"I hate that chick," one girl comments to the other as they pass their classmate in the hall. The friend surveys the other girl; she's skinny and her perfect curves and abundant C cups are enveloped in a lacey skirt and tight t-shirt. She's pretty and walks with confidence; the friend can't see anything wrong with her.
"Why?" she asks, and her friend scoffs.
"She's such a slut. Do you see the way the guys look at her? Come on, what a ho," and she snarls with her lip as they passes the unknowing victim of their gossip. "I heard she gave John head1 in the locker room."
"Have that woman ever talked to her?"
"No, but she dresses like a whore," and she laughs a little as they scurry off to their next class, books in hand.
"Slut." "Whore." "Skank." "Tramp." When one looks them up in the thesaurus2, they are synonymous to words like abandoned, cheap, debauched, dissipated, dissolute, immoral, and licentious. Why? How does sleeping with five, twelve, thirty, or even a hundred men make a woman a cheap and immoral person? How does that degrade her character and turn a woman into some sort of lesser being? I cannot fathom a world where having sexual prowess turns her into a lesser creature; except that I've seen this behavior in action. Sex does not remove a person's humanity. It does not turn a woman into dirt. It does not make her incapable of love or thought or feeling. Her humanity and morals are not compromised. Morality is relative. It is not a woman's morality and humanity that should be tossed away with each condom she uses, no matter how many different partners she has. Having sex with hundreds of men does not make that woman any less loveable. That woman does not become a doll with a lack of feeling. She is still human. The entire idea of being judged on ones sexual promiscuity is absurd.
Feminine sexuality is a subject of a great many double standards. On the one hand, we are bombarded by images of women in short skirts and scant tops bent over the hoods of cars, of big breasted blondes selling us thongs and bras, of skinny models with only their arms and hands to cover their "naughty bits," of celebrities in dresses with plunging necklines. In other words, we have an entire era of blatant female sexuality. We are women, look at our tits. On the other hand, for many women there is a deep conflict. There is an obsession with being modest, virginal, and chaste. Women aren't supposed to let out their dirty little bedroom secrets, flaunt their hard worked on bodies, or embrace their sexuality. Our society has a strange almost forced modesty and a careful balance of being sexy but not too sexy. Magazines advertise ways to seduce the guy of Her dreams without coming off like a "tramp." A tramp? How are we supposed to know what is the proper balance of sex appeal and modesty when the most common image on television is post pubescent teenage girls moving their bodies in ways that would make even Hugh Hefner blush?
Not only does the media confuse us with mixed messages but our own female culture only adds on more layers of debauchery. As girls we encourage each other to go out and prey upon men in hopes of finding that Mr. Right who will sweep us off our Dior heels. The easiest way of accomplishing this task is by "flaunting what you've got." It is collective female knowledge that men are visual creatures with a generally stronger interest in sexuality than females. And this fact is not at all their fault, but instead part of the make up of human beings' animal instincts; thusly, showing off our most suggestive attributes (butt, breast, belly) makes attracting a man simple and easy. But if wears too short of a skirt she will be crucified by fellow females because, of course, if she's showing too much skin she must be 'easy'. In other words trying to attract men is both good and bad. Good because it's what that a woman is expected to do and bad because the woman will be abused by her supposed friends for being too scandalous.
So what if one does succeed in roping in a suitor? Shouldn't all the hassle be over? Shouldn't her sisters applaud her for her success? No, jealousy and judgment override any "sisterhood" that has ever existed. Her fellow members of this "sisterhood" of women say that the only way a man could like that girl is if that she's putting out – she must be a slut. These girls gossip and hiss about how that girl is too stupid for any man to ever like; he only wants that woman for her looks; he's only interested 'cause she's easy. How did accomplishment in what they too endeavor for turn into a street corner profession? Where was our mistake? The answer is simple: we shouldn't sleep with guys, we shouldn't hook up, we shouldn't put out. Problem solved. Ha. Refer to that simple language of clothing: the girl in the short skirt will have sex with anyone. If she wears a short skirt but doesn't put out she's lying and lying is not acceptable – she's a tease. And being called a tease in a world where Pamela Anderson's voluptuous chest is coveted is almost worse than being the behind the bleacher attraction.
Ladies speak of feminism and equal employment for women and ending violence against women. We speak of teaming up and joining the worldwide sisterhood of women to help save and protect each other. How can any of this be accomplished when we are the most cannibalistic group on the planet? We tear each other apart for fun and for sport. Men are not the enemy, as some women's rights leaders would have that woman think. We are. Though there is debate about who actually runs the fashion industry it is the women who perpetrate the idea of emaciated is beautiful. It is women who gossip about each others' sexual promiscuity far more than any men. We destroy each other to feel better about our individual selves and we pass the blame off men because they are an easy target. There's no point in fighting for equality for all women when you'd only be fighting yourself.
There were three other words contained in the thesaurus entry for promiscuous: unbridled, unrestricted, and wild. Those are three words that have no negative connotation. To me those are words of independence and freedom. An unbridled horse is one that is not bound up with a painful bit being jerked this way and that by a rider. An unbridled horse moves with grace, following it's own bidding. We live in a harsh society where it is hard to find that yourself. We spend so much time hiding who we are in order to fit the status quo that we lose sight of who we are. Society is our restriction, our bridle. Judging each other on something as trivial as what goes on in our backseats is unnecessary. There's a difference between a bitch and slut. Choose your friends on personality not promiscuity.
1 Teenage slang for oral copulation often heard in rap music or when your teenage son or daughter speaks about their classmates.
2 "Promiscuous." 22 Mar. 2007 http://thesaurus.