Dealbreaker: The Slut Shamer

by The Frisky

AnnoyedI’ve never been fond of being called “nice.” Nice, to me, is a consolation-prize adjective; it’s a lazy descriptor you use for a person who isn’t interesting enough to rate a few more syllables. Nice is for potholders and admirable recycling habits, for neutral weather patterns and cuts of salmon. Even the slightly more enthusiastic, stoner-drawl version of the word, Niiiiiiice!, and its cousin, Sweeeeet! are usually reserved for cars, surfable waves, or extensions of deadlines. Or, you know, marijuana.

And yet, people generally tend to label me as nice and sweet, and I suppose, in my wussy way, I am.  It pains me to be rude to telemarketers. I always repost Facebook pictures of abandoned puppies. I do recycle responsibly – what of it?

So when, on our first date Joe*, a guy who I’d met at a bar, said I was a “nice girl,” it wasn’t immediately a dealbreaker. Nice is a cross I’ve borne for a long time, and if I ruled out every guy who called me it, I would be restricted to a dating pool comprised only of surly, rage-provoking DMV employees.

“It’s unusual to meet  a nice girl at that bar,” Joe said meaningfully, smiling his best compliment-smile. “Most of the chicks there are total skanks, but I could tell you were a good girl.”

Uh-oh.  Chicks. Skanks. Nice girl. Good girl. His compliment had quickly devolved to dog praise. I wanted to go fetch some other guy.

And it wasn’t just the fact that good girl was the sort of cringeworthy praise best used on someone wearing a flea and tick collar; it was the reasoning behind it.

What was it about me that was so incredibly good, exactly? Had I travelled to Darfur and helped vaccinate a village full of orphans? Had I’d gone to a nursing home and played Pictionary with my Nana and her friends all day? Had I liberated some of those adorable slow lorises from a cruel life of rice ball-eating YouTube exploitation?

Nope.  I was good, it seemed, because based on some mysterious, first impression-based algorithm of his, Joe had deduced that I probably said “no” to random, spontaneous sex more often than I said “yes.”

As far as I can tell, this conclusion was based entirely on how I was dressed and my lack of cartoonishly lascivious behavior on the night he met me. Basically, I wasn’t wearing a vulva-length skirt or doing shots off of any part of another woman’s anatomy. Based on this, I was determined to be “good.”

The guy was making some huge assumptions here. (My mom always said, “when you assume, you make anass out of u and me.” I know that’s convenient, wordplay-wise, but in real life, when you make assumptions about me, that’s all on “u,” assume-hole.).  I could have been the most sexually adventurous woman (or as he put it, “skank”) in the world, for all he knew. Just because a woman doesn’t feel the need to wear her heart (or her sideboob) on her sleeve means nothing. Maybe I liked dressing like a sexy librarian! It was possible!

Perhaps noting that my expression had darkened at his top-notch compliment, Joe began backpedaling.

“I mean, I’ve had my fun with the fast girls. I’m no angel. But now, I’m looking for something serious. I’m looking for someone to bring home to mom.”

Another red flag: reference to his mother. Whenever talk of sex and mention of a guy’s mommy are not separated by at least three minutes’ worth of other words, I default to a diagnosis of Madonna/Whore syndrome (which, believe it or not, is alive and well in 2013). This is a guy for whom the world is divided into “skanks” and “nice girls,” with the middle ground occupied, presumably, by men, unattractive women and maybe a few lint balls.  The “nice girl” is placed upon an exalted pedestal, where nothing but the dullest missionary-position sex can ever defile her. The skank, conversely, is despised as a hot, hot, dirty, hot whore, who is good only for totally mind-blowing extramarital hate sex while the “nice girl” wife is at a scrapbooking party or something. I can’t even say who gets the better role in this shitshow. Oh wait, yes I can – the guy!

I’ve deliberately avoided talking about which of this guy’s two stereotypes I actually would have fallen into at this time in my life. That’s because I think his standards are bullshit, and also because my mom might read this. But the point is, I don’t see a woman who withholds sex as necessarily being any more altruistic than one who’s a little more generous with it. Being sexually conservative is often the more self-protective choice, and sometimes it’s definitely smarter. But what does that have to do with nice?

Maybe I rushed to judgment on Joe, whom I’d already decided not to see again as we walked out of the restaurant. Maybe he was the nicest slut-shamer in the world, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t for me. As he walked me to my car, he stared straight ahead and stonewalled a homeless man who asked him if he could spare some change. He then looked horrified as I gave the guy a five dollar bill. I’m easy like that. Some would even call it nice.

