Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slut Shaming Comes To Twitter: #youknowurahoeif

Slut shaming is an everyday event. Whether you turn on the television, or decide to surf the web, inevitably patriarchy will assert itself.  Everyday someone will start a ridiculous hastag game on twitter, that quickly becomes a part of trending topics.  Yesterdays was #youknowurahoeif. 

We claim that we are a liberated society, and some would even go as far as to say that it is obscenely permissive.  Ingrained within the images, music and literature, are often highly moralistic messages that border on being didactic. We have internalized these messages and constantly replay them discursively. 

In its bid to control the bodies of women, patriarchy has highly regulated sexuality.  Though a man is worth more than what his physical body represents, such recognition is often denied women.  The disciplining of sexuality represents a decided bid to pressure women into performing a submissive femininity.  It becomes an invisible eye, that is constantly judging behaviour in such a way as to leave woman constantly without any form of recognized agency or value.

In the recorded tweets below, you will see commentary from both men and women.  The fact that women participated in the slut shaming does not invalidate or reduce patriarchy's roles in this.  Just as any other large system (eg., racism or classism), patriarchy depends upon the collusion of those it seeks to marginalize.  When women act out in this manner, it is a manifestation of the internalization of  sexist ideals.  Such obvious misogyny does not benefit a single woman on the planet;  it all benefits masculinity.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Each day there is evidence of much cultural hate directed towards women and yet so many will claim that there is no need for feminism/womanism.  We are lead to believe that we live in a society in which all bodies are equal and yet the rampant shaming that women must endure, is rarely to never visited upon male bodies in this manner.  I am quite sure that some of these women would say I don’t believe in womanism/feminism but..

The round of slut shaming was played out as an innocent game.  We often use humour to convey damaging social messages, as a way to mask the cruelty that it inflicts.  If we denounce  said behaviour, we are accused of having no sense of humour.  It is an affront to challenge someone’s right to demean because it is seen as a challenge to power structures.  We are told instead to look away, as though not seeing the hatred lessens its impact when it is aimed at us.

There I was, tweeting the ridiculousness of my day, when once again I was reminded that to be  a woman is to be subject to constant discipline and shame.  Whether it is twitter or a weekend afternoon of mindless television, somewhere in the message will be a reminder that my body makes dirty and inherently less than.