College students give perspectives on slut shaming

By Love Lundy 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Students in Tuscaloosa said they hope that slut shaming eventually disappears and are actively working to make women more comfortable wearing what they want and not being shamed for their sexual encounters.

Whether it’s a young woman called a slut for being open about her sexual endeavors or a high school student written up for showing her shoulders during class, girls and women experience slut shaming during their years of high school from fellow students and family members.

Slut shaming is the act of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.

Kaleah Gipson, a student at Paul W. Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, agreed that the general consensus at her school is that a girl who decides to be more revealing should automatically be considered a “hoe.” For she and other women, the words hoe and slut are interchangeable.

Gipson and Jada Washington, a high school student from Tuscaloosa, said that the double standards girls face when they sleep with multiple men is prominent in their schools.

“The moment a girl has sex with more than one person, the girl is automatically a hoe, or she’s easy, or she’s easy to get with,” Washington said. “But if a dude does it, all his friends are like, ‘Oh, you hit that? That’s what’s up!’”

Madison Hyde, a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at the University of Alabama said that new members in most fraternities are encouraged to engage in sexual activities and to inform their pledge master of any hookup they have during rush week.

Claudia Martin, another member of Gamma Phi Beta, has found a very different reaction from the sororities.

“If girls are like, sleeping around in the fraternities and stuff, if they sleep with enough guys in one fraternity, they become the scapegoat,” Martin said. “They basically say she’s easy for everybody in the house, which I mean, is not ridiculous.”

Being a victim of slut shaming can ruin a girl’s reputation, but the administrators at Gipson’s high school have told her a male student’s character would not be as questioned.

I remember my principal said, if you watch a video, like, you know how people at school sneak off to do sexual stuff? You’re always going remember the girl and you won’t remember the guy,” she said.

A girl’s sexuality is not the only thing that determines her level of promiscuousness. Washington said if a girl went to a football game in a crop top shirt and shorts that allow people to “see her butt,” she will most likely be labeled a “hoe.”

Roman Robinson, a UA student, described the issue from his perspective:

“I think there’s a thin line between being classy and showing skin and hoeing,” he said.

To Robinson, an elegant dress with a slit and a spaghetti strap tank top are on two completely different sides of the spectrum. He said that a girl isn’t a considered promiscuous just because she is sexually active or likes sex. How she carries herself is much more important.

Martin said that much of the judgement of the typical outfits women wear on campus depends on the man who judges. Hyde takes particular issue with members of the fraternity community.

“They’ll sexualize anything,” she said.

Liam Finnegan and Chase Tirman, rising seniors and members of Alpha Delta Phi, debunked the frat boy archetype described by Hyde.

Tirman takes pride in the environment he and his brothers have carried on in Alpha Delta Phi. He says that it is not normal for men in his fraternity to seek sleeping with as many women as possible at a party, which surprised the both of them.

“Our goal is to respect women,” Finnegan said.  “You don’t expect that, pledging a fraternity at a large school.”

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