To relcaim or reject “slut”?

Until now, reclaiming the word “slut” never appealed to me. I fully supported the message of SlutWalk — that women don’t ask to be raped by dressing a certain way — but I had no interest in applying the slur to myself. But this Limbaugh thing has me singing a different tune.

I’m not exactly scrawling “slut” on my forehead, but suddenly, reclaiming the word seems potentially exciting. I’m not the only one recognizing a shift in the conversation about reclamation. Megan Gibson of Time wrote, “While the motivation [for SlutWalk] was inarguably sound … the protest caused controversy, in part because many were wary to associate themselves with the word slut.” She continues, “Remarkably, thanks to Limbaugh’s ignorant vitriol, we’re seeing a marked change in that wariness.”

That said, in identifying with Sandra Fluke, the target of Limbaugh’s rant, some women have instead chosen to distance themselves from the term, which perfectly illustrates how complicated reclamation can be.

This week, the hashtag “iamnotaslut” went viral. Jessica Scott, an Army officer who started the hashtag, tweeted, “I am a 35 year old mother of 2, an Army officer who has deployed. I use #birthcontrol to be a good soldier & responsible parent #iamnotaslut.”

Feminist activist Jaclyn Friedman points out that the message here is, “Just because I use birth control doesn’t mean I’m a bad girl” — which might imply that some women are bad. “The problem with the ‘iamnotaslut’ hashtag is that it creates a line,” she explains. “[It says,] ‘I’m a valid spokesperson on this but women who have lots of sex are not.’”

Read the whole story at Salon.com.

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