Sexual Objectification and Me

By Annie Figueroa

I cut my jeans into skimpy shorts, befriended the weed-smoking troublemakers in detention, and ditched the classes I once cared about.

That’s how I rebelled in frustration over a learning disability that I eventually overcame.

In the meantime, my self-esteem came from self-objectification: Reducing myself to my body while neglecting the rest of me.

Clad in risqué fashions I felt confident and proud. I began to admire and like the person I saw in the mirror. I was no longer invisible Annie. I was the daring, confident, sexy tour de force of my high school.

I wanted to feel beautiful, and had not yet discovered the insidious consequences of objectification that reduces women (usually) to sex and cares nothing about our thoughts or feelings.

Others objectified me. But they could slut-shame all they wanted, I didn’t care.

I eventually overcame my learning disability — along with my one-dimensional self-objectification — and joined my body to my brain.

Still, others objectified me.

My thoughts and feelings didn’t matter

After high school I headed to Mount Holyoke, an Ivy League women’s college.

I was elated and thrilled to join the community of quirky, overthinking feminists dedicated to lifting each other up. I felt liberated, excited and open to any opportunity that presented itself — sexual or not.

At a Halloween party that first semester I connected with an attractive Amherst boy who wanted to hook up. I was new to sexuality and uncomfortable with it, so I shut him down. But a friend encouraged me: “He’s cute! You should have a little fun, let loose. It won’t hurt. Just keep me on speed dial in case you feel unsafe.” So I decided to go for it and reconnected with him moments later.

That night I experimented with sexual equality, without hesitating to assert myself or speak up when uncomfortable. The next morning I felt fulfilled and satisfied. 

But everything changed when I met his roommates. They high-fived him, and cheered him on. But they catcalled me as I exited. When I checked my phone I found a series of texts like this: “Hey sexy China doll whore, call me for a good time!”

Just moments after feeling empowered and fulfilled I felt horrified, vulnerable and scared.

Reclaiming my sexuality

Since that Amherst experience I have learned to unapologetically embrace my sexuality and demand respect, even when people are reluctant to give it.

I’ve reclaimed the word “slut” and kindly ask people to not degrade me with it. If they do, I gracefully break contact with a smile and hold my head high.

Sluts are merely women pushing patriarchal boundaries, which is necessary for change.

This was written by one of my students who gave me permission to post the piece with a pen name.

Related Posts
Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
Anything Good About Being A Sex Object?
Men, Women React to Male/Female Nudity

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on February 19, 2020, in objectification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1. In elementary school, specifically 5th grade I noticed how the boys began to objectify the girls. There was this thing the boys called slap a** Friday, they would go around slapping girls’ butts. Even after reporting it to the administration, nothing was done. This was done up to seventh grade. I remember how every Friday all girls would be so cautious or even avoided going near the boys. It’s so sad how things like this happen and how girls/women are made uncomfortable when wearing certain clothing.

    • You can see that this is being used to create a sense of male superiority. The guys physically and verbally abusing the women. It shows a lot of insecurity on the guys part. And fitting a social pattern of believing they need to create a sense of male dominance. Even though it actually is showing them being inhumane and the opposite of superior.

  2. Annie,
    I think that a lot of women can resonate with this, including myself. I can tell you from what I’ve learned in school and in experience that usually when a teenager or a young adult starts to show off or “acts out”, as teachers like to call it, it’s usually a cry for help. What the problem might be, we don’t know, but the young adult always has this tendency to call out for attention and likes to put on this mask with their acts, because first and foremost image above all. In high school and even the early years of college, image is everything. Teenagers want to see what people have to say about them, and the ultimate prize for men nowadays, sadly, is to get it on with the one girl who might look “quiet but wild” or who already has a “reputation” going around based on rumors.

    I can actually describe it for myself. I got involved with a co-worker (not my proudest moment or my best choice to be honest), but within a week I was being slut-shamed even for bending down to tie my shoes, and not just in my workplace. Our company has 5 or 6 coffee shops, but indeed all of them got the word about me. I always had the dirty looks, the whispers behind my back, but there comes a point in every slut-shaming victim where they start talking to themselves in their head. Mine told me “what do you care!? how many of these people have ever heard your story and where YOU come from? none of these people know a single thing about you except for what you did in that moment, and its not even the right version! YOU, on the other hand, know way more! you know where they come from, what their families are like, you did your full recon on them! so why are you getting so concerned with these people?! you know about them more than they ever will about you, and THAT’s why they think they can use it against you, because they see your insecurity. let ’em know who’s boss and send them packing!” and indeed I did. sent them packing the next afternoon at work, all of them.

