So your friends just slut shamed you for wearing revealing clothing…

I don’t go out, it’s just not something I do. The idea of queuing for 45 minutes to get into a sweaty club littered with slobbering drunk people (most of whom are either horny or belligerent) does not excite me.

I am not one of those girls who owns an LBD and an array of platform heels, I do not enjoy packing a tiny clutch bag with a carry-on Sephora and I get hives at the mere idea of having to plan how the hell I will get back home. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t like to stay up late — yes, I am boring af. Regardless, this means I don’t own going-out clothes.

I do have one top though. It’s black, tight, and extremely low cut. So, on the rare — and I can’t stress just how rare — occasion that I do have to go out, I wear it.

Last night was one of those occasions. By the unwritten rule of female friendships I had exhausted all my excuses not to go out with them (I’m broke, I’m ill, I have plans, I’m plant-sitting for my neighbour) so I went dancing with them.

They did not hesitate to point out that my boobs were showing, as they always do when I wear it, but I always thought of it as their twisted way of telling me my boobs looked amazing — which they did. Until, when planning what to wear for a house party next week — which I will probably ditch at the last minute, because come, who are we kidding — I realised they were not ok with it. The conversation went like this:

me: I’ll wear the top again

friend 1: no

me: excuse me?

friend 2: you can’t always wear the same top that shows your boobs

friend 1: what kind of impression you want to give off?

Whuuuuuuuuuut. Did my friends just slut-shame me? I did not ask them if I should wear that top, why would I? They nevertheless felt the need to warn me that wearing a low-cut top to a house party would not give the right “impression”. Who would I possibly try to impress, here? Some lame ass, half-drunk dude or some random girl I’ll never see again in my life? I don’t need their approval. As a matter of fact, I don’t need the approval of abso-fucking-lutely anyone. The only person I would try to impress is probably a potential one-night stand, and if he’s more concerned with what I am wearing than, oh, I don’t know, anything else about me, then he’s exactly the type of man I wouldn’t allow near my vagina — or any other organ of my body. They tried to cover their asses by saying that I would never wear pjs to the Oscars, now would I? Um, bish please, your friends shitty house party is not the Oscars. That retort is as lame as when someone says “oh I’m not a homophobe, my best friend is gay” to cover up whatever insensitive shit they just spouted.

Putting aside the fact that my friends know me well, and have been victims of many a feminist rant on my part, so they should know better than say something as moronic as this — and being a journalist they should know it would prompt a blog post — really you guys? You’re going to tell one of your closest friends that if she were to wear a low cut top to a house party hosted by your lame-ass uni friends you would be embarrassed? SCANDAL! A 22 year old, single woman wearing revealing clothing to a casual gathering on a Saturday night? Someone alert the church elders!

Let me be clear, my friends are lovely people. They are good people. They are well-intentioned people, whom I love, but as most well-intentioned people they can be goddamn misguided.

This type of rhetoric — that what you wear is a reflection of your worth — is one of the most disproved, tragically short-sighted tropes to plague modern society. And it’s seriously problematic. It’s the type of thinking that means you can’t show piercings or tattoos to a job interview because apparently that means you’re in a satanical cult and do meth, and you can’t wear a miniskirt because then you’re a worthless whore who’s asking for it if she’s harassed.

I am probably the closest to a nun than I will ever be, I am responsible to the brink of dullness, PC as hell and as introverted as it gets. So when you tell me that wearing a low cut top (which, btw, only shows a little bit of cleavage so get over it) will give off the wrong “impression” means that a. you don’t know me b. you need to grow up.

I’ve found a simple solution to dealing with this issue when it arises: politely tell whoever is shaming you that they can shove their opinion up their ass, wear whatever goddamn you want anyway, and deal with the fact that some people just don’t get it, and probably never will. If they want to live their lives crippled by the constant anxiety of having to gain the approval of everyone they encounter, so be it. But I’d rather live my life in peace and not give a flying fuck.

(ps. if you guys are reading this I love you but really don’t ever again tell me what I can and can’t do ❤)

Women Are Sharing Stories About Being Slut-Shamed, And To Say I’m Pissed Is An Understatement

In response, many women bravely opened up about their experiences with being slut-shamed and explained how it impacted them at the time and at present. Here are only a fraction of the stories we recieved:
1. “I wore this opened-back, spaghetti strap shirt and ripped jeans to school. As I walked into science class, a teacher came up to me and said I couldn’t wear that. I ignored him and walked into class, so he stopped me in the middle of the room and said, ‘I didn’t want to do this in front of the class, but since you were being disrespectful and walked away from me, now I am doing this in front of the class. Your whole back is out, and your tank top is not three fingers wide. Your jeans are not going by dress code, I can see your whole thigh. If you continue to dress like this, you will be dress coded and sent home.’ I said, ‘It’s summer, and it’s hot. I’m wearing a tank top.’ He said, ‘I’m hot, too, so I’m wearing a T-shirt and shorts.’”

