Leora Tanenbaum

I Am Not a Slutt offers both a wake-up call about the dangerous impact of the word ‘slut’ and a path forward to talk about sex and sexuality in an open, positive, and nonjudgmental way.” -Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
"The woman who exposed slut-bashing, cat-fighting, and God-reclaiming takes on women's masochistic relationship with their feet. Run (while you still can) to your nearest bookstore and save your sole." - Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Look Both Ways and Manifesta
"The most comprehensive overview of the status of women and religion I've read. It chronicles the harm religion can do to both men and women, but also holds out a promise of radiant hope."
--Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy for God
“Incisive exploration of a long-taboo subject--how and why women sabotage one another.”
--Gail Sheehy
“An eye-opening book.”
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3/​10/​19: Girls at a North Carolina school district were not allowed to wear pants to their high school graduation; they had to wear a dress. Now, thanks to senior Lacey Henry in Fayetteville, who launched a Change.org petition, the district will allow all students the option to wear pants. The old dress code was problematic because it implicitly sexualized girls' bodies.

2/​20/​19: Hasana Alidu, 16, wore a shirt that showed her shoulders—a violation of the dress code at her Nevada school. A teacher called over 2 school police officers, who escorted her to the office. Hasana was forced to miss Spanish class & sit in the office for an in-school suspension.

2/​14/​19: While boarding a flight with Jetstar Australia, a flight attendant told Shoshana Strykert that her outfit—a cropped top and loose-fitting pants—was "inappropriate" and that she needed to cover her body. In a public letter to Jetstar, Strykert wrote she was "embarrassed and shocked" for being "slut-shamed," and that "everybody on the plane was looking at me."

2/​8/​19: Civics teacher Dina Persico was told by administrators at her Virginia school that her appearance was too masculine and that if she would "just throw on a skirt once in a while, we wouldn't have any of these problems." Persico's story shows that it makes no difference if a woman's outfit is considered too revealing or not revealing enough. Her body is monitored no matter what she wears.

2/​3/​19: Samantha Wilson, 13, was dress-coded and reprimanded by her assistant principal for wearing a sweater that slid down her shoulder, exposing her bra strap. The assistant principal told Samantha her outfit was "inappropriate" and that it was "a distraction to the boys."

1/​14/​19: An image that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) supposedly took of herself nude was circulated on social media and published on the right-wing site The Daily Caller. Turns out the photo was not of Ocasio-Cortez, but even if it had been, circulation of the image was intended to discredit her. The implication was that Ocasio-Cortez is not competent or serious if she is sexual.

12/​4/​18: It's possible to recognize an accomplished woman without sexualizing her. Yet Norwegian soccer player Ada Hegerberg, winning a prestigious honor, was asked if she knew how to twerk. In essence, she was reduced to her sexuality.

12/​3/​18: Egyptian actress Rania Youssef is facing charges of "inciting debauchery" because she wore a dress that revealed her legs through semitransparent fabric at the Cairo International Film Festival. She has apologized—she faces a five-year prison sentence if convicted—for doing something requiring no apology.

11/​15/​18: In the trial of a 27-year-old Irish man accused of raping a 17-year-old woman he met at a club, his attorney told jurors to consider that the woman may be lying because she had worn “a thong with a lace front,” indicating that she may have been “attracted to the defendant.” The jury found the man not guilty. Supporters of the woman have shared photos of their underwear on social media with the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.

10/​8/​18: Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation demonstrates the triumph of sexism, male sexual entitlement, and the sexual double standard. Three women who came forward at great personal risk to educate the Senate and public about young Kavanaugh’s sexual assaults on girls and women have been publicly mocked and dismissed as sexual aggressors. The woman who was the subject of sexual jokes by Kavanaugh and his friends in their high school yearbook has had her sexual history scrutinized. This is what a culture of slut-shaming and rape looks like.

10/​3/​18: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, released a video stating that Western women who have been sexually assaulted are to blame for their victimization because they don’t cover their hair with hijab.

9/​14/​18: An Australian member of Parliament, Emma Husar, was publicly accused by a former staff member of exposing her genitals to another colleague while his young child was present. Unable to stop rumors about her sexual behavior, Husar dropped out of her re-election campaign. An investigation found the allegation completely unfounded. Another Australian politician, Sarah Hanson-Young, similarly has seen her professional reputation devastated after being reduced to her sexuality. During a debate on how to stop violence against women, a male colleague called out, “Stop shagging men, Sarah.” She is suing him for defamation, but even if she prevails, she will always be associated with the sexual accusation.

