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The Truth About Slut-Shaming

The Huffington Post, April 15, 2015

Monica Lewinsky has been talking about it. The actress Ashley Judd has railed against it. The TV shows "Scandal," "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce," and MTV's "True Life" have addressed it. Little League pitcher Mo'ne Davis refuses to be intimidated by it.

Slut-shaming. No doubt you've heard this word, but you may be confused about its meaning. You also may be wondering why it has proliferated.

Slut-shaming is the experience of being labeled a sexually out-of-control girl or woman (a "slut" or "ho") and then being punished socially for possessing this identity. Slut-shaming is sexist because only girls and women are called to task for their sexuality, whether real or imagined; boys and men are congratulated for the exact same behavior. This is the essence of the sexual double standard: Boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts.

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