    So in itself, it doesn’t matter what you do, not everyone has to like you. Nobody has to prove themselves, and what they do is their business. Like I say, if they don’t pay your bills, what’s it to them? Do they care about how you’re doing in your personal life? Do they even know what your favorite color is? No, then don’t owe them any explanations of what you do. You know your worth and what you do is up to you and nobody else.

  3. Sexual Objectification and Me – I find it interesting that a lot of people feel this way. I, too have felt the need to change something or adopt a new personality trait that probably wasn’t best for me. I’ve connected with a lot of girls that feel the same. Why is it that a sad or angry woman is seen as someone who would be easy to have sex with? It’s not like the act would lease some sort of tension that we’re holding. And I’ve seen this scenario in a bunch of movies and it misguides a lot of girls saying it’s okay when in reality we’re distorting our visions on life in a hurtful way. It’s time for girls to validate their own feelings and be taught to care about ourselves rather than self distruct. 

  4. Many young girls grow to have low self esteem or eating disorders because they want to look like the models in a magazine or in the media. These days these problems seem to start being a problem at a younger age, due to how easily the internet can be accessed and the early age many young girls are introduced/exposed to. The media creates the belief for society that there is only one definition of beauty and it’s generally girls that have big butts and breast and a small waist, then because they fit the ideal beauty standard they deal with being harassed and cat called on the street by (typically) men who don’t know anything about them besides just the plain fact that they like her body. As for women/girls who don’t fit society’s definition of “beauty,” are told to wear more makeup, to lose weight, wear different clothes and just constantly get put down down and made self conscience of how they look. I’ve seen post where people mention that for many girls instead of getting “hello how was your day,” they get “hey you up?, wanna come f**k,” which is really sad that a lot of men just see women as something they get to use for their pleasure.

  5. In reading this article I can relate in a sense that I have watched many friends go through similar situations. Wearing revealing clothing, being objectified, and then ultimately sleeping with someone and being made to feel even worse about themselves through slut-shaming. However after those experiences, I would watch them reclaim their power and their sexuality. I went through somewhat of the opposite experience in watching that. In high school I dressed in all black, wore large baggy pants and sweatshirts, and my hair covered my face. I was the opposite of “desirable” and hate to admit that I resented those girls who would so freely show off their body or sleep with whomever they wanted to. In my mind society had taught me that sex was both this bad and evil thing and yet it was sacred at the same time. That being sexual was only meant for a man you loved and showing too much skin was just asking for it from all the wrong ones. It is only as I have gotten older had I started to realize just how brain washed I had been and that women are also sexual beings and free to do and wear what they please. I sometimes even today find myself cringing away from seeing women post themselves nude on Instagram or walk around in extremely revealing clothing, but that is a part of me that I am fully working on. As I have grown and matured I have prided myself on not only standing behind but rallying for ALL women. Nude or not.

  6. Similar to Annie, a small (yet existing) part of my self-esteem comes from sexual objectification. However, rather than it being due to a physical neglect of who I am without my body, it is simply because I just like the feeling of being the person in control of what I wear and not caring what others think. I never thought twice about this – regardless of what my body size was or where I was heading to, I tend to wear clothes that aren’t always church appropriate. But, as anecdotes about women who are confident in their bodies go, I was knocked off this pedestal. (TW: SA) After being taken advantage of one night while wearing a very evident pair of shorts, I recall distinctively choosing to wear a pair of baggy Christmas pajama pants the next morning over any shorts I would usually put on. Annie’s words echoed how I felt – “Just moments after feeling empowered and fulfilled I felt horrified, vulnerable and scared.” Without intending to, I had a man take my confidence, respect, and sexuality. It’s just so baffling to me that whether or not an act is consensual, existing in a patriarchal society has forced us to condemn ourselves as women rather than the men at fault.

  7. yajairavilla989

    To feel confident, comes with so much pain. Society brings women down more than it does men and that takes a toll on our mental health and the way we see ourselves. I struggled with confidence most of my life until I didn’t. One day I made the decision to find my true identity and through fashion and style, I felt like myself. Often times though, I felt as though I were being undressed by the eyes of every man who stared into my soul and every inch of my body as I walked through town. Society teaches people that it is okay to put women down and objectify them because they are “asking for it.” Men and women are both eager to be comfortable with their sexualities, but while men get praised, women are looked down on as the author stated, ” The next morning I felt fulfilled and satisfied. But everything changed when I met his roommates. They high-fived him, and cheered him on. But they catcalled me as I exited.” Why is it fair for him to get praised, but not her? They did in fact both have sex yet, she is in the wrong. No, that is what society wants us to believe, but until men begin to see women as human beings and equals, this will be a growing issue.

