Dear teens,

So this is the most accurate definition of “sloot” I could find on Urban Dictionary:

“A straight male who describes a female as a ‘slut’ is typically either disgusted by or otherwise angry at the object of the description. The word ‘sloot’ is more sympathetic and merely identifies promiscuity in a female in a nongraphic, albeit diminutive, fashion that often conveys interest in or amusement by the object of the description. It can also be used playfully as an exaggeration of a well-liked female in or out of her presence:

Female: ‘She is such a slut. I don’t want my boyfriend talking to her.’

Female: ‘I hear she is such a slut in bed.’

(notice inherent bitchiness)

Male: ‘Well, John, at least my sister isn’t a slut like yours!’

(notice distinct anger)

Male: “The party last night? There were some slOOts there.”

Female: “You’re a sloooot, Angie.” Angie throws a pillow at speaker, others laugh. “

So I thought junior Micaela Bennett-Smith made up the word “sloot.” When I first heard her say it I asked, “Micaela, why do you say ‘sloot’?”

She replied, “Because ‘slut’ is so harsh. ‘Sloot’ is a joke.”

Many of us use the words “slut” and “whore” playfully. I don’t find the words offensive when my friends use them because I know they’re joking, and sometimes I too use the words in a joking manner as well. However, Micaela got me thinking, and I think more and more of us are starting to realize that the words are offensive. Not because they’re “bad words” but because they are words really used solely to refer to women. They’re sexist. I wouldn’t mind them if they were also used to talk about men, but they aren’t.

What is the equivalent word for “slut” for a man? “Player”? False. Let’s look at some examples from Urban Dictionary:

“A male who is skilled at manipulating (‘playing’) others, and especially at seducing women by pretending to care about them, when in reality they are only interested in sex.”

This one’s great:

“A player is a man who seduces woman to make them think that they are the love of their life. Once the woman falls for the man, he casually asks her out on a date. When describing the date to her, he will make it sound very romantic: ex. picnic on a beach, dinner and a movie, etc. The woman will meet the man and soon find out plans have changed. For some reason the man wants to stay at home. The woman likes the man so much that she will not think twice about it. She will soon find out that the man only wants to be sexually with her and couldn’t give a damn about her, her life, or her personality. But the woman will give into the man, feeling that being physical will make their relationship stronger when, in reality, the man has no intention of even talking to the woman after that night! The sad thing is that women who get played usually go back to the man, thinking, hoping, that there will be a relationship soon to come. But players are just manipulative and the only ‘feelings’ they have are in the pants.”

I think it’s clear that “player” does not have the same connotation as “slut.”

Another possible equivalent could be “man-whore,” but I think that proves the point that “whore” refers to women because you have to specify that it’s a man you’re talking about. There is no equivalent of “slut’ or “whore” for men.

Realizing the sexism behind these words made me think back to middle school when the popular lingo was to say anything bad was “gay” or “retarded.”

“School’s so gay.”

“This homework is retarded.”

I knew the literal meaning of “gay,”but when we used it in this sense I didn’t even make the connection to the other use of gay referring to homosexual people. Similarly with “retarded.” I don’t think any of us realized the word was offensive. Nowadays, I rarely hear people use “gay” and “retarded” to mean dumb or stupid or whatever it was supposed to mean, and when they do, I take notice of it. There is much more awareness for these words now, and I think it’s important that teenagers create the same awareness towards “slut” and “whore.”

“Bitch,” “douche,” and the “c-word”, are just a few more “bad” words that are derogatory solely towards women. Although “douche” is usually used to refer to men and men can also be called a “bitch,” these words still refer to women and are still sexist.

It makes me realize that although women have come such a long way, we still have a ways to go specifically when it comes to sexual equality. Although it’s definitely improving, a lot of the time women and men still play very unequal roles when it comes to sex and relationships, and I think words like these are definitely subconsciously keeping the stereotypes alive. And that’s why they shouldn’t be used even lightly or jokingly as so many teenagers use them.

I laugh when I read the Urban Dictionary definition of “player” because it’s so stereotypical and untrue. Most of the guys I know are the ones who fall in love and are super clingy while the girl gasps for air in the relationship. I know so many guys who are the ones who have been cheated on or dumped, much more so than girls (but that might just be just my friends or something having to do with age).

Yet, even in our modern age the stereotype is still the other way around. There are still all these derogatory words solely for women, and a lot of media still portray women as the desperate ones, or as objects. Parents tend to freak out more over their daughters becoming sexually active than their sons. This divide is implanted in the very roots of our society: Men propose to the women, not the other way around. Stereotypically, women are usually the ones more worried about appearances, etc., and it is words like “slut” and “whore” that keep the stereotypes alive.

Of course, there will always be a difference in the way men and women are viewed sexually because men and women are different in many ways, also especially because sex is associated with reproduction and men and women play different roles in that. But it’s clear that the divide now, and the awful words, have nothing to do with this difference but more with stupid tradition, ignorance and sociological mumbo jumbo that is beyond my scope to rant about.

I am personally making an effort to cut out words like “slut,” “douche,” “bitch,” and “whore” from my vocabulary even if I only ever used them as a joke or in a friendly manner, and everyone else should too. As the next generation, it is up to us to continue fighting for equality, and these words are holding us back.

 

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