Boys Will Be Boys, But Girls Will Be Sluts

How we internalize rape culture and normalize sexual assault

Suvi Helena
Fearless She Wrote


Alexander Krivitskiy on

I started sex-ed classes in sixth grade in Manhattan Middle School. I don’t remember much, just that everyone was uncomfortable and shy about any topic of discussion. But the classes were still somewhat useful. I’m sure I learned a great deal about safe sex, human anatomy, and reproductive health.

However, what really stuck to mind didn’t have much to do with intimacy. The key points my girlfriends and I walked away with were these: never leave your drink unattended, never get too drunk, never go to a party alone, never walk home alone. I learned how to be a good girl. How not to be a slut. How not to be deemed an easy target, a skank, a tramp, a whore. You know, someone who’s asking for it.

Our teacher spent a lot of time educating us girls on how to take precautions and be safe. I don’t remember any time spent on educating anyone not to rape, not to assault, not to banter and joke and tease. Locker-room talk was never on the table. Short skirts, bare shoulders, and too much make-up, on the other hand, were. There’s nothing quite like being sexualized and slut-shamed at the same time.

I began to think about the presence of rape culture after news broke about 33-year old Sarah Everard’s killer…