  8. I remember in middle school I developed early and started to constantly get remarks about my breast and hips. It would make me feel uncomfortable when I would be told about it. Then in high school I began to get told by boys to bend down and grab something that “fell” while they’re friends laughed. I just remember feeling like they saw me as an object and not as their classmate. I grew up feeling so insecure about my body, i would try to wear loose clothing to not show my curves. But now, as a 22 year old woman, I embrace my curves. And when I get told unwanted sexual comments I put people in their place. It’s sad that women have to go through this constantly and a lot of young girls grow up hearing things that make them feel like a sexual object. This post reminded me that I own myself and I own my sexuality no one else does.

  9. The first time I felt objectified was my freshman year in high school. I already had low self-esteem and was not confident in myself. I still remember that day, it was a hot day, and I had a plain t-shirt on and capris. Seeing as I am very curvy the pants clung to every curve. I was walking up to a friend as a group of senior boys walked up behind me and said, “damn that’s a fat ass.” It took me by surprise, and I felt self-conscious enough to grab my sweater and wrap it around my waist. The fact that these boys felt like they had a right to comment on my body made me angry, and it was not the last time I felt that way. I have met other women who felt the same way. Women are not just objectified by the way they look or by their sexual encounters, but by their personalities as well. If a girl seems shy or quiet, she is considered a silent freak in the bed. If she is too confident and dressed a certain way, then she is loose and willing to hook up with anyone. These standards or stereotypes women are put under is demeaning. It makes us feel like we cannot always be true to ourselves and can make us keep our guard up around men. Its like our power has been taken from us, but like the student said, we have to work on “taking back” that power and teach people that women are not those stereotypes and that its not ok to judge us for feeling empowered when we have sexual encounters or if we dress, speak, act a certain way. Respect should always be shown or at the very least just keep your mouths shut and do not say anything at all. Also, that sense of entitlement and presuming men have a right to do what they want when the want. Keep your hands to yourself…always make sure there is consent.

  10. This is a really interesting post, it takes a lot to open up about situations like this and it’s sad and frustrating similar situations happen so often to girls. There is a huge double standard between men and women that is normalized from such a young age for so many that some don’t even think twice about it or about how negatively it can affect others. Women are always seen and labeled “sluts” along with other derogatory terms, however when men do the same things they are praised and patted on the back. This can also create possible trust issues for women as they get older if they are constantly treated in such a negative and derogatory way by men. I think this shows the major objectification of women in our society, and how from a young age women are held at a different standard then men (for example dress code at schools) and are looked down on for things men are praised for.

  11. Men are usually the ones to call women sluts and high fives their buddy’s after having a fun time. In high school one of my close’s friends would get called a slut and a whore all the time not knowing she was a virgin and wanting to wait for marriage. Girls would always judge her just for hanging out with guys who she felt more comfortable with. Sadly, she judged her sister when she didn’t do as her and brought her own sisters world down for having a good time and exploring her sexuality. Both men and women are to blame, I don’t understand what is wrong with a woman wanting to have fun and explore, men. Do it all the time and are looked up to the more women they sleep with. Sorry for your experience, men can be so cruel. I like how you say, “Sluts are merely women pushing patriarchal boundaries, which is necessary for change.” I totally agree. Women should get to enjoy as much as men and no one should be judged and be called for doing so.

  12. This story holds power. This is something that I have seen occur on various occasions. A male gets praised by his friends, while the female is sexually objectified, or slut shamed. This is the result of double standards that have been created and glorified by society. These gender differences continue to be practiced as women are encouraged to look, dress, and act a certain way. While men are praised for actions that women are shamed for doing.

    These inequalities are also seen in school dress codes, or even what we consider “acceptable” for people to wear out in public. A male can walk down the street shirtless and our initial thought is usually that it’s hot outside. A female can walk down the street shirtless and suddenly she’s seeking attention or is bashed for it.

    The reclaiming of sexuality in this story is important, and I thank you for sharing it with us!

  13. I relate to this topic a lot. At my private Christian school, we have always been told to wear clothes that do not distract boys from learning. One of my friends once wore something that wasn’t according to the dress-code and she got sent home because it was too distracting for other boys. I would understand if they gave her a referral or something but they were willing to take away her education so that a guy would not be distracted. Because of this situation, I realized that men and their success are just considered more important than women and that we are just objects in men’s eyes. Seeing this, I succumbed to the idea and let myself become this object and I do not really know how to fix it.