*Name has been changed

  • http://kimberlymoniquedavisblog.wordpress.com defineselforself

    I Love This Article ;-)

  • dbsm

    this article was a breath of fresh air, maybe because it reminds me of me. great job.

    men and women, of course, play into the whole “nice” girl = sexually conservative meme. women are so proud to be that way for whatever their reasons are. but just because i ain’t showin pu$$y don’t mean i’m not throwin it! and i do call myself a nice girl because i am nice: i give money to people on the streets, i pick up litter, i do my share in my “service” job, i talk to any man who approaches me respectfully. all of this has nothing to do with liking to take _____. go figure.

  • mEE

    yes. these were my exact thoughts last week. I was visiting my best friend out of state and while she was busy I went out to run some errands with her husband. his friend happened to be in the car and we were clearly eyeing each other. I found him physically attractive and the conversation was great. as we’re driving down the street, we see some girl who had on what I would call a nighttime look in the daytime (nothing over the top AT ALL) and he RANDOMLY starts making all these derogatory comments about her. he was like, “I see someone is doing the walk of shame”, “damn I hope she got paid for what she did last night”, and a bunch of other nonsense. any interest I had in him dried up right on the spot.

  • Mademoiselle

    She should’ve called b/s when she saw it: how are you genuinely looking for something serious with a girl you can bring home to mom by going to a place where “Most of the chicks there are total skanks”? The truth is he’s probably trying really hard to keep his stump from showing through his pants over the idea that he might’ve found a girl naïve enough to let him turn her out if he lays out enough sweet talk. He says “nice girl,” I read/hear “tight p***y.”

  • JS

    This. I side-eye anyone looking to find a long lasting relationship in a bar or a nightclub. My first inclination was not to judge his comment of “nice girl” in a bar, because realistically I know people go mixing in bars to flirt, socialize and let loose and I myself don’t expect to find a “nice guy” there. However like Mademosielle called it out that line was BS for obvious reasons. Also how could he tell from jump she was a “good girl” without knowing anything about her as a person? I would have felt different had he spent the whole night talking to her then made the comment that he didn’t expect to meet someone who he could potentially connect with long term. But the way he said it and proceeded to talk just seems too skeezy and he didn’t expect the relationship to lead anywhere other than his bedroom.

  • john

    So now, we get an article which claims, calling a woman nice, is to slur her. Oh, Clutch magazine – high brow intellectualism at it’s finest. (Pun intended.)

  • Humanista

    “Whenever talk of sex and mention of a guy’s mommy are not separated by at least three minutes’ worth of other words, I default to a diagnosis of Madonna/Whore syndrome”

    HA! Yessssss! Exactly this.

    I, too, am turned off by men who spend way too much time ruminating on the real-or-imagined turnover rates of other people’s bedrooms. Yuck. In general, I am turned off by any statement like “wow, you’re so different from all the other (insert descriptor) women” because that never ends well either.

  • Daphne

    It’s funny I stumbled across this article. My roommate has a guy friend who comes over sometimes and he’s constantly slut shaming the women he sleeps with. Usually I try to avoid him, but occasionally I get stuck in these awkward conversations/moments with them. Our apartment is only so big! The other day he started talking about how he slept with this woman on the first date and concluded that she was “easy” and thus not long term girlfriend material so he was dodging her calls and refusing to reply to her texts.

    I then asked him if he considered this girl to be “easy” what does that make him? Since he also participated in this sex that they had, by his logic he should consider himself “easy” too and not worthy of being anyone’s long term boyfriend.

    He started stuttering and mumbled something about how “it’s different for guys.”

    I think I purposely made the situation extremely awkward. (Lol.)

    Of course the gross double standards presented themselves. This guy engaged in consensual sex with another person, and I’m sure he enjoyed himself. But at the end of the night when it was all said and done, he managed to walk out of there feeling like she was somehow beneath him, despite the fact that he also participated in this sex that they had. Basically as far as he’s is concerned casual sex is only okay if men do it.

    What is this absurdity?

    But yeah, slut shaming is a deal breaker for me. Guys who slut-shame are misogynist. Period. They go hand in had.

    To be honest, shaming in general leaves me side eyeing people really hard, which is probably why I’m still single and have very few friends. I had this friend who thought fat people were the most amusing thing, and she’d laugh and whisper to me if an overweight person walked by comparing them to farm animals. I never laughed, and I told her I didn’t find that funny. Of course I was just being too sensitive as far she was concerned, and now we barely talk. Apparently where I am it’s hard to find people who aren’t preoccupied judging other people’s lifestyles. Sometimes when you try to tell them why the stuff they say are wrong and offensive, they look at you like you’re insane. Or too sensitive or whatever else..

