Thought Catalog
September 24, 2013

60 Women On “What I Was Doing When I Was Called A Slut”

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What is the issue?
In my experience, the people who call people sluts in an attempt to insult them aren’t even aware of the actual “truth” in their insult. They’re just saying a woman could, possibly have slept around. And that’s bad. I wanted to know what elicited this kind of insult from people so I asked Thought Catalog readers to tell me what they were doing when they were called a slut. Here are the (heartbreaking) responses.
Ángelo González
Ángelo González

Stephanie, 25

In the 8th grade, a girl called me a slut because she said I stuck out my boobs all the time in class and made flat-chested girls like her feel insecure. In reality, I was just trying to have better posture/sit up straighter to look skinnier because I was insecure around thin girls like her. COOL.

Sarah, 28

I walked down the street in a hot pink turtleneck dress. I was also simultaneously called a faggot. By a bunch of college-age-seeming dudes in down vests.

rachel

Rachel, 24

One time someone spread a rumor that I was a huge “ho” and when I investigated, her reasoning for me being a ho was my last name (Hodin).

Maya, 29

Driving my car in Minneapolis at 5:30 pm home from work. Merged and dude yelled out his window that I was a slut.

Sara, 20

When I was in middle school, I was called a whore and a hoe. I had never even kissed someone before. I had never had a boyfriend. I’m not sure I had even hugged a member of the opposite sex that wasn’t like, my dad. But I was called this because I had big boobs, and sometimes a little cleavage would come out of my shirt. I’m not talking about push-up-bra Anna Nicole Smith cleavage, I mean, I wore unpadded bras and if my shirt weren’t up to my neck, it was just what happened. It’s just how it was. I wasn’t inappropriate in any way shape or form. But I was called a slut. Because if you embrace who you are and threaten other girls with the idea that you are more sexually attractive than they are that’s what you’ll be called.

Missa, 21

I was called a slut while being raped.

Isabel, 25

I’ve been called “bitch/slut/whore” so many times, that it’s entirely lost its meaning. I doubt very many people have been called a slut to their face, except by an abusive partner… I’m sure people think it’s slutty that I’m a stripper, and I’ve probably been called a slut behind my back because of it. I think the only time I’ve been aware that I was being called a slut was drunken party flirtations when I was a teen. I’m really into the kind of “pro-slut”/owning your sluttiness thing that’s been happening. Let’s reclaim the word! Sluts are more fun, anyways.

Rebecca, 22

My affinity for sex toys has gotten me that label from someone once.

barlowe

Chrissy, 28

The time a guy has called me a slut with the most viciousness in his demeanor, I don’t think he knew my sexual history, he just knew I was sleeping with someone and he was angry that I wasn’t interested in sleeping with him.

Elizabeth, 29

I had a hard time remembering the last time someone called me a slut because kinda feels normal.

Allie, 22

My honest experience is that I’ve called myself a slut and whore more than anything else, and I think that’s important, because I think it speaks to what we’re taught about ourselves. I haven’t had many partners, actually, and by anybody else’s terms I’m considered under-experienced, but just one one night stand leaves me feeling like a pathetic “whore” rather than a woman who is proud of her sexuality and acts on her desires.

Corrine

I was called a slut by my own grandmother when I was 12 because I wore a swimsuit in which my cleavage showed (my breasts came in earlier than most girls). Let’s just say, we didn’t have the greatest relationship after that. She was also an alcoholic and a racist, so no complaints from me!

Anonymous

I mentioned to the girl I thought was my best friend that I wanted to lose my virginity to my then-boyfriend. It ended up not happening, but it was enough for her to call me a slut the second my back was turned.

whatgoodwoulditdo

I was cheerfully walking back from the shop and two men in a car parked outside the pizza place below my apartment barked at me, shouted slut, and spat at me. I was wearing no make up, a stained and ripped hoodie, trackie bottoms, and hi tops. They were both very charming.

pebbleshale

I was called a slut because I called someone out who happened to be incredibly sexist. A male friend and I had agreed to live with this guy and his friend in our second year of uni. We later found out that he’d also agreed to move in with another group of people.

When we called him out on it and asked him which group he’d be living with (because we needed to get contracts signed in order to have a place to live) he became incredibly hostile and the situation culminated in him shouting at me that I was a slut.

