Monday, August 25, 2008

Marie Claire Brands Us Sluts for Liking Sex

Today I read an article in women's magazine Marie Claire titled "What makes someone promiscuous?" that really got me all riled up, irritated and feministy. Perhaps I should expect this when reading a women's magazine.

The author, a male, is attempting, I think, to find some sort of commonality between women's sexual appetite, and the events in their lives which have shaped their sexual experiences. He suggests that allowing yourself to be felt up as a youth might lead to drug use and being "generally broken" later on in life.

I give him credit for attempting to use politically correct language, and for touching on some broad issues such as abuse that can lead to an unhealthy promiscuity in some cases. Certainly there is a link between childhood sexual abuse and certain self-destructive behaviors. The thing is, he doesn't get too indepth with this point; it's glazed over.

About being a slut he says, "Unfortunately, we are in a society that does not vilify men as much for sleeping around. The nickname "player" for a man does not carry the same stigma as the word "slut" which we use for a promiscuous woman." Well, thanks for that enlightening tidbit. He says it is 'unfortunate' but then goes forth in the article to continue perpetuating this stereotype: "I can tell you that guys rarely stick with a girl who has sex on the first night-which is kind of hypocritical considering guys seem to always be after sex. But, no guy I ever knew ended up in a serious relationship with a girl who he had sex with too fast. " Gah! So irritating. The least of which because in reality, at least with my self and my own social group, the relationships that I've been a part of and my girl friends have been a part of, almost all started with sex. On the first date. And then afterwards became lasting relationships. Maybe this guy just knows jerks?

What really grinds my gears about the article is the suggestion that promiscuity somehow equals sluttiness. That if you are promiscuous, you are therefore a slut. He seeks to find out why some women are more promiscuous than others, therefore why some women are sluttier than others. And herein lies my problem: promiscuity does not equal sluttiness. He states "I've been thinking about promiscuity and how it is most likely linked to someone's life situation...this has to be linked to some deep psychological experience or collection of experiences. " Well, certainly the way we behave in life is linked to our experience, but does being promiscuous have to be portrayed as a deeply rooted error in our way of behaving?

I've touched on the topic of sluttiness before, and I won't go on and on about it. My big point is, just because you have sex with multiple partners, it doesn't make you a slut. It bothers me that a women's publication would publish an article suggesting that you are a slut if you sleep with someone on the first date. They don't even bother to suggest that a woman might actually enjoy sex! Many women enjoy casual sex. We are free to do so, and don't need some dude in a magazine questioning us on our childhood traumas when we choose to have sex. It bothers me because if I was to pick up this issue, I'm sure it would be chalk full of sex tips (intended of course, to be shared only between me and my long term bf or husband, with whom I have only ever had sex of the vanilla variety.)

Has Marie Claire not considered, not even for one moment, that women might like to have sex purely for pleasure? We are living in an age where pornography is available with the click of a button, when flashing your crotch is no longer shocking, and being a virgin isn't even carried with pride. You've surely met someone who was ashamed to admit they haven't had sex?

Most of my female friends like sex for the sake of it. Not to reproduce, not to keep a man, not to gain popularity. In my understanding, they do it because they enjoy it. They feel free, in this modern era, to lust after men as men have been lusting after women since the beginning of time. I really feel like my generation is one of the first to feel this freedom. To 'hit it' if they want to. Damn You Marie Claire for raining on this parade.

Am I to understand that I am to follow some set of societal rules about how many dates I have to go on before I can "allow" a man to sleep with me? Am I to take from this article that if I have (gasp!) the desire to sleep with someone, that makes me a slut? This is the message I'm getting. I'm told that any female who chooses to sleep with more than some 'normal' amount of men, whatever the f that is, is a slut. How insulting! How puritain! How Scarlett Letter!

A key concept in feminism is that we have the right to control our bodies. We can choose when to have babies and when not to. We can even choose if we have a period at all. We can now go to any school and have just about any career we so choose. We're becoming educated on how to avoid sti's and date rapes, we're allowed to ask men to dance, lord, we're even allowed to wear pants!

Surely with all these rights and freedoms we women have been given, we should be allowed to choose with whom to have sex, how often, and how immediately upon meeting the person-we-wish-to-bang. We certianly don't need to be called sluts by male writers, or the so-called "women's magazines" who publish them.

Shame on you, Marie Claire.

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