8/​28/​18: An anonymous website, “Rachel Hundley Exposed,” attacked city council member Rachel Hundley from Sonoma, California, who is running for re-election. The site included photographs of her in a bra and underwear (taken from her social media accounts). Women who run for public office are routinely undermined through sexualization; men who run for public office are not.

8/​26/​18: Stormy Daniels, maligned as a “slut,” has been the one person powerful enough to shine a spotlight on the president’s corruption.

8/​24/​18: Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s lawyers, said, "I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman, or a woman of substance, or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman, and as a person."

7/​22/​18: Emelia Holden, 21, was groped by a customer at the pizzeria where she is a server in Savannah, Ga., and responded by yanking him by his shirt and slamming him to the ground. The customer was arrested and charged with sexual battery. After The New York Times covered the incident, captured by a surveillance camera and viewed more than four million times, several commenters suggested that Holden had invited the assault because of the way she was dressed.

6/​10/​18: New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd slut-shamed Monica Lewinsky, describing her as a sexual aggressor while depicting Bill Clinton as a merely passive participant in their affair: “When Monica Lewinsky came into the Oval Office and flashed her thong, Bill Clinton should have said, “Young lady, go back to your office. I am the president of the United States.”

6/​1/​18: The NFL hires "cheerleader ambassadors" whose sole job is to wear sexually provocative outfits and mingle with male fans, not perform the tasks of real cheerleaders. Six former "ambassadors" told The New York Times that the job involves routinely being grabbed without consent by drunk men.

5/​31/​18: On her television show, entertainer Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a "c**nt" and advised her to "put on something tight and low-cut" to talk to her father about his mistreatment of migrant children. Ivanka Trump's sexuality has nothing to do with her father's harmful treatment of immigrants.

5/​3/​18: Cheerleaders for the Washington Redskins were brought to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot. The N.F.L. team's officials required some women to be photographed topless and others nude, granted up-close access to male sponsors, and mandated that some women work as personal escorts for the male sponsors. The women say their employer essentially was "pimping us out."

4/​25/​18: School dress codes disproportionately harm black girls, the National Women's Law Center shows in a new report on D.C. schools. Dress codes are established on gender and race-based stereotypes of how girls "should" look. "When you are made to feel uncomfortable in your clothes and with your body," one 17-year-old says, "it's hard to focus on learning and expanding your mind. Or even just getting good grades."

4/​20/​18: A high school junior in Florida had a bad sunburn, so she went to school wearing an oversized, long-sleeved, dark shirt--but no bra, which she found painful. The principal and dean forced her to put on an undershirt, stand up and move around, and then apply adhesive bandages on her nipples. “They had me ‘X’ out my nipples,” she said.

4/​8/​18: A judge asked a rape victim if she knew that she could have prevented the assault if only she had closed her legs.

3/​27/​18: Stephanie Clifford ("Stormy Daniels") overturns the stereotype of a slut: She is intelligent, credible, purposeful, controlled, maternal, and professional in appearance. She demonstrates the emptiness of the "slut" insult.

3/​9/​18: Trump administration attempts to roll back a program providing contraceptives to low-income women—enabling them to plan their pregnancies so they can attend college and find economic stability—are based on the argument that the government shouldn't "subsidize women's sex lives."

3/​8/​18: In a court trial of a Yale student accused of raping a fellow student on Halloween night 2015, lawyers asked the woman why she wore a black cat outfit and not a more modest costume, such as "Cinderella in a long flowing gown."

2/​12/​18: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told soldiers to shoot female rebels in their vaginas, explaining that a woman without a vagina is useless. Donald Trump has praised Duterte for his violent fight against illegal drugs in which thousands of Filipinos have been murdered.

1/​29/​18: Michael Wolff, author of Fire and Fury, spread an unfounded rumor that United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has had an affair with Donald Trump. Wolff 's rumor is an act of slut-shaming because he reduced an accomplished woman to her sexuality. Many cases of slut-shaming are based on presumed or fabricated behavior and are motivated by dislike of a particular woman.

