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slut shaming

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about how the amount of sexual partners someone has had can impact their current or future relationships. 

The conversation got started when a Spin 1038 listener contacted the radio show about his girlfriend, complaining that he found her number too high and asking for advice on this issue. 

The comment section on the corresponding Facebook post was completely going off, with most commentators advising that the man told his girlfriend how he felt so that she could dump him for being close minded.

Some people expressed that they found the girlfriends number too high, but most pointed out that if the boyfriend had a male friend with that many sexual conquests, he would probably be getting high fives from the boyfriend, rather than being shamed.

This points out the distinct double standards that can exist when it comes to male and female sexuality, but also proves that plenty of people think that the 'number' is obsolete in todays' society.

Now, new research has arrived to back up this anecdotal evidence.

A study by DrEd found that when it comes to the number, the majority of people don't think it makes a blind bit of difference. 

In fact, according to a poll of 1000 people, 52pc of men and 59pc of women held no preconceptions about the number of former partners someone had, and felt that it made no difference to the sexual encounter whatsoever. 

However, 40pc of European men thought that the more partners someone had, the better the sex would be.  Only 8pc of both genders thought that the encounter would be worse due to the previous amount of sexual partners their current partner had, according to the Lying Beneath The Sheets study. 

However when it comes to discussing their number, the social stigma attached to having lots of sexual partners has led some to feel shame for their sexual experiences. 

18pc of European men think their number is too high, along with 30pc of women, the study found. 

The study also found that women are more likely to report feeling ashamed by their sexual history 'when in reality, the physical and emotional perks of sex can benefit everyone.'

A further 30pc of women feel that their number is average.

74pc of women are honest about their previous experience, however 22pc feel pressured to undersell their number by 10 partners or more. 

24pc of men also feel the need to undersell their number by 10 partners or more, so maybe we should all just be being honest about our number as it seems that roughly the same amount of men and women are underselling their number by the same amount, according to the data found in the study poll. 

Despite this, people polled in the study also told researchers they 'had an idea – both a minimum and maximum – for the number of people they felt it was OK to have slept with.'

 reaction arrested development eye roll eyeroll over it GIF

When probed, men in their 20s said they thought 7 people was too many for a woman to have slept with, while women thought 10 was too many for a man to have slept with. 

Frankly, as long as both partners enjoyed safe and consensual sex, who the heck cares about how many people they have been with?

Perhaps it's time to shake off the social stigma and choose to be accepting of people's sexual choices, no matter how many or few they make. 

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When you logged onto Facebook this morning, you were probably met with the usual slew of holiday photos, LadBible memes and news videos of whatever tricks Trump is pulling at the moment. 

Nestled among the conveyer belt of videos that beat the algorithm to end up on my feed this morning was a video entitled 'She's a Slut.'

Initially, I assumed that this satirical video by singer Chloe Adams would have some kind of edgy but ultimately empowering message about reclaiming the term, but alas, I was wrong. 

The song, which describes the social dismissal of a woman due to her sexual history, is expressed with a bubbly veneer. 

The issue with the sickly sweet, smiling, hair flipping manner in which this song is performed is that it disguises the horrible words that are being sung with a veil of pop princess acceptability. 

If this song had been sang by a man, the outrage brigade would have been on the scene immediately, sirens blaring. 

As a person that some would consider a member of the feminist outrage brigade, here I am. 

Just because the singer is a woman, making a 'joke' about the sexual experience of her ex-boyfriend's new partner doesn't mean she should be able to get away with using these words to deprecate others. 

Chloe Adams is clearly a musical talent, but no matter how hard she tries to shield this song under a safety net of banter and sarcasm, the truth is that the song is problematic. 

It reinforces tired old stereotypes of women hating one another due to the diverting affections of men, and worst of all, it shows that in some cases, years of progress made in the area of the acceptance of female sexuality are not as concrete as one would hope. Slut shaming 101.

Men and women alike are free to explore their sexuality with as many or as few sexual partners as they choose, and belittling and dehumanising a person to the long standing and often unshakeable label of 'slut' stems from the judgemental rhetoric which sees women shunned from society due to promiscuity. 

We all remember that girl in secondary school, who kissed the wrong boy at a disco or went further than the socially accepted standard of sexuality, and was the school slut for the rest of eternity.

We've all seen 13 Reasons Why, and know exactly what that label can do the a person's sense of self worth. 

While slut and whore are not gendered terms, men can be marked with the label too, they are most often used to degrade female-identifying individuals.

The Facebook post tagline even encouraged people to associate their local slut with the video: 'Tag A Friend If This Reminds You Of Anyone!' 

'I saw her on social media – In a skirt way above the knee,' the singer chimes, reinforcing the untrue belief that what a woman wears is essentially the measure of her promiscuity. 

Objectifying any woman is fundamentally wrong, but to hear it from another woman is disastrously damaging, as it gives others a form of permission to have those kinds of thoughts themselves. 

