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.”

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Style -

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.

Emily with her book (Or­ange Av­enue Pub­lish­ing; R244).

Emily Lindin with Am­ber Rose.

Cody Mcneil

Gina Tron

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