Sexuality: a word that our society refuses to register in its vocabulary, let alone try to grasp the concept. Especially women in this country don’t have the agency to explore their sexuality, and to even say it out loud that they have sexual desires. Those who do are slut-shamed. In fact, many people think it is their duty to do so, so that women don’t “stray” and live by the code of conduct prescribed to womenkind by our orthodox society. Why are we so intimidated by sexually liberated women? Why are we okay with the use of slut-shaming as a weapon to silence them?

A stigma that refuses to die

Whether it’s a gang of girls speaking in hushed voices or a bunch of entitled guys name-calling and labelling women. Be it the aunties piling their gaze with judgement. Slut-shaming is everywhere and there is no way to escape it. Being in a relationship, flirting, hooking up for casual sex; the moment a woman walks away from the norms of society she becomes vulnerable to the slut stigma.

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The vicious cycle

The worst part here isn’t privileged men slut-shaming women, but women who bear the flag of orthodox beliefs, and judge those belonging to their own gender. “Character” is the biggest currency for women in our society. It comes handy when you want to get married, it gives you status, it makes you a “good” girl and it leads to your acceptance in society. All this name-calling and slut-shaming label a woman as “characterless” and as a result, she loses respect as well as the status in the society.

Being in a relationship, flirting, hooking up for casual sex; the moment a woman sidelines the norms of society she becomes vulnerable to the slut stigma.

Society’s double standards

Does society judge cis men by similar standards when it comes to sex and sexuality? No. Boys are boys, they’ll say and turn a blind eye towards what all they are doing. Every person, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation has the right to wear their sexuality on their sleeve and there should be no judgment for the same. It is their sexuality and so it makes it their choice. Why must morality only be wielded as per convenience and bias?

Every woman has the right to explore and experiment with her sexuality. It is her body, her choice.

There is a need for people to understand that having sexual desires is both common and natural. Speaking about your sexual desires or embracing them openly shouldn’t be a taboo. You shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for something that comes naturally to your mind and body.

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If a woman wears whatever she wants to wear, talks openly about her sex life or has had several relationships in the past, it doesn’t make her a slut or someone who is “asking for it.” It just means that she is open about it and would rather live her life on her own terms and be happy, than follow social norms and stay unhappy. If a woman owning her sexuality means defying cultural standards and expectations then it is essential for us to get our cultural standards and expectation right.

Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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