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Why I Won’t Call Any Woman a Slut

Photograph by Twenty20

I was a little disheartened by a conversation I had the other day. It involved a female celebrity, nudity, and the words "slut" and "hoe" being thrown around as if it was nothing. Usually I just shake my head and move on with my life, because who has the time? But the older I get I just can't hold my tongue about matters like this. Maybe it's because I have a daughter, and the thought of her growing up in a world where it's okay for women to tear each other down makes me sad.

We could debate all day long about whether a woman—and specifically a mother—should be posting nude selfies or not, but at the end of the day, I don't feel comfortable calling that woman a slut. Whether I agree with her actions or not isn't the issue, the issue is that women should be supporting each other and lifting each other up. and I'm sick and tired of women always judging each other.

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It starts at such a young age. Preteen girls tend to be insecure and jealous and it seems those feelings don't go away as we age. Through high school and college, women continue to give each other the side-eye and talk about each other behind their backs. We get married and start having babies and the "mommy wars" start. Or we don't get married and have babies and are called selfish and told we are missing out in life. We gain weight and are gawked at for being unhealthy and obese. Or we maintain perfect figures and are told, "God, I hate you so much! You're so skinny!"

I'm over it.

What happened to respect? What happened to feminism? The words slut and hoe are strong words. I remember being called such names at one point in my life, and it hurt. The people who called me those names didn't stop to think about the weight of their words. I believe words are powerful. Words have the power to tear down or lift up. I'm a Christian and in the Bible I read it says that words have the power of death and life. I don't want to be known for words that bring death, I want to speak life.

Women need to take a stand. We need to show the world that this type of language is unacceptable.

I also believe women should be trusted to make their own choices in life. I don't think there's anything inherently bad about the naked body and while I don't think it's wise for me to put naked pictures of myself out in the world, who am I to judge what another woman decides to do with her own body? It has no impact on my life. I don't have to look at the pictures or give them any attention if I don't want to.

Again, I have a young daughter. I want her to know that she is beautiful and strong and intelligent. I want her to know that she should respect all people. I want her to be the type of person who brings others comfort and joy. I certainly don't want her to be one of those catty women who's constantly judging other women. I want her mind to be consumed with more important matters. So I'll lead by example and refuse to shame any woman by calling her a slut. Women need to take a stand. We need to show the world that this type of language is unacceptable.

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Incidentally, a few days after the initial conversation, someone sent a picture of naked men washing a car to the same ladies. Were the words slut or hoe mentioned? Not at all. Instead everyone was chuckling and googly-eyed over the photo. So I suppose the lesson is: Naked Woman = Slut, Naked Man = Funny and Cute. That's gender bias if I ever saw it.

Let's be better than this. Let's erase these hurtful words from our vocabulary. Let's replace them with words that are affirming and uplifting. I won't be calling any woman a slut, and my hope is that you won't either.

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