All I can muster is to republish parts of two earlier posts. When I wrote them the suicide of Hope Witsell was in the news.
First there was:
This is about the slut-shaming suicide of a 13 yr old girl who killed herself. Hope Witsell sent some naked photos, they got passed around like naked photos always do, her school, students and teachers alike, slut-shamed her mercilessly.
This is what sex-positive feminism is all about. It’s not about liking sex, it’s about teaching that sex isn’t shameful. Teaching that sex, and that nudity, is “positive” is the opposite of teaching that it’s shameful. We can’t teach “not shameful” without teaching “positive”. It’d be really great if we can, if you know how, please let us know.
This girl got the same shaming in the hallways of her school, from boys and girls both, that so many bloggers heap on playboy centerfolds. I know, we don’t call them sluts anymore so much, we know something doesn’t feel right about that, so we say they promote “rape-culture” and women’s oppression, if the centerfold happens to have said that she feels “empowered” by it, we tell her she is confused, possibly brainwashed. Delusional, stupid, childlike, “doesn’t get structure”, weird. That is shaming.
The idea that sex is not the most important thing is what, I think, all feminists want to teach girls. I understand the perception a lot of people have of what “pro-sex” feminism is; that it’s about liking sex, and thinking that sex is great, but “pro-sex” feminism is just a different way to teach girls that sex isn’t the most important thing.
Then there was:
Among the various things that decorate my walls, is a small unassuming frame with just one dash of color and a handful of words:
Hope. Tomorrow waits with joy.
That’s what I’d like to say to every girl who has to walk down the hall while taunts, spoken or imagined, of SLUT! and WHORE! echo behind them. Tomorrow waits with joy. I won’t tell you it gets better. I can’t make that promise. I can’t promise that it gets easier either, it does for a while, but then it gets worse again. Life is like that.
But someday, beyond the better or worse and easy or hard, comes understanding, and understanding brings joy.
Those people with their taunts, and their justifications for saying them, will never go away. That’s another lie I won’t tell you. No one grows out of it. They use new words, and they construct vast theories of why it is ok to call you a slut. They will twist it and twist it until they have painted you as the one who taunts, and they are the ones who suffer. They may even get you to start believing it, that it’s your fault. It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that you took a naked picture of yourself.
Were you proud of your body? Were you trying to prove something? Were you trying to get attention? Did you do it for pride, ego, or loneliness? It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that you sent the picture to a boy, or a girl.
Did you want them to like you? Did you want to feel pretty? Did you want to feel wanted? Did you want to? It’s not your fault for wanting to. It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault that the boy, or the girl, disregarded your wishes and didn’t guard the photo the way you expected it to be guarded.
Were they charming? Did they promise they wouldn’t share it? Did they say you were special? It’s not your fault that you fell for it. It’s not your fault.
But more important than it not being your “fault” – is that the things you did, are no one’s fault. It is all right and good and normal and natural. To be proud, to feel lonely sometimes, to want attention, to be too trusting – all of that is right and good and normal and natural. It’s nobody’s fault that you are a normal person. What blame could there ever be for “normal?”
Only a slut – would be so prideful, so eager for attention, or so easily fooled. If that’s what makes a slut, we are all sluts.