    I’ve long decided to stop judging people’s choices, even if they aren’t the choices I’d make for myself, especially when it comes to matters like who they sleep with, other things that are personal choices.. As long as they’re not putting themselves and others in harms way, please by all means do whatever it is you do. Life’s too short to be preoccupied with what others are doing. They’re probably happy and could care less about your judgement. I’d rather spend my time pursuing my own happiness.

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Lillian Mae

    Touche’ Spiritual, touche’!

  • Lisss

    @ Spiritual
    Its not so much about standards as it is about hypocrisy. I, for one, will not date a man who has spent the night with every woman within a 10-mile radius. THAT is my standard, take it or leave it. And men are allowed to have such standards too. But they dont have the right to start demeaning the very women they were just with. This Joe-dude willingly admitted that the he has slept with some of these “skanks”…so what does that make him?
    Because men-whores are not marriage material either. Period.

  • Ms Write

    I don’t think you read the article. Or maybe you should re-read for comprehension.

  • Fantastico

    Yeah, being non-judgemental about women’s sex habits and people’s weight tends to make people with superiority complexes uncomfortable.

  • Dave

    “Slut-shaming.” Ladies, if you go to a club dressing and acting exactly like the girls in a video who identify themselves as and allow themselves to be treated as a ‘hoe’ then why do you complain when certain men view you that way? I mean, how do you think they are going to view you…as a lady?

  • Jackson

    Are you seriously incapable of sitting down with someone and NOT over-analyzing everything about them?

    And for what? So you can pretend like you have a golden peehole?

    Enjoy your youth, because this type of behavior will not attract a man once you start to run low on eggs. Take the compliment next time.

  • http://curlydeviants.com MsTBennett

    I deal with men like this all the time. They say things like:

    “You’re not like other women. You’re so nice. And down-to-earth.”

    “You were raised in a two-parent household weren’t you?”

    “You seem like you have very high moral standards, like you just aren’t out here in these streets.”

    Keep in mind, all of this information is determined about my character and up-bringing typically within a 30 minute period of speaking.

    And these SAME men, when they here me speak of sex candidly, say ish like “Oh, so you’re a closet freak huh?” Like being sexually open and comfortable makes someone a “freak.”

    Que the Madonna-Whore syndrome.

    *sigh*

  • http://curlydeviants.com MsTBennett

    I meant “hear,” not “here.”

  • Jaslene

    Not every woman is trying to make an omelette.

  • http://twitter.com/mick00504860 mick (@mick00504860)

    That’s why men DON’T slut shame. It’s Women. I can’t believe people have swallowed this feminist bullshit. Women slut shame other women as women who give out sex freely are a threat. Simple as.

    Even the religious brainwashed men who might support this are really acting on the wishes of religious women who brought slut shaming into religion. The whole religious lead temperance movement was led by women claiming booze caused ‘slutty behavior’.

    Slutshaming is pro-sexual irresponsibility, I’m certain that being a polyamorous troupe of sex crazed apes is our natural sexual behaviour as a species.However, we ain’t nomads anymore. this sexual free-for-all days of our past are going to get us killed either by STD, failure to adequately provide for our children or our inability to balance budget b/c the state is being forced to be a husband to “empowered women” who no longer take marriage seriously and choose to be dependent on the state.

    Can someone tell me why we shouldn’t shame sluts? They steal peoples boyfreinds and girlfreinds,Sluts break up families,Sluts spread diseases, they have babies out of wedlock and slutty men have multiple baby mamas and becomes a burden to society.

    Been a slut is a lack of character and self respect,it is not something you are born with.And if it is nothing to be ashamed about why then do they care whether they are called sluts or not? i would argue been sexually promiscuity is bad even for men.

  • Jaslene

    I would hope that a man would be smart enough to able to understand that women are individuals and that he could still treat me with respect. Why is it video models are the precursor for how to treat a woman based on how she dresses? I use to like wearing somewhat revealing clothing. 1. I liked men and it did seem to piqué their interest. 2. Sometimes it’s hot where you might be. 3. I like drinks and food and its even better when it’s free.

  • Jaslene

    Lol

  • Jaslene

    No one else is giving us high brow intellectualism. I thought it was a little odd that being called nice is off putting but reading the entirety of the article it made sense. Also I don’t think you understand puns.