“The next week, I was going to the bathroom, and there was this poster in there saying how the dress code is stupid. Later, someone in the women’s bathroom had a teacher take it down.” —yadsendewazilereteew

 

2. “When I was a young artist, I lived in San Francisco. My friend had a gold sparkly dress, so for Halloween, I put on a platinum wig and went to the Castro as Marilyn Monroe. A guy came up to me saying, ‘Darling,’ but then saw I had boobs. He got so angry that he yelled, ‘You FUCKING SLUT!’ as loud as he could. I felt so bad I started crying and went back home.”
—cynthiam21

3. “When I got diagnosed with HPV, the nurse at the college health clinic told me I should tell all partners. I explained that not all partners had sought consent (i.e., I had been raped). She got huffy and was like, ‘Well, regardless, you should call them.’ Some years later, I saw a doctor about a pregnancy scare. He told me, ‘You either need to start saying no or start carrying condoms.’ No inquiries as to why I wasn’t engaging in safe sex, no inquiries as to why I didn’t feel safe asking my partners to wear condoms — just pure, ‘Ugh, close your legs.’”

“Nothing ever happened from the HPV; I got the vaccine sometime later. The doctor knew I’d had multiple partners since I had begun seeing him as my doctor.” —amandaj41c1eea46

 

4. “I was talking to this guy, and it came up that I had taken the morning-after pill before. His whole attitude changed. Now I was a ‘stupid slut’ and a ‘stairwell whore.’”
A morning after pill
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
“I told him he was dumb and blocked him.” —retailwoesohwoe

5. “After constant bullying for four years due to my weight, I lost weight (through a resulting eating disorder). People started calling me a slut because I didn’t wear baggy clothes and was starting to become more confident. We were 12 years old. Then, I had my first ‘boyfriend’ at 12 and dated him for about two months. I broke up with him, and he took it super harshly. He went on to say that I was a whore and slut for no reason at all.”
“We were 12-YEAR-OLD KIDS! Ever since then, I had been called that nonstop. Thank god I don’t live in that country and don’t have contact with those people anymore.” —quizzlover126

 

6. “My mom slut-shamed me years ago. She allowed my then-boyfriend to spend the night (on the couch) because we were picking up his new truck the next day. I wore a brand-new peignoir set that my great-aunt sent me. It wasn’t super revealing and mostly modest. My mom told me to wear the robe that came with it, but I really didn’t want to. It wasn’t like my boyfriend never saw my boobs before! She called me a slut and embarrassed me in front of my boyfriend. At night, I was in my room sobbing, and I was so distressed that I took off the nightgown, ripped it to shreds, and threw it away. I put something else on and cried myself to sleep. All I wanted was to look cute for my boyfriend because I had horrible self-esteem.”

“I never told my great-aunt what happened because I know she spent a lot of money for it, and I knew it would cause a family rift.” —jennies4783ed5b8

7. “I was slut-shamed when I told a family member that I had taken the morning-after pill. My boyfriend used a condom, but it broke. So I did the responsible thing and got the pill the next morning. It was fine, but it gave me a really bad headache. This person kept asking me what was wrong, and I ended up confiding in them. There was a look of instant disgust on their face. ‘Oh, Jesus Christ!’ It was like I had done something awful. They closely followed with, ‘You didn’t even use a condom?!’ I was so shocked and offended. When I explained that I had used a condom but it had broken, they still acted like it was something disgusting.”
“Why was I being chastised for being careful? And why was the first assumption that I didn’t care and was using the pill as a form of protection?” —jenniferh4e24263bc

 

8. “When my periods started, they were so irregular and heavy. We discovered that I had a severe hormone imbalance due to my thyroid condition. Lo and behold, there was an easy solution: birth control. I was 16 then, not yet sexually active, but more than willing to give it a try. When I went to pick up my prescription from my local pharmacist — whom I had been going to for over a decade and who knew about my medical history — they refused to give me the medication. They then proceed to loudly tell me, in front of a shop full of strangers, that I should ‘keep my legs shut’ or I would be no longer welcome. I was so humiliated.”

“I lived in a small town in Italy — the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, and people tend to be very traditional and closed-minded. I’ve been dealing with thyroid-related diseases and problems since I was 12. As long as I take my medication, it’s not too hard to live with.” —hackgirlisback4good

9. “My mom texted me this before my first day of college.”
A text that says, "Have a great day. Honey please stop dressing like you're going to the club. You have a nice body, you don't have to dress like you are advertising it. Don't get mad, just take the message. Love you"
buzzfeed.com
—annavillard1

 

10. “I grew up in a very religious, conservative household. During my freshman year of college, my brother invited me to a Bible study at his place, so I went. At the time, I had a boyfriend whom I had dated since I was 17. We were sexually active. Anyway, at the end of the Bible study, the group leader asked me to close in prayer. My brother stopped me and — in front of everyone — said that it wasn’t appropriate for me to pray for the group because I was ‘living in sin.’”

