A Woman’s Study
I was given a word to define, find the origin of and its original meaning.
I was given the word slut.
The word came around during the 1400’s through Dutch, Swedish, and German linguistics. The Dutch word “slodde” actually translated to a careless man rather than reference to a woman. The German and Swedish translations came into being messy, and could refer to women or men in this case. Even through 17th & 18th century times the word slut in the English language meant unkempt or “casual” in terms of dress, though often speaking of women by then. However in some areas during the 15th century the word began to morph into meaning a promiscuous woman.
The word slut is derogatory because it is used against women to shame them for practicing the same sexual desires as men. A man can sleep with as many women as he pleases and get a pat on the back but if a woman does it she is a disgusting “slut” and should be shut down by society. “Female sexuality is views primarily as the purpose of reproduction or satisfying men’s sexual requirements” (F-word), which means that society views men as beasts who constantly need sex to live happily and women must only provide it for them to either relieve him or make a child. If a woman steps out of this boundary she is insulted for breaking her gender role. With this “beast” mentality in mind, men are excused for their behavior especially if in turns into rape onto women. A young girl in Canada was viciously raped by seven men, and when she cried out for help her friends turned on her and her community attacked her calling her a “slut” (Feminism Today); this horrible twist eventually lead to the 17 year old committing suicide. Furthermore, the word “slut” is insulting because it forces women to “behave for the sake of men’s proclivities” and creates this certain manner of behavior to keep women “safe”. Examples being women can’t wear outfits that show skin without being called a “slut” or being seen as “begging for sex”. Since society sees men as uncontrollable after being aroused by a woman it’s her duty to just allow sex to happen because she wouldn’t dress in such a way if she didn’t want it. This causes emotional damage and it brings women down to mere objects to be used whenever a man pleases.
The manner in which “slut” evolved from simply meaning dirty basically to it meaning a girl has too much sex or dresses a certain way definitely reflects societal views on women. In early century times women were housemaids and wives, expected to keep themselves and the home and children clean. If she failed to do so, “slut” came her way. Now, as sex becomes more and more of a social issue, the word takes on new meaning to add effect to the cause of using it. Now it allows the male view on society take a woman down to keep her as an object so she gets no justice. I guess what surprised me most about this word was that it changed so dramatically in meaning. It went from meaning dirty or just that the woman didn’t dress so great, to a woman who has too much sex. I just don’t understand how that happens or what causes such a tangential definition.
This word most certainly causes violence towards women. We can’t go out in a short skirt because if we’re raped it’s our fault for wearing something to tempting. If we drink it’s our fault because getting drunk leaves us vulnerable and we should know better. I can’t go into incredible detail because I’ll just make myself angry, but Brock Turner got nothing for sentencing because his victim was in a skirt and drunk and was “dancing like a slut” so she obviously wanted unconscious sex. In high school I was terrified of wanting to have sex because if I as a girl wanted that I was slutty and told so by many classmates. I was afraid to start wearing short shorts because I thought people would call me a slut and it took me forever to gain confidence in showing off my long legs without fear of name calling; now I don’t a shit what people think of my clothes and it feels great. However not every girl has this because attacks on her are horrible. Because a word like slut exists, full and protective justice for female victims of rape will never be reached.