Society should swiftly move away from slut-shaming

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Like most college students taking a break from classwork, I logged onto Netflix. Immediately, an ad for a Netflix original show called “Ginny & Georgia” started playing. I thought, “Oh, this looks kind of cute; maybe I’ll watch it at some point.” 

Then I saw Taylor Swift’s tweet: “Hey Ginny & Georgia, 2010 called and it wants its lazy, deeply sexist joke back. How about we stop degrading hard working women by defining this horse s*** as FuNnY.” The tweet was in reference to a line from the show where a character said, “Why do you care? You go through men faster than Taylor Swift.” 

This poor attempt at humor from “Ginny & Georgia” is a perfect example of slut-shaming — a widely normalized, extremely problematic aspect of society. Slut-shaming essentially refers to the act of degrading or stigmatizing a woman for any type of behavior society deems to be promiscuous. If the definition did not already make it obvious, it reinforces a double standard; men are often praised for dating many women and they are seen as “players” who have had numerous sexual conquests. Women, on the other hand, are characterized as sluts and whores. 

This double standard is clearly seen in the music industry. I remember hearing people saying things about Swift such as, “Watch out, men; if you date her, she’ll write a song about you,” “Oh, she writes about her exes too much” and “All of her music has to do with break-ups” (don’t even get me started on how false that last one is). However, there are numerous men in the industry — such as Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake, to name a few — who write about people they’ve had relationships with and break-ups they’ve experienced, and yet they don’t receive any backlash. People don’t say things like, “Don’t date him; he’ll write a song about you.” 

The whole idea of women being called “sluts” and “whores” for doing exactly what many straight men are doing is despicable. It is horribly sexist and unfortunately ingrained in many societies worldwide. After all, notice there are no real male-equivalents of the terms “slut” and “whore.” This is because men are praised for these behaviors, while women are ridiculed for them.  

It is also worth noting that it is mostly straight men who are praised for their sexual behaviors; gay and bisexual men often also face slut-shaming. It is ridiculous that the actions straight men engage in are applauded because it is seen as “normal” but everyone else who engages in these same behaviors is ostracized and scorned. 

For a TV show like “Ginny & Georgia,” the writers could have done something as easy as making another joke — one that actually had an ounce of humor in it — or not saying it at all. Instead, they chose to enable this disgusting pattern of slut-shaming. Swift was not overreacting when she tweeted, unlike what many insinuated; she was calling out this constant pattern of derision toward women who engage in a normal amount of dating. And for someone like Swift, who has been slut-shamed for just about her entire career, she has every right to defend herself and call attention to this sorry excuse for a joke. 

Instead of enabling this, society in general should be moving away from slut-shaming. Instead of teaching girls — and anyone who is not a straight boy for that matter — what to wear and how to behave, people should spend that energy teaching everyone that these behaviors are normal for everyone, not just a select few. 

It is high time that TV shows stop putting in derisive language and try to pass it off as a joke. As Swift herself said, it truly is lazy and immensely demeaning to, in this case, women. These double standards are detrimental, and people should be taught that slut-shaming has no place in society. 

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