—malpalredmon

11. “At my gynecologist’s, one of the nurses checked me in and asked the standard questions. When it got to whether or not I was sexually active, I replied no. I was around 18 back then. She responded with, ‘Good girl.’ I hate to think about the patients who were checked in and didn’t give her the answer she deemed right.”

“For goodness sake, why work for a gyno if you’re going to shame people for using their pussy.” —samilj

 

12. “At prom, a teacher made other girls stand in front of me in pictures to hide my cleavage. Later, the school administration pulled me aside and told me to cover up. I started crying and was so humiliated. They said my dress was too revealing and inappropriate. I had never been kissed, never been on a date, and yet they were still slut-shaming me. I had DD boobs at the time and was wearing a dress with a sweetheart neckline. I pointed out — as I cried — that because I was so overweight, I had already gone to more than 10 stores for a dress, and this was the only one that fit. More than half the girls there were wearing a dress with a sweetheart neckline, but they had smaller breasts. So, of course, no one commented on their dress or told them they were dressed inappropriately.”

“I literally can’t change my boob size. It’s ridiculous that larger bodies and larger chests are policed and shamed so much more. My friends, wearing the exact same neckline, received no comments, but because I was fat and had a big chest, somehow, I was being inappropriate.” —Anonymous, California

 

13. “In seventh grade, I already had a big chest. I was wearing a tank top with a lace overlay that didn’t have a revealing neckline. A teacher whom I didn’t know grabbed me by the arm and yelled, ‘Why do I need to be seeing that?’ while pointing at my chest. I froze, ran, and then cried.”
“That same year, my chorus teacher pulled me aside for a different shirt I was wearing. I couldn’t help having boobs. I still feel such betrayal at their behavior.” —aanthonyelizabeth

 

14. “I developed early, and my peers would spread rumors that I stuffed my bra or grope me to see if my breasts were ‘real’ — but the worst were the adults. In drama class, we put on Oliver. I was cast as Bet, who, in our version, was a child. I wasn’t thrilled about the role but had fun with it, especially because one of my best friends was playing Oliver. We decided to portray a childhood crush between our characters to highlight their innocence. We both got awards after, so we felt we did well! After I graduated, I learned from younger classmates that my teacher was mocking me in her classes, saying that I had to make every role ‘sexy.’”

“My senior year drama teacher and I did not have a good relationship. These classes she mocked me in were full of people who didn’t even necessarily know me and had not seen the play.

It felt so weird that an adult was slut-shaming me to strangers for a role that I specifically tried to make innocent.” —dashas489933542

15. “Years ago, I was out with the ex and a couple of friends. We were at a café on a hot day, and I was wearing a strappy top. Apparently, my bra strap had fallen down and was visible! He pulled it back in place — under the equally thin straps on my top — and told me to be more careful.”

“I stared at him. His friends got awkwardly quiet. I left on my own to stop myself from angrily yelling at him.” —retrocrebbon

 

16. “I was 13. When I got drunk, a male ‘friend’ who was two years older kissed and groped me. Later that night, I kissed the boy I fancied. In the morning, the perpetrator kept calling me a slut. I felt so bad that I dunked my head in a sink full of cold water to feel something other than shame.”
“I think I had a boyfriend at the time, but we never spoke and never had contact. He was also two years older and touched my genitals when we were kissing. I was 13 and not ready.” —Anonymous, UK

17. “A roller-skating rink was having a ’90s-themed, adults-only night. Excited to skate without kids falling, I put together the perfect outfit: high-waisted, baggy shorts, a fitted crop top, and a flannel. When I arrived, I found out the event was hosted by a local Baptist church. I soon got sweaty from skating and tied my flannel around my waist. After a few laps to a Britney song, two college-aged women waved me over. They introduced themselves as the organizers of the event and pleasantly asked if we could talk in a party room. They then passive-aggressively lectured me in syrupy sweet voices on how my top was ‘too revealing’; I was ‘shamelessly tempting fellow brothers in Christ,’ and ‘not behaving modestly.’”

“I mostly sat in disbelief through the whole thing. I figured they had wanted to chat about their church, maybe recruit me as a member, so I politely went along when they asked. I’m definitely not a church member but went out to skate as it was an open event.

I left shortly after my talking-to. I wanted to stay out of spite but didn’t really feel like skating at the point.” —mickeybeez

 

18. “In high school, my locker was next to a guy I knew through my church. One day, church-guy found out I was best friends with a guy. Apparently, being friends with the opposite sex made me a whore. Church-guy started asking how often I had sex, made comments about my blowjob skills, and asked if my friends knew I was a little slut. He would tell random people in the halls that I liked sucking dick and ask how many of my other guy friends I had let feel me up. After months of taking it, I finally lost it. I started screaming (like literally screaming) at him in the middle of a packed hallway that he better shut up and leave me alone.”