    • It is difficult to solve on an individual level because it’s a social problem. Educating one another is the first step, though. First step is you think about it and how you feel about it and then you can have conversations with friends and people in authority.

  14. Sarah Sanogo

    I found Annie Figueroa’s (pen name) story to be powerful because of how everything in the story went from good to bad so quickly. She hooked up with a guy in college and after feeling satisfied with her decision to hook up, the demeaning friends of the guy showed up and gave him high fives and wrote in her phone, “Hey sexy China doll whore, call me for a good time!” It is really disappointing how, right when this woman felt her interaction with a man was positive, reality hit. The men in this story are used being the ones with the power and the social leverage over women. When, for an instant, something works out for a women, they feel the need to tip the scale once again and put women down. This is exactly what can alienate women and make them scared and distrustful of men.

  15. This topic relate to be on a personal level because when I was at my all girls school, we were taught not to wear our skirts too short in order to not be subject to sexual objectification. However, just our outfits themselves and the fact that we had uniforms, already subjected us to a slew of fetishes by both boys our own age and grown men. Many of us realized, just as you put in the post, that we had to claim who we were. Though we were very young, we broke a lot of the rules over our dress code and told ourselves that we were doing the right thing. It always felt really good when we would get attention from our male friends, but that feeling only lasted for a short time because it was usually followed by them talking amongst each other about our bodies. It wasn’t until later, when I had a conversation with a male friend when we were talking about why women wear what the wear that I realized that I could honestly care less about the names and what they talk about with their friends. It showed me their true colors and their age, as well as the amount of respect that they give women,

  16. I feel as though when women are young, they feel confident and empowered to wear any clothes they want despite others’ opinions. However, they are still impacted by those opinions they use to hear. They may be okay with being slut-shamed when their young, but once they are shamed for having a sexual experience for the first time, they realize that being called a slut shouldn’t be used against them at all. It’s a shame that men are allowed to do whatever they please with their bodies, while also feeling the entitlement to do whatever they want with women’s bodies. Yet, when women try to reclaim their bodies, they are shamed by men and even sometimes women.

    Women need to remember they have the right to do anything with their bodies and to not judge other women for what they do with their own. If men can praise each other, then women can as well. And women can stand up for other women when men are over-stepping and disrespecting them.

  17. While reading this post, it brought me back to my high school days. I used to be called every name in the book because in 11th and 12th grade I was sexually active, but only with two guys on separate occasions. I was dating these guys at some point and we had been together for about a year in both instances. For whatever reason, my school looked down on me for that, and I was known as “the school slut”. Everyone assumed I would sleep with them, but I had high morals for myself to follow. During this time as well, I was looking into getting cyber schooled and my grades were dropping. I let all of this take a huge toll on my mind and body. I would go days without eating because I felt like I wasn’t worth anything. Towards the end of my senior year something clicked for me and I realized that I didn’t care what they thought. I would tell people that called me slut to not do it, and if it got to an extreme I would confide in a teacher I trusted. This teacher would write me a pass to get out of class sometimes and just let me vent on her lunch. So I applaud the author of this for getting their confidence in sexuality back!

  18. While reading your blog post, it reminded me of my growing-up process. I remember always being the shy girl when I was younger but as I started growing into my looks and receiving more attention and exploring my sexuality which also resulted in a lot of negative things said by others. I always tried to ignore it and built this extremely confident persona that made me feel like I was shielded from all the negativity. Eventually, the persona was no longer just a persona but it became me. As I got older, I really embraced my sexuality and self even more and realized the only reason this misogynistic sh*t exists is because of insecure men. I started feeling angry that men are applauded and congratulated for how many “bodies” they have and for who they got with while women were slut-shamed for the same exact thing that men are doing. At that point, I understood that the only people who slut-shamed were jealous people and insecure people. Now, women are loving themselves, realizing their worth, and ignoring negative social norms created by a patriarchial-lead society. The same girls who used to call me named behind my back are the same ones on my social media praising me for being so confident with my sexuality and working on doing the same.

  19. I have seen this similar unfair treatment and sexual objectification go on all throughout my entire education. I think it definitely seems to be more prevalent in school settings. What I really appreciate is that the writer mentioned how empowering it can be for a woman to feel good in her own skin and more importantly, finding her confidence within herself and her accomplishments. I do agree with the double standard on hook-up culture or any type of sexual experiences for that matter. Usually what you find is the men being praised, and the women being put down for it. The most common phrases such as “slut” or “whore” seem to only be directed at the women in those type of situations, and it can be tough to ignore without feeling like maybe they are right. I am so happy to hear that this person is fully aware of how much respect she deserves.

