COLUMN: This Pink Shirt Day, let’s stop with the slut-shaming

It’s the 21st century version of ‘witch,’ our columnist writes

Today we are going to talk about sluts.

Everyone paying attention?

There’s a secret about sluts.

Shhhhhh.

Get real close so you can hear.

There is no such thing as a slut.

Sluts don’t exist.

A slut is a myth.

The reason we are talking about sluts is Pink Shirt Day – an event that encourages people of all ages to stop and think about bullying, how to prevent it and eradicate it from our schools and our communities.

When it comes to bullying girls and women, there are few missiles as effective as the word slut.

Let’s just strip that label down. (And who doesn’t enjoy a romp along the fascinating trail of feminist etymology?)

Slut was first used as an adjective in the fourteenth century by Chaucer. It’s in Canterbury Tales and “sluttish” describes the slovenly appearance of a man.

Uh huh. The first slut was a Lord.

Later the word attached itself to women, but always in reference to untidy housekeeping.

True story. If you’ve seen my bedroom floor or the backseat of my car you know I am a first-class slut, circa 1400 and something.

For the last couple of centuries the word slut has been reserved to attack a woman’s moral character and sexual behaviour.

But it’s not real, it’s just noise, and there is no such thing.

Calling a woman a slut today is no different than throwing out the accusation “witch” in 1690 Salem.

It’s a word used to shut a woman down, because for whatever reason she threatens people.

Maybe she dresses differently, or speaks her mind, or just goes her own way and makes her own choices.

Of course witches weren’t real either. But that didn’t stop the women from being burned at the stake.

Now, we roast them on social media.

There’s research documenting the painful outcomes for many women who attract the slut-designation early in life, because they buy in. They give the word power.

Those include lack of success in education and career, addiction and abusive relationships.

Many years ago I published the newspaper in my hometown of Paris, Ontario.

The company, in a shrewd business deal, purchased an enormous and basically falling-down building smack on the main street for that purpose.

It was four storeys and at one time housed the YMCA, community centre, and gymnasium.

It’s where I played basketball once, and went to Brownie meetings.

While poking around in the basement one afternoon, looking for treasure, I stumbled (actually stumbled) over a large chunk of plaster that had broken off from a wall in the old public washrooms.

The graffiti on it read: For a good time call Andrea, 442-6127 SLUT.

Funny, how seeing the phone number from the house you grew up in can occasion such a visceral reaction.

Stood there in that frigid, moldy place for a long time, wondering if the artifact was worth framing.

The bathroom wall is a lot bigger now, as it encompasses Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

There is no such thing as a slut.

If someone calls you a slut, refuse delivery.

If that doesn’t make you feel better, pull out your wand, cast a spell and turn that person into a toad.

READ MORE: #MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Cullen demands action on Ecstall River

Failing to penalize parties involved undermines all salmon conservation efforts, MP says

Governments, industry bid on optimism amid timber review

The possibility of reduced forestry activity in the near future is sinking… Continue reading

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read