“It was far more profanity-laced than that, but it did the trick, and he left me alone. Looking back, it was total sexual harassment, but I didn’t know any better.” —lm1719

 

19. “When I was 17, I was hanging out with my new boyfriend. He told me he had had sex with two people and asked how many I had been with. I was honest and said six. He laughed at me and said, ‘Wow!’ That was for everything though — the number of people I ever fooled around with or made out with. Ironically, I later found out that the number of people he had oral sex with was five times higher than my number. I’m a decent human being, so I didn’t laugh at him, but I should have because it really hurt when he laughed at me like that.”
“Looking back, I think I was too afraid of turning anyone down once we kissed if they made a move, which is why the kissing always led to sex. I didn’t feel like I had a choice.” —amberm43081e2b1

 

20. “When I was 21, I was assaulted on the dance floor at one of the bars in my college town. It was so packed that night that everyone was on top of each other. A guy behind me grabbed my shoulder and bit my neck when I tried to get away from him. I came home the next day with a gigantic mouth-shaped bruise on my neck, and my dad promptly screamed at me that he ‘didn’t send me to college to be a whore.’”

—substantialappeal512

21. “One night out, a female friend became upset at the attention I received and the fact that I enjoyed it. She got angry at my slutty behavior and didn’t want to be linked to it. She didn’t talk to me for a few days after. In the climate at the time, I apologized and was shamed. I’m still slut-shamed regularly; however, I refuse to actually be ashamed. As a woman who enjoys sex and wants those needs met even outside of a committed relationship, I’m no longer ashamed or trying to be discreet about it.”
“So long as it’s clean, safe, and consensual, I’m pretty sexually open. I don’t hide it, and I don’t tolerate attempts to shame me for having needs or taking control of meeting them. I hope that in some small way, I liberate others around me to shake off that shame and enjoy whatever a healthy sex life feels like to them.” —Anonymous, England

 

22. “In my eighth-grade yearbook — the very thing that my parents would see — a few boys made crude drawings of breasts and nasty comments. The first thing I ever heard about my body was written in a textbook I had lost. When I found it, someone had written, ‘You have fat tits.’ I was humiliated and ashamed. I sobbed and, of course, tore the paper off.”

“Who can forget middle school if you DARE develop early?! I couldn’t wear shirts that fit me, because that meant showing my breasts — which were already close to a full C-cup by seventh grade.

Not only are the boys dumb shits, but sadly many girls call you a ‘slut.’ Rumors about how you must ‘stuff your bra’ or have implants (because this is what surgeons do to 13-year-olds?!) spread. It made me an outcast. I wore baggy clothing to cover myself. It doesn’t help. It’s not just having large breasts. Smaller sizes are ridiculed, too, or having an ass.

Anyone dealing with this now? It gets better. You’re sadly surrounded by Neanderthals who can’t form intelligent thoughts around a female body. Be confident, love yourself no matter what you look like, and tell anyone who doesn’t like it to screw the hell off. I promise they are jealous. 100%. Live that up! Love your bodies!” —downnica

23. “When I was 14, I was sexually assaulted by a classmate. Immediately afterward, I went to my ‘best friend’ and told her what happened. She looked me dead in the face and responded, ‘Don’t cheat on your boyfriend.’ She made me feel so ashamed of what happened to me that I repressed the memory for three years.”
“F*ck you, Lacey.” —e4ada6546c

24. “In college, I worked and lived in a private residence hall. Most live-in staff hung out outside of work hours. A male coworker was engaged and getting married over winter break. He’d always seemed pure-hearted and friendly, and his fiancé — who lived in his hometown — was super nice when we’d met. A week before his wedding, we had an unofficial bachelor party. I was one of the few girls there. I was also a bit of a flirt and pretty open about hooking up with people, but it’s not like I had a new hookup every night. We were drinking, and the groom-to-be got pretty hammered. As we were talking, he grabbed me by my vulva out of nowhere. I reacted in shock and anger, and two of our (male) coworkers interceded as I started crying. The pussy-grabber defended himself by saying that I’m always talking about who I’m having sex with and that I shouldn’t be bothered by it.”

“My coworkers, who intervened, walked me back to the dorm. Meanwhile, the groom-to-be continued loudly defending himself. The fact that being an openly sexual 20-year-old was used as justification for sexually grabbing me — coupled with the offender being someone I never thought would do something like that — really upset me.

I started reining in my oversharing after that incident, because I kind of believed he was ‘right’ and that if I hadn’t been so openly sexual, maybe he wouldn’t have grabbed me. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I realize he was an asshole, and I really wish I’d punched him in the face.” —Anonymous, California

 

25. “When I was 18, I worked at a small, country-like general store that required you to wear an apron over regular clothes. The employees were high school juniors or working moms, so I quickly became a manager. In the summer, it reached over 90°F daily, and there was no AC. Like everyone else, I wore shorts and a T-shirt, but I was ‘spoken to’ because ‘my clothing was inappropriate.’ I wore the exact same thing as other employees. Several even wore booty shorts and strapless shirts under their aprons. (I can’t tell you the number of whale tails I saw.) One boss told me to not bend over so often. Another boss told me my shorts were ‘quite short’ when they were genuinely an inch from my knee. It wasn’t until a third boss said, in front of a male customer as I made him a sandwich, ‘Your huge boobs are sorta busting out of your top, honey.’ I was humiliated, then enraged.”

