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Dating and Relationships: Slut-Shaming Still a Concern for Sexually Active Women


It’s the same old story. A guy who sleeps around a lot is considered “the man” and praised for his success with women. On the other hand, a woman who sleeps around a lot is considered promiscuous, untrustworthy, and deviant.

While many are aware of the hypocrisy that one gender should be less inclined to be as sexually active, it doesn’t seem to have slowed the slut-shaming that occurs when a woman’s sexual history is made public.

Dr. Kat, a contributor for Adam and Eve, recently posted an article on their blog about the media frenzy surrounding recent Bachelorette Andi Dorfman after “runner-up” contestant Nick asked her in a post-show interview, “If you weren’t in love with me, I’m just not sure why, like, why you made love with me.”

Even Kat admits to being shocked by the attention the story received, stating, “Everything was consensual and I’m sorry but if I were considering marrying a guy, I’d want to know what our relationship was like in the sack first. You can have a great relationship with someone but if there is no sexual chemistry, what’s the point? As far as I’m concerned, Dorfman was doing her due diligence.”

While the topic of sex rarely comes up in the show, it’s often implied, especially towards the end of the season when the number of contestants dwindle, and the time between the couples become more intimate.

But when Nick freely volunteered the information about their sexual encounter, the media jumped on the story. The focus wasn’t on him, or even the two as a couple, it was all on Dorfman.

News outlets and message boards filled with demeaning comments about Dorfman’s alleged promiscuity. According to a Time article, Bob Beckel, co-host of Fox News’ The Five, exclaimed during a discussion on the incident, “she’s a slut! I’m not kidding you. She sleeps with someone else, and then doesn’t tell the guy about it. This is what America has come to, this crap.”

Even when panelist Andrea Tantaros countered his claims pointing out the sexual double standard by replying, “Are you kidding me right now? Excuse me, Bob. You probably sleep with a different woman every night” Beckel didn’t back down. He said that his personal life didn’t matter because he wasn’t the bachelor or bachelorette.

Yes, it can be argued that those who chose to take part in the show know that their lives and the decisions they make are going to be made public. However, their actions as consenting adults, engaging in an act that is common for those who are dating, shouldn’t be subject to cruelty and judgement by others.

Sleeping with Nick doesn’t make her a bad person or someone who doesn’t respect herself or her own body. She engaged in a normal activity for those who are dating, just with more unusual parameters.

Slut-shaming doesn’t just deter women from being able to freely engage in consensual sex. Belittling another person through bullying and sexist behavior can cause insecurities, loss of self-worth, and a variety of other emotional distresses. Why would someone subject another person to that, when their actions have no effect on you whatsoever?

As it turns out, one of the most accurate portrayals of slut-shaming occurred in the film, Mean Girls.

Unfortunately, the attacks don’t stop once you graduate from high school. Just like Tina Fey’s character in the film pointed out, some of the worst perpetrators are women themselves. Whether you’re 18 or 88, you could be vulnerable to criticism. So how can we stop all the hate?

Similar to Fey, AlterNet says that the only way to fix things is, “First and foremost, stop calling other women sluts! It doesn’t behoove us to bash each other, gals. And speak out when you hear men do the same.”

What do you think? Was Nick in the wrong by posing the question to Andi on camera?

(Guest submission courtesy of Amanda Starke a freelance writer who covers pop culture and entertainment from Tampa, FL.)

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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