Aside from a c-u-next-tuesday, the one thing a female doesn’t want to be called is a whore. It’s a shameful label and can ruin your reputation. In spite of how painful this can be, that word is flung around with quite a bit of regularity, isn’t it? What is it that propels people to throw this moniker of shame at a female? The choices she makes regarding her own body. If she opts to share her body with whomever she chooses and we decide she does it too often and with too many, then she’s a whore. The unspoken rule is that women are not allowed to share their body with whomever they wish. Atleast not with too much frequency or indiscretion.
It’s true that times have changed and we won’t necessarily condemn a female for the simple act of having sex with a guy or two. As long as she keeps it in what her peers consider a respectable amount and is discreet about it.
Men have no such limitations. They are free to share their body with whomever they please with no recriminations. We call them ‘players’ or ‘studs’. These names are said with a smile or a slight laugh. Often times with admiration. They are certainly not names of shame.
But a woman who does what she wants with her body has no such freedom from judgment. She will be judged and she will be shamed. Have you ever thought about the fact that when we call a woman a whore we are saying she does not have the right of dominion over her own body? We are judging her for making her own choices regarding who she shares herself with.
From the time we’re young we are indoctrinated with the belief that a woman’s virginity is her most coveted prize. We also say that it is something a man can ‘take’ from you. John says I ‘took’ Jane’s virginity last night. Jane says, ‘I lost my virginity.’ Are these words accurate? Or condemning?
If a female chooses to exercise her right to sexually share her body with whomever she chooses, even for the first time, is that something she lost? And is it correct to say a man took it from her when she gave it freely? Or is it this language that contributes to the dominance of men and submission of women?
The word ‘whore’ is a judgment we have no right to make. It is saying ‘how dare you think you have the right to choose who you can share your body with!’ It’s really that simple. That’s why we’re condemning her.
We hear many stories of teenage girls who are bullied to a point of such shame and degradation that they take their own life. What’s the most deadly weapon in the tormentor’s arsenal? Starting a rumor that she’s a whore. Think about this; the most vicious attack you can make against a female’s character is to accuse her of making her own choices regarding her body. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not; just suggesting that she might have practiced this right is enough to condemn her in the eyes of her peers.
Whenever we use this term against a woman, we are reinforcing the narrative that a woman does not have the same rights as a man when it comes to her own body. Does it ever occur to us that it is really none of our business what anyone else does with their own body? As long as the choice is made freely and with no harm to anyone else, how can this possibly be anything someone has an opinion on, let alone judges?
Some women wash their hair first when they get in the shower. Some women wash their hair right before they get out. Can you imagine having a strong opinion on this? No. We would say ‘it’s her hair, why do I care how she washes it? ‘
Why don’t these same rules apply to the rest of her body? It’s her body, why would anyone care how she chooses to use it?
Are we so well-trained that we just parrot what we’re taught without even realizing that we’re abdicating our freedom over our own bodies? Have we internalized the patriarchy to such a degree that we are willing participants in our own discrimination?
We contribute to the demeaning of women every time we use this word in judgment. We contribute to the insanity that tells us a woman does not have the right to do with her own body what she chooses.
Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?