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Slut and Misogyny

March 10, 2012

Is the use of the term “slut” misogynistic?  Seems we need to define each before answering.  “Slut” commonly understood is a woman of low sexual morals or a promiscuous woman.  Thus “slut,” the root of which refers to being physically dirty, refers to the metaphorically dirtiness of woman who sleeps around.  Seems like the connection is not too stretched.  The risks of contracting venereal disease are dramatically increased the more a woman sleeps around with or without prophylatics.  Thus a promiscous woman is more likely to have contracted VD at some point and is more likely to be dirty even in a physical sense as well as moral. 

Misogyny is simply hate or disrespect of the womanly gender.  Men, and even women, can be misogynists.  The point is misogynists don’t like femininity, which is per se an irrational hate.  It is a type of prejudice. 

The question then is whether calling a woman a slut proceeds from hate of her gender.  As with any judgment of this sort when it comes to a particular case, it is hard to say yes or no without having a window into the heart of the person calling the woman a slut.  But sometimes the context in which the word is used may be enough to form a judgment about person, such as this blog has done regarding Jon Stewart.  Stewart stated in essence that a woman is really nothing more than a tool to get a man sexually satisfied when he made the crudest of statements ridiculing Christine O’Donnell.  (Oh, he was just joking you say? Well then I guess so am I.)  Reducing  a woman to a glorified masturbatory tool is a rejection, and therefore disrespect, of womanity. 

But what if you call a woman a slut because she in fact admits to sleeping around and somehow seeks to justify her lack of morality?  Is calling a woman a name that in fact is designed to shame her because she misuses her feminity a misogynistic remark?  In other words, is calling a woman a name in order to point out that her actions harm herself and her gender a misogynistic remark?  What if you call a man a coward who runs from every fight and then tries to justify his actions?  Is that misandrynistic?  Or how about a man who hops from one bed to another a philanderer?  Is that somehow a prejudiced remark?

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