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So what if I have big boobs?

What if I like having sex with multiple partners?

What if I love dressing in revealing clothes?

Does that make make me less of a woman?

Does this qualify me as a…

S…L…U…T?

Jane Folodi writes…

Urban dictionary defines ‘slut’ as: A woman who sleeps with multiple partners.

I wouldn’t rely on Urban dictionary for research but I found the definition apt as it relates to the stereotype applied by certain communities.

A while back, slut shaming was linked to a woman who had multiple sexual partners, their physique and how they dress.

However, researchers have found that class is also a factor that leads to certain women being privileged to do certain things and it gets accepted in society, whilst poorer women don’t have the kind of money and status to support and protect their reputation and lifestyle choices.

For example: When a poor woman sleeps with multiple partners, immediately she is classified as a slut. However when a wealthy woman does the same thing, her actions are referred to with fancier terms like “hook ups” or “one night stands”.

I guess its true, money does make the world go round…

The latest studies culminated in a book entitled Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality by sociology researchers Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton of the University of Michigan entitled gives a psychological understanding to slut shaming.

The book focuses on Gender, Social Class, and Slut Discourse on campus at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and the University of California–Merced, respectively.

Their research started in 2004 as they were among the 55 (all white) university women who moved into a floor of a dormitory at a large public Midwestern university.

Although all women were slut shamed, the two sociologists found out that richer girls slut shamed the poorer girls even though the richer girls had more “hook ups” than the other girls.

The study divided the women into two groups, the first group which they defined as “high status”,those whom were emerging from rich Greek families. On the other hand the “low status” women were women coming from local communities.

The study found that women from the high class group were allowed to sleep with multiple partners and they were seen as “trashy” and less “classy”, however women from the low status group when they did the same act, were immediately labelled as sluts.

When the researchers asked the women to define a good girl, she was described as a polite female, who only flirted with affluent men and who had high status on campus.

The same stigma is still experienced in our communities till this day and here is what I experienced and this is what most women experience daily.

It might not be the same scenario, but the bottom line is that woman get slut shamed, it comes from other women, religious leaders, parents/guardians and men.

It happens, depending on what we choose to wear, associate ourselves with or who we date or just simply because someone feels like saying it. We get called SLUTS.

This is what happened to me…

One cold evening in the dark streets of Langa taxi rank, waiting for a taxi to Cape Town. The time was around 20:15pm, I was wearing a tight short winter dress (well it’s not my fault that my curves were showing, unfortunately I didn’t choose my body shape) and being a proudly South African woman. One of the rights we have in our constitution is freedom of expression and my dress code is also my non verbal way of communicating my identity and personality.

Every man that was passing me kept on undressing me with their eyes, some who were brave enough even shouted “sisi ngimalini”, asking me how much am I selling my body for in Xhosa.

Old women in their fifties, every-time they passed me, they kept on warning their little girls not to be like me, the “Slutty” me.

Just because of how I was dressed in the middle of the night, I was called a slut. There were also boys around me, same age and we were waiting in the same location, however no one said anything to them.

This is the same reaction Lisa (20) received when she jumped out of an Uber as she slowly took a walk of shame towards the door in the morning after a night out. As she entered the doors of the Plein street student residence with her heels in her hand, make up smudged all over her face. All the boys that were outside started slut shaming her.

The ironic part is that, amongst the boys was Sipho, everyone knows him as a “player” on the boys floor. He always puts in at least 3 girls in his room every week. He “chows” everything that wears a panty, as his friends would jokingly say. The same Sipho is also regarded to have a remedy for lesbians. All they need is one injection of Vitamin D as he would say.

What makes Sipho different from a woman who chooses to sleep with more than one partner?

It all starts at home, our parents always teach us “you have to remain pure”, keep your virginity and dress in a modest way, so that you can get a good husband to marry you.

It happens everyday, women who get raped. The common reason as it’s always said by a rapist, “she asked for it”.

Simply because I am wearing a revealing outfit, I want penetration automatically.

The shutdown happened when Cat from the U.K posted an innocent photo of her new headphones on Snapchat and after a few minutes she received a message from stranger that said, “You wearing those and nothing else, that would be heaven.

Cat’s photos show that sexual harassment is prevalent no matter what women do or post on social media.

Logically speaking, how can you possibly provoke a man with just a picture of earphones?

Twitter users resonated with Cat, as she received more than 30, 000 retweets and over 50, 000 likes. To make something clear, even though Cat would have posted her bikini picture she was still not asking for creepy DM’s.

According to Africa Check statistics, South Africa is notorious for its levels of rape. But the true extent of the problem is still unknown.

The Western Cape Gender based Violence indicators studies, 25.3% of women had an experience of being raped by a “man, whether a husband or boyfriend, family member, stranger or acquaintance”. 18% of women experienced “intimate partner rape on one or more occasions”. The study conducted in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Limpopo showed that
4.5% of respondents in the Eastern Cape, 7.2% of respondents in Mpumalanga and 4.8% of respondents in Limpopo reported “being forced or persuaded to have sex against [their] will” by being threatened, held down or hurt in some way.

Disclaimer: Stop pretending that you understand, especially if you are not a woman or if you are not gender fluid. All you people who have the nerve to slut shame, please explain what is the difference between sexy dressing and slutty dressing.

It is ok to be different. Stop boxing women inside the so called acceptable good girl box just because it suits you.

Should I pretend that I was not hurt when I walked down Long street with a strapless bra and you feasted on my body with your soulless eyes?

In celebration of the forth coming Women’s day, TYI is running a Women’s day campaign.

Send us your woman’s day article, to inspire, challenge gender stereotypes and celebrate women.

“Wathinta abafazi wathinta imbokodo”- You strike a woman, you strike a rock

REMEMBER: You are not a slut.

It’s just a term used to discredit a woman.

POEM by Savannah Brown:

Hi, I’m A Slut.

i am raw meat in a slaughterhouse
packaged according to what you are hungry for that day
i am identified by my thighs and my moans and my sighs
even though you keep telling me i shouldn’t be making noise in the first place
keep your mouth shut unless i’m the one putting something in it
it’s funny, the ones who cry whore the loudest
are the ones who are thirstiest for my blood

and my love only starts to matter and
stops being make-believe, a fantasy when you’re watching lesbian porn
but they quickly discover that actually
what they’ve been missing this whole time is your cock
you’re looking to “experiment” in the same way i must be “experimenting”
like a science fair where the prize for

equating my entire personhood to your d*ck
is that you get two women who are disgusted by how your
breath reeks of desperation instead of just one
you’re damn right my body is a temple
i am the god it was built for
i am the landlord

and i can let whoever i want live inside it
hi, i’m a slut and no, that doesn’t mean
i am nothing but flesh to grab
with your red stained hands

that you’ve sterilized with excuses in case i shout
so when i do you can tell everyone that
hi, i’m a slut and no
and that doesn’t mean i am nothing
but sweat and blow job eyes
hi, i’m a slut

and no that doesn’t mean i am nothing but the girl who was asking for it
hi, i’m a slut and no,
and that doesn’t mean i am nothing

– Savannah Brown