While Chloe herself has taken to the comments to insist that this song is a joke, the majority of the commenters on the video, which has now been viewed over 186,000 times, are tagging friends saying things like 'I can think of someone like this,' proving that while Chloe's intentions might have been for it to be a joke, en mass slut shaming is the result. 

Frankly, how much longer can the juvenile 'banter' excuse continue to mask reoccurring issues surrounding the perception of women in society, and in this case, by other women?

Feature image: Facebook screenshot / Chloe Adams

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Made In Chelsea star and model Ashley James has taken to Instagram to discuss the issue of slut shaming and body confidence. 

The model opened up about an incident in which she was en route to an event when the driver of the taxi she was in turned around and took a photo of her cleavage on his phone.

The disturbing incident made the 30-year-old feel ashamed, insecure, and 'cheap.'

 

A post shared by Ashley James (@ashleylouisejames) on

'Let's talk about body confidence. Tonight someone said to me that they really enjoy the fact that I'm open and accepting of my body,' she began in the Instagram caption.

'It was kind of ironic because tonight, on the way to DJ for the @bouxavenue lingerie event, my cabbie turned around and took a photo of my boobs.'

'I was already quite uncomfortable with my outfit, and then I was made to feel like a cheap whore. I succumbed to the slut shaming, broke down in tears, and then got changed at the event into something that didn't feel me.'

 

A post shared by Ashley James (@ashleylouisejames) on

'Later, I realised I'd allowed some sexist arsehole dictate how I should feel about my NATURAL GOD-GIVEN body so I got changed again.'

'The road to body acceptance and confidence is hard, which is why I thought I'd share this story with you, but I'm trying,' she finished.

The stunning Londoner has previously discussed body confidence and self love on her page, proving just how easy it is to fake before and after photos.

 

A post shared by Ashley James (@ashleylouisejames) on

'We can all feel beautiful or ugly in photos depending on the right angles and lights, just like me in these two images, which were taken 2 seconds apart. Why do we all do this to ourselves?' she said at the time.

The horrible, scary incident truly highlights how some people feel that they can treat women any way they want based on the way they are dressed.

Let's say it one more time, people: Clothes do not give consent!

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There is nothing quite like being a woman on social media to make you glaringly aware of sexism and slut shaming.

There is a particularly high level of policing when it comes to female nipples, which are seen as sexual additions to a woman's body rather than the milk-secreting organs that they are. 

Female nipples have always been hyper sexualised, and a new Twitter post seemed to prove this, causing a lot of controversy. 

One user tweeted a snap featuring two images of women who were attending festivals with their nipples visible through their shirts. 

One image was of Instagarm model Bernice Burgos, the other was of Amber Rose's pal Paloma Ford, who is known for freeing the nipple with no shame over her body and the societal constraints placed upon it. 

'So I guess see-through shirts with ya nipples showing is the wave for you females this summer huh?' he said in the caption. 

Luckily, one clued-up 16-year-old hit back at the perceived criticism in the best possible way. 

Taking to the Twitter replies, she said 'yuh and I guess wearing no shirt with ya nipples out been the wave for you males for..forever. we just joining the wave y'all been on.' (sic) 

Her tweet was met with a series of others supporting her words, and pointing out the issues with the post. 

'Nobody is complaining lol I think this look is actually (fire emoji) if done right. Was just trying to see if this was the wave for summer 17,' said the lad who originally sent the tweet after it went viral. 

While he cleared up the fact that he meant no offence, the post caused an avalanche of open conversation

However, there were quite a few slut-shamers crawling out of the woodwork. 

'Only real classy women understand that classy is when a woman has everything to flaunt but chooses not to show it. That's just my opinion,' said one (male) Twitter user.

His tweet was met with a series of responses telling him precisely what he could do with his opinion.

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When I was nine, I was called a ‘slut’ by a boy about a year older than me.

I was making my way past him and his equally gormless friend when he said it.

“Sluh”, he hissed.

I remember pausing momentarily and looking at him in bewilderment before abruptly continuing towards the playing field at the side of the school.

I didn’t tell anyone – for no other reason than I didn’t deem it interesting enough – but I did mull it over for a few days.

And another 20 years.

I remember wondering what it was that made him say it to me.

Did he know what it meant?

Did I even know what it meant?

Who was he repeating and wasn’t he scared he’d get in trouble if a teacher heard him?

At the age of nine, I had – unsurprisingly – no experience of boys except in a platonic sense, so eventually I came to the conclusion that his decision to utter that particular word came down to one of two things.

It was either what I was wearing – a pair of navy Umbro shorts and a vest top.

Or how I was walking – I had recently heard Geri Halliwell use the word ‘strut’ so I was attempting – and no doubt failing – to embody my ginger idol.

I spent the rest of the day pulling at the hem of my shorts and berating myself for not choosing longer ones that morning.

