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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: We are not in high school anymore

Published: April 15, 2011
Section: Opinions

The terms “slut” and “ho” are thrown around a lot. During a dinner conversation earlier this year, my mom asked me exactly how I define a “slut,” or if instead it’s just a term that I use to encompass people I don’t like and people whose sexual morals may not be the same as mine. Worse is, when I then went on to say what I thought a “slut” might be, my parents, brother and friend all disagreed.

Maybe we need to reevaluate some of the terms we use because, well, everyone uses them for different reasons. Like the emergence of the word “bitch” a couple years ago to describe everything from friends to frenemies to downright enemies, our language doesn’t seem to fit properly into the way we live. We are college students at a really great school and yet the number of times I hear (or say) derogatory statements about other students per week is astounding. Maybe what we need is a little maturity boost—we’re not in high school anymore. If you’re not friends with someone anymore, be friendly when you’re in social situations and, beyond that, forget about them.

I’m a huge trash talker; I can’t even try to pretend I’m not. People who I feel have hurt me are definitely fair game. Like I said in a previous article, however, this way of speaking and thinking has to change. I’m going to be a teacher next year and I can’t respond to perceived offences by thinking, “oh my God, that woman is such a bitch!” And on the slut front? Why should I care what other people are doing with their bodies? Or even worse, if I’m using it with absolutely no sexual connotations, then I’m just labeling people who don’t deserve it.

This is not to say that I don’t believe some people deserve the term “slut.” In fact, I would say that it is rather naive to think that’s true. We all know someone who acts first and thinks later, or doesn’t think at all. The guys who go out just to get drunk and find girls are just as worthy of the term slut as the girls who do the same, if you believe that makes a person a slut.

I think there’s nothing wrong with being single, having fun and dating/sleeping around. The key is being safe, honest and careful. The trap we often fall into, however, is failing to understand exactly how people choose to live their lives—that’s why we call them sluts! What’s it to you if they sleep around? Hopefully, everyone is using protection so that they and their partners are safe but, beyond that, why should you care?

Calling people sluts creates rifts in our social groups. Inevitably it will get back to them and, whether or not their actions justify the use of the word, they probably won’t appreciate the label.

Overall, I think that greater respect in sexual situations and about people’s sexual choices is required to make a cohesive and comfortable community at Brandeis. We all complain that there’s so little sex happening, but maybe it’s because we rag on the people who have it. Ever think about that?