Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

No One Wants to Be The Slut: Originally posted at CANOW.org

Ok, so there is so much going on right now, and I am so riled about so many things that I’m having a hard time being coherent.  So, what I’m going to do here is re-post some of the things I wrote for the California Chapter of NOW’s blog, that they’ve taken down since handing the blog over to another person.

This first post is about my experiences as the “school slut,” while simultaneously being a virgin no one would talk to.   It’s painfully timely considering the number of suicides, like Amanda Todd’s, that have occurred lately because of slutshaming.  I actually got a call from the Oprah show about this post when it debuted.  It was truly surreal.  Enjoy.

I’m in the middle of reading Naomi Wolf’s book Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, and it’s not bad.  A little self-indulgent, but not bad.  In it she explores the variety of ways she and her friends experienced their sexual coming of age growing up in San Francisco just off the Haight during the 70s.  In the introduction she admits that this isn’t going to reflect the experience of all girls everywhere.  But after reading about half the book, what really got to me was the discussion of sluts.  This is not the first book, by far, that discusses the phenomenon of the Slut in teen girl culture by taking on the subject from the outside.  And by that, I mean that the teenaged Naomi Wolf was herself not considered a slut.  Nor were Leora Tanenbaum of Slut:  Growing up Female with a Bad Reputation, or Emily White who wrote Fast Girls:  Teenage Tribes and the Myth of the Slut White admits to both fearing and envying the class slut. Wolf admits to knowing that she and her friends had far more sexual experience than the class slut at their high school, a friend of theirs that they “drifted away from” after her labeling.

While I appreciate the work being done, I kind of wish it were being done by someone who had worn the label of slut.  You get an entirely different perspective when you’re the ostracized one, than when you’re observing the phenomena from the outside.

In seventh grade, word got around that I was easy.  By the end of eighth grade, I had slept with the entirety of the football team and many of the male teachers.  In ninth grade, my stubborn refusal to abandon my pregnant best friend cemented all the accusations in the minds of my classmates.  By tenth grade, forget it…

I lost my virginity in a rape in tenth grade.

Yup, the school slut had never so much as SEEN a penis in real life, let alone sucked one or screwed anyone.  Hell, up until 10th grade, I really hadn’t even made out with anyone.  Sure I started developing early.  I started wearing a bra in fourth grade, by seventh I was a 38B.  Anyone who says a B cup is small, obviously didn’t have B cups in junior high.  My breasts were a constant topic of conversation, boys in my classes spent their time learning how to unhook my bra through my shirt, while I got scolded for trying to squirm away, too embarrassed to explain why.  However, at home while listening to the Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Rescue” (the creepiest song ever), I still played with my model horses and re-read Black Beauty and the Secret Garden over and over again.

At the age of 12 my Dad’s co-workers started hitting on me. Female co-workers of my father’s often assumed I was closer to their age than their kids, or at least in high school.  At 13 I could get into bars pretty regularly.  I liked wearing more mature clothing.  Not slutty or revealing, but just more stylishly adult than your average 12 year old, lots of boat necks and batwing sleeves (this was the early 80s, bear in mind).  I wanted to look like the women in Duran Duran and Roxy Music videos.  Ok, I wanted to look like the women in Adam Ant videos MORE, but living in Boise, ID I didn’t really have access to those styles.

In seventh grade, while I was still 12, not even officially a teenager yet, a group of girls that included my former (and future when she got knocked up and only I would talk to her) best friend called me a slut for the first time.  Word spread around school like a brushfire.  Reports of eyewitness testimonies regarding me and football players, boys from the high school, male teachers, sprang up every time I turned around.  It didn’t matter to any of these people that I hadn’t actually done any of these things.  Boys would ask me out, I would say “No,” and the next day it would be all over the school that I’d fucked them.  Apparently, you can’t admit when the school slut turns you down.  I mean, she’s screwed everyone else, right?

