Leora Tanenbaum

OP-EDS & BLOG POSTS
BOOKS
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.”
--Redbook
THE SLUT-SHAMING
WATCH LIST


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.

8/​4/​16:
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.