I spoke to my mom about it, and the next day, the first boss who had spoken to me came up to me. I interrupted him and said, ‘I am dressed appropriately for this weather. Please look at how other employees are dressed. I am wearing inches of more fabric on my body. This isn’t about what I’m wearing; it’s about how my body is shaped — and THAT is genuinely sexual harassment and prejudice. Until you make a rule that there will be no shorts or tank tops for anyone at all, you cannot single me out.’

I was allowed to finish that summer comfortably, at least heat-wise, but will never forget having my body be picked apart by each boss. Meanwhile, they ignored every other employee. It made me hate my body and feel deeply ashamed of it. It sucks. It’s not OK, ever. Period.” —downnica

 

26. “When I was a senior in college, I was sitting at a bar with my roommates. Some guy came up and asked me what I was drinking. I politely told him that I was drinking a Budweiser, then turned back to my conversation with my roommates. He tried to talk to me a couple more times, but I’d — more politely than was even necessary, in retrospect — answer and turn back to my friends. An hour later, my boyfriend stopped by the bar to say hi. When he came up to me, I gave him a kiss. From the other side of the bar, the guy from earlier tells my roommates that I’m an easy slut.”

—arya_ravenclaw

 

27. “I was slut-shamed by an ex. He was a virgin; I was not. I had never pressured him into sex and told him when he was ready, if ever, we could have sex. We did it, and he loved it, but then his friends got into his head. Eventually, he asked how many partners I’d had before him. I told him, and then came the casual, thought-he-was funny comments about how ‘slutty’ I was being and what a ‘whore’ I was for him. We got into some fights, and it ended with me being an immoral slut before we met. Awesome.”
“Why I stayed with him after, I have no idea. I thought I loved him. That’s not love. Your partner shouldn’t subject you to that, no matter how many people you’ve been with before them.” —witchyribbon84

 

28. “In middle school, a girl told me to put out my hand. I thought it was weird but whatever. Since I was 11 or 12, I’ve always kept my fingernails long and manicured. She called me a whore because of my fucking fingernails. She then proceeded to call me anorexic because I had the body of a 10-year-old boy until I was 14.”
A hand with nails that are painted with stripes
buzzfeed.com
“This is a recent picture of my nails. They’re similar to how they looked at the time.” —lanavf

29. “My ex-husband flipped out when I found a new boyfriend. He told me I wasn’t allowed to have our daughter anymore (we have shared custody) because I was setting a poor example, and he wasn’t going to allow her to be exposed to that lifestyle.”
—katushkamarushka

30. “I was 14 and performing in a play for my drama class. I had developed fairly quickly and wore a size C bra. The night of the show, my female teacher took me aside and gave me a sweater. She told me to wear it over my tank top as my breasts were distracting and meant that the men in the audience would focus on me instead of the performance. Bear in mind, everyone else was also performing in tank tops. This led to years of feeling discomfort with my body, that my breasts made me look ‘slutty,’ and that I should try to lose weight to make them smaller.”

“At 14 years old, I was sexualized and made to feel ashamed that GROWN MEN, the fathers of my classmates, would look at me in an inappropriate way. Throughout my teens, I would never go to the beach or pool and didn’t own any bathing suits.” —Anonymous, UK

 

31. “My sister once accused me of having a ‘revolving door of men coming through mom and dad’s house’ because I had dated three men over the course of a year. I was 24 years old. Even now, I’m finding that I feel like I need to explain or justify that somehow excessive volume of men. Oh, I married the third guy.”
“So…” —maurag2

32. “In the ’90s, I transferred from public to private school my junior year. I already knew a lot of kids since it was local, and I hung out with them the summer before school started. In particular, I met a lot of boys. I was pretty cute back then (if I do say so myself) and very flirtatious, but I was a ‘good girl.’ I occasionally made out with some boys. When school started, I learned that some of them had girlfriends. Many boys lied about what we did, and my reputation worsened. Every girl in school hated me and regularly called me a slut or whore. One Monday, ‘[my last name] GIVES GOOD HEAD’ was spray-painted in HUGE letters (10 feet) on the ground in the student parking lot. Worse, I’d given a guy head for the first time ever that weekend. I was mortified and spent the day crying. I thought it must have been the guy I’d hooked up with over the weekend, but it was an ex-boyfriend who was jealous that I was seeing other guys.”

