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Slut-shaming is the practice of criticizing women and girls who are perceived to violate expectations of behavior and appearance regarding issues related to sexuality. Examples are violating dress code policies by dressing in perceived sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control, having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, engaging in prostitution, or when being victim blamed for being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted.
Definitions and characteristics
Slut-shaming involves criticizing women for their transgression of accepted codes of sexual conduct, i.e., admonishing them for behavior, attire or desires that are more sexual than society finds acceptable.
Slut-shaming is used by men and women. Slut-shaming functions among women as a way of sublimating sexual jealousy "into a socially acceptable form of social critique of girls' sexual expression." The term is also used to describe victim blaming for rape and other sexual assault. This is done by stating the crime was caused (either in part or in full) by the woman wearing revealing clothing or acting in a sexually provocative manner, before refusing consent to sex, thereby absolving the perpetrator of guilt. Sexually lenient individuals can be at risk of social isolation.
Researchers from Cornell University found that similar sentiments appeared in nonsexual, same-sex friendship context as well. The researchers had college women read a vignette describing an imaginary female peer, "Joan", then rate their feelings about her personality. To one group of women, Joan was described as having two lifetime sexual partners; to another group, she had had twenty partners. The study found that women—even women who were more promiscuous themselves—rated the Joan with 20 partners as "less competent, emotionally stable, warm, and dominant than the Joan who'd only boasted two".
In the media
The SlutWalk protest march had its origins in Toronto in response to an incident when a Toronto Police officer told a group of students that they could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like "'sluts'". Amber Rose's second annual walk in Los Angeles in 2016 had "several hundred" participants. A similar event occurred in Washington DC in 2014.
Krystal Ball characterized the comments of Rush Limbaugh during the Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke controversy as follows: "If you are a woman who stands up for your rights, you are a slut and your parents should be ashamed of you and we should all have the right to view your sex tapes online. This type of despicable behavior is part and parcel of a time-worn tradition of Slut-Shaming."
Slut-shaming has been used as a form of bullying on social media, with some people using revenge pornography tactics to spread intimate photos without consent. In 2012, a California teenager, Audrie Pott, was sexually assaulted by three boys at a party. She committed suicide eight days after photos of her being assaulted were distributed among her peer group.
James Miller, editor-in-chief, for the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada wrote a controversial article defending slut shaming. The article was later taken down, but still received criticism from some libertarians, such as Gina Luttrell of Thoughts on Liberty, an all-female libertarian blog.
Comedians Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fischer of Sorry About Last Night host a podcast entitled “Guys We F****d, The Anti-slut shaming podcast”. This podcast has over 200,000 listeners on each episode that is on SoundCloud. iTunes originally did not make the podcast available and "...would not comment on whether the show is subject to an official ban,"  but has since been made available on iTunes.  The podcast exists to de-stigmatize discussing sex so that slut-shaming becomes less of an issue, Hutchinson explains in an interview with The Huffington Post: “We want to make people feel more comfortable in their own skin. We just got a message from a girl from New Delhi, India, about how she loves the podcast because it makes her feel like it’s OK to be comfortable with your sexuality and enjoy sex. And that made me so happy.” 
Slut-shaming is prevalent on social media platforms, including YouTube and Facebook. “[T]he medium [of YouTube] is increasingly being used to attack and malign female reputations and criticize female sexual behavior.” Slut-shaming has occurred on Facebook in controversial exchanges between users that have resulted in convictions to menace, harrass and cause offence. School dress codes can be a form of slut shaming.
Activism against slut-shaming takes place worldwide. Participants have covered their bodies in messages reading "Don't Tell Me How to Dress" and "I am not a slut but I like having consensual sex" and march under a giant banner with the word slut on it. Activism has occurred in Vancouver, New York City, Rio, Jerusalem, Hong Kong and others.
In 2008, hundreds of South African women protested the local taxi rank wearing miniskirts and t-shirts that read, "Pissed-OffWomen." after a taxi driver and multiple hawkers confronted a young girl about wearing a short denim miniskirt and penetrated her with their fingers, calling her "slut" repeatedly. Protesters wanted to make their message clear; they wanted men to stop harassing women no matter how short their skirts were and that no matter how short it may be, it is never an invitation.
After the gang rape of an unconscious sixteen year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, August 2012, football players spread videos of the assault to other classmates whom some of which posted the videos to Twitter and Instagram. The pictures and video were later removed by authorities, however that didn't stop people from hash-tagging "Whore status" or "I have no sympathy for whores" on their tweets. Members of the collective Anonymous reported names of the rapists and classmates who spread the footage to local authorities. They took to the streets and internet requesting help from the community to bring justice to the Jane Doe who was raped. 
Members of The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company have developed a play, Slut: The Play, in which they address the damaging impact of slut-shaming and slut culture. The creators note that their play "is a call to action – a reminder" that slut-shaming is happening every day, almost everywhere. "Slut" is inspired by real-life experiences of 14- to 17-year-old girls from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. The play was shown at the 2013 New York Fringe Festival.
In her statement on the production, and of slut-shaming in general, author of Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, Leora Tanenbaum writes: "A teenage girl today is caught in an impossible situation. She has to project a sexy image and embrace, to some extent, a 'slutty' identity. Otherwise, she risks being mocked as an irrelevant prude. But if her peers decide she has crossed an invisible, constantly shifting boundary and has become too 'slutty,' she loses all credibility. Even if she was coerced into sex, her identity and reputation are taken from her. Indeed, the power to tell her own story is wrested from her. The Arts Effect's SLUT written by Katie Cappiello vividly represents this irrational, harmful, terrible circumstance...This play is the most powerful and authentic representation of the sexual double standard I have ever seen."
After experiencing slut-shaming first-hand, Olivia Melville, Paloma Brierly Newton and approximately a dozen other Australian women founded the organization, Sexual Violence Won’t Be Silenced, on August 25, 2015. The association seeks to raise awareness of cyber-bullying and online sexual violence. The founders also launched a petition to the Australian government, requesting that they better train and educate law enforcement officers on how to prevent and punish violent harassment on social media.
Among gay men
Some gay rights activists have said that environments which have bottom-shaming are more likely to lead to gay men engaging in practices which lead to increased rates of HIV infection.
- Honor killing
- Madonna–whore complex
- Post-assault treatment of sexual assault victims
- Sexual bullying
- Victim blaming
- Lamb, Sharon (27 June 2008). "The 'Right' Sexuality for Girls". Chronicle of Higher Education. 54 (42): B14–B15. ISSN 0009-5982. (Subscription required (. ))
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.
- 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.
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- Chateauvert, Melinda (2014-02-07). Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to Slutwalk. Beacon Press. p. 49. ISBN 9780807061398.
It encouraged women to be angry about whore stigma and slut shaming for pursuing sexual pleasure or trading sex for money
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- Chateauvert, Melinda (2014-01-07). Sex Workers Unite: A History of the Movement from Stonewall to SlutWalk. Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807061404.
Slut-shaming implies that victims of sex violence "asked for it" because they were sexually promiscuous or dressed provocatively.
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- Monica Lewinsky’s return and the sexism 2.0 of political scandals
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