1/​12/​18: In Dave Chapelle's new comedy special, "The Bird Revelation," he jokes that if Harvey Weinstein looked like Brad Pitt, he would not have been accused of assault and rape.

12/​22/​17: The CEO of the Miss America Organization and other leaders of the pageant internally mocked the sexuality, intellect, and appearance of winners and called them “c*nts."

12/​21/​17: A rabbi at the women's college of the Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva University told members of the Feminist Club that gay people are “disgusting,” used “offensive and derogatory terms” to support white supremacy, and called a student a “whore.”

12/​13/​17: After Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Donald Trump to resign in light of the accusations that he had sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women, Trump tweeted that the senator had gone to his New York business office “begging” for a political contribution and “would do anything” to get it. Gillibrand says that his tweet was “a sexual smear intended to silence me.”

11/​28/​17: Laura Prioul, a 21-year-old Frenchwoman, says she was beaten and raped in a Paris hotel—a member of the hotel staff found her partly naked and bruised in a hallway—by the Moroccan pop star Saad Lamjarred, who is so popular that the king of Morocco is helping him with his legal defense. His fans have threatened Prioul's life,  
forcing her to go into hiding.

11/​25/​17: Lawyers for two New York City Police Department officers accused of raping an 18-year-old woman—and then having fellow officers intimidate her at the hospital where she underwent a sexual assault forensic exam—attacked her credibility by saying that since the alleged attack she posted on social media a “provocative ‘selfie’” and videos of her rapping. This behavior, the lawyers claimed, was "unprecedented for a depressed victim of a vicious rape."

11/​13/​17: Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican U.S. Senate nominee, says that the women accusing him of molesting them when they were teenagers and he was in his thirties are all liars. The Washington Post quotes four women by name and has two dozen other sources.

10/​29/​17: According to Donald Trump, all 16 women who say he has sexually harassed them are liars.

10/​27/​17: After Italian actress Asia Argento said that Harvey Weinstein had raped her, a number of Italians, mostly women, reacted with hostility on social media. They dismissed Argento’s accusation as not credible because they did not find her likeable, she had “asked for it,” and “I’ve simply never liked her.”

10/​8/​17: Textbook case of slut-shaming: Harvey Weinstein’s then-legal advisor Lisa Bloom reportedly suggested discrediting the women accusing him of sexual harassment by getting photos of them “in very friendly poses with Harvey.” Clothing designer Donna Karan said the victims were "asking for it" because of their clothing.

9/​27/​17: A federal court  
struck down a Kentucky law
requiring women seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound, view the images, and listen to a government-mandated script. This law, which serves no medical purpose, is intended to make women getting an abortion feel ashamed and reverse their decision. Some 26 states have a similar law, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

8/​18/​17: According to the research of Alice H. Wu, economists chatting among themselves on an anonymous online message board regard women almost entirely in sexually demeaning ways. The 30 words most uniquely associated with women, Wu found, included: hotter, lesbian, tits, slut, hot, vagina, sexy and prostitute.

8/​16/​17: The lawyer for David Mueller, who groped Taylor Swift against her will, denied Swift’s claim that Mueller had reached under her skirt and grabbed her backside while posing for a photo but also said that Swift could have stopped the assault. Women who have been assaulted know this contradiction all too well: They are commonly disbelieved yet accused of being responsible for having been assaulted.

8/​16/​17: The Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist website, called Heather Heyer, the woman murdered in a terrorist act by a white supremacist in Charlottesville on August 12, a "fat, childless, 32-year-old slut" who had "no value."

7/​18/​17: A woman in Saudi Arabia who wore a miniskirt and cropped top in a video posted online was arrested for violating the country’s strict dress code for women. Her punishment may include flogging, jail time, or execution.

6/​27/​17: Black girls as young as five years old are regarded by adults as more sexual and less innocent than their white peers, according to Georgetown Law's Center on Poverty and Inequality.

6/​20/​17: Tori DiPaolo’s high school yearbook quote is “I’m sorry, did my shoulders distract you from reading this quote?" The graduate of West Milford High School in New Jersey “found it ironic that the classic robes we take pictures in [for the yearbook portrait] technically violated dress code.” She adds that boys are not punished for violating the code—only girls are. “I just think dress codes need to be enforced on both genders if you’re going to choose to have one,” she said.

