The first time I was called a slut was at the tender age of 11. The first group of boys had been admitted at the all-girl catholic school I studied at. A group of girls had decided to greet the new students with some hardly provocative ranting, calling out their names. Soon the entire class was being scourned and labelled with the term “slut”. One nun added that she “knew we all hanged around street corners wagging our handbags at horny men”
The second time I was called a slut occurred when I decided to wear an anklet. My father strongly disapproved and told me only prostitutes wore them. I carefully removed it every time I returned home but whenever I went out, I would put the anklet on. My girlfriends loved it. I was 15.
The third time I was called a slut I had pierced my belly button. My boyfriend at the time told me it was “sluttish”, I was 20.
The fourth time I was called a slut I had paired my bell bottom jeans with a pink blouse, which was see-through, and a pink bikini top underneath. I was 21.
I’m sure these are only the times I remember, or that I know about . Some people will use the term slut openly, others just throw disapproving looks. This Christmas I wore a pair of mock suspender tights, my boyfriend and closest friends thought they were a lot of fun, but I received offended stares from some old acquaintances.
A Canadian policeman has brought the adjective back to the lime-light by stating that there would be less sexual assaults if women “stopped dressing like sluts”. This remark has resulted in the now famous SlutWalk phenomenon: women are taking the streets calling for a rejection of rooted beliefs that place the blame of a rape on the actual victims.
My life has been about expressing myself, I’m extremely creative and have a lot fun with fashion. What others considered slutty, to me was being myself. As a teenager I was pushing boundaries and growing up, making my own decisions: “this is my body, I live in a country and a time where I can wear anything I want, so get your hands off me and let me live”.
Most of us can play with fashion, have fun with it, but all joy goes out of the window when some policemen, lawyers and judges state that we are asking to be assaulted.
The Slutwalk defends the empowerment of women through clothes. However, with great power – excuse the Spiderman quote – comes great responsibility. The maturity to understand that a certain way of dressing will sometimes get an unwanted reaction. To me, the key word here being “unwanted” and, I will add, completely undeserved. Completely uncalled for.
Fashion sends out messages with every trend that hits the catwalk. It can reflect a general mood in society, or make a statement for or against something. Whatever we wear says a lot about ourselves.
Have you ever been called a slut? Do you believe a woman is “what she dresses like” and therefore anything that comes from it is actually deserved or sought after? Have you ever called anyone a slut because of the way they dress?
Pictures: Fashion Limbo