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Opinion | Slut shaming doesn't play a key role in benefiting society

Rachel's Reflections

By Rachael Sacks
On February 28, 2013

We are our own worst enemy. This phrase holds true for many individuals, but what I believe is one of the root causes of becoming the worst version of ourselves is judgment.

For some reason, many people seem to have an innate need to judge other people based on what they wear, what television shows they watch, what they choose to eat, how they choose to spend their time-essentially, anything that is a personal choice made by another person.

We come across judgment everyday in many different forms. From thinking less of someone to believing something about them to making up things that are not true, I think we're all guilty of judging another person at one point or another.

But these judgments are actually harmful, especially when used by one group of people to hurt or tear down another person or group of people. What's even worse though is when people of the same group judge their peers. Specifically, women.

Whether on campus, Uptown, online, on television or in the media, I see and hear women judging other women almost constantly. We continually form opinions about women, from their clothing choices ("Did you see her wearing such and such? She has the same dress as me, but I look so much better in it than she does") to choices on their sex life ("How many people has she hooked up with now?").

Frankly, I'm sick and tired of it. I've never liked gossip too much, as talking about other people just for the sake of talking about them bores me. Why don't we talk about the Palestinian Oscar nominee whose family was detained at LAX right before the ceremony instead?

But what we are doing is detrimental because not only does our judgment affect other people's feelings but it also hurts the cause of feminism and promotes misogyny.

When women tear other women down, it's saying something. It's saying that we are not yet comfortable with women who may lead different lives than us, and in those lives make different decisions than we do. We are telling other women, whether to their faces or not, that they are not making the "right" choices, and that they are wrong.

One of the biggest occurrences of judgment among women is that of slut shaming. Simply put, slut shaming is when a person, male or female, insults a woman because she expressed her sexuality in a way that does not conform with patriarchal expectations for women. When slut shaming takes place among women, which it so often does, it is basically internal sexism. In the long run, this does not help the cause of feminism.

Passing judgment on someone else's choices regarding their sex life is a cheap and easy way to merely feel powerful and put yourself at the top of the social order, which is based only on how patriarchal society before (and currently in) our generation define a woman's worth by her sexuality.

We buy into the notion that sleeping with many people is "wrong," and then make those people feel shameful. A woman who is deemed a "slut" did not make the "right" choices.

So what are the "right" choices for a woman to make?

Should she wear her hair short or leave it long? Wear dresses or jeans? Become a stay-at-home mom, or a career woman?

The thing is, there are no right or wrong choices in the grand scheme of life that can be applied to everyone; there are only right or wrong choices for an individual, man or woman, based on that own individual's decisions. (With the exception of doing unintentional harm to others.)

Why would you let a choice another person makes about their life bother you? Unless it affects you in some way, you really shouldn't. Someone decides to go out all night during the week, and then doesn't show up to class-that's their own decision. Someone else decides to wear makeup-once again, that is his or her choice.

When someone makes a choice in their life, whether big or small, it is based on their own preference and decision-making, what ever those may be. We should not decide someone's "worthiness" based on his or her own personal choices in life.


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