The Consent Workshop The Genesis and Cycle of Slut Shaming
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Slut Shaming is a vigorous and highly effective tool of Patriarchy and its gatekeepers. It is one of the simplest and commonest ways to force women to shrink themselves, to be less and to restrain them from taking an active role in their sex lives.

I remember the first time I was slut-shamed. I was 12, and I’d been a huge tomboy, only concerning myself with anime, football and rap music. Boys never saw me as a girl: I was too boyish, too awkward and too plain to capture the fancy of any boy in a school with a huge disproportionate girl to boy ratio. I was content with my apparent invisibility. However, in my last year in junior school, puberty struck. I got my period, my first ever pimples, and breasts. In two months, I was wearing a bra. Things didn’t change drastically, but they changed. I was friends with a lot more boys than before and I was spending a lot of time talking to them, laughing and just generally having fun.


Ayotunde Kayode-Dada.

See,  I’d been one of the guys all my life, so I really didn’t think anyone would see it as a big deal if I started hanging out even more with boys. Boy, was I wrong? I started hearing whispers of which boy I let look under my pinafore, of the ones I snuck away to see in the evening (I was in a strict ass missionary school, so apart from classes, boys and girls were kept far apart).

Then, the worst thing happened: my grades dropped and I got the worst position of my life. After this, someone came to my face and told me that if I’d not been following boys, my grades would have been a lot better. I can’t possibly explain to you how devastated I was. Why? Despite how hurtful what my ‘friend’ came to say to my face was, I realized so much worse had been said about me. It’s funny though, how those words shaped me, and my approach to sex and relationships in general. In hindsight, I know I too, was guilty of slut shaming. We were the greatest upholders of “feminine virtue,” and any girl who didn’t measure up was basically ostracized.

There was a particular girl everyone used to insult and call a whore to her face. She kept to herself a lot as none of the girls wanted to be friends with her. One guy said she told him he could look under her pinafore, and reportedly saw her masturbating with a pencil and that was it. That was enough to taint her.

I ask myself now, how could we have been so cruel?

We were all curious about our bodies then, but, we had nothing like sex education. All we had was just bible study, so a good number of us felt all sorts of “urges” and while boys would openly talk about smooching (which was sexual harassment) and masturbation, the girl who was curious was branded “the Easy A.” The whole thing is entirely despicable, and as much as I wish this was just a problem with my generation, it is still prevalent today. Slut shaming a woman, for having a quarter of the audacity of a man.

Fast forward to the University, this time the slut shaming was a little more intense. Why? Because I wore leggings and my camel toe was prominent. it was a group of guys that claimed to be my friends and they kept teasing me and saying I’d put on weight. I was smiling because I thought it was banter, only for one of them to call me a slut. I cried for 3 days straight. I was beyond heartbroken. I was depressed. I didn’t understand why someone would call me a slut because I didn’t know I’d had a fashion mishap.  I was a slut because I chose to wear leggings.

There are so many girls that are tagged “sluts” because they had sex. I ask you, was the guy also a slut? Of course not. Double standards. I know a girl who sent nudes to her boyfriend, after his incessant begging. He then proceeded to show his friends and they were all sniggering behind her back. When they broke up, people were calling her easy, just because she trusted her partner.  I could go on and give you 12 more scenarios, off the top of my head where girls were labelled “cheap” for no reason. You could reject a guy’s advances and still get labelled a slut, so its damned if you do and damned if you don’t. A real-life conundrum.

Funny thing is, there is really nothing wrong with being a slut. If there was no demand, there’d be hardly any supplies, so why do we fixate on punishing only one party? Women are now being shamed for lying like a log of wood during sex, but it is so easily forgotten that for the better part of our lives, we were trained to conduct ourselves in a particular manner. Women who were sexually expressive and knew what they wanted and asked for it were tagged “sluts.” So, how is it that we’re expected to be nuns and whores, virginal and courtesans? Make it make sense ‘cause this shit don’t add up!

Never forget that what women are slut-shamed for, men are praised for. That is one of the reasons it is so important to take back the word, and reclaim its meaning because it is grossly misused.

The first time I was called a slut I had never kissed a boy. How can you be a slut if you haven’t even partake in any sexual activities? 

I hereby pledge my allegiance to slut-hood. You should too.

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