Things I Need To Say To My ‘Slut-Shaming’ Classmate: “I Am What I Am”

Posted on May 10, 2016 in Sexism And Patriarchy

By Nupur Saraswat:

portrait-841861_960_720Slut-shaming exists everywhere and dare I say, in colleges more than anywhere else. This narrative has stayed with me for over four years now. Never leaving my mouth, because it had me convinced that it had more to do with my character than theirs. As I graduate next month, I will be four years wiser, and four years surer that this narrative needs to be heard by people everywhere. I know now for sure that slut-shaming is not something I am going to take sitting down and that I will let my abusers know what they did. So, here is a story I want slut-shamers everywhere to read, you know who you are – it’s time to take a f*cking bow.

What does slut-shaming look like? It looks like my freshmen year of college when you decided that you disliked me. In all honesty, I am used to being disliked. I am loud, unconventionally opinionated, and unabashedly bold. I am not a damsel in distress, and thus, I am hard to like.

But this was different. You didn’t dislike me for something that I said to you or something that I did to you. This narrative exists because you disliked me for who I was or, more accurately, who you thought I was. And you thought I was a sexually active 18-year-old Indian girl who was ‘shameless’ enough to talk about her sex life and had the guts to own it unapologetically like everything else that belongs to her. She didn’t ask for your validation. Maybe that’s why you missed how unsure she was of what she was to make of her life. The last thing she needed was another label. A label you gave away so freely and so carelessly – Slut. Thank you.

My existence was an inconvenient truth for you. A truth that dug holes in your stratosphere of patriarchy. It was funny watching you try to duct-tape these gaping holes in your atmosphere. Step one, you blocked me on Facebook, believing, quite like an ostrich, that if you couldn’t see me, I won’t be able to see you. But I did, I saw you try to hang on to what your mother taught you about how a girl should look like. Step two, you tried to make others believe that I am who you say I am. I wonder if your mother will approve of the words you used to describe me. Step three, you stopped going to the parties you thought I would be at, making our mutual friends choose between the two of us. In retrospect, you were doing me a favor, really. You were helping me pick my team – my people. Thank you.

However, you unblocked me a month ago and sent me a fresh friend request. No apology, no explanation. I wish I could say that this was the plot twist, but really it only raises more questions. How compulsively did you think about me before you clicked on ‘Settings’? Were you a changed person when you went to ‘Blocking’? Did you wonder what I had become in these four years before you found my name and hit ‘Unblock’? I have just one more question: how dare you send me a friend request? I didn’t notice you were gone until you came back. But you came back; after four years of people telling me how much you hated me, four years of me asking them why, and four years of dishonest shoulder shruggings.

You see, this story doesn’t have an ending. Much like slut-shaming. I could tell you of the nights I doubted myself out of sleep and into the realms of insomnia. I could tell you of how it furthered my compulsive anxiety. But I won’t. Because I am not a victim. I am a story – and a bloody good one. I am also a slut. An unapologetic one. Thank you.

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