What does a sex writer read about when she’s not jack— I mean, doing research for columns? Gossip rags, natch So, when I first read that crazed KStew/RPatz fans are buying up “Kristen Stewart is a Trampire” T-shirts in response to the cheating scandal sparked by her kissing her director, I shook my head and chuckled, imaging the amazing pornographic spoof that’ll surely follow.
And then I realized that these little T-shirt wearing, teeny-bopper Twihards are forming a slut-shaming army that’s conspiring to take down everything I work for—namely, telling women and their partners how to really, truly enjoy sex. Sound crazy?
Slut-shaming occurs when women are demonized for having sexual feelings and partners and participating in sex acts deemed excessive, gratuitous, dirty and wrong by “traditional” society. The driving idea is that women shouldn’t feel/act this way and if they do, they should feel guilty and otherwise inferior to their “good girl” counterparts who are, presumably, having sex exactly how and when their asshole partners and friends want them to (read: having terrible sex).
A “slut” is a woman who steps out of the sexual boundaries created for her by a patriarchal structure that has decided that women shouldn’t have or enjoy sex as much as men. But men are taught/assumed to lust after these skankazoids and then “their women” also become threatened by the world’s trampires and decide that they, too, hate sluts.
Then every community that enjoys sleeping with women, even the gay ones, goes into spasms of slut-shaming.
What do sluts do? They have sex and orgasms, they’re open about their sexualities, they educate their partners on how to please them, use birth control (oh, hey, Limbaugh!), masturbate, watch porn, wear what they want, refuse to let others control their bodies and, sure, make human mistakes and kiss their married directors.
What happens to sluts for being “slutty?” They’re exiled from their friend groups, they get STDs, they’re deemed unworthy of love and affection because sex must be the only thing they like or deserve, they never find long-term partners and, the dear old Republicans will tell you, they all get raped and deserve it. So if I stick to missionary I’m immune to chlamydia? Great!
Now, patriarchy is a structure that’s got its shit together. Slut-shaming has been happening forever (the Salem witch trials hunted down women who were queer, unmarried and sexually active… I mean, “magical”). I don’t need to lecture you about the double standard that allows “slutty” men to be constantly patted on the dick for their conquests while we women are burned at the stake. No duh; slut-shaming was created by men. But the kicker is that it’s primarily proliferated by women.
The best way to oppress a large group of people is to train them to oppress each other through internalized self-hatred. As Leora Tanenbaum says in her 2000 book Slut, “Slut-bashing is a cheap and easy way to feel powerful. If you feel insecure or ashamed about your own sexual desires, all you have to do is call a girl a ‘slut’ and suddenly you’re the one who is ‘good’ and on top of the social pecking order.” Kristen Stewart is a Trampire! Where’s my halo?
You’ve really got to hate yourself if you believe that by doing things from the above list of “what sluts do,” such as enjoying sex, you deserve anything from the list of “what happens to sluts,” like sexual violence. Personally, open sexual communication, feeling sexy in your mini-skirt, and porn-induced masturbatory orgasms are exactly what I want for my lady-species.
But don’t listen to the predictable rant about patriarchal slut-shaming from the queer, feminist sex writer. Instead, watch the You Tube video Slut Shaming and Why it’s Wrong, made by a 13-year-old called “astrorice” who so flawlessly defines slut-shaming and connects it to her middle school and rape culture that all I can do is call her my hero, strategically rip my “Kristen Stewart is a Trampire” T-shirt to show off some cleavage, and figure out which pair of stilettos to wear with it next time I go out.