So much more than slut shaming

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Ever since I was a teenage girl, 20 odd years ago, I was aware of the awful unfairness of the fact that boys could sleep around and/or have many girlfriends but girls couldn’t. Well, it wasn’t that we couldn’t, more if we did we would be called ‘easy’ or a ‘slut’ or a ‘slag’. Basically, we would be seen as unclean and undesirable.

The boys would were treated entirely differently. Boys who slept around, treated girls poorly etc were heralded as ‘studs’ and popular. Sort of like a stag, strutting about the place with ideas above his station.

Whilst I haven’t been a teenager for a while, I don’t see that much has changed. You only need to watch documentaries about secondary schools or teenage life to see that girls are still being shamed for daring to explore their sexuality.

I was going to say ‘enjoy’ their emerging sexuality but I’ve had a few conversations with women who had ‘lots’ of boyfriends and enjoyment didn’t seem feature high in their memories. When we shared stories of our reasons for pursing boys/men it actually painted quite a sad and depressing picture.

The reoccurring theme was one of girls and young women reaching out to boys/men for comfort, no matter what the cost. Whether it be to deal with low self esteem, grief or maybe peer pressure, young women were reaching out for physical touch to heal them.

We have created a society where a women’s worth is based on her ability to keep a man happy, just look at the front page of a woman’s magazine …… Scratch the surface very lightly and you’ll find that equality for women has changed very little in the last few decades.

So, we have a lot of lonely and vulnerable girls and young women out there who just need some TLC and reassurance that they are ok and don’t need a relationship to define them. Abusive men are particularly good at picking out the women who are more vulnerable and groom them by being the model of a charming man. I know this, it happened to me – twice! This may sound like victim blaming – I’m really not. It’s just that when your self esteem is low and life isn’t happy, a man coming into your life and making it better is such a relief. We
get dragged in and brainwashed by their charm and then when they have us – they show their real colours.

It’s a huge issue and I don’t have the answers. Schools could do more to educate girls, not just about how to avoid pregnancy and stds, but how to feel good about themselves. The media needs to stop peddling this rubbish that women need to be in a relationship and , as parents, we need to do our bit to make our daughters feel good in their own skin and our sons to treat girls and women with respect.

This can be done! Mentalities can be changed, it just takes work so I’m picking up my spade and digging for victory.

Love,tea and hugs
Exxx

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