The link between social media and slut-shaming

Slut-shaming is when people degrade, embarrass, insult or attack a woman because they thinks she is promiscuous, behaves too sexually or dresses too sexually.  This means that you don’t necessarily have to be sexually active to be labelled a ‘slut’. If you look up the term ‘slut’, you will see that some online dictionaries will say it means “a woman who has had many casual sexual partners” but other websites, like Urban Dictionary, includes “a woman who wears skimpy clothing”. I’ve discussed slut-shaming and why it’s wrong before (you can read about it here.), but after seeing it done so often on social media, I think it’s definitely worth discussing again. There are many reasons why this is a common thing online, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Here’s what you need to know about online slut-shaming.

Social media allows slut-shamers to be anonymous

A lot of the time, people are more verbally abusive and bully others online because it’s easy to get away with it if they’re hiding behind a fake profile, right? The same goes for slut-shaming. People feel safe enough to do the wrong thing online because most of the time, it comes with no real-life consequences, and it’s anonymous, while the person who is being attacked has to deal with the pain of online bullying in real life.

Everyone has an opinion online

Yes, everyone is allowed to have an opinion online, but the problem comes in when those opinions are used to shame other people for choices they’re allowed to make- and choices that have nothing to do with anyone else. If a woman decides to post pictures of herself dressed in a way that others might find inappropriate, that is her choice to make; and if someone doesn’t want to see those kinds of pictures on their timeline, they can always just unfollow or unfriend, right?

Social media makes people feel too familiar

Okay, so we all know of or might have some friendships that have started online, and that’s one of the things I love about social media- it connects people. But a situation this has led to is when people believe they’re allowed to make judgements just because they think they know the person and their lives. This happens so often with women who are young mothers and share posts about their kids, but still enjoy going out and having fun- because some people think it’s wrong for a young mother to still want to enjoy their life. Messed up, right?

People want to be popular

And it’s sad, but a lot of the time, people who are online bullies or slut-shamers get a lot of followers because people think it’s funny, or they want to be a part of trending conversations. But what good is chasing popularity online if you’re not using it to spread some good into a world that really needs it? It’s also important to remember that laughing at or sharing hurtful comments is just as bad as having said them yourself.

Even though more and more people are realising why slut-shaming is wrong, it’s up to you to call it out whenever you see it and use your online voice to spread positivity, not hate. Have you been in a situation online where someone tried to slut-shame you? You can tell me about it in the comments below.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

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