6/​9/​17: School dress codes often are sexist because they suggest that girls’ bodies (and not boys’) must be covered up and their sexuality policed. But a charedi (ultra-religious) Orthodox Jewish school in Brooklyn, NY has hit a new low by issuing a dress code for the mothers of students. Women who send their children to Bnos Menachem School may not wear bright nail polish, tight clothing, skirts shorter than mid-calf, or long wigs; and elbows, feet, and necklines must be completely covered. "Please write [a dress code] for the standard for the fathers," commented one community member.

5/​23/​17: A student in Harrisburg, N.C., was threatened with arrest, suspended for 10 days, and banned from all senior activities, including her own high school graduation, because she wore a shirt that violated her school’s dress code. The shirt itself should not matter, but if you’re curious you can see it here. Her grades also shouldn't matter, but as it happens she is an honors student with an A+ average. She had put on a jacket as soon as she was reprimanded—yet was policed and punished anyway.

5/​21/​17: A student in rural Maryland has been removed from her student council position and barred from her high school graduation ceremony by her Christian school because she is pregnant. According to the National Association of Evangelicals, 80 percent of young evangelicals engage in premarital sex. Sara Moslener, who teaches and writes about evangelicals and sexuality, says this student’s situation sounds “very ‘Scarlet Letter.’”

5/​3/​17: The television series
13 Reasons Why
is a pitch-perfect representation of slut-shaming and its consequences. I urge you to watch all 13 episodes if you want to understand how slut-shaming operates and what it can do to a young woman—and to everyone around her.

4/​21/​17: “If women are going to wear low cut dresses that show cleavage don’t be harassed when men look,” tweeted Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, in response to the news that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had sexually harassed multiple colleagues. Regarding the accusation that O’Reilly called a colleague, a woman of color, “hot chocolate,” Reagan said on Twitter that “Hot [chocolate] used to be a compliment on your looks today it is called sexual harassment.”

3/​29/​17: When the British prime minister and Scotland’s first minister met in London to discuss Britain’s departure from the European Union, the Daily Mail covered the event by asking readers which leader had shapelier legs. “Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-it!” the cover headline said. The article went on to compare the leaders’ bodies, posture, and shoes.

3/​29/​17: In Mexico, a man who raped a teenage girl, confessed to the crime, and even expressed remorse was declared innocent. The judge said that the rapist had acted without “carnal intent” and that the victim, who had been forced into a car where the assault took place, was never “helpless.”

3/​26/​17: United Airlines turned away a family boarding a domestic flight on a free pass for employees and their families because their teenage daughters were wearing leggings, which does not adhere to the airline’s dress code. The father was wearing shorts, which was considered acceptable by the airline.

3/​15/​17: A group of men in the U.S. Marines has been circulating nude photos and videos of women in the Marines, along with their identities, through an invitation-only Facebook group, and then sending the women unwanted sexual and obscene comments. When the group was shut down after its actions were revealed, a new secret group of photo sharers was created. When that group was shut down, they created another.

3/​13/​17: Kellyanne Conway, advisor to the president, was described by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) as looking “kind of familiar in that position there” after she kneeled on the Oval Office sofa to take a photograph of leaders of historically black colleges and universities. Criticism of Conway should focus on her lies, smears, and unethical statements, not jokes about her sexuality.

3/​10/​17: A Canadian federal judge, Robin Camp, asked a rape victim in court in 2014 why she couldn't "just keep your knees together." Justice Camp finally resigned after a judicial panel called for him in "a scathing report" to be removed from office. Camp had also told the rape victim that "some sex and pain sometimes go together" and "that's not necessarily a bad thing."

2/​15/​17: Melania Trump is hypocritical to tolerate her husband's sexual objectification of women, but that doesn't mean she deserves to be called a "hooker."

1/​20/​17: The president of the U.S. is slut-shamer in chief — a man with a sexual past of his own who belittles women as sex objects and makes up sex tape allegations when he wants to discredit us. With slut-shaming coming from the very top, we can expect it to become even more socially acceptable than it already is. So more than ever before, we need to call out slut-shaming whenever and wherever we see it.

1/​6/​17: Unmarried girls and women in Afghanistan suspected of sexual activity are forced to undergo “virginity tests” —even when they have been raped—despite President Ashraf Ghani’s promise to abolish the procedure. A husband who suspects his wife was not a virgin can bring her in for the “virginity test.” Girls and women may be imprisoned or murdered when they are suspected of previously having had sex.