  • Dave

    I’m sorry, but weren’t women just up in arms about lyrics in hip-hop? You can’t protest the same song you dance to, can’t rally against the objectification of women while participating in it. There’s a difference between dressing sexy and dressing like the self-described ‘hoe’ in the video. Most men are smart enough to know the difference. How, might I ask, are you imitating the ‘video hoe’ (for you ladies that do), dancing like her, dressing like her, and then getting mad when men treat you like the hoe in the video was treated? You may not be one but, in the words of Dave Chappelle, you are wearing the uniform of one. Jeez, that’s like me dressing like a thug, carrying myself as a thug, and then insisting that you treat me like a gentleman. Doesn’t work that way.

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    isn’t having a preference judging people’s choice’s anyway though? if you prefer a man that’s not a drug dealer, you’re judging his choice to be a drug dealer. LOL people kill me with acting like they don’t judge other people. you can SAY it all you want, but it’s human nature to judge and you’re fooling yourself if you say that you don’t.

    in fact,this whole paragraph was about you judging someone because they prefer to not date a woman who indiscriminately dates a bunch of men. to some people, promiscuous people seem to lack good judgement and self control if they constantly brag about one night stands. how is that a good thing? how is putting yourself at multiple risks with strangers a good thing?

    this is why i don’t get why so many women are encouraging women with bs terms like for “liberation” and call people “slut shamers”. it’s not safe behavior. it’s not safe to go to a man’s home that you just met and then invite him inside of you. you don’t know this person. remember jeffrey dahmer? yeah.. exactly. don’t get it twisted,men need to be careful too! some women poke holes in condoms to get pregnant and then get 18 years of child support. quit encouraging people to do unsafe things.

    let’s go back to what we learned as kids and not go home with strangers. smh

  • Jaslene

    So please tell me what is dressing sexy? And what does it say about the man that likes to interact with a “hoe”. Are you one of those men that can’t decipher what they see on tv from real life? If your argument is that we are treated by those that we look like on tv than that is a weak argument.

  • Daphne

    It’s up to a woman to decide if she feels safe with someone stranger or not. I trust people to be able to make their own judgement about the people they choose to engage with and it’s not my place to make it for them. I can only advise them to be safe. How am I being judgmental for calling someone out on their double standards? This guy slept with a girl and then determined that she was easy and beneath him while apparently believing that it was okay for him to do the same. But I guess that’s okay right? He was only demeaning someone for something that he also participated in and frequently does so!

    And did I not say that as long as it wasn’t harmful to them and others I let people make their own choices? Obviously being a drug dealer isn’t harmless and has a lot of implications and consequences so it’s not something I would support, but it’s not necessarily something I would be quick to condemn either without knowing all the circumstances!

    At the end of the day a woman/man is free to engage in sex if they want. Everyone’s body is their own, and it’s not my place or yours to tell anyone what to do with it. Or judge them because of it!

  • Drebin

    What a stupid article, so he doesn’t want to wife up a skank…NEWS FLASH, MOST MEN DON’T, your completely deluding yourself if you think otherwise, you are going to end up rejecting every man and being alone if this bothers you.

  • Henry

    I don’t want to shame anyone, but there seems to me that there is no standard of behaviour. I was terrible at one time and then I got married and began to have daughters. It became clear to me as I matured that sex is supposed to be special act between two people. otherwise it becomes pretty cheap. Sex draws my wife and closer all of the time. She is married to me and is exclusive to me. Yet if she had shared herself with every tom dick and harry that appealed to her, then exclusivity would mean very little as they all know her already. A woman is a great gift to a man. Hell, I won’t even eat a meal if there have been to many fingers in it. Okay, take our left overs, man your wife was great and she gives good head. To me that act is sacred and making her orgasam is something that is so special that I don’t want other men to see my wife in that state. That is for her exclusive lover, me. I see a man with his wife nowdays and I recognize her as someone I have had sex with in my wilder days, I am embarrased, for all of us. It is shameful that I know a mans wife. I just believe that marraige should be venerated and if it is the things that are exclusive to marraige become worth less if they are treated like toys, instead of the sacered things that they are..

  • atljawga

    Just to put it out there, do take note of the fact that the article is not about letting go of standards. The article is explicitly about men’s practice of a) creating a false dichotomy of women and pigeonholing them based on superficialities while b) excusing themselves of the same dichotomy due to their sexism. Men are free to engage in sex with relatively few standards and be individuals while they simultaneously attack large swaths women for the same practices.

    So while I’d probably prefer a man that was more discerning in his sexual partners, I’m not going to shame him if I wasn’t discerning in mine. Men do this alllll the time. That is the issue at hand.

  • http://youtube.com/user/catdeluxeatday/ Nikki

    BRILLIANT ARTICLE! THANKS!

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