My reputation followed me to the high school.  I’m pretty sure that my reputation was the direct cause of my date rape.  He seemed honestly upset to discover that he’d forced himself on a virgin (there was blood and everything).  As long as he thought I’d already had sex, forcing his way inside me was all good.  But I hadn’t.  He couldn’t dump me fast enough.

Now, I did run with a group of other sluts, most of whom had actually had sex before, some because they liked it, some because it got them things from men, often many years older.  I learned a lot from those girls about how to tell the world to fuck off when it tries to dictate your behavior.  I also learned a lot of erroneous sexual information, that they themselves believed even after  having sex.

In Idaho sex education on the junior high level consisted of an incredibly graphic chapter on venereal disease (as it was called in those days) and “Just say no.”  I think they may have mentioned that birth control existed, but only as an abstract.  You didn’t get your next sex education unit until your senior year of high school.  Considering how many girls dropped out before then because of teen pregnancy, I find the timing ill-advised.  No one mentioned rape, or that it was wrong.

Honestly, what I now call Date Rape, back then no one talked about it.  If you were alone with a guy, particularly with a reputation like mine (deserved or not), everyone assumed you wanted it.  Because if  everyone said you were a slut, obviously you were.  Running with the other sluts, largely because only they and the nerds would have me, was further evidence of my sluttiness.  Nevermind that no one else wanted to hang out with me.

I started smoking in 7th grade, because all the sluts smoked.  I started drinking shortly thereafter because it numbed the pain of dealing with the abuse heaped on me by my classmates who figured I’d earned the punishment they dished out with my whorish ways.  I did a lot of drugs for the same reason, well, and to lose weight… Ahhh, amphetamines.  I once spent the better part of an hour hunkered down in a badger hole in the desert (Boise is high desert), because some football players had seen me riding my bike out there, and started chasing me.  I feared the badger less than the football players.  Kids would  run up to the house, pound on my bedroom windows and screech “Slut!” in the middle of the night.  I developed a phobia of going anywhere alone.  There was one abortive TP-ing attempt on the house, but we had a big dog who barked at the slightest noise and that scared them off.  My husband found a box of tee-shirts from my teenage years a couple years ago, and after pulling three or four out of the box, said,”Why do these all have these holes across the backs?”  I asked him to think about how far apart the barbs on barbed wire were.  I’d ripped many of those shirts diving between the wires of barbed wire fences to get away from my tormenters.

While I treasure the strength that being the slut ultimately gave me, by my senior year I’d learned to laugh in the face of whatever people called me, it isn’t at all romantic.  There’s nothing “Rebel Without a Cause”-like about it, well, except that it does wind up killing many of it’s victims.  Girls suicide over being called sluts.  I thought about it many, many times.

My parents and the other adults in my life were no use whatsoever.  When I told them about the constant barrage of abuse, my mother would say, “Ignore them and they’ll go away.”  They didn’t.  They escalated.  Until the day one of them hit me with his car.  Fortunately, he just grazed me with a bumper, and I think the thud of the car clipping my hip scared him as badly as it had me, because after that he just avoided me.  I spent the next few days home “sick” from school, sneaking ice packs into my room.

Unless you’ve lived being the “Slut” you don’t really get how awful it is.  Today I discussed this post with two friends of mine, neither of whom were sluts.  One was the Prude and the other was “Just one of the guys.”  In both cases, their parents’ threat of people thinking they were “sluts” kept them  sexually in line.  However, what neither had realized is that acquiring the label doesn’t hinge on anything you do or are.  It’s entirely arbitrary, and that’s the worst thing about it.  The fact that there isn’t a damn thing you can do to avoid it once someone decides to hang it on you.

July 3, 2009

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

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

Information

This entry was posted on October 19, 2012 by in Abuse, Bullying, Featured Articles, Feminism, Misogyny, Posted at CANOW.org, Sexism.

Archives

%d bloggers like this: