Slut

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If one defines a woman who is sexually liberated, sassy, and self-defining as a slut, which often appears to be the case, then I, according to that definition, am a slut. Pardon my shrugging. I left my hoe tape and the shame attached to it in my twenties. My girl Renina gifted me with the term “hoe tape,” it has helped to describe a voice inside me I have always struggled to silence. You know, that voice that tells women how to dress, think, behave, desire. The one that says, “only sluts carry condoms” (epic side-eye to Will.I.Am) or “if you wear that short skirt you are inviting trouble” (because Divine One forbid that a man should be in control of himself enough to resist assaulting a woman because he can see her legs), or a favorite of mine (as another blog site recently suggested), “give him full reign in the bedroom”… girl, what?

As a single woman, before my marriages, I kept a full stock of condoms, lube, and the likes in my bedroom nightstand. While I wasn’t having what some may consider a lot of sex, I was sexually active and scared to death of sexually transmitted diseases—particularly HIV and AIDS—that were having their way with the women in my community. At that time, I was volunteering with local organizations that were hoping to stomp out what we were sure was a developing pandemic. Our foresight was spot on. I reflect on this a few days after National HIV/AIDS Testing Day, and I wonder what man, or woman, would pass judgment on a (Black) woman who hopes not to become one of the 46% of Americans living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Yes, you read that correctly.  According to the Center for Disease Control, African-Americans compose nearly half of those living within the US with the disease. I would call a person who chooses to shame a woman intelligent enough to consider these factors and CHOOSE life—foolish, and even dangerous. Yet there hangs that word slut, above one’s head like mistletoe, but with death as a prize instead of sweet kisses. You all are welcome to that life. I’ll carry on living as a harlot as I carry on living.

Black girls in the hood learn by the age of about twelve, if not sooner, that they are viewed as sexual currency and property before they understand what such terms mean. Grown men begin asking our age and making lewd comments about how our hips are spreading as our bodies develop into the women that our minds do not know. Many of our mothers, in an effort to protect us from the inevitable, try to cover us with loose garb and prayers before we leave our homes, all for naught. As we grow, we realize that regardless of what we wear or how we speak, we are going to be hyper-sexualized, sometimes verbally offended and sometimes sexually assaulted in the streets. Oddly, and sadly, maneuvering through these interactions becomes second nature. And so, many of us just choose to live how we want and wear what we want.

According to Constable Michael Sanguinetti of the Toronto police department (where the first documented “slut walk” took place), women would face rape and other sexual violence less if they avoided dressing like sluts. I could write a thesis on the misogyny attached to this type of thinking and how much it puts women in danger, but I won’t—not here at least. This is about us. THIS is about women being able to see themselves as full human beings who don’t find value in being defined by others. THIS is about the freedoms that this evolved nation claims to be founded on; values that women in short skirts and tight tops are not excluded from. Women who realize this and choose to dress and think as they please are sluts, so you know, be informed and prepared.

I was tickled to read The Good Men Projects post “If You Sleep With Her, You Can’t Call Her A Slut” mainly because it makes my heart glad when men attempt to challenge patriarchy in a “men you are absurd and also jerks” kind of way, and I grow tired of always being that girl at the bar challenging men who just want to buy me a cocktail and engage in light conversation on how dangerous, unevolved and well, dumb their thinking can be. Moving on, this particular post deals with how we (both men and women) promote sexual shaming through language. A group of men were asked the very simple question, “What makes a woman a slut?” Some days it seems like the answer is breathing, but I digress. The answers, not intriguing but telling, divulge the ideas that men not only consider women sluts according to how they behave and dress, but also who they sex, how often they sex, whether they have multiple sexual partners, and how quickly they choose to have sex. In other words, if a woman has sex with a man, essentially she is a slut.

Oh.

Men are supposed to have ultimate power over all things sexual and intimate. Women are supposed to be submissive enough to allow a man to lead in the bedroom, unless of course he leads us to having sex on the first date. In that moment, we are supposed to gain the power to resist, then give in, then wait to be called sluts afterword. What fresh hell is this? There are at least 376 mixed messages that one can document in such an interaction. As with “dressing appropriately,” women who have sex are essentially considered sluts regardless of what they do or say, so they may as well climax at the end, right? I’m all for orgasms. Slut talk, I know, but real talk nonetheless. The peculiar thing is, as the article calls out, men would have way better, more engaging and pleasing sex if they promoted women to enjoy sex acts  instead of making them feel like Mary Magdalene every time they remove their panties. In the illustrious words of the Ohio Players, “free the mind and the ass will follow”—literally.

I prefer to own my desire and my way. I have been in the streets and the bedroom negotiating my right to choose how I desire to live and love for a very, very long time. It will take more than name calling to make me side step my advancement towards wholeness. If that means one needs to call me a slut, then by all means, please do. After all, it ain’t what people call you, but what you answer to that determines who you are. Although, I prefer the moniker “amazing.”

  • Jenell

    Lol, I’m pretty sure my hubby didn’t marry me purely for sex, lmao (men, just like women can get that anywhere with very little effort). Like others have said, you do sound very inexperienced. Besides, the cuckolding thing is natural!!! How else are we supposed to get the best/ most in-demand genes while having some rich/ financially responsible schmuck provide for us and the brat? That’s also why nature made it so women don’t fall asleep right after (to seek out stronger swimmers). ;)
    LMAO!

  • cerberus

    A promiscuous African American woman… what a rarity.

  • http://liberatedslut.com Emmanuelle

    This is a great article. That’s what our website is all about. You should check it out!

  • Pingback: “What makes a woman a slut?” Some days it seems like the answer is breathing. | The Slut Revolution

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