  20. Very interesting and insightful blog post! I admire how you took the Amherst experience as a learning opportunity and realized that you didn’t deserve the disrespectful treatment from Amherst Boy’s roommates. We should absolutely be able to express our sexuality as much and in whatever ways we are comfortable with, without being labelled by others based on it, as if our sexuality is the only thing that determines what kind of person we are. From my own experience, I’ve noticed that generally, you’re either labelled a “slut” or a “prude” and whatever connotations and associations tied to either word you’re labelled as, suddenly and unwantedly fall on your shoulders. I found it really interesting how you said that you’ve reclaimed the word “slut,” and cut ties with those who continue to maliciously use it against you. Let’s be real here, if they’re those kinds of people, those cut ties are anything but losses to you.

  21. It is still shocking how we react to our sexual needs differently as a man or a woman. I am really happy to read this post and see that our women (not all) bring up their sexual needs to new people or to whoever they want to have sex with. It is very understanding since we are all equal and why still men think that a lady should be called slut if she wants to express her needs? It is an old a dn wrong misunderstanding in our cultures to cheer up boys if they had a one night stand with a girl and blame our girls and call their names for the same act. Of course a mature consent from both sides is important and it does not mean that women can do whatever they want because they have been historically under pressure and perceived as objects! I hope it is not like that anymore and we know there are different people all around the world who unfortunately still think the same way. Also I would say pulling the strings by our ladies in sexual manners would not be a bad thing just because I think it will bring things between both genders a bit back to the middle line.

  22. After reading the post my initial thoughts go to why is it that the men get praised like they just won the lottery and the women get shamed? No matter how much we pretend or like to believe that society is doing a better job of treating men and women equally today in modern society, there is always going to be a case where that is not true. There are norms of how a man should act and how he should be in charge, and if he allows the women to take some charge then he is shamed for that. There is also the norm of how a woman should behave, and how it is not okay for her to talk about certain topics simply because it is un-lady like. I think it is amazing that the author decided to not let any of that get to her and embrace her sexuality. Not many women can say they do the same because of fear or insecurity but seeing others do it gives the rest of us women just a little bit more courage to stand up for ourselves as well and demand the respect we deserve.

  23. I have always noticed that when women feel confident and in control of themselves, there are many men, and sadly women too, who feel the need to bring them down. While men are praised for having sex, women, on the other hand, are slut shamed for the same thing. Women are allowed to have hook ups, one night stands, sex with multiple partners, etc if they want to and if they consent to it. We need to leave the idea behind that women must remain pure and belong to only one man. Women don’t belong to anyone! We must reclaim our bodies and our sense of self and allow ourselves to enjoy whatever it is we want to do with ourselves. As for other women who slut shame, please stop it. We need to work together and fight this patriarchal system that is holding us back while uplifting men. Why can’t we be equal?

    • And anytime you hear someone put another person down you know that they are insecure and are trying to create a sense of superiority by putting someone else down to lift themselves up. Just advertising their insecure self-esteem.

  24. “I’ve reclaimed the word “slut” and kindly ask people to not degrade me with it. ”

    I’m confused. If you’ve reclaimed it, how could you be degraded by it?

    • I agree that this can be confusing.

      Here’s the idea: oppressed groups reclaim a word that has been use to put them down so that it isn’t so hurtful. For instance, in rap music you will hear the N-word a lot as a way of taking and using the word so that it doesn’t hurt you as it had when it is just use as an attack. Or some gay men have starred in a show called Queer Eye. Or a woman will say, “Yeah I’m a bitch. Bitches get stuff done.”

      But only the in group can use the word. That’s part of what gives it its power.

  25. Objectification is something that most, if not all women, have experienced in their life, whether it involved being catcalled, harassed, or taken advantage of. I deeply respect the thoughts expressed in this post and completely agree that society faces a deeply rooted issue. I liked the point made about how out of frustration this woman gave in to the idea of body objectification out of frustration of a deeper issue. This is more common than I think we as a society think. Sometimes it’s easier to be subject to society’s expectations in order to make our lives easier and less complicated. We learned from society that our bodies are what matter and not our minds, so it’s hard not to focus on just the physical aspect. When “slut shaming” occurs, the situation can get worse. Now that one has given in to society they are now judged for it. There is no middle ground. I appreciate how she mentioned that she was able to join, “ my body to my brain.” Being able to accept all of you both mentally and physically is such an important aspect of understanding yourself.

  26. It is quite sad to know that you had to go through such a rampant sexual objectification.
    Sometimes teenagers do things they don’t want to do simply to be “cool” or “visible” or just “fit in”. Why do they not realize that following a crowd mentality is not always cool?
    Such catcalling and staring is really uncomfortable, even for men. I don’t know how these started, but incidents like these are apparently increasing, which is quite worrisome.