12/​15/​16: A longstanding dress code in the Israeli Knesset, or Parliament, is now being enforced, with Knesset guards measuring skirt lengths in a move similar to that of “modesty patrols” in ultra-religious communities. Dress codes reinforce a culture of slut-shaming when they are applied unevenly to women alone and lead to unwelcome attention on their bodies.

12/​7/​16: In 2011, then-CIA director David Petraeus shared classified information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer, with whom he had an affair. Broadwell was an Army reserve major and intelligence officer; the Army demoted her and took away her security clearance. Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge, paid a fine, and received two years of probation. Today, he is being considered for a position in the Trump cabinet—while the military is still considering further consequences for Broadwell. They both were guilty of mishandling classified information, but only her career is jeopardized and only her character is maligned.

11/​1/​16: Omar Mateen punched, choked, and threatened to kill his wife, Noor Salman. When she did something in public he didn't like, he called her "shar"--short for sharmuta, meaning "slut" or "whore" in Arabic. On June 11, 2016, Mateen committed a terrorist attack and hate crime when he murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

10/​10/​16: A man attended a Trump rally in Pennsylvania with his wife and three children wearing a t-shirt that said, "She's a c*nt. Vote for Trump."

10/​7/​16: Donald Trump said in a 2005 conversation with TV host Billy Bush, "I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything... Grab ’em by the [genitals]. You can do anything."

9/​30/​16: Hillary Clinton reminded Americans that Donald Trump had called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado "Miss Piggy" after she'd gained 12 pounds--and he retaliated by alleging that Machado had a "sex tape" in her past and therefore lacked character.

9/​30/​16: Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, joked about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary by prisoners during a prison riot in Davao in 1989. He was mayor at the time. He said, “I was angry because she was raped. That’s one thing. But she was so beautiful. The mayor should have been first.”

9/​14/​16: Fourth-grade teacher Patrice Brown, dubbed #TeacherBae, is reprimanded by her school and on Twitter for wearing form-fitting dresses to work that are deemed “too sexy” and “inappropriate.” Brown is a Black woman with a curvy body, and she teaches nine-year-old children. Once again a woman of color is judged and policed because of her physique and clothing.

9/​12/​16: In its coverage of NBA star Derrick Rose's rape case, celebrity gossip site TMZ headlined an article "Derrick Rose to Rape Accuser: You're No Prude You Hooked Up With Nick Young." The article suggests that the woman accusing Rose and two of his friends of having raped her while she was unconscious is lying because of past consensual sexual experiences.

8/​12/​16: A Baltimore prosecutor called a woman who reported a sexual assault "a conniving little whore." Comments like this are frequent among Baltimore police officers, according a Justice Department report. The New York Times writes that Baltimore officers routinely humiliate women who try to report sexual assault. The majority of women in Baltimore are Black, and many are low-income.

Here's what a recent Sprite ad in Ireland
said: “She’s seen more ceilings…than Michelangelo”; “A 2 at 10 is a 10 at 2!” and “You’re not popular…you’re easy.” Coca Cola, which makes Sprite, issued this “apology”: The company is “sorry for any offense caused by the #BrutallyRefreshing Sprite campaign in Ireland, which was intended to provide an edgy but humorous take on a range of situations.”

8/​3/​16: The New York Times Video posted uncensored clips of Trump supporters at his political rallies. Supporters yelled out, "Hillary is a whore!"; "Tramp!"; and "Hang the bitch!"

7/​31/​16: Malia Obama is criticized for twerking at Lollapalooza, and Melania Trump is criticized for having posed nude 20 years ago.

7/​29/​16: The film Indignation, based on the Philip Roth novel, features two college students who don't fit in with early 1950s American culture. Guess which one doesn't fit in because of sexuality? Marcus is Jewish, intellectual, atheist, and fights back against antisemitism and enforced religious expression. Olivia is suicidal, has multiple sexual partners, is sexually aggressive, and is referred to as a "slut."

6/​28/​16: A Chinese textbook calls women who have premarital sex "degenerates."

6/​15/​16: On Twitter, Taylor Swift's vulva is compared with a ham sandwich. You can't make this stuff up.

If you are appalled by a recent example of reported slut-shaming, please contact me so that we can call it out. This is insane.