Regarding the Slut

Slut Graffiti

Listen, mes amis, if you want to throw around the word slut to cast aspersions on someone who isn’t, you know, a virgin martyr like me, could you at least learn the history of the word? Like, what it really means?

From The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language:

Slut. noun (slʌt)

Slut Graffiti
(Image Source: Flickr, Joel Gillman)
  1. A woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance;
  2. A kitchen maid; a drudge;
  3. A troublesome or awkward creature;
  4. A woman of low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade;
  5. In playful use, without any serious imputation of bad qualities.

Is there anything in this definition that says “sex”? Not directly, no.

Could “dirty habits” or “loose character” suggest sexual meanings? Sure it could.

Could it mean something else entirely? Something not about sex? Mais oui!

“But what the foutre else”—if you’ll pardon my French—”could ‘dirty habits’ mean if it doesn’t mean sex, Joan?” I can almost hear you asking.

So many foutre-ing things you don’t even know, SO GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE DAMN GUTTER with your “dirty habits must mean sex.” Mon Dieu. Maybe she doesn’t do her laundry right away. Or maybe she doesn’t sweep and mop the floor to the point of compulsive pathology. She might be “low” because she’s a lower-working class woman like a “kitchen maid” who has to “drudge” through her life earning her own living. You know, scraping by? With a sense of self-preservation? What a horrific thought! A woman who can provide for herself WITHOUT A MAN!

So how about this: maybe she’s an “impudent girl” who is “troublesome” because she isn’t conforming to prescribed notions of what it means to be a woman.

And sometimes, yeah, maybe she also just really likes to do it. So what? SO SLUT!

Slutty Behavior
(Image Source: Flickr, Max Sparber)

My main point here has two prongs (not unlike the toasting forks Les Anglaises used to skewer my barbecued corpse):

  • “Slut” does NOT mean “morally bankrupt vacuum vag.” So STOP using the word like that’s what it literally means. Because it so doesn’t mean that. Literally. At all.
  • “Slut” DOES connote a woman who is impudent, which means she disobeys when jerkwads try to tell her what to do with herself. She will fuck up your expectations, and she will throw a mess of used menstrual gear in the face of the patriarchy. A slut doesn’t play by those rules anymore.

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