  27. Slut Shaming. Why do people even do it? I have a few theories as to why. Men can be jealous and feel like they’re missing out, maybe they project this feeling onto women by shaming them. It’s cliche for haters to be jealous, I think it’s pretty applicable to this term as well. Why do women in short clothes bother men so much? I was reading this blog and this question kept bugging that little voice in the back of my head.. WHY? I have yet to find a proper answer to this question, I genuinely think it’s because some men can’t control themselves and resort to restricting women and making them feel bad for being so attractive. I remember reading a story online about how school dress codes are needed because certain body parts being exposed could “distract” boys. So extremely sexist but I don’t think the schools are even ready for that conversation.

    • Thanks for your theories. Interesting thoughts.

      The key to understanding it is that you find it in patriarchal cultures but not in non-patriarchal cultures (which hardly exist anymore).If you want to create a sense that men are free and women or not, create a notion that celebrates men and punishes women for doing the same thing. Plus, make women feel ashamed about something that is a key human drive and you create mass shame among women. Helpful and sustaining a patriarchy, a sense of male privilege and superiority.

      And keep in mind that me and patriarchy are two different things. Patriarchy is a system of sexism and plenty of men are against that. In fact, women unconsciously internalize patriarchy too and some men and some women both do things like slut-shame. Once patriarchy is established all of us unconsciously learn it.

  28. happyfreeconfusedlonelyatthesametime

    Right now I feel like I’m also on a way to stop objectifying myself. Or let others stop objectifying me. Idk. I still fall back into it cause the ad hoc reactions feel so good for that moment. While I started to love myself and accept myself, I noticed I needed that less and less which is good cause I feel for me it’s the only way to have a healthy sexuality. I guess it’s the only way you can really achieve to do what you want yourself and not what others might want you to do which you comply with out of fear to be rejected and out of hope to be liked. This is very important to me, not only for myself but also because I lost valuable people by acting like that. I struggled so hard to overcome those mechanisms and I feel like I’m getting closer.

  29. I greatly respect the author and the development that occurred over the years. Slut shaming is a serious issue and there is nothing wrong with embracing whatever sexuality you choose. Many people make fun of things they are jealous of or as a way to deflect their own issues, and it is never fair. Over the years I have greatly changed from being very quiet and introverted to becoming my true self and opening my self up to many more people. It took me many years but I eventually learned to ignore hateful comments and just to focus on being a better person myself. I make it a point to never make fun of people as I have experienced it for a long time and you can never know what is going on in the other person’s life. It is great that the author has moved past taking the word personally, and to instead break contact with those hurtful people.

  30. You were pressure into having sex, did not have a bad time, and then were objectified. This really seems like a social issue to me. What I mean is in college, some guys are just looking to hook up every night, and it does not matter with whom, as long as she is hot to him and his friends approve. You were peer pressured, maybe he was, too. This does not in any way validate what he did and I do not know how or why he would text that and expect you to like that. You were objectified, and I think it is important to realize the context and the environment that led to all this. Firstly, it is college, which increases the likelihood of attending parties with douchebags. These douchebags, although they might seem nice, you need to pay attention to what they want from you, and if that is the same thing you want. Also they usually have a group of douchebag friends that could egg them on. Usually they make it clear that they want to hook up. If you want to hook up with someone you just met, it is completely up to you, as I said context and environment are important. At parties there is usually alcohol and drugs, a guy you meet there could be drunk, high or both. What I am trying to say is be careful. There are a lot of cases of girls passing out and guys taking advantage of them. Take care.

  31. I respect the outlook and opinions this post makes. Sexuality is something that 100% should be explored by all people within the boundaries they are comfortable with. Why is it so common that women who have sex are considered a slut while men are usually just rewarded? It honestly does not make any sense, especially in this modern world we live in. Boundaries are also necessary in being able to develop a healthy relationship with your body and being comfortable. Reclaiming sexuality is so important and is something I have learned to work on in my college experience. I have had trouble figuring out who I am in the process with work, school, and my social life and have held back embracing my sexuality because of this. However, I completely agree with demanding respect and reclaiming the word slut as a way to enforce change and help others find themselves in this process along the way.

    • The double standard doesn’t make any sense outside of patriarchy. Within a patriarchy – a sexist system that privileges man and tries to create a sense of male superiority — punishing women for something that men are celebrated for creates a sense of who is free and who is not and works well to create a mass sense of shame in women for having desires that are completely natural.

