Discussion - Hoe, or No?

January, 2017

On the 19th of January 2017, I attended a free talk with some friends hosted by the Almeida Theatre in East London, about women’s responses to derogatory words such as ‘hoe’, ‘slut’ and more. The purpose was to “discuss the trend of ‘slut shaming’ – where women are publically shamed for their perceived sexual identity or activity”. The panel was five women aged from 15-25, and hosted the interactive discussion on the themes of female rivalry and public image.

(Quote taken from their Facebook page event description).

We believe surrounding ourselves with the views of others can open our eyes to new ways of thinking. This thinking can filter down into artwork and more - we loved getting inspired by other women and men who attended the talk!

Here are Q + A’s I asked a few go-ers of the talk, post show, to hear what they had to say. I wanted to know whether they agreed with the panel, and what else they would add.

Do you think fashion plays a role in how we’re

There is so much liberation and freedom from wearing what you want to wear, but saying that, I do change my appearance when walking home alone for example. You don’t want to draw attention, and I think that’s so sad. Changing my appearance to avoid conflict or anything worse, I think takes power away from me in my liberation, and gives it to those who are keeping up the idea of ‘sluts’ and ‘asking for it’ AKA men.

You follow your idols – I copy celebrity culture a lot, and seeing people like Amber Rose and the Kardashians is cool because I see them and think they’re the boss because they’re doing whatever, and then other people copy it too and it’s getting more common, for sure. Just people owning their sexiness a lot more.

It’s not what you wear that makes you a ‘slut’. Fashion doesn’t really make a difference I don’t think. You’re called a ‘slut’, or a ‘thot’, for anything these days. Like one girl was saying in the talk, she was called a ‘thot’ just because she didn’t want to kiss a guy. He was rejected and then he immediately judged her and called her a slut, even though that doesn’t even make sense - that’s the opposite of what it’s ‘supposed’ to mean! I’ve been called it before as well in a similar situation; I was called me a tease for just talking to someone – I wasn’t even dressed up. I was wearing jeans. They use it to control you regardless.

Why are these words still so degrading, when we’re trying to re-claim it back?

Because there’s so much competition. You’re being looked down on by men – they want to feel bigger than you. If you’re not a housewife or a cleaner or in typical domestic roles, you’re seen as someone that needs controlling. Men use derogatory words to put you down, make you a ‘reliable’ girlfriend, someone they know won’t cheat because you aren’t sexually liberated. It’s still used mainly by men, I think, in a bad way.

Some girls call other girls ‘sluts’. It’s derogatory because although some people are trying to make it a cool thing, to relate it to someone who is super sexually aware of themselves… like the word ‘bitch’ has been reclaimed mostly. Girls call other girls a ‘bad ass bitch’ to mean they’re powerful and in control. But ‘slut’ and all the other words like it, are used by men but also women. It’s almost saying you can be intelligent and in control of things, but as soon as you’re sexual, you’re no longer respected. It’s just so easy, if someone does something to you, you can call them a ‘slut’ because it puts you on higher ground, makes you feel better. It’s saying, “I’m not a slut, because she’s so much worse” because they do X behaviour more than you do.
It’s a lot to do with culture and things like that, also your family’s views on sex and sexuality. If you’re in a strict household, then you’re going to have stricter views on it yourself, generally speaking. Families that are more open or talk about sex will probably see that it’s better for someone to experience sex in a positive way than to just avoid the conversation.

How has ‘slut-shaming’ effected you?

One of my friends was slut shamed in our school because she had a one night stand. I thought it was interesting that a girl in the panel said she had a great all girl school experience – it wasn’t like that in mine. Girls would try to be the most virgin, the most innocent. If you were more liberated, you had to keep it on the down-low. It’s different for men, you can brag about it. For some girls, maybe you can too, but from my experience you had to hide things like that growing up.
I am on the LGBTQ spectrum, and I think woman to woman it’s more celebrated, being sexually liberated. It’s a healthy thing, to explore your body. Being with someone who knows themselves makes things easier for you, and you’re able to have safer better sex. Maybe it’s seen as a positive thing when there aren’t men involved. My friend who is bi-sexual, was labelled a ‘slut’ by two gay men because she “wanted both”. Owning your sexuality; you’re seen as a threat or greedy, you can’t seem to win.

I think it’s funny what one of the panellists said about her frat party themes at college, they were like ‘Hunter and Hunted’ or something. It’s so true. At my university in England, we had the same things. They’d be ‘cop and prisoner’ themed, but the guys had to be the cops, and the girls the prisoners. It’s the same concept! Giving one gender more authority and control – why?! Why do we still go along with this idea, especially in establishments suposedly there to give you an education?

The talk ended with audience suggestions on what we can do next:

  • Teach younger people the value of sex in a positive and healthy way

  • Normalise sexual discussion with friends / family

  • Celebrate sex – lots / lack of / queer / straight

  • Remove fear surrounding sex – it’s not a scary thing that has to lead to disease, public shame and pregnancy

  • Get rid of rape culture by talking about it with boys and girls, (also periods while we’re at it!)

  • Discuss consent in schools and with your children

  • Reclaim the wording in order to get sexual behaviour public and positive

Find out what else the Almeida Theatre is up to ︎︎︎

SALE ITEMS: Laser Lippy, Who-Can? Toucan! pin, Introvert, Glammed Up, CUNT (both) & Hollywood

︎   ︎   ELLO

Environmentally and socially focused.
Get in touch for collaborations, projects and more!


© All My Plants Are Dead, 2018