I was never someone who spoke out very strongly against rape and things like slut-shaming and labeling of women. I'm not saying that I didn't think that they were terrible crimes. I just was never exposed to anything to make me really want to protest that badly, and I guess you could say I live in a bubble because I don't really know of anyone who has been sexually labeled or assaulted. Something made me change my mind just a couple of days ago, and I feel like women and men should REALLY read what I have to say because I feel that it is extremely important for anyone from any walk of life to know this, but first let me explain WHY
So I went to a Halloween party this past Saturday night. I know it's still a couple of weeks until the actual holiday but who doesn't love a good excuse to dress up and show a little more skin than usual, it's fun to dress like the typical sexy nurse/cat/policewoman/superhero. But this was also an 18th party, so of course the booze was going to be there, whether anyone liked it or not. My best friend (let's call her Olivia) and I decided we were not going to have much to drink as the people there were not really great friends of ours and we didn't want to embarrass ourselves. Of course this changed over the course of the night and we got a bit out of hand. Olivia* and I decided to go have a nap after wandering around for a while. She went and slept in the car and I took a nap on a couch, tightly wrapped in a blanket so that nobody could try anything without me waking up first, we weren't the only ones who had had something to drink after all.
After 30 minutes I woke up to find a boy in my year (let's call him Nathan) plonking himself on the couch next to me, clearly having had more than his fair share of the free alcohol. He called me over because he was 'cold' and also wanted some of my blanket, and slightly dazed I agreed and proceeded to nap on him for about 10 more minutes. I can't remember if he was also sleeping or if he talked for those 10 minutes... I woke up to a sudden "You're a dick you know (laughs quietly)". I asked him why he had said that and he said it was because I didn't want to hookup with him. That didn't make me a dick, I thought. I said "I'm not" and he and I talked some more about nothing. he moved his hand quite uncomfortably far up my leg, so I moved to where he no longer could do that.
He then said to me "let's go" and I said "I don't know" because I wasn't too sure about the situation. He said again "Hey, let's go to a bush or something" and again I said "I don't know". Then he asked me if I wanted to go to second base and again I replied with " I don't know". A minute or so passed. Finally he said to me "You're so conservative. You really are." When I asked him why He said again that it was because I wasn't prepared to hook up with him.
So that was my label. I had always been careful about who I hung out with and what I let people know about me and I am a generally quiet girl who doesn't really get very involved with guys because I am very shy and I have always wanted to avoid labels like: slut, easy and whore, even though I know they don't determine who you are as a person you still don't want to be know as one, you know? I thought I didn't have a label, because I thought I had avoided it, but apparently I was the conservative girl who is frigid and doesn't have the guts to hookup with someone.
This, ladies and gentlemen is my point. LABELS. I tried to avid them y whole life and through doing that I got myself a label. I'm the prude, the nun and the conservative. Just because I didn't feel like hooking up with Nathan that night. And if I had hooked up with him? I may have well been labeled and easy slut who hooks up with random guys I don't really know. No matter what you do, (especially women) get labeled for anything and everything. If women think they are beautiful and love themselves, they are 'vain', but if they hate their appearance and themselves they are 'attention whores', as social media likes to sometimes portray them. If women are slightly overweight they are so called 'fat pigs who don't care about their appearance', if women aren't curvy and are naturally slim they are 'anorexic sticks' and if they love fitness they're 'annoying fanatical bodybuilders'. If women have had a hookup with someone they hardly know they are 'sluts' and if they would rather wait for a more respectful man to be intimate with and not just hookup with a random guy, they are 'conservative and teases'.
This is why I have become over the course of a couple of days a STRONG BELIEVER in the fact that slut shaming is incredibly harmful to a woman's well-being and so is being labeled in any aspect of the way people live their lives. Here's the thing, though: labeling someone isn't going to impact your life in the slightest, it won't make people detest you, because so many people do it. Your life will not change because of what you called someone back in high school, but the person who is being labelled will be affected. They will be the ones suffering the backlash or false rumours and labels associated with their name because you and your friends decided it was okay to judge someone based on assumptions you made in a 10 minute hazy conversation. They will be the ones awake at unholy hours crying about the fact that someone called them a tease or a fat slob or a slut, wondering if it's all true and if the rest of the world thinks of them that way. They will be the ones who have issues with their body or their self esteem one day because of some simple drunken words you slipped out because you thought it was funny in the moment.
Don't do it. You never know how heavy the weight is that people are already carrying on their shoulders, and if you add more it could just cause them to crumble. If you are Nathan* or one of Nathan's* friends, or you have a friend like Nathan* please please stop, or tell them to stop labeling women (or anyone for that matter), and maybe teach them a thing or two about respect for the women and girls around them, because we women are worth SO MUCH MORE than just an easy hookup in the bush.
Until the next post
-The traveling oyster
* - Names have been changed
P.S. If you want a great analogy on how to differentiate consensual sex from rape here is an awesome an simple video that will make total sense to anyone: