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Did Slut-Shaming Kill Phoebe Prince?

Guys aren’t threatened by other guys’ successes with women. When a guy “scores,” men celebrate all around. But women are different. Slut-shaming was not the sole factor in 15-year old Phoebe Prince’s suicide, but it seems to have played a part.

According to Jezebel, Phoebe had been depressed before the bullying began. She missed her absent father, had been self-mutilating, and had attempted suicide after a broken relationship.

But slut-shaming played a role, too. Many girls at South Hadley High began calling Phoebe a slut, a whore, and a cunt because she sought attention from older guys at the school and had been close to, or involved with, some young men who the girls at South Hadley were also interested in.

Why are women threatened by women who are attractive to men, yet men celebrate men who are attractive to women?

While men can actively pursue women, women must take a more indirect course of action. Might the more passive power of feminine beauty cause women to feel less powerful, less secure, and more threatened?

More likely, women and men simply know how they’re supposed to think in this culture. And what they’re supposed to think is that men who get women are studs, but women who do the same are sluts.

The word slut then becomes a handy weapon. It’s pretty sad to use a weapon that has been used to control women, and that could be easily turned on themselves.

While women punish each other for success with the opposite sex, what’s with the high-fives among men?

Women never worry about proving that they are truly women. But men must constantly prove their manhood. Perhaps by flattering the success of high-status men a guy creates a sense of brotherhood with them. They become one of the guys. And in this brotherhood their manhood is assured.

Whatever the reason for the difference between men and women, it is pretty sad that slut-shaming can kindle suicide.

Georgia Platts

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