Naturally there was no abuse hurled at my male friend. The guy was so aggressive towards me that it actually made me cry. This was just one of a number of events which preceded a night during which he came back to the flat drunk and hit me in the face. Yay for randomly assigned flatmates in first year.

MC

My roommate and so-called friend called me a slut because I joined a sorority.

Anonymous

I was called a slut for not sleeping with a guy. He later corrected himself, though, and told me I was “the opposite of a slut, which is even worse.” At least we got that straightened out.

Anonymous

When I moved to a new middle school, I was called a slut the first week I was there because I supposedly had given a guy a blowjob. I didn’t know who the guy was and didn’t even know what a blowjob was. I was 12.

Erin Logan

I got called a slut because my ex-boyfriend started a rumor about me sleeping with his friend. He did it to cover up his tracks since he was a controlling and abusive scumbag and didn’t want anyone to find out. So he attempted to make me look bad.

All but one person believed him.

Anonymous

I was called a slut for breaking up with a guy after he cheated on me.

Emily

I have been called a slut and a whore on various occasions by my mother when we get into fights, because she suspects that I’m having sex with my boyfriend, which is apparently the root of all my “evil”. Did I mention I’m 27 and a contributing member of society?

Anonymous

My mother called me a slut when I was 13 because I wore lipgloss and a short skirt.

Siti

I was called a slut several times in my life, either directly to my face as a confession or behind my back. My supposedly “girlfriends” didn’t show me they thought i was a slut but sometimes during conversations they would say things like , “oh yeah I slept with a guy but I’m not as bad as you.” What the heck does that even mean?!

Girls who end up being my friends (or at least thought I was a good friend after all) will feel guilty and confess to me that they had told people I was a slut, this baffles me because it was really random and unrelated to the conversation we were having and they don’t even know me.

Boys who didn’t get what they want from me called me a slut.

My stepmother called me a slut upon finding out I have a boyfriend. My social escort mother called me a slut and even told me I came out from one too (way to go, Mom). yes just put the shame on my, ladies.

I’m fairly decent and very soft-spoken. I don’t sleep around. I look nerdy, I wear glasses and read books all day. I can’t even swear and I find it offensive when people do. So what the hell people?!

Oh and an ex-boyfriend told me that people thought I was a slut because I have a huge rack for someone petite. Oh yeah, that explains.

Dek

A married lady who likes my boy friend calls me a slut only because my boy friend has chosen me over her and because I am a divorcee. So I am a slut. The fact, I didn’t have any other guy in my marriage. I waited for months after I divorced to have a boy friend.

Liz, 20

Once, when I was in high school, I was called a “stuck-up slut” for not stopping when a boy cat-called at me. He was angry. I had never had a boyfriend in high school and never had kissed anyone until I kissed a woman began to realize my sexuality and accept myself for who I am.

Nele

I was called a slut by 3 older girls for wearing a bright shiny pink coat on my way to my piano lesson. My mother sew that coat for me and I refused to wear that coat ever again, feeling shame whenever I saw it. I was 11 or 12…

Renata

I was called a slut early in high school because I was so short that normal-sized tops always hung a bit lower down my chest than they would on other people. The clothes available to me were made for girls with longer torsos, and I just didn’t happen to be one of them.

E

I was called a slut by a group of girls in high school. I stayed a virgin throughout those four years.

Ellie

I’m with Allie, I called myself a slut and a whore more than anything else. I had an extremely restrictive eating disorder, and I was conditioned to be ashamed about wanting anything too much. Anytime I so much as flirted with a guy — when I was sick — I would immediately, almost instinctively, think to myself, “god, you stupid slut, he’s never going to love you, no one is, you don’t deserve to have anything…” on and on, along those lines, as I usually skipped the following meal entirely as opposed to whatever small amount of food I was going to eat.

It’s so beyond horrifying to me now, that I associated how awful and low I thought I was (I could literally feel my face forming a sour expression when I thought that way about myself) with condemning myself for having any kind of needs, sexual or otherwise. Because that’s the underlying insult with “slut” I think — it’s not so much about sexuality, but that women aren’t supposed to want anything too much.

KS

My mother called me a slut (and accused me of statutory rape) after I confided in her that I had lost my virginity to my then-boyfriend. I was 18, he was 17, and we had been dating for over a year.

