So much for reclaiming ‘slut’

Yesterday, this post received three views via the search engine term “walking sluts porn”. I put the term into Google, and while we’re on the first page of results, all the other results on the first page are links to porn sites.

You can’t reclaim hate speech. You can tell yourself you’re as empowered as you like, but when someone who hates you and has power over you is screaming it in your face, they control the meaning of the word, not you.

7 responses

  1. Women-hating insults such as ‘slut’ can never be reclaimed because men created this women-hating insult and men aren’t going to cease calling women sluts in the foreseeable future.

    So forget trying to reclaim the unreclaimable and instead we must focus on demanding that misogyny and women-hating is hate speech and/or promotion of women-hating. Ah but I forget women aren’t human are they which is why men call women ‘sluts’ because all women are supposedly just men’s disposable sexual service stations not human beings. So that is why male hatred of women is not ‘hate speech’ but is apparently acceptable, however men are always human which is why they created the term hate speech because only men are the ones subject to hate speech!

  2. Triply-wondering

    Exactly! Women can’t ”reclaim” a word that was never theirs to begin with. That term, amongst many other female-hating sexual slurs, only has validity within the context of male supremacist sexuality. We really need to think outside that given framework, because its very structure works against us.

  3. Well-said and spot-on. I love that we’ve reclaimed “dyke” in some ways, but when someone shouts it at me on the street, they control its meaning, not me.

  4. If we can’t reclaim it, then we’ll have to steal it.

    I’m young, I’ve been mostly sheltered, so I’ve never actually been degraded by the term slut.

    It’s hard to explain what the word means to me, I guess to me it’s a more naughty version of “sexy”. Kind of like an identity. I’m actually very fond of the word. It means it’s own thing to me.

    When you cease to find the word offensive, then it’s hard to insult you.

  5. Well, that’s absolutely great for you, in your own sheltered little fun-feminist, I-choose-my-choice bubble.

    It isn’t just about being ‘insulted’, it’s about the very real consequences women suffer for not being perceived as clean enough – the core meaning of ‘slut’ is ‘unclean’, and, as Andrea Dworkin put it so well in relation to rape cases, and as the DSK case is proving, yet again, none of us are clean enough.

    I suggest you read this article, and have a think about how you are in a privileged position to be able to play around with your ‘naughty’ ‘sexiness’.

  6. Don’t be too hard on her, antiplondon. Remember that even some radical feminists have been in E’s position, especially at a young age. Plus, she admits she’s sheltered and only recently discovered feminism.

    E, there are two things I want to address. First of all, you can change your personal perception of the word, but that won’t change what it means for the people insulting you. What you’re doing is the intellectual equivalent of sticking your fingers in yours and yelling, “Lalalalala, I can’t hear you!”. If it makes you feel better, by all means, go ahead, but wouldn’t it be better if women just weren’t insulted for their alleged “promiscuity”?

    Second of all, can you imagine any downsides to your identity being solely defined by your sexuality, by society’s perceptions of women’s sexuality? Women have been fighting for freedom from this very thing since before feminism even had a name.

  7. That was supposed to be “sticking your fingers in your ears” actually.

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