What Makes Me A Hoe? And Other Questions About How Women Are Unfairly Labelled

October 3, 2012  |  

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How many knobs do you have to slob to be considered a sl*t?

One, two or maybe the answer is 15? Or does it depend on the number of slobbed knobs in a given year? However what happens in a leap year? Does relationship status matter? Like slobbing a knob in the context of a relationship, that’s cool but doing so for some dude you met a day ago at a party, well that’s just slory?  But what if there is an imbalance in the relationship/calendar year ratio where you had 10 boyfriends, which means 10 knobs were slobbed but as an unattached person, only slob the knob of one dude annually?  And just to complicate things more: what’s the difference between a sl**t, a w***e and a hoe? And what happens if someone starts off as a sl*t, w***e or a hoe but gradually reduces the number of slobbed knobs down to zero? Does she become a born again good girl? Or is she now a spinster?

Ridiculous as it sounds, this is the kind of clarification we need if we are going to go around casually writing off women based solely on their sexual habits. I mean, who get’s to determine who is a s**t and who is a good girl? Ain’t it all subjective?

We went to the Poconos for our high school senior trip.  It was the furthest trip our school would allow. Although there were a number of activities like horseback riding, tennis and walking the trails most of us graduating seniors spent our day poolside. My girlfriends and I were already outcasts in the school; mainly because we each had something that made us stand out among the rest of the pack.  Ironically, our outcast status is also what brought us together.  So we spent our time secluded, frolicking around, taking pictures and having a good time by ourselves in a Jacuzzi at the far end of the pool. That’s when we got the idea to take a picture of ourselves top-less. You know…for the memories. On the count of three, we jumped into the air while pulling down our bathing suit tops, exposing our breast to the flashing Polaroid camera. It was risqué fun, which wasn’t supposed to go beyond the exploits of being young and stupid. However the person who took the picture, a mousey girl, with her own sort of moral hang-ups about proper etiquette for young women, decided to share it with the entire senior class the next day at school. If it wasn’t bad enough being outcasts, now we were labeled slores. I always found that ironic considering at the time, the teenage pregnancy rate at our high school was so prevalent that the school actually had a day care facility inside of it.

About a month ago, I was walking my dog around the neighborhood as normal. I walked past this one house and did my normal wave at the man standing on the porch.  As long as I’d lived around this neighborhood, I never knew much about this guy. Other than him being an older neighbor, who usually greets me with small talk about the status of my family, particularly my mother, and a corny joke about my dog. This day, our conversation became more insightful, “I see you walking all the time and I just wanted to say how impressed I am with you.” Um okay, I never knew that I walked the dog in an inspiring fashion. But I took the compliment and opened my mouth to thank him when he held up his finger to my lips and told me to shhh. He continued, “I know this is odd because I really don’t know much about you. I don’t even know your name…” I opened my mouth again to tell him my name but there was that one-finger shhh again. “…it doesn’t matter what your name is or what you do in your real life…” he actually said “real life.” “All I know is that I imagine you as a good girl. You are a good girl, I can tell. Not like these other hoes around here, who smoke weed and dress all narsty. Yeah, you are one of the good ones.” With no prompting, I was officially speechless.

Should I tell him that I have a college degree and spent the majority of my twenties gainfully employed? Yet during that same time I was a frequent bed-hopper and spent most of my days caught up in a purple haze fog?  Should I inform him that when I walk the dog, I tend to wear comfortable clothing like T-shirts and sweats and when I’m at work I tend to dress professionally however later on during the evening, when I hit this party I was invited to, I’d planned on wearing a skirt that fell just below my behind and a push up bra that would make it impossible for me to see my feet for the entire evening? Should I tell him that I am honest, trustworthy, a mentor and great and dedicated aunt to my nephews and nieces and a faithful prayer? However I do lust and crave a hard, stiff body once in a while, and if he keeps going on and on about why he feels I am a better human being than the rest of these “slores” in the neighborhood, I might be partial to curse him out worse than a drunk sailor on leave in Tijuana?

That’s the thing about labels, no matter if they are accurate; they can never fully encompass the totality of an individual. And According to Laura Bates, writer for The UK Independent, women seem to bear the brunt of labels, particularly labels with negative connotations.  Said Bates, “Women, it seems, are particularly at risk of being labelled, pigeonholed and conveniently packed up into small, stereotypical boxes. From critical terms like ‘slag’ and ‘sl*t’ to irreversible indictments like ‘damaged goods’ or more generalised terms like ‘bird’ or ‘chick’, these labels put women firmly in their place and make them nice and easy to deal with.”

Like the conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, who took great delight into ripping into Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student, who testified before Congress about the importance of requiring insurance plans to cover birth control. It was much easier for Limbaugh, and others of his elk, to label and dismiss Fluke as a “sl*t” and a “prostitute” than to deal with the very real fact that women now have it in their power to choose the frequency, the when and the with whom they can express themselves sexually.

There is nothing good, which can come from teaching women to be ashamed of the natural desire to get her freak on. Yet our culture constantly reinforces a version of femininity and selfhood, which says that the only good woman is one that is always chaste and married. And if you so happen to fall outside of those strict narrow parameters, well we have a name and category for you. Have sex with too much frequency than socially accepted? Sl*t. Wait to have sex but still want to date? D**k tease. Don’t have sex at all over a certain age? Old cat lady spinster.  However, there is no proper way to go through womanhood. Some of the most fascinating women I know are some of the most freakish. And on the flip side, some of the most hateful and mean-spirited women I have ever met have also been prudence in their sexual encounters. So yeah, those labels we apply really are meaningless.

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