Anon

My roommate last year called me a slut behind my back because I have sex with my boyfriend, and wear dresses on a daily basis.

Anon

my friend found out I lost my virginity (I’m in college) and continues to call me a slut, say I have no morals etc etc.

Claerys

Called a slut by my guy friend while we’re having sex. Then I responded “I’m your slut.” :(

Becca

Someone I once considered a friend waited for me to get on a plane then told the first guy I ever loved that I was a slut and didn’t deserve him. Perhaps, most tellingly, I rid myself of a two-faced female who was so uncomfortable with her sexuality she had to speak ill of me and gained an honest, open hearted partner who never made me feel ashamed to be anyone other than myself.

Whitney

I was chatting with a guy on a dating website, he was on webcam (this was years ago, I didn’t own one). He asked if I wanted to see his penis, and I said no. He tried to move the camera down there, anyway and I immediately exited out of the chat. He sent me another message calling me a slut.

Ethel

I was called a slut on social media by my (then) boyfriend who read through my facebook messages and saw that I referred to him as ‘going on holiday with someone’ to a male friend. I still gave him a chance after that.

Sally

I got called a slut an hour ago from a work colleague .. I asked why, she said no reason.

J

i got called a slut while i was wearing my high school uniform, waiting for my dad to pick me up at night. so to speak, i was called a slut for being a woman out at night.

LL Bee

First time I was called a slut was because some guy liked me in the 9th grade. The girl who called me a slut liked the guy.

SparksinKY

I recall most vividly the time that I, along with my entire 8th grade class, constantly referred to a new student as a slut. It was a small Catholic school and we rarely had new kids. She already had large breasts, dyed her hair bright blonde and wore her skirt as short as possible. The rumor was that she didn’t wear shorts under her skirt like we all did and everyone saw her thong. We all hated her because she flirted with boys and they liked her. She was always very kind to the rest of us and only got labeled “slut” because she somehow avoided the physical awkwardness of being 13. We all got really smug in high school too when she got pregnant. Sort of a “told you so” type of thing.

I still feel ashamed about it. We all had to sit through those anti-bullying seminars, but this type of bullying was never addressed.

Julie

A pack of girls repeatedly screamed out that I was a slut every time they saw me for about a three-week period in high school. I had recently broken up with one of their friends. Strangely, one of my reasons for breaking up with him was that he was pressuring me to have sex and I didn’t want to.

Rhianna

I was asked if I was a little slut during foreplay with a guy. He and I both knew that the dirty talk was a turn on. In the right moment, name calling can be fun and sexy. But hearing how many times it’s been hurtful to women and girls is heartbreaking.

Liz

Some lady called me a fat whore the other day because she thought I was trying to steal her cab. I was just waiting to cross the street. Its so much creepier when women throw around misogynistic terms.

Cleo

I got called a slut by my male neighbors after they saw me on my porch kissing a guy I liked. They told their friend that liked me, a guy I didn’t like, that he should stay away from me because, evidently, I was a whore. Did I mention I’m a 22-year-old virgin?

Anon

In middle school, I was called a slut for being “too thin.” In high school, I was called a slut for turning down any offers to date me (is there something wrong with just not wanting a boyfriend? Christ.) In college, I was called a slut for having exclusive sex with my first and only boyfriend.

Anon

I was called a slut for having casual sex with a boy a few years older than me during my first year at college. I didn’t feel shame for sleeping with him though – it’s something I wanted to do, I didn’t care that we were never going to date I just wanted to have fun with a guy I thought was hot. Not caring that we didn’t like eachother is what qualified me as a slut.

MJ

I can’t think of one specific time that really comes to mind. I’ve been called a slut for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes for ludicrous reasons, like that my shorts were too short. Sometimes for heartbreaking reasons, like when I was molested in middle school by a high school boy and found in the school parking lot by my science teacher. And sometimes for what might seem to people as “justifiable” reasons, for having casual sex and dating a lot. The point here is that nearly every woman has been called a slut and for thousands of different reasons. The insult is less a reflection of the woman it is being used against, and more as a means for the insulter to use the womans sexuality to bring her down. There is no such thing as a slut and I think we need to make a conscious effort to remove that word from our vocabulary. Or else, take back the word and redefine it.

