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Slut shaming (also hyphenated, as slut-shaming) is defined as the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that deviate from traditional, or orthodox, gender expectations.
Slut shaming is a process in which women are attacked for their transgression of accepted codes of sexual conduct, i.e. of admonishing them for behavior or desires that are more sexual than society finds acceptable. Emily Bazelon says that slut shaming is "retrograde, the opposite of feminist. Calling a girl a slut warns her that there's a line: she can be sexual but not too sexual."
Slut shaming is used against women by both men and women. Jessica Ringrose has argued that it functions among women as a way of sublimating sexual jealousy "into a socially acceptable form of social critique of girls' sexual expression." It is also used as a form of victim blaming for rape and sexual assault, e.g. by claiming the crime was caused (either in part or in full) by the woman wearing revealing clothing or previously acting in a forward, sexual manner before not consenting to sex.
The SlutWalk protest march started in Toronto in response to an incident where a Toronto Police officer told a group of students that they could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like "sluts".
The term has since been used when describing the comments of Rush Limbaugh during the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy. The controversy that erupted may have long-term effects on the incidence of slut-shaming in broadcast media.
- Lamb, Sharon (27 June 2008). "The 'Right' Sexuality for Girls.". Chronicle of Higher Education 54 (42): B14–B15. ISSN 00095982. "In Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk About Sexuality (Harvard University Press, 2002), Deborah L. Tolman complained that we've "desexualized girls' sexuality, substituting the desire for relationship and emotional connection for sexual feelings in their bodies." Recognizing that fact, theorists have used the concept of desire as a way to undo the double standard that applauds a guy for his lust, calling him a player, and shames a girl for hers, calling her a slut."
- Albury, Kath; Crawford, Kate (18 May 2012). "Sexting, consent and young people's ethics: Beyond Megan's Story". Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 26 (3): 463–473. doi:10.1080/10304312.2012.665840. "Certainly the individualizing admonishment to 'think again' offers no sense of the broader legal and political environment in which sexting might occur, or any critique of a culture that requires young women to preserve their 'reputations' by avoiding overt demonstrations of sexual knowingness and desire. Further, by trading on the propensity of teenagers to feel embarrassment about their bodies and commingling it with the anxiety of mobiles being ever present, the ad becomes a potent mix of technology fear and body shame."
- Jessica Ringrose (21 August 2012). Postfeminist Education?: Girls and the Sexual Politics of Schooling. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-136-25971-5. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Denise Du Vernay. Feminism, Sexism, and the Small Screen. p. 163-182. in Joseph J. Foy; Timothy M. Dale (24 April 2013). Homer Simpson Ponders Politics: Popular Culture as Political Theory. University Press of Kentucky. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-8131-4151-0. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- Emily Bazelon (19 February 2013). Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. Random House Publishing Group. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-679-64400-2. Retrieved 16 May 2013. Emphasis in original.
- Belisa Vranich, Psy.D.; Holly Eagleson (1 July 2010). Boys Lie: How Not to Get Played. HCI. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7573-1364-6. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- McCormack, Clare; Prostran, Nevena (2012). "Asking for It". International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (3): 410–414. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.699777.
- Ringrose, Jessica; Renold, Emma (October 2011). "Slut-shaming, girl power and 'sexualisation': thinking through the politics of the international SlutWalks with teen girls". Gender and Education 24 (3): 333–343. doi:10.1080/09540253.2011.645023.
- SlutWalk Toronto
- Ball, Krystal (3 February 2012). "Boycott Rush". The Blog. Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 December 2012. "This type of despicable behavior is part and parcel of a time-worn tradition of Slut-Shaming. When women step out line, they are demeaned and degraded into silence. If you say Herman Cain sexually harassed you, you are a slut. If you say Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed you, you are a slut."
- Legge, Nancy J.; DiSanza, James R.; Gribas, John; Shiffler, Aubrey (2012). ""He sounded like a vile, disgusting pervert..." An Analysis of Persuasive Attacks on Rush Limbaugh During the Sandra Fluke Controversy". Journal of Radio & Audio Media 19 (2): 173–205. doi:10.1080/19376529.2012.722468. "It is also possible that the Limbaugh incident has turned "slut-shaming," or other similar attacks on women, into a "Devil-term." It may be possible that Limbaugh's insults were so thoroughly condemned that he and others (such as Bill Maher) will have a more difficult time insulting women who are not virgins, or attacking them in other sexist ways."