Anti-Slut-Shaming VS. Old-School Values

*Originally posted November 5, 2015*

I’m not into slut shaming, and I think women should empower each other, not disrespect each other. But a conversation I saw on Facebook about skinny-shaming, mixed with a conversation I overheard from some Grade 8s today made me think of all of these things.

A woman has a right to her own body, and to doing what she wants with it. This is a message that is everywhere right now. Boudoir, pin up, burlesque, and similar styles are really popular right now in photography and dance. I love them all. But I think there’s a huge difference between being a part of that scene in a classy way, and being a part of it in a trashy way. (Sidebar: if you have to tell people you are classy and confident, I think that’s a sign that you aren’t.) I know many people in the burlesque scene in Vancouver. Many of them post scantily clad photos on their FB and Instagram pages. That’s a huge part of their lives. But from what I know of their normal, everyday lives, they are not always this way. They wear sweatpants. They don’t always flirt with men. They respect themselves. And this is a key part that I think is missing from our subconscious education of young women: I think a woman who truly values herself for everything she is, no matter how much she “just loves love”, or how much she advocates for the right to embrace her sexuality, doesn’t feel the need to show everything, or share it with everyone. I think that people forget that nobody wants to conquer land that’s already been conquered, and no one feels special when everyone’s seen the VIP screening, if you know what I mean.

I think that this is a huge part of my problem with this.

I don’t think we teach young girls absorbing these images & messages to value their brains and to complement their personality with their body, and not just live for likes on Instagram. Girls see these images online and think that they should be like that in everyday life. And then they think that they need to follow through with the message that their image is sending. The way that women embrace their bodies and their sexuality is changing, and it’s not always easy to explain why being sexy and feeling empowered by your sexuality is great for a woman’s own self-esteem, apart from the feedback they receive online (“likes”)/from men. So while the love-your-body-anti-slut-shaming attitude is amazing, it’s lacking an essential piece: Love your body, do what you want with your body, and still value yourself enough to know that everything about you that is not visible to the eye is enough. I don’t know many women who I call confident and classy that also post half-naked pictures or sleep around. Maybe this is a coincidence. Maybe we’re just moving into a place in history where bodies are free.

Or maybe we aren’t teaching girls to love that part of themselves that won’t fade with time first. So they post Instagram pictures and hook up with people at parties. And then other females begin to slut-shame these women and girls who are simply regurgitating what they think being a confident, sexy, classy woman is.
I’m constantly surprised by how common sexual promiscuity is. Whatever happened to waiting for someone special? Where did these values come from? Why don’t we teach girls to value what they have enough to not give it to everyone (be it sex or Instagram pictures)? I think we are doing girls a disservice by not having these conversations with the images/messages out there. Will there ever be a place where we don’t slut-shame women, but we also empower women to take control of their sexuality in a way that shows they value it and treasure it?

I realize that my opinion is valuing yourself = not sleeping around/being half-naked, and that that is just my opinion. Many will disagree with me. But with other things you treasure, do you throw them around the way you do your body/sexuality? Do you use Grandma’s fine china every day? Do you let anyone you just kinda like use your phone? Do you flash all your money to strangers? Do you let everyone borrow your brand new car?

I have no answers. Just a  lot of questions.

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