  32. This is a very good story and you really overcame it. I’m sorry you had to deal with those guys slut-shaming you, double standard much? I had to deal with this issue in high school and would yell back the guys telling them girls can have fun too! It’s unfair that back then, being open with your sexuality so looked down upon and now society is okay with it and much easier to be open with it today. Because of the past, I am not so open anymore and I’m okay with it and fully support people who are open today, especially women because they always get the short-end of the stick when it comes to “hooking up” and it’s not fair for them to be degraded, especially when guys are getting “crowned” for it. I’m glad you are embracing it now and holding your head up high, and I hope others can read this story and think to do the same.

  33. Why is it when men gets caught cheating or are involved in anything sexual, they are seemed as a “king” but when a woman does it, she is a major “slut”. Women are not even allowed to talk about sexual topics because they get shut down. Women should be proud of their bodies and shouldn’t be sexualized or be punished over them. I have this friend that when she was single, she loved to hook up. I always called her a slut but as a JOKE and of course, she knew that. But I actually never thought about her like that because for 1 that’s degrading and 2 she could literally do anything she wants to because she is the one in charge of her own body. It’s nice to get compliments when you are feeling good about yourself, but sometimes men don’t seem to get it. Like said above when the guy called her a “sexy China doll whore” like that is that? Why does he have to call her a whore? I think people just need to shut up and let women express themselves the way they want to because they can. 

    • Thanks for your comments. I wrote a couple of comments to people who have a hard time understanding why the double standard exists. Take a look. But it’s tied to patriarchy – a system that works to privilege men and create a sense of male superiority. It doesn’t make any logical sense outside of that harmful system.

  34. Since we’re born, much of what defines our character comes from the ever-changing environment we’re raised in. From elementary to high school, much of my learning process came from trial and error through social situations. Transitioning from a child to a young man was something that only I could define for myself. What kind of man would I eventually become? When it came to dating and interacting with girls, I was always shy and never knew how to approach. I always felt safer in groups or with my friends so that I could let my guard down and follow the energy of the situation. I did not know boundaries because throughout my time in grade school, no one had boundaries, we were all kids testing social boundaries. It was easy to get away with calling one another names, everyone would just regurgitate and reenact all the bad words and actions they’ve heard or seen other people do through their environment. I think the problem college students have, especially when it comes to sexual encounters and experimentation, is the lack of understanding these boundaries because no one was there to show them early on. Once college starts, the social circles grow and you compare yourself to the actions of others trying to assimilate in a new environment. The freedom college students are now able to experience allows them to test the boundaries even more. Partying comes into the picture at a blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’re partying with people you’ve never met trying to make good impressions on everyone hoping someone will like you. I think most of the people who have something negative or immature to say about sexuality lack experience themselves and remain in ignorance.

  35. I think the whole slut shaming thing is so childish. I have never seen why it is the thing to do try and make a woman feel bad about herself by expressing her sexual curiosities. Guys are somehow always applauded for having sex with women in almost every circumstance if not every kind of scenario, so why can’t it be the same way for women? It is already bad enough that women are still somewhat treated like property even though they are humans just like the other half of humans that are male. Women have to deal with child labor and periods on top of that so I feel like they should have even more of a right to exercise their sexual desires, curiosities etc. People do not realize that sex is a two-way street, even though women seem to always get the short end of the stick. Lastly, I feel like most people who slut shame or put down girls are just basically guys and girls that are jealous in some way. For women, maybe they wish they could pull off the same look or maybe the guy they liked ended up liking the “slutty” girl. For guys they usually slut shame girls that either reject them or don’t come as advertised for a being a slut.

  36. What an empowering story! I’m almost at a loss for words. I will admit that I am usually the girl who I slut shaming and calling people mean names, well that was me in high school. Now I just judge people in my head which doesn’t make it any better. I speak on sexualizing women and degrading them on how they dress, but in the way that I was raised I feel as if you should still respect your body and not prance around like an object or people will see you as an object. This doesn’t mean I’m for the “because you wear revealing clothing you deserve to get raped, or cat called”. Let me tell you, I am not for that. I feel that women should be comfortable in their own skin and if they feel proud enough to walk around in a short skirt, high heels, and a tank top, then so be it! As long as the individual isn’t sexually active towards every living man or woman they see.