“My parents had a meeting with the Dean to make them investigate who had done it and have it professionally removed. At the time, I’m not sure how I had the courage to keep showing up at school after that. (At least it said good and not bad, right?) People lying about f*cking me and girls calling me names were bad enough, but this was over the top.

I’m pretty sure everyone thought I deserved it because they believed all the lies and thought I had tried to steal everyone’s boyfriends already. Eventually, I just said the hell with all of them and decided to sort of embrace the reputation I had. I didn’t suddenly start having sex with everyone or anything — I was a virgin until I was 18 — I just decided to act like none of it bothered me. But it did.

It led to many, many more horrible experiences — like being assaulted by the captain of the football team at a party because he ‘knew what kind of girl I was,’ or being benched by my soccer coach because ‘whores didn’t play on her team.’ I was so impacted that when I got to college, I felt like I didn’t know who I was without people knowing ‘about me’ before they met me. It took ages to get past it all.” — Anonymous, New York

 

33. “I am FORTY-THREE (I feel this is relevant) years old, and I told a married friend that I couldn’t go out with her on a Saturday night because I was seeing my regular FWB. She was furious and called me a slut for ‘sleeping around.’”
—Anonymous, UK

34. “I was wearing a dress that was about 2 inches above my knees for picture day — still really modest — and a nun at my Catholic school told me that I was dressed impurely and would never find a future husband dressed like that.”

“I was 14.” —Anonymous, Kansas

 

35. “During college, I was going out to dinner with some girl friends from high school to catch up. I was wearing a blouse, jeans, and a pair of rocking red pumps — looking good and feeling confident. As we were walking to the restaurant, a girl, who was in a car full of boys, literally yelled ‘slut’ at me. Obviously, it’s not the most creative form of insult, and she was trying to look cool in front of these boys.”

“It’s also one of many stories I have as an Asian woman. I’m glad I have tough skin but sad that many others and I had to develop it.” —Anonymous, New Jersey

36. “For two to three days, random students came up to me and called me a ‘slag.’ They wouldn’t tell me why. I hadn’t even kissed anyone yet. I was so stressed that I wouldn’t leave my dorm for supper. Some dormmates questioned the name-callers. Turns out, a group of six boys who were a year above us (as in, they were 14 to 15) had been telling other boys that I let them do whatever they want to me. Sex, blowjobs, frenching, whatever — because, you know, Chinese girls are slags. Hearing that made me so angry, upset, and embarrassed. I made myself invisible — head down, mouth shut, hiding behind friends — until everyone forgot about it.”
“It is one of a very few experiences that still affect me. I can’t talk to my friends about it today because I swing between getting defensive, angry, tearful, and ashamed. So yeah, no point, really.” —superkay

 

37. “Someone made an entire Facebook page called ‘Hoes of BHS’ (my high school’s initials) that featured a photo of me as the profile picture. The photo of me was the only one on the page and wasn’t even revealing — just a cute mirror selfie.”

“The school supposedly had a ‘no tolerance’ policy for bullying but didn’t do anything about it when I reported it.” —Anonymous, Texas

38. “I went to a conservative Christian college that had gender-segregated dorms with open dorm hours. My friend group consisted of mostly guys and few girls, and it was easier to hang out in the guys’ dorm during their open hours. It got spread around the small school that I was a slut because I was frequently going into the guys’ dorm and spending time there. I was told, to my face, ‘It’s a bad look for you to spend so much time over there,’ and, ‘Oh, we thought only girls with boyfriends go over there.’”
A dormitory
Jtgrafix / Getty Images
—Anonymous, Oregon

 

39. “I take pole class. I was feeling pretty good about how far I’ve come in class and decided to post a video on Instagram. A woman whose entire Instagram is based on love, life, and lifting up other women sent a screenshot to my ex-husband telling him that I’m a mother and should be ashamed. What kind of example am I setting for my daughter? She also body shamed me and sent the video to her friend, talking about how I have no shame and it’s disgusting. She then posted she bought pole classes!”

“Such an insecure woman.” —Anonymous, Pennsylvania

40. “I developed earlier than most girls my age and started wearing bras earlier. I am a lesbian, and when I was in middle school, a boy said that he didn’t think a dyke could be a slut, but I proved him wrong. This was because my bra strap was showing.”

—Anonymous, Indiana

 

41. “I was once called a slut and a whore by my roommate’s boyfriend because they had heard us having sex from her bedroom. I was having sex with my boyfriend of five years (who happened to be the third person I’d ever slept with). I told him he needed to take a deep look at his own relationship, considering that my roommate lost her virginity to him on their second date.”

