When Emily Lindin was in middle school she was bullied, as so many young women are, in a sexually harassing, slut-shaming fashion. While awareness of bullying due to sexual orientation has benefited from the cleansing light of the It Gets Better project, leading to advances in public discourse and policy, there’s a lot of ground to cover before the issues facing young women are seen as clearly. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen one news story after another about not only online bullying, live harassment, and rape endured by young girls and women – we’ve also had to be reminded how utterly serious this is by a string of suicides. Emily is doing something about it – she’s founded The UnSlut Project, and is embarking on a documentary film. Today is the LAST DAY of her Kickstarter project – you can help get this movie made!
As Emily points out, it isn’t just the girls who are sexually active who bear the brunt of this kind of slut-shaming; ANY girl can be singled out to receive it. (And it’s worth remembering that this sexualized and harassing sort of bullying can also happen as part of homophobic and transphobic bullying.) It happened to me in high school, though I was already so interested in sexual politics that I was more likely to quote feminist theory, chapter and verse, back at my schoolmates who were triggered into that kind of harassment. When a young person has had no real access to feminist or sex-positive ideas, this kind of emotional violence can be, as we have seen, literally unbearable. And it isn’t on the young women to endure it, anyway – it’s on the bullies and harassers (and their adult enablers) to CUT IT OUT. There are plenty of these adult enablers – I’ve heard their voices this very week, freaking out about Miley Cyrus. They live among the ranks of abstinence-only sex ed partisans. They say things like “boys will be boys.”
Here’s Emily’s definition of slut-shaming, in case this has never, ever touched your life (and I bet it has, if only indirectly):
Slut shaming involves denigrating a woman or women generally for perceived or real sexual behavior. It ranges from something like one teenager calling another teenager a “slut” for wearing a short dress to mainstream media coverage of rape that puts blame on the victim or victims. It is closely tied to the practice of sexual bullying and the concept of “rape culture,” which refers to society’s dismissal or even condoning of rape.
Send the UnSlut Project a contribution today! Help get this movie made and help the cultural discussion grow. This problem needs to be brought out of the shadows and be seen for what it is: a threat to young (and older) women and our safety AND sexuality – and while anyone’s sexuality and safety are at risk, everyone’s lives and potential are affected. Let’s act!
Visit the Kickstarter page to hear more: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/unslutproject/slut-a-documentary-film
If you’re reading this after September 3, you can still support this important project. Here’s the link to their site. Please spread the word about it!