Cyberbullying, Misogyny and Slut-Shaming

Two years ago I attended a SlutWalk protest in Melbourne. SlutWalk came about after a Toronto police officer told a class of university students that, in order to remain safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts.”

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This example of sexism and slut-shaming highlights the institutionalisation of misogynistic body-policing and victim-blaming that still exists at the very heart of contemporary society. Women are blamed whereas men are excused in cases of rape and sexual abuse. A woman can be questioned about her sexual history in rape court cases, implying that somehow the rape or sexual abuse was the woman’s fault.

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Yesterday, these double standards once again reared their ugly head in a recent spate of slut-shaming and cyberbullying on Twitter, trending with the hashtag SlaneGirl. A teenage girl, photographed performing a sex act on a man in public, has become a victim of slut-shaming and sexist abuse on a scale that only social media could facilitate. The very fact that the woman is shamed while the man in the very same photo is praised highlights the deep-seated belief that, while it is acceptable for a man to express his sexuality, it is unacceptable for a women to do the same thing. The double standard is evidenced in the many tweets that praise the man captured in the same photo.

This slut-shaming has to stop. The sexist, misogynistic double-standards have to change. Women are just as entitled to their sexuality as men, and women should not be shamed for something that men are praised for.

Shame on those spreading the photo and increasing the cyber-bullying of this girl. Just as rape is a sex act forced by one person upon another, consensual sex acts are part of a two-way process in which both parties are responsible for their actions and should be treated in an equal manner for performing the same act. This shame/praise contradiction that underlies the slut-shaming of women alongside the hero-worshipping of men is disgraceful.

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3 Responses to Cyberbullying, Misogyny and Slut-Shaming

  1. Pingback: Fat-Shaming and Thin-Shaming Both Suck | When "Positive Thinking" and "Deep Breathing" aren't enough...

  2. Pingback: Slanegirl: holding up a mirror to misogyny. | Be more than a dress size

  3. Pingback: I social media e il problema del public shaming | Federico's Blog

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