  37. Sluts and ho’s but a male is a player, why?
    I think we don’t talk enough about this subject, sexuality still is taboo in our society no matter how advanced we feel we are getting. The subject of sex is not a norm for most women whether it’s with consent or by abuse, for example women are usually not comfortable enough to talk about the subject in front of men because of doubts, fear that she will be looked at as wanting sexual activity or that she is dirty. For some reason even joking around as a woman about sex could be seen as not appropriate for a lady, have you heard the term “lady like”? I’m sure you have heard about it, especially as a woman. It’s a miss conception created mainly by men who have no idea what being a woman is like. If a woman has numerous sexual partners it’s considered “loose” and might not be worthy of marriage or being “wife material” but when men do it’s considered “another notch on the belt” or someone with experience. We must stop agreeing with this type of mentality and if we choose to “sleep around” not be ashamed of it as it was our choice and if we say no and do not consent we also shouldn’t feel bad for not giving in or doing something we are not comfortable with, we should not feel like we owe anyone an explanation or that we are going to be looked at as less because of our choice.
    We must value our own worth.

    • Yeah, the only way the sexual double standard makes sense is in a patriarchy that wants to punish women and celebrate man for doing the same thing, thereby re-creating a sense of male privilege.

  38. Reading this blog post I was left with a few thoughts about it’s content. Why did the girl feel the need to objectify herself in order to build back up her self esteem? I wonder what type of external factors could have gotten this girl so depressed or just angry at the world to do that to herself. She says that she was frustrated with a learning disability she had but as I read that line over and over again I wondered how a learning disability could lead to such feelings. I’ll be the first one to admit that I may be being ignorant on this and not aware of the scope of learning disabilites that exist and how severe some of them can be. I just hope that as she grows into a person she is able to disconnect her self image to her body and connect it to the person she is. I’m thinking of this post as a father to a very young little girl and I wonder if anything occurred with her parents to lead her to feel that she must rebel and do all of the things she did.

    • I think that sexuality has been a traditional place of power for women in a patriarchal society where women are disempowered, and in our culture today we celebrate the objectification of women. These ideas unconsciously get implanted in our brains. All of this is very unfortunate. I appreciate that she has done some self reflection and realizes that a one-dimensional self-objectification is not healthy.

  39. I respect the author for opening up about this topic, as it’s not a side you get to hear from very often. In their high school years, they rebel against the diagnosis of a learning disability by using her body as a way of feeling like they still have value. I went through a crisis as well after learning I would have a disability follow me for the rest of my life, but I went in the opposite direction and became borderline Amish in the way I dressed and acted. The author stated that hyper-sexualization gave her empowerment (and in my opinion it should!) and the fact that the feeling of having complete control over your own body can be twisted by others making them feel unsafe is unfair. I was lucky to have friends with me through school and beyond who continue to be an excellent and non- judgmental support system. The authors friend who encouraged her to go with the Amherst boy but to “keep (them) on speed dial” is in my opinion, an example of a positive relationship. Yes, the immediate results were the author ended up feeling ashamed of her body, but at least she had a safety net in case something went wrong and she ended up using it as a springboard for something positive. Female friendships are such a useful tool for self-esteem and safety, and I’m glad the author recognized that. It is not without its toxic side however, as I acknowledge that the friend should not have pressured her into doing something she didn’t want to do. The peers of the Amherst boy make his texts to the author make more sense. The fact that they were objectifying her by catcalling leads me to believe the boy was in a toxic echo chamber. I hope he managed to escape that once he left.

  40. An Ivy League women’s college and guys from Amherst, makes me recall a verse I heard from a song along the lines of, “after all those years of education, it is a wonder I can think at all.” Just saying, that is what popped up in my mind. Probably says more about me than them.

    • I guess there are all sorts of ways to be educated in school. Some have to do with learning about cultural biases and other learning has to do with keeping other people from putting you down and controlling you. That’s often what you learn outside the classroom.

  41. There’s a lot to unpack here but I can see this as being almost like one asking for consent to touch etc and the other person saying they don’t care. or to put it another way, it’s almost like people try to be nice just to be polite so as not to hur ones feelings although it’s probably far too simple a thought to even contemplate with the magnitude of such a post but that’s probably the way I invisage it. and i’m sorry to throw a spanner in the works here but one often thought a learning disability was lifelong and you never overcome it but do the best you can with what you have I know that’s a terrible thing to say but it’s just how I see it. but a lot of the posts on here sexual objectification is frowned upon as it is at any other time and I come from where to refer to somebody as a slut is disrespectful but i’m obviously too sensitive for my own good and I obviously haven’t seen enough of the world and frankly, there are some parts of the world I really don’t want to see if i’m completely honest.

    • Well, the word slut is certainly seen as a slur. Because of that some women have “taken back” the word as a way to own it so that people can’t use it to hurt them. The same thing has happened in other communities with words like queer or the N-word. It’s OK for people within the community to use it but people outside shouldn’t call someone else those names.

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