A Speech Against Slut-Shaming By A 14-Year-Old Girl

A 14-year-old British student recently presented a speech on slut-shaming and sexual double standards which caused multiple boys in her class to walk out. Although what she said is nothing we haven’t heard before, that’s precisely the problem. Sexual bullying continues to go unchecked in schools around the world, and in too many cases leads to ostracism, rape, and suicide. So glad there’s a new generation of girls like Olivia Emin speaking up.

Slut, whore, slag, hoe, sket, and tramp are all words that are now casually used by students in schools. How many of you have been called a slut? How many of you have called someone else a slut?

Throughout history, the definition of the word slut has evolved. In the 17th century, it was used as slang for a kitchen maid, in reference to the hard knots of dough found in bread. (A notable use of this was in Samuel Pepys’ diary, where he described his kitchen maid as “an admirable slut who pleases us mightily doing better service than most the others and deserves better wages.”) The word slut then developed into slang for a young women who did not keep her room or house tidy. It wasn’t until around 1870 when the word slut became a deliberate attack on a woman. At that time, a place where someone put their trash was called a slut-hole. Now, the Urban Dictionary definition of a slut is a woman with the morals of a man.

We need to talk about slut-shaming today — the act of degrading or mocking a young woman or girl for being sexual, or putting her down for an outfit that is deemed overly provocative. Because slut-shaming can, and should, be stopped.

I first realized slut-shaming had become intolerable when I was collecting homework in class for my teacher. One of my male peers didn’t think twice to turn around and call me a slag. This confused me greatly. This hideous word rolled easily off his tongue in a nonchalant and blasĂ© manner.

I am a 14-year-old girl who has been called a slut on multiple occasions. So have several other girls in my school. Girls are shamed for being sexual, and shamed for not being sexual — they’re insulted regardless of what they do or what they don’t do. Meanwhile, a boy who professes to have had many sexual encounters is called a player. This is praise (or, at the very least, not insulting in the same way words like slut and prude are meant to be). There is an obvious double standard. My age group assumes that calling a young girl a slut or prude is OK; but it is not OK. It is shaming and demeaning.

We are smashing the confidence of young girls each and every time we stand by and let them be called sluts. When they grow up, this lack of confidence can cause young girls to be shy in their future relationships. Slut-shaming girls has got to stop.