had no problem judging people who deserved it. He called the religious leaders blind guides, hypocrites, white washed graves, and snakes. His cousin denounced a ruler for his adulterous marriage. Jesus statement about not judging had to do with not being hypocritical, as in I shouldn't say someone is doing something wrong when I'm doing something that makes me no better. It didn't mean do whatever you want because you can't be judged. Jesus made it very plain he had standards he required his followers to adhere to.

      Jesus' personally commissioned follower Paul wrote several times that sex outside marriage, adultery and homosexuality were wrong. The Bible doesn't have a problem judging behaviour. The fundamental difference between you and me is what we use as our guide to determine right and wrong. If I believe God gave us the Bible and it says certain things are wrong then I have a right to believe they are wrong. It doesn't give me the power to intervene in other people's lives.

      Delete
    2. Which ever version of your fairy-tale you use, I am pretty sure it does not say "judge not except the sluts and the fags. My guide for right and wrong is pretty loose. It involves not being a douche to other people you share the planet with. I know that is something the archaic bible has no belief in. And yes, you do have your right to believe in right and wrong according to the bible. But when slut shaming is encouraging rape and suicide and actively damaging the society I have to live in, I will damn sure fight it's existence.

      Delete
    3. How is it being a douche to simply say I think what someone is doing is wrong? I'm not trying to stop you, or anyone else. I'm saying what I believe. I'm not encouraging people to hate someone, but Stephanie has made the point before that we can't say we disagree with anyone's choices for fear we upset someone. Why is it right for you to say people should do whatever they want but wrong for me to say I don't think that's right?

      Call the Bible whatever you want but I never refer to gay people in derogatory terms.

      Your concept of Jesus, (love everyone and never judge them) is what some preachers say, not what the Bible and his followers said. Homosexual acts are wrong. Sex outside of marriage is wrong (and I don't mean sluts, I mean any sex outside marriage). Where do you draw the line for right and wrong and how do you know that's where it should be?

      And please, please, please tell me how slut shaming encourages rape?

      Delete
    4. Seriously, if I have to explain how slut shaming is part of rape culture then I am going to just walk away. As the old saying goes, there are none so blind as he who refuses to see. (See what I did there)

      Delete
  7. {Maybe you're just talking to Jay, but real quick, I'm just gonna give my opinion.}

    Good point. Nowhere in the Bible does God say to judge or shame others. But I think my point is being taken a little too literally. By "shame" I don't necessarily mean, like, actual shaming. I mean expressing disapproval and not being afraid to call sluttiness what it is.

    There are plenty of Bible verses about not sinning sexually and not tolerating the behavior of those who do {1 Cor. 5:11 and 6:18 are a couple}.

    Still, you're very right: Christianity is never about being arrogant or unkind to people. In this post I just meant that I see nothing wrong with labeling a slut a slut. If being called a slut bothers you, then stop acting slutty.

    ~Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So it appears early Christians didn't follow in the footsteps of Jesus either.

      Delete