'Slut-shaming' does not defeat the notion that women are sluts, it does not deter men from referring to women as sluts, it does not deconstruct the concept of the slut or stigmatize the slur slut as a negative in order to avoid the further normalization of the slur's concept. 'Slut-shaming' still means you are referring to women perceived in a sexual/ized manner as sluts (and takes a course towards circular logic when trying to address the rape culture myth that “women who dress like sluts are asking for it”). Instead of actually attacking the virgin/whore dichotomy by stating that no woman is a slut and no woman is a prude, libfems have re-vamped the slur in a post-patriarchal context which completely ignores how normalizing and imposing the use of the slur impacts all women in society and not just women who claim to have claimed it.
Developed by the Deep Green Resistance Feminist Solidarity group, with guidance from the Women’s Caucus.
As a class, men have developed an entrenched system of power called patriarchy in order to naturalize exploitation of women’s bodies, labor, time, children, and so on.
Patriarchy consists of an interlocking system of social, economic, political, legal, and cultural structures designed to oppress women for the benefit of men. This system provides men with privileges in every aspect of our lives; we are the direct beneficiaries. As men, we often mistake these privileges for natural rights.
The following guidelines are to encourage male activists to change their behavior and to better ally themselves with women.
- Learn to be silent, hold back, be humble, and to listen to women’s voices. Be aware of subtle ways that you may devalue women or treat them unfairly.
- Hear what individual women are saying. Acknowledge what they say and respond appropriately. Respect women enough to disagree with them, rather than pretending to go along with something you obviously disagree with; when you do agree, make this known.
- We must follow the lead of women, and prioritize issues that are brought forth by women or concern women. The culture we want to move into will be women-centered: we should move in this direction ourselves. Make it a priority to have women in positions of power, and to foster new woman leaders. This includes recognizing how women leaders are objectified and silenced, and having zero tolerance for such behavior.
- It is inappropriate for us to speak as authorities on subjects that women directly experience. As men we do not and cannot understand these experiences. If we are to speak at all on such subjects, it should only be after women or if women ask us to do so, and never from our own perspective.
- We must challenge our own patriarchal behavior, such as patterns of silencing or devaluing women, and using patriarchal language (such as hate speech, jokes based on humiliation and degradation, and male-identified generalities e.g. “mankind”, “manpower”, “hey man”).
- Do not use pornography or prostitution. Free your sexuality from patriarchal capitalist structures that exploit women. Be vocal in challenging the sex-exploitation industry.
- Challenge entitlement. Women do not owe men anything, including a smile, a conversation, a hug, a relationship, or intimacy of any kind. Men do not have the right to take up space at the expense of women’s comfort or personal boundaries.
- Challenge sexist behavior in your friends, family, associates, and political allies. End relationships with men who continue to encourage or practice sexism. We do not need permission to call out men on patriarchal behavior; it is our baseline responsibility. Calling out men in male-only spaces and groups, is a priority.
- "Mansplaining" is not tolerated. By this we mean male speech that is arrogant, patronizing, condescending, or in some other way talks down to women or attempts to put the male speaker on a pedestal.
- While patriarchy does hurt men in some ways, the intended target is women. Thus, while we may feel hurt by masculinity, we are not oppressed by it.
- We must familiarize ourselves with issues affecting women, and with feminist theory and history. We should not expect to be spoon-fed a feminist understanding.
- Within the dominant culture males are perpetrators of harassment and violence. Many women are survivors of this violence – studies estimate that nearly 1/3 of all women have been sexually assaulted or beaten by men, and many women say these numbers are low. It is not any woman’s responsibility to assume that men are safe to be around.
- We are not here to save or rescue women. We are not here to be heroes. We are not here to be protectors of women; women can protect themselves. Our job is not to protect women; it is to respect their wishes and work in solidarity with them to dismantle patriarchy. If we take on these roles against the wishes of the particular women involved in a situation, we are violating boundaries.
- The guidelines established above represent a baseline for acceptable behavior. Following them is not exceptional, and does not merit reward. Conversely, choosing to ignore sexist behavior will be seen as an act of collaboration with the culture of male dominance.
I have a question for those who talk about fighting the ‘rape culture.’
Why is ONE rape of ONE NON-trafficked girl from the middle class a newsworthy outrage; but THOUSANDS of rapes by johns endured by just ONE poor girl discarded by society into the commercialized rape industry of prostitution is not only ignored (it’s even accepted), but prostitution survivors are stigmatized, criminalized and slapped with a life sentence of total social exclusion and life-threatening jobless poverty—literally for life?
Why is it that those of us who are VICTIMS of commercialized rape are shunned and NOT helped up onto our feet even by OTHER WOMEN, and denied any other place in society’s economic hierarchy EXCEPT the gutter and an early grave?
Why is it that middle class rape victims with non-prostitution privilege are not denied training opportunities and good jobs for the rest of their lives (and even denied access to food stamps in many states) as a matter of social and public policy, but POOR and marginalized victims of commercialized rape are?
Step 1: Comment on a woman’s attractiveness on every single occasion in every single venue no matter how irrelevant it is. Build up a dating culture entirely dependent on a female’s beauty. Teach children that only attractive women will ever get anywhere in life, will ever be praised, will ever find love and have a family, will ever have a chance at happiness, are worth knowing, are worth being.
Step 2: Mock women for caring about how they look. Call them shallow.
What men mean when they talk about their “crazy” ex-girlfriend is often that she was someone who cried a lot, or texted too often, or had an eating disorder, or wanted too much/too little sex, or generally felt anything beyond the realm of emotionally undemanding agreement. That does not make these women crazy. That makes those women human beings, who have flaws, and emotional weak spots. However, deciding that any behavior that he does not like must be insane– well, that does make a man a jerk.
And when men do this on a regular basis, remember that, if you are a woman, you are not the exception. You are not so cool and fabulous and levelheaded that they will totally get where you are coming from when you show emotions other than “pleasant agreement.”
When men say “most women are crazy, but not you, you’re so cool” the subtext is not, “I love you, be the mother to my children.” The subtext is “do not step out of line, here.” If you get close enough to the men who say things like this, eventually, you will do something that they do not find pleasant. They will decide you are crazy, because this is something they have already decided about women in general.