At the age of nine and coming to the end of third class, my understanding of the word slut was unsurprisingly limited.

What I had gleaned, however, was that it worked as a way to describe girls who strayed outside the lines.

If we're talking colouring books, these ladies were total Mavericks.

I had, further to this, established that certain clothes were off-limits to me and particular behaviour was off-limits to girls in general.

So, with the benefits of third class Maths and less than a decade on this planet, I put two and two together, and came to the conclusion that I had overstepped the mark in one of these two ways.

Hand-me-downs from girls my age or older – which often found their way into our home in a black bin liner which signalled more excitement than Christmas morning –  were often scrutinised,  and regularly deemed ‘unsuitable’ for me.

Too short. Too grown-up. Too strappy.

And there were things that the boys in my family could do which simply weren’t an option for us girls.

The summer before, I had spent a fortnight abroad with my family, and inspired by both the sickening heat and the boys I was playing with, I decided to bite the bullet and ditch my top.

Positioning my elbows into the hem of my Snoopy T-shirt, I hoisted it upwards only to be told that ‘little girls keep their tops on with their shorts’.

Oh, it’s grand for the boys, but the girls were going to have to spontaneously combust before they could get away with it.

In the grand scheme of things, I was treated the same as my brother and male classmates, but I was aware – on some level – that there was an onus on girls, from a very young age, to consider how they were perceived by the outside world.

Certain clothes and behaviour were indicative of how you might come across to others, but from what I could see – and here is the important part – this only applied if you were female.

I have no memory of my brother’s wardrobe being the subject of debate in my family home, nor do I ever recall him being prevented from doing something because it wasn’t gentlemanly.

He was a young lad, he didn’t need to be gentlemanly; he was just having the craic, sure.

But have too much craic as a girl, and you teeter perilously close to the realm of the unladylike.

At nine, I knew the word ‘slut’ wasn’t a good thing.

I knew it was used as an insult, and I knew there wasn’t a hope of that boy getting the Friday Taz bar if I bothered pulling on a jacket sleeve and spilling all to a teacher.

And yet, despite knowing all of this, I questioned myself instead of questioning him.

My thought process focussed far too much on my culpability and far too little on his.

What had I done to trigger that remark instead of what had he been taught of girls to consider it acceptable.

What had I been thinking opting for those shorts instead of what had he been thinking singling me out to road-test a word reserved solely for girls.

Why had I thought it was OK to ‘spice girl strut’ instead of why had he thought it was OK to single me out?

But sure look, what did I know?

I was nine-years-old with more than a passing resemblance to Meg from Family Guy, and very little life experience from which to mould my perspective.

It was 20 years ago, I was a primary school student, and thankfully we've all moved on so much since then.

Oh, wait.
 

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Vogue Williams has slammed Celebrity Big Brother's slut shaming in her Sunday World column today.

Speaking about the Stephanie and Jeremy controversy, the Dublin DJ wrote about how it's wrong to slut-shame a girl, yet call a guy a "hero" if he sleeps with a woman.

“In this situation I think she is very much in the wrong,” she said.

“Jeremy shouldn’t be going there either, but she is the one in the relationship.”

The model then went on to say that even though it's wrong, there's a serious case of double standards going on with the public over the relationship.

“What has happened now is a clear case of slut shaming and double standards… She’s a twenty-two year old girl and that’s what most of us do at twenty-two.”

“But it’s always different if it’s a girl because automatically she’s seen as a ‘slut’. It really annoys me.”

“Why is it okay for these boys to act like that, yet it’s so bad that Steph wanted to go on a date with them?” Vogue wrote in her column.

“Everyone is entitled to do what they please and if they choose to be promiscuous so be it, but it shouldn’t make a girl a slut and a man a hero.”

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Students from University College Cork (UCC) we're outraged this week when they entered their college campus to see an advertisement clearly hinting that having cleavage is "cheap."

Hanging off the ceiling is a poster for a smart card service which shows an outline of a woman, and beside that, the heading says, "cheap looking."

The UCC Feminist Society said they were angered to learn about the new ad campaign and directly went to the university's centre in hope of taking the ad down. 

The head of the society told The Journal: “To suggest that a woman with her breasts on show is ‘cheap-looking’ aids slut shaming.

“We are shocked that the student centre would feel the need to stoop so low to advertise to students, more than half of whom are women,” she said.

But that wasn't the only thing on campus to offend its lady students. There was a second ad, shown on coffee cups, that read "what's your cup size," and then around the back was the outline of a woman's naked body with stickers covering her boobs. 

In a survey last year, the college found that 1 in 7 of its female students have been victims of sexual assault, so it's no wonder that this campaign is aggravating them. 

After a number of complaints were received, UCC's board of management issued a statement.

“University College Cork is committed to equality as a core value of the institution,” a spokesperson said. They then proceeded to take the posters down last night. 

The smart card scheme is also being reviewed on campus. 

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