Saying No to Slut Shaming

English: Photo of a page from The Asylum For W...

English: Photo of a page from The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past weekend my sixteen year old daughter found some girls of similar age to hang out with at a group camp out we attended.  The youngest of the set, who I believe was thirteen, has lived a somewhat adventurous life. One of the older girls, upon hearing the thirteen year old’s exploits, started in with the slut shaming.

“What kind of girl are you? You shouldn’t even know about that kind of stuff at your age!”

The others requested that the attacker lay off with the slut shaming, and when she wouldn’t, they ditched her. Makes this mama proud. Not the ditching part; I think it’s as hard to adjust people’s behavior by shunning as it is by shaming. The good was that the group as a whole sheltered the thirteen year old from, as my daughter put it, judgmental bullying. Instead they took the younger girl under their wing and kept her out of trouble. They showed her that at least for that camp out, she didn’t have to be sexy for the boys to have fun and be accepted. They also showed her that just because she made some unwise choices in the past doesn’t mean she’s “ruined” or unlikable or unacceptable.

Young women have impossible messages thrown at them by society and the media. Miley is naked in her latest video, and a superstar, while Amanda gets bullied even in death. Even “good” girls are taught that it’s their main job to be attractive to males. You can’t just be a rocket scientist, ladies. You’ve got to be a sexy rocket scientist with cute shoes! But don’t act too “slutty” while attracting that man!! Oh, and have this magazine from the grocery store telling you how to do all the sex things!

I hope that some day, at some future event, my daughter and her friends will meet the judgmental girl again and find a way to include her in their group as well. She also doesn’t deserve to be punished forever for a lapse in behavior. Her intentions were probably good even if her approach and communication style wasn’t.  We’ll only get through this if we stick together and stick up for each other. For now, I’m calling this mission partially accomplished, at least for a couple of days.

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