—Anonymous, California

42. “I had a D-cup by the time I was 12 and — not to blow my own horn — was pretty smart in high school. I was consistently called a slag and other choice names by girls and seen as ‘easy’ by boys (until I turned them down — then they called me a slag). I got a ‘reputation’ for merely existing. Then, when I was 15, I was sexually assaulted by a schoolmate. Obviously, no one believed me because of said unfounded reputation. I had to leave school early and didn’t finish my exams because I just couldn’t bear it.”
“It cost me friends — or people who I thought were friends. It changed the course of my life forever.” —Anonymous, UK

 

43. “A friend from my hometown had moved to the city I currently live in. We’d only hung out a couple of times back home and didn’t know each other well. That being said, I moved here knowing nobody, and it was hard, so I decided to reach out when he moved. I introduced him to all my friends and ended up hooking him up with a room. We got super close. One day in the car, I was talking to him about my guy problems. He told me, point-blank, that the reason guys kept ghosting me was that I didn’t wait long enough to sleep with them. He said maybe if I held off, they’d respect me more. We debated back and forth about it, and it really upset me. This was years ago, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t still bother me.”

“Fuckin’ asshole.” —Anonymous, Oregon

44. “I was dating someone and got pregnant. He immediately ghosted me after we discussed it — blocked my number and avoided our shared friends. I decided to have an abortion because I could not handle it on my own. After I physically and emotionally recovered, I started dating a new guy. I moved in with him and began a serious relationship. This new guy then cheated on me, so I had to move out of our apartment and figure everything out again. My ex (the ghoster) told everyone in our friend groups, including my ex (the cheater), that I had an abortion because I didn’t know who knocked me up. I very clearly knew he was the father, and so did he. Our friends, including the cheating ex, slut-shamed me for my abortion and ‘not knowing’ who the father was. My cheating ex knew about the abortion when we started dating and had no issue until it became gossip. I ended up moving hours away and starting over.”
“Not a single friend, not even my female friends, judged the ghosting ex for leaving me high and dry in a horrible situation. I couldn’t escape the judgment or labels, and, as an adult woman, had to flee to start over.” —Anonymous, Pennsylvania

 

45. “I was at the doctor’s office. He said, ‘It’s required that I offer this to you, so I have to ask, would you like to be tested for HIV?’ I said yes and he went, ‘Really? Why?’ I told him I want to know my status — which, you know, everyone should! He then asked how many partners I’ve had. Although I could already feel the judgment, I answered with my number, which may be considered high in certain circles. He lectured me and told me that ‘studies have shown the more times you have premarital sex, the more likely it is you’ll get divorced,’ and to ‘find a boyfriend and wait to have sex until you get married.’ When he left the room to ask the nurse to get the test ready, I heard him say to the nurse, ‘She’s 21 years old, and she’s already had x partners.’ There have been so many times that I’ve lied to doctors about my sexual partners as a result of how ashamed he made me feel.”

“I never went back to that doctor and wish that I had reported him to whatever entity manages doctors in New York! I’ve gotten better about that because I know it doesn’t matter, and I practice safety and get tested regularly!” —Anonymous, New York

 

46. “I cracked a joke to my cool, super-feminist roommate that my thong was crawling up my asshole so far that it was touching my lung. She asked me who I was even wearing one for (I was single) in a way that made it very clear that, in her mind, wearing a thong is only something you do to be sexy for a guy. She seemed to really disapprove of it, as she said something to that effect. This happened several times, and, each time, I informed her that I don’t want panty lines, I wear thongs because I want to, and I don’t need to wear anything to make men happy, then went on my merry way. It stung — particularly because I hold her in really high regard — but I don’t hold it against her. There are so many appalling experiences that so many people have had with slut-shaming, and it’s little wonder that even the best of us have internalized some of them.”

“Slut-shaming is not OK (not ever, ever, ever), but even the coolest, most feminist of us can have a couple of internalized, outdated opinions. The only way forward is to keep talking about it and always inform other people that it is none of their business what you do with — or wear on — your body. It gives me hope for the people involved in the worse experiences I’ve had.” —Anonymous, Massachusetts

 

47. “When I was a freshman, I was talking to a guy friend in the hall before the bell rang. One classmate, Alex, teased me for it. I called him stupid, and he very loudly called me a slut. The entire class heard and so did my English teacher, Mrs. S. She was livid and took us to the dean’s office, and I felt ashamed and at fault. Mrs. S. explained what she witnessed to the dean, but he tried to write it off by saying maybe Alex had a crush on me, and boys will be boys. According to Mrs. S., this was not an acceptable response. She advocated for me the entire time, noting that it was inappropriate behavior. As a result, Alex was given three days of detention and had to write me a formal letter of apology. I remember feeling gross over the whole situation. Mrs. S. explained that what happened to me was sexual harassment. Not once did she let up when talking to the dean. Still, I wore hoodies to school every day after to cover myself.”

“I still think about that day sometimes and wonder why I felt so ashamed. Now I know I had internalized a patriarchal, sexist ideology at that time. I was lucky to have my English teacher by my side. Thinking back, that’s a moment that really shaped who I am today.” —Anonymous, New York

 

48. “One time when I was volunteering for church, I wore a black blouse. It fit me loosely everywhere but my chest. The deacon felt the need to tell me — during service — that I should’ve chosen something more ‘appropriate’ and should sit in the back. I was a 36C by the time I was 14, and I’ve always had thicker thighs, so anything my size fits tightly around those areas. Because of that, I’ve been slut-shamed since I started puberty. Nearly every adult had felt the need to tell me how ‘inappropriate’ my outfit was.”

