THE BLOG
09/05/2014 06:37 BST | Updated 08/07/2014 06:59 BST

What Is a Slut?

Slut is a word that is so often used in society. But what is it? How many people have actually really thought about what they mean when they say it? Most might think of it as relating only to a woman which is sexist for one thing - like men couldn't be something but a woman can! It works both ways. Secondly, it is used to relate to a woman's promiscuity - that she sleeps with lots of men. But where in law is that deemed to be wrong? It is seen to be morally okay in general for a man to go around sleeping with lots of girls and is considered medal worthy.

Society seems to see something wrong with a woman enjoying sex and having sexual partners. For doing this, the woman is labelled a slut for her 'actions'. It is a very derogatory term that is slung about as commonplace as 'your so gay' (spelling intended). In looking up online dictionary definitions there are also associations with uncleanliness: so every woman who has sex is dirty ... literally? So a guy is clean? Just think about that idea. It's ludicrous isn't it?!

There is a third suggestion of a 'lack of morals'. So to have sex, one of the most basic needs for the human race to continue, along with eating and breathing, is immoral? There we have another problem with social perceptions: that sex is something that is bad. When girls are given the opportunity to have a back up to unprotected sex, in the form of the emergency contraceptive pill, this has been described as a gateway drug to promiscuity according to Jeremy Hunt. Like girls having sex with people is an issue and that there is a certain number of partners that is ordained as acceptable but beyond that lies the slutty and promiscuous girl that Nelly Furtado warned us about. Do people really need the newsflash that women like sex too and should actually be allowed to enjoy it?

The weird part, to me, is that some celebrity women who have many sexual partners not scrutinised negatively for their actions. So how do they 'get away with it?' Maybe they appear more groomed and don't actually enjoy the sex so it's okay. There is also an assumption that it is always heterosexual intercourse, adding another layer of prejudice to the term too. A girl who has sex with lots of men is a slut but if it's with women then it's 'hot' and clearly different in principle. That makes sense!!!

So the next time you use the word 'slut', do think, 'why is it bad that she is having consensual sex with men she is attracted to?' Is it jealousy that drives people to say it? A lack of understanding? If the woman, or man, is having protected sex with consenting partners, then where is the harm? My favourite quote is from Urban Dictionary: 'since most people would rather women be MORE sexually active than less, slut shaming is counterproductive to the aims of most men and quite a few ladies.'

'Slut-shaming' needs to be addressed as part of efforts to diminish the everyday sexism that is endemic in Britain. Challenge your peers and make a positive change as it is most definitely a form of verbal harassment. If you have said it in the past and now want to change, that is allowed. You don't have to be perfect. Might be worth a few apologies however. Learning from mistakes is what humans do: or at least they should. Slut-shaming is shameful.