Slut Shaming through the Internet
Using the internet, unfortunately, comes with certain levels of harassment, and women tend to experience a specific type of harassment. Slut-shaming, targets women specifically, it typically insults their physical appearance, sexuality, and sexual conduct. Through the ease of user-friendly websites, sex-centric-insults can be hurled at whim by the “trolls” that get pleasure from tearing down a women’s self-esteem. It’s argued that due to the over-abundance of slut shaming occurring through social media, women would be scared to be free and sexual. However, women are now more than ever overcoming slut shaming and taking control of their bodies. In fact through the connectivity of social media and the internet women have come together to overcome and destroy slut shaming, and liberate themselves sexually.
Women do not get to experience the same sexual freedoms that men do. That is the entire pretext for slut-shaming, as Leora Tanenbaum of the Huffington Post puts it, “Slut-shaming is sexist because only girls and women are called to task for their sexuality, whether real or imagined; boys and men are congratulated for the exact same behavior. This is the essence of the sexual double standard: Boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts.” Slut shaming occurs though Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even Snapchat. Using lewd names, posting inappropriate pictures, and making inferences based on the grounds of a woman’s sexual nature are all examples of slut-shaming. With all of these activities running rampant on the internet, women face a lot of scrutiny and a cute Instagram post with friends on the beach turns into a witch hunt over sexual misconduct.
The argument here is not that slut shaming has been eradicated through social media, in fact it is quite the opposite. The congregation of women (and men) tired of seeing post after post filled with condemning ideals has caused people to actively use social media to put a stop to slut shaming. These groups of individuals have been able to use the connectivity that comes with the internet to be able to constitute a clear and united voice with many goals. To spread acceptance, encourage people to become comfortable with themselves, and stop slut shaming, among other things. The website, Stopslut.org, is aimed at not only stopping slut shaming but also rape culture as a whole “Using a revolutionary play, a book and storytelling-based activism workshops, StopSlut aims to transform rape culture into a culture of CARE– communication, accountability, respect and empathy”. Through this website that is only aimed against slut shimg, women can connect and bond and therefore combat issues they face in their lives.
While the internet can come together and tear up a famous woman for her “slutty outfit” at an awards show, it can also see comments that disapprove of the hate speech. Slut shaming is not a new concept, shunning women for being sexual has been commonplace for centuries. Lewis Mark Webb sums it up best when he says (in reference to comparing slut shaming historically to modern day) “the Roman Republic with recent cases on the Internet, and I maintain that the focus of this slut-shaming, namely sexual virtue, has remained the same over time, but that the unregulated nature of the Internet has increased its scope and impact.” The magnitude seen through the internet is rather unique; people are not afraid to say inappropriate things online because there are no consequences for it. That is, until now. People are getting tired of hearing misogynistic and dated thoughts one after the other and the convenience of anonymity has also given them the ability to type right back. The internet has started to change from a place where slut shaming can bloom, into a battlefield where intellectual logic is used to combat the backwards rhetoric that has overstayed its welcome.
Menza, Kaitlin. “Teen Girls Take a Stand Against Slut Shaming: What It Is, and Why You Should Care – StopSlut.” StopSlut Teen Girls Take a Stand Against Slut Shaming What It Is and Why You Should Care Comments. N.p., 02 June 2015. Web.
Tanenbaum, Leora. “The Truth About Slut-Shaming.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Apr. 2015. Web.
Webb, Lewis Mark. “Shame Transfigured: Slut-shaming from Rome to Cyberspace | Webb | First Monday.” Shame Transfigured: Slut-shaming from Rome to Cyberspace | Webb | First Monday. N.p., 6 Apr. 2015. Web.