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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » A guy asks me, "Why not slut shame?"

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Author Topic: A guy asks me, "Why not slut shame?"
When Your Mind's Made Up
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So I was over on reddit.com, and I voiced my discomfort with a user who had called someone else's sexual behavior "whorish." Then someone else responded to me, saying, more or less, "People have the right to be whores, and other people have the right to make fun of them."

I posted a response, but I feel like I could have done better. What would you all say if someone said that to you?

Posts: 81 | From: Houston, Texas | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Well, I might first of all remind someone that in most areas, we actually have laws and policies around harassment. So the idea that anyone has a "right" to harass someone is precarious at best, and simply incorrect in many instances. Even in a country where we are assured a right to freedom of speech, there are limits to that, and harassment is one of those limits.

I suppose I might also ask who benefits, and how, from sexually harassing anyone on any merit. For certain, when people feel insecure, they can get short-term boost by making other people feel badly, but in the long term, that tends to negatively impact even the person doling out the abuse. And, of course, harassment always potentially harms and hurts someone being harassed.

Of course, I'd probably also ask myself why on earth I was bothering trying to have a sensible discussion over on reddit, especially about gender or sexuality, of all things, when they have a very solid history of being one of the worst places online to discuss those topics and the home of en masse harassment. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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Well, OK, I guess I did say most of that, actually. And I'm kind of new to reddit; I hadn't heard much about its history. Thanks for the reality check. I'll lower my expectations.
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Heather
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Yeah, I kinda figure that walking into reddit with the expectation I can have sound discussions about sexism would be like walking into a meeting of the National Rifle Association and expecting to be able to have a sound discussion about pacifism.

It may well be I could have those discussions with someone who goes to those meetings, but probably not AT them. Know what I mean?

[ 02-24-2012, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Also:
• http://www.dailydot.com/society/reddit-sexist-twoxchromosomes/
• http://geekfeminism.org/2009/09/22/sexism-on-reddit/
• http://www.dailydot.com/society/reddit-beatingwomen-misogyny-images/

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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When Your Mind's Made Up
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So, I had an immensely gratifying little burst of a moment when I went to Reddit (for the umpteenth time today): Six days after my original post, the guy who I spoke to about not slut shaming said:

"Honestly this made me do some thinking. My gut reaction is to tense up and "slut-shame," to think less of someone, to even feel some guilt myself. Truth be told, I was reacting without thinking, and after a little thought I have to admit I don't have a good reason for feeling the way I do.

So anonymous Redditor friend, I'm going to make you a promise; I'm going to spend some time this weekend to dig into it and to figure out why I reacted the way I did. If I don't have a good reason (which ATM I don't think I do), I'll work to correct my emotional response...

I want to believe I'm a good person, but your argument is compelling enough to make realize that I've got some preconceptions to work though. With all sincerity I'd like to say thank you. I appreciate whatever assistance I can get in becoming the person I wish to be."

(end quote)

What a nice fellow! It was just lovely. Feels good to feel good.

[ 03-01-2012, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: When Your Mind's Made Up ]

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Heather
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There maybe needs to be a special award, honestly, for anyone who can turn a little of the sexism so pervasive on Reddit around. Well done, you! [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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turtle_lady
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GREAT RESPONSE OUT OF THAT GUY!! [Big Grin] i love when people make people think [Razz]

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~Kayla Christine~

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Lauren057
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Three cheers for humanity actually thinking! Congrats on helping another homo sapiens discover his brain! LOL.

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Lauren :)

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thumb tack
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Wow, when your mind's made up, I'm thoroughly impressed. with you and the person who made that comment. you made my day!
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