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

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Haida Gwaii teacher denied paid bereavement travel leave

Arbitrator sides with B.C. Teachers Federation in dispute over funeral trip

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Rainbow Yarnbombing takes over

Haida Gwaii Knitting Group surprise the islands

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read