Who Is A Slut? Depends

Rethinking virginity, as a few of our favorite ladies did recently, means unpacking the twin sister of the virgin: the slut. One of the panelists, Chloe Angyal, has a few thoughts on that front.

She writes on Feministing that slut has an ever-slippery meaning:

Sady, who was the first to offer a definition, was careful to note that being labeled a slut can happen to anyone, even to people who have never had any sexual contact of any kind. Slut-shaming is often the result of perceived, rather than proven, sluttiness. As Therese then noted, sluttiness itself is entirely relative: In some cultures or among some social groups, she said, having slept with ten people over the course of your life is considered a pretty tame sexual history. In others, it makes you a dirty, untouchable slut. I added that, with definitions of what's acceptable and what's slutty being so malleable and poorly defined in our own culture, you often don't know where the line between the two is until you've crossed it. And then - poof! - it's too late: Other people have decided that you're a slut, and you're stuck with this damaging, divisive and damn stubborn label.

Of course, we also have the lovely inverse of slut — the prude or the frigid virgin.

As Therese has discovered as she's traveled around the country talking to people about virginity, the same culture that scorns women for being sexual also scorns them for not being sexual! Just as you can be slut-shamed, you can be prude-shamed or virgin-shamed! Shame for everyone!

There's more than enough to go around.

Slut Panel Postmortem [Feministing]
Earlier: Rethinking Virginity And Examining Our Assumptions About Sex