HX

This girl in school called me a slut because I was dating one of the “popular” guys. That guy was well-known, not well-liked. She told everyone that I was just trying to get popular when I really wasn’t interested in that at all. Even worse because it was a few weeks into the first year of college and I thought she’d be one of my closer friends at first. Guess you don’t really know anyone at first glance.

AKB

My freshman year of high school, I was scrolling through my facebook at home, when a boy from my junior high who I was no longer in contact with messaged me to call me a cunt, among other things. I still don’t know why.

Angie

My close friends’ twin brother called me a slut because I’m a burlesque dancer. He saw some photos of me performing on Facebook and did not approve.

Helena

An old friend started calling me a slut behind my back because I was starting to engage in sexual activities with my boyfriend. He was my first boyfriend who I trusted deeply, but regardless of that it wasn’t okay for him to judge me for being a sexually active woman.

Anon

I was called a “little slut” by my mom’s boyfriend, I was 10.

Anon

My mom called me a slut because i decided not to style my hair in the mornings anymore and instead wear it “messy” (putting it up in an unbrushed ponytail). I was told if i didn’t have a neat enough appearance, i’d never have any friends at school.

Courtney

In middle school I was being reprimanded for kissing my boyfriend in the hallway (which I probably shouldn’t have been doing, but whatever), and my older female guidance counselor told me people would think I was a whore for doing that. I was like 13 or 14. Compared notes with the boyfriend and he basically got a slap on the wrist. At the time I was an assistant in the front office, and worked with the secretary and nurse, who both made snide remarks about having heard about me. So much for confidentiality. I’m realizing, especially after reading some posts here, that I am so very lucky though. I have a bad ass mom, who upon hearing about the guidance counselor’s talk with me, didn’t even care that I was supposed to be in trouble, and was livid with the woman. I can’t remember if she called the school or not, but I sounds like the kind of thing she would do.

Later on, said boyfriend who used to obsess over how much he liked me, freaked out, decided I cheated on him (false), called me all kinds of names, and got his friends to gang up on me online. Friends I thought were also my friends. They at least apologized once they realized he was crazy. Needless to say, that was the end of all those relationships.

Swati

I was called a slut for the first time while being beaten up by my dad because some guy living in my neighborhood told him I written stuff against them. ( I hadn’t, it was my girl friends) The so called stuff was basically ‘beware skanks’ or ‘you trouble us we trouble you back’. He even said my tendencies would eventually get me raped. I was, I believe 12 or 13.

Ana

I was called a slut by a yelling woman 15 years my senior while on a crowded train car when I was 13. After spending all of middle school mad that I had only kissed someone once because I was really excited to explore my sexuality, I met someone who I respectfully messed around with a bit. I told a friend I made on the train the next day and he told everyone he possibly could that was around my age who I’d made friends with, including a boy who I was truly connecting with, who immediately avoided me. I had told him in pride. He spread it around like shame and soon this drunk woman I didn’t know was screaming slut at me as I arrived at my destination. I learned that day that I wasn’t allowed to like sex and if I tried, I would be shamed. Today I know that’s incorrect, but those scars of early sexual experiences always coming with a big YOU ARE WRONG label, still haunt me.

BeekGirl

I was called a slut by a friend of my boyfriend (at the time) while dancing at a goth club. I was still a virgin.

CJ

My brother told my mom she was letting me be a slut when I was in a relationship with my first love in high school and having monogamous sex with my then boyfriend. I don’t know how he knew I was having sex in the first place, and I don’t know why my mother decided to pass this on to me. Needless to say, it did NOT stop me from having sex, and i’m grateful for that.

AP

My boyfriend in high school had dated a girl before me. That girl’s mother went to my boyfriend’s mother and told her that I was a “huge slut that would break his heart and enjoy doing it.” Apparently that was because she heard I had kissed a boy at summer camp. I was 15, and yes I had kissed one boy before him.

I have also been called a slut because I’ve slept with more people than some. Its usually said as a negative thing. But I’m always honest, safe, and treat my partners with respect. So, if I’m a slut, I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing.

Anne

I am 56 years old and was at my gym swimming laps in the pool. A younger man approached me and complimented me on my fitness and swimming skills. He also said “You’ll have to teach me some time.” I deflected his comment by saying something such as “Oh, it’s easy/just takes practice.” He then called me “Puta” (whore) and left the pool area.