“Another time, my mother called me a whore and banned me from attending my sister’s graduation because I was wearing a crop top and high-waisted pants, an outfit that showed no skin.” —Anonymous, Illinois

 

49. “When I was a sophomore in high school, there were a bunch of rumors going around about me being promiscuous. One day, this kid — Randy — was incredibly rude to me. I asked him, ‘What the hell is your problem?’ Randy replied, ‘I just think you’re slutty,’ in front of the whole class. I teared up. He was one of those super Christian kids. Turns out, he’s a preacher now.”

“It’s funny because, at that point, I’d maybe kissed two boys. Even though I knew the rumors weren’t true, I was mortified.” —Anonymous, North Carolina

 

50. “A boyfriend, years ago, told me I was a slut for sleeping with him so early in our relationship. Like he hadn’t been there for it too?! We’d known each other a few months and slept together after our second date.”
“He again called me a slut when I had told him about a time I’d slept with two different people in the span of two days. Not sure why I continued to stay with him for two years. Those were some large, flailing red flags!” —Anonymous, Ontario

51. “I grew up in the middle of Illinois and went to a Catholic school. Instead of sex education, we’d have abstinence talks that usually veered into abortion discussions — complete with grotesque and inaccurate photos of what happened during the procedure. After the talk, we walked over to our school chapel and were each given a card to sign on the altar. We were told that the card was a pledge for our virginity until marriage, and, while we didn’t need to sign it, it was highly encouraged. I remember thinking that I was already pulling away from the faith, and it didn’t seem like a good idea to promise something I wasn’t sure I could keep. A few of my friends and I didn’t sign it. We were all slut-shamed and ostracized for a while, even by the teachers. I remember the whispers and dirty looks from my fellow classmates.”

“It’s hard to take a stand when your peers and teachers are judging you the entire time, but it’s a decision I’ve continued to stand by well over 13 years later.” —Anonymous, Illinois

 

52. “I was working at a hospital, and my preceptor — whom I worked very closely with — was having marriage problems. He’d show up under the influence, so I reported him to management. One night, while walking to my car — which was street parked since the hospital never has spots for employees in the garage — my preceptor shoved me against my car and started to assault me. I retaliated, and I reported it. Management called it ‘he said/she said’ and ‘attention-seeking.’ However, the worst pain of slut-shaming came from my fiancé. We had been in counseling for a few months before this event, and he claimed I used sexual assault because I ‘didn’t like it’ and felt ‘guilty for cheating.’ He turned my pain into being a slut.”

“Turns out, he was sleeping with someone else before counseling and after.” —Anonymous, Ohio

 

53. “A guy friend in college called me a slut when I started seeing a friend of a friend. Turns out, this guy friend 1) hated the guy I was seeing and 2) would’ve preferred that I was hooking up with him. Not sure how he thought calling me a slut would help.”
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t interested in this guy friend in that way from the get-go.” —Anonymous, Michigan

54. “I’ve been slut-shamed on several occasions by my fiancé — always for my clothes, usually when I’m wearing something for a special occasion. At my brother’s wedding, I was in the bridal party. Our dresses were very classy but made wearing a bra difficult. Since my chest is on the smaller side, I decided to go without one. The layers of lace also made everything secure. Well, my fiancé told me I was a whore because he caught guys ‘staring down my dress.’ I know damn well my breasts were not visible. He has told me I have work outfits that are inappropriate, so I no longer wear those dresses. Most recently, he shamed me for adjusting the straps on my tank top – while wearing a bathing suit underneath, mind you — because I was in sight of his best friend, and he accused me of trying to get his attention.”

“His slut-shaming behaviors stem from his insecurities, but it has damaged me in that I always think twice now before I pick out a nice outfit, for fear of him lashing out at me or stewing about it and picking a fight later.

Unfortunately, it’s always in private, so other people have no idea he has treated me this way. I had never experienced being treated this way before, and it has negatively impacted my self-esteem.” —Anonymous, New Hampshire

 

55. “I was 16 and donating blood for the first time. I was really excited about it. I live in a tropical city with hot weather, so I was wearing shorts. Toward the end, I began feeling dizzy, and my blood pressure was too low. A doctor told me to lay in the donating chair upside down to bring more blood to my head. A nurse put me there and — as I was trying my best not to faint — said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are too revealing?’ I felt so embarrassed and wouldn’t wear shorts for a long time. Later, I realized she was in the wrong.”

“For context, you can donate blood in Brasil at 16 if your parents allow it. Donating blood is totally unpaid; it only gets you one day off from work.” —Anonymous, Brasil

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