Slut – A single word to make a girl feel uncomfortable and a single word to vilify her. But now ask yourself if you know such a word for a man? We talk about gender equality but don’t think once before calling a boy cool when he boasts of his sexual prowess. On the other hand, a girl would be called a slut, even if she’s a bit more amiable with her male friends. So what is Slut Shaming? Slut Shaming refers to criticizing women and girls for their way of living if it doesn’t match to the societal expectations.  And it is not just limited to men behaving this way even women are also party to it.

But the thing to ponder upon is, who created these expectations? Or who did ink the rules that our society shouts at the girls? The fact is societal diktats were created by men in power, and it can be substantiated by the fact that there are hardly any equivalent rules for men as compared to the innumerable ones for women. Slut shaming is one of them.

Judged and then Shamed

The biggest problem when it comes to girls is that if they feel hesitant to express their thoughts, they’ll be considered as irrelevant and if they get too engrossed, they’ll be called slutty. If a girl refrains from wearing western dresses or talking boldly, she would be judged. And if a girl decides to dress according to herself and even sit comfortably, she’s judged and labelled. Sadly, if a girl wants to report inappropriate behaviour the society will tell her that she asked for it.
We would all recall how as soon as Tanushree Dutta went public with her accusations of harassment against Nana Patekar, people began questioning her “character”. Saying why the actress who agreed to do “bold scenes” in films like Aashiq Banaya Aapne was creating such a fuss over some inappropriate touching.

Slut Shaming in Education Sector

“I still remember the sudden change in our professor’s behaviour when he came to know about our group. Our group had both boys and girls in it. The way we used to hang out, there was nothing wrong with it. But our professor had a problem with it. He didn’t like girls talking to boys. According to him, boys bring distraction in a girl’s life. But the saddening fact was that it was us, the girls who were judged. My friends were made to call their parents for sitting with the boys in the class. The boys, however, were told nothing,” says a 21-year-old female student, from a college in Kanpur, who wanted to remain anonymous.

What is disheartening is that even if we are collectively wrong, the onus of the behaviour is on the girls only.

Slut Shaming and Social Media

It has become even easier to slut shame a girl in the world of social media. The practice of slut-shaming which was limited to the physical appearance of the girls has now expanded to the number of male friends she has, or what kind of pictures she puts on her social media profiles. A girl getting many comments on her photos by her male friends can be very easily called a slut.
This is also not just restricted to young girls, numerous female actors have been slut-shamed by the netizens for posting their pictures online.
Back in 2017, Dangal Actress Fatima Sana Shaikh was roasted first for posting a picture in a bikini during a holiday subsequently she got trolled again for posting a picture in a saree.
We are living in the 21st century, drawing a connection between what the girl is wearing and what her character is, seems to be puerile now. This tendency to question the woman’s character at every instance in a society which boasts of equal rights to all its members is unacceptable. Slut shaming takes a toll on the mental health of the survivor, it about time we as individuals start behaving more responsibly and callout such behaviour around us both in the online and the offline world.
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv
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