Americanah · TV

Calm down, Archie-kins, there’s no need for Slut Shaming

Here’s another definition from my #1 source, Urban Dictionary. The most accurate definition of Slut Shaming I could find on UD is:

“The act of putting someone down for having sex with too many people. Normally applied only to women, but can and should be used for men also.”

Chances are, you’ve witnessed slut-shaming before, and probably even slut-shamed someone before. It doesn’t even have to be verbal; if you’ve ever seen a person in particularly revealing clothes and immediately thought less of their character, you’ve slut-shamed somebody. Another common instance of slut-shaming is when you judge a woman negatively for having sex. This is a good example of a double-standard: men are often congratulated for getting laid, while women have to take a “walk of shame” after a one night stand.

I’m currently obsessed with a show called Riverdale. It’s based on the Archie Comics and it’s absolutely addicting. There’s a healthy dose of millennial childhood from Cole Sprouse (see Disney’s Suite Life of Zack and Cody) and a whole lot of adult themes from murder to low-key pedophilia.

**Fair warning, there are some vague spoilers for the third episode after this**

The third episode introduces a subplot involves the football team slut-shaming the entire female student body. Essentially, some of the guys keep track of girls on a point-based system in a playbook. The female protagonists, Betty and Veronica, find out about this playlist and Ronnie decides that’

“I am neither a slut nor am I going to be shamed by someone named, excuse me, Chuck Clayton. Does he really think he can get away with this? Does he not know who I am? I will cut the brakes on his souped-up phallic symbol.”

playbook
The Riverdale Football Team’s Playbook of Girls

The girls band together to stop this process and show the boys that they won’t tolerate this. There’s an elaborate plan to take one guy in particular down a few pegs and the episode ends with Betty burning the playbook for good. She and her strong, independent, women friends decide that they will not be reduced to a number on a page.

Americanah has an example of slut-shaming that is very different from Riverdale’s. The two protagonists of the novel are named Ifemelu and Obinze. The young couple has a pregnancy scare while they’re in college, and they go to a clinic for a pregnancy test. This is clearly a logical, intelligent decision and I think Ifemelu is very brave for going, even though she knows she’ll probably be criticized at her age. And true to her prediction, the lab girl, an employee of a health clinic, is seems to be judging Ifemelu for her “immorality” and says, as the couple is leaving (with a negative pregnancy test, by the way), that, “people should respect themselves and live like Christians to avoid trouble” (116).

WHAT. Lady, you are paid because people have sex. Sure, people come to health clinics for a myriad of other reasons, but pregnancy tests is probably up there for the most common. You are in no position to judge a young couple for making a good decision about their future, especially when they’re paying you. I have a problem with people in real-life who do this too, especially in the current controversy around Planned Parenthood, but that’s another rant entirely. There is nothing wrong with two consenting people having sex and making sure they’re safe before, during, and afterwards. Don’t slut shame women for making their own decisions and protecting their own bodies. We should shame men (and people of every gender) who force women to do something they don’t want to do.


TLDR; Don’t assign point-values to human interactions, and taking a pregnancy test is not shameful.

 

Advertisements

One thought on “Calm down, Archie-kins, there’s no need for Slut Shaming

  1. After reading this, all I could think was “hell yeah, here’s someone who gets in!” Thank you for this post. On another note, I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE! This all too common stigma in societies that use religion as leverage for their beliefs and views is BS. I say religious based because you can find in multiple doctrines that sex before marriage is considered immoral. I find it most common among “pure virgin” girls and boys who are mad that the “slut” won’t have sex with him. Quotes around virginity because it’s a social construct and no one is actually born with a “virginity.” More people need to deconstruct this notion of immorality if someone chooses to have sex, like come on (1) it’s not your business and (2) everyone has their own favorite pastimes!

    Liked by 1 person

Something to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s