COLUMN: This Pink Shirt Day, let’s stop with the slut-shaming

It’s the 21st century version of ‘witch,’ our columnist writes

Today we are going to talk about sluts.

Everyone paying attention?

There’s a secret about sluts.

Shhhhhh.

Get real close so you can hear.

There is no such thing as a slut.

Sluts don’t exist.

A slut is a myth.

The reason we are talking about sluts is Pink Shirt Day – an event that encourages people of all ages to stop and think about bullying, how to prevent it and eradicate it from our schools and our communities.

When it comes to bullying girls and women, there are few missiles as effective as the word slut.

Let’s just strip that label down. (And who doesn’t enjoy a romp along the fascinating trail of feminist etymology?)

Slut was first used as an adjective in the fourteenth century by Chaucer. It’s in Canterbury Tales and “sluttish” describes the slovenly appearance of a man.

Uh huh. The first slut was a Lord.

Later the word attached itself to women, but always in reference to untidy housekeeping.

True story. If you’ve seen my bedroom floor or the backseat of my car you know I am a first-class slut, circa 1400 and something.

For the last couple of centuries the word slut has been reserved to attack a woman’s moral character and sexual behaviour.

But it’s not real, it’s just noise, and there is no such thing.

Calling a woman a slut today is no different than throwing out the accusation “witch” in 1690 Salem.

It’s a word used to shut a woman down, because for whatever reason she threatens people.

Maybe she dresses differently, or speaks her mind, or just goes her own way and makes her own choices.

Of course witches weren’t real either. But that didn’t stop the women from being burned at the stake.

Now, we roast them on social media.

There’s research documenting the painful outcomes for many women who attract the slut-designation early in life, because they buy in. They give the word power.

Those include lack of success in education and career, addiction and abusive relationships.

Many years ago I published the newspaper in my hometown of Paris, Ontario.

The company, in a shrewd business deal, purchased an enormous and basically falling-down building smack on the main street for that purpose.

It was four storeys and at one time housed the YMCA, community centre, and gymnasium.

It’s where I played basketball once, and went to Brownie meetings.

While poking around in the basement one afternoon, looking for treasure, I stumbled (actually stumbled) over a large chunk of plaster that had broken off from a wall in the old public washrooms.

The graffiti on it read: For a good time call Andrea, 442-6127 SLUT.

Funny, how seeing the phone number from the house you grew up in can occasion such a visceral reaction.

Stood there in that frigid, moldy place for a long time, wondering if the artifact was worth framing.

The bathroom wall is a lot bigger now, as it encompasses Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

There is no such thing as a slut.

If someone calls you a slut, refuse delivery.

If that doesn’t make you feel better, pull out your wand, cast a spell and turn that person into a toad.

READ MORE: #MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna Warriors look for 2nd win in Merritt

The Warriors’ hope to improve their 1-4 start to the season Friday night

Kelowna police officer cleared in cyclist collision

Police officer was off-duty when he hit cyclist who had used heroin earlier in the evening

Prospera and Westminster credit unions approved for proposed merger

Abbotsford- and Surrey-based companies now take matter to membership vote

End of summer celebration taking over popular Kelowna brewery

BNA Brewing hosts the Summer End event Sunday

Christopher Raymond Derickson elected new chief of Westbank First Nation

Westbank First Nation members elected Derickson Thursday night

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

RDOS to study sites for composting facility

Penticton and Okanagan Falls landfills will be examined

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Shuswap elementary school suspends operations due to ‘musty odour’

Arrangements made for affected Sicamous students to attend class in three other schools

Summerland grocery store offers warm atmosphere, community service

Nesters Market has been involved in numerous initiatives within Summerland

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

Codling moths remain a problem for Okanagan apple growers

Problem areas for pest include Summerland, Penticton and Naramata

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen works to control mosquito populations

Control efforts in the region have been starting earlier each year

PAW Patrol Live! adds third Penticton show due to pup-ular demand

Fans can now see the heroic pooches at three different showtimes at the SOEC

Most Read