1 Your plus-size cheat sheet 4 3
“Instead of judging, let’s work together to undo that part of our culture. Things don’t have to be this way.” “As women, we are not either a ‘slut’ or a ‘good girl’. We don’t have to be forced into one of these two tiny boxes.”
There are brands that get it. Try H&M and Mr Price for bright and on-trend styles, Donna Claire and Mango for chic refined looks, and Superbalist.com and Spree.co.za for smart workwear attire. Almost any look can be upgraded with stylish shoes, bags and jewellery. “I can get into a rut of just wearing a plain T-shirt or all-black clothing, so accessories are my saviour,” says plussize model Candice Huffine, a size 18. “Colourful bags and cool hats refresh simple outfits. This season, I can’t wait to break out the headscarves!” Some look-changing extras to wear this summer: shoulder-grazing earrings, chokers, chain bags and midi heels.
that men give us unwanted attention because we ‘ tempt’ them or invite them. We feel guilty for embracing our sexuality. We apologise for simply having a body. We understand that sexual rumours, even baseless ones, can destroy our credibility.
While we might be tempted to brush off everyday instances of ‘slut’ shaming, the effects can be devastating. Recent statistics reveal that only 15% of women who have been raped report the crime to the police. The most common reason they gave for not reporting? It was too “embarrassing”.
For some women, the fear of having their sexual behaviour judged and examined in the open – as if they somehow participated in the attack – is too much. They have to fight against the same old tired argument that women are somehow to blame in sexual attacks. We exist in a world where the women who spoke up about Bill Cosby’s crimes against them are called ‘sluts’.
The situation is depressing and frustrating. But we have the power to change it. Until recently, we didn’t have the term ‘slut’ shaming; labelling the problem was the first step to fighting it. Now we need to share our stories. When we find ourselves judged or discriminated against because of how we date, have sex or express our sexuality, we need to talk about it. Once we communicate these experiences, we find solidarity in other women, and we de-stigmatise the stories we’ve been socialised to hide and feel embarrassed about. Then we need to speak up for one another. When we witness ‘slut’ shaming, we can either awkwardly ignore it or stand up to it.
People know that ‘slut’ is an easy way to destroy a woman’s credibility. Some men will use that as a tool when their feelings are hurt, when they’re angry or when they’re rejected. When a guy puts a woman down for her sexual behaviour, let’s show them Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality. Let’s remind them that Sir Richard Branson, Prince Harry and Daniel Craig are feminists. Let’s first try to call them into conversation; if they won’t listen, let’s call them out.
We also applaud those women who use their platform to challenge the status quo. Women like Amy Schumer, whose comedy mocks gender expectations (she even has an episode called ‘Slut shaming’ in her Emmy-winning series Inside Amy Schumer). Or singer Ariana Grande, who called out the double standards of her misogynistic critics, tweeting: “If a woman has lots of sex (or any sex for that matter)… she’s a ‘slut’. If a man has sex, HE’S A STUD. A BOSSSSSS. A KING.”
And finally, we can change our own attitudes, and avoid the trap of joining in the problem. The next time you catch yourself thinking a ‘slut’-shaming thought, ask yourself, ‘ Why should someone else’s choices have any effect on me at all?’ Instead of judging, let’s work together to undo that part of our culture. Things don’t have to be this way. Sex and our sexuality do not define us. As women, we are not either a ‘slut’ or a ‘good girl’. We don’t have to be forced into one of these two tiny boxes.
Visit unslutproject.com for more.