The UnSlut Project has two goals: to reach out to girls who are currently suffering and offer them some hope for the future; and to start conversations about the pervasiveness of sexual bullying and “slut shaming” in our schools, media, and culture, so that we might all work toward change. Other women have been submitting their own stories and experiences through the website, proving that slut shaming is a strong negative force that has affected many of our lives. Of course, this issue is closely linked to sexual violence and gender inequality.
Emily Lindin of The UnSlut Project is awesome. She’s doing what Luna Luna can only hope for–trying to foster a necessary dialogue about slut-shaming and sex bullying. The project, which will produce a film, Slut: A Documentary Film, has already received positive media attention. So, Luna Luna ladies, let’s try to back this up even more by visiting their Kickstarter (which closes tomorrow).
If you haven’t a dime–all is well and good. You can still support the Project by spreading the word. As you know, awareness is key. But why?
Because so many of have faced sexual bullying and slut-shaming; if we haven’t been shamed directly by our peers, educators, parents, friends and sex partners, we’ve seen it happen in the media. Words like slut are thrown around in order to harrass, embarrass, shame or silence someone. Society’s understanding of female sexuality is so limited that we still congratulate men on sexual encounter but reduce a woman’s pleasure to something dirty, rabid and wrong.
I was drawn to this for reasons I’m sure I share with thousands of women of all ages. Read Margaret Bashaar’s story on slut-shaming here. By 11 I was interested in boys. By 12 or 13 I kissed them. I refused to go farther with a certain Warren, and was swiftly called a “chicken-head” for the rest of 7th grade. Warren, however, was given a high-five for “getting in my pants” when he actually didn’t. And if he had, wouldn’t that just be normal for two young kids? Isn’t it normal for people to fool around? Why do we expect it of men and condemn it in women? Why is our sexually defined by limitation and restraint and outdated, unfair, criminal religious patriarchy?
He pushed me onto the bed and forced me to kiss him. His tongue swirled in my mouth like a metal pole. I felt violated and ashamed and walked home wondering why I was so stupid for going to his house. Everyone told me if I didn’t want to be treated that way, I shouldn’t act like a slut. I was a slut because I had a crush on Warren and told my girlfriends this. I was a slut because I had a normal, almost asexual interest in a boy. I was a slut because I went to his house. I was a slut because I was “ugly” and “stupid” and “poor” and my parents were divorced. We need to stop using this word. We need to stop punishing one another. Men need to stop using this word, and women need to stop calling one another this word.
This has to stop.
Lindin says, the film will feature the “stories of girls who were driven to suicide by sexual bullying, interviews with women who have experienced the effects of slut shaming in their own lives, and the opinions of media figures, sexologists, psychologists, and other experts. This film will demonstrate the extent of this issue and explore the steps we can all take to work toward change right here in the United States and Canada.”
Look at who the film will feature. Hot damn:
Dr. Betty Dodson: Artist, author, and world-renowned clinical sexologist.
Carlin Ross: Entrepreneur, sex educator, and author.
Dr. Ted McIlvenna: Founder and president of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.
Dr. Shira Tarrant: Author, nationally recognized expert on gender politics, and professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Dr. Melissa Jones: Clinical sexologist and board-certified sexuality educator at the Sexology Center in San Antonio, TX.
Twanna Hines: American writer, sex educator, and personality, also known as Funky Brown Chick.
Zhana Vrangalova: Lead researcher of the 2013 study “Women Reject Sexually Promiscuous Peers When Making Female Friends” at Cornell University.
Leora Tanenbaum: Author of “Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation.”
Natalie Mills: Licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco, CA, specializing in sex, intimacy, and sex workers’ issues.
Gina Tron: Published the story of her own rape and subsequent slut shaming by police and other officials in Vice Magazine
Lindin’s own desire to work on the project came from personal experience:
What inspired me was hearing about girls like Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons who took their own lives after being bullied in this way. I had just discovered my own diaries at my childhood home when I was visiting my family, and it struck me that I had considered suicide and somehow survived that period in my adolescence. I thought sharing my diary entries might provide some hope to girls who were considering suicide after being labeled a “slut” that it would get better and they could live through it. I also hoped the unadulterated voice of a preteen who was targeted as the school “slut” would provide some perspective to adults who were concerned with bullying.