Slut-Shaming

There’s someone new at my work. We all knew who she was before she started.

I had to stop myself, to correct my thinking before joining in with the judgement of her. I’ll admit that at first I had a kind of morbid curiosity as to what she would be like. As of yet I haven’t experienced enough of her to make a fair and honest judgement.

I have to say that it surprised me why someone who enjoys fake tan/nails/eyelashes on a daily basis would want this job. It’s not glamorous at all. I have to keep my nails short, my hands are always covered in scratches, hair is best kept tied back, the uniform is unflattering and the customers can treat you like shit. My perception of her and my perception of this job do not mesh.

The point of what I’m writing here is this: I view myself as a feminist. Yet I still judged this girl based solely on her sexual reputation with the men in my home town.

That’s really sad; I’m kind of ashamed at myself for that. There is more to her than her reputation, I want to be able to put that aside and get to know her as a co-worker. I like the people that I work with. 90% of them are blokes, before I met my partner I was very wary about getting to know them. Now things are a lot more relaxed.

We talk about ‘slut-shaming’ a lot, but I think that a lot of the time we talk about it as if it were something far away and distant. It’s not, the knee-jerk reaction that I had, mentally, when I heard that girl’s name and the way that my co-workers (and shamefully, myself) reacted to it was slut-shaming.

I am interested to get to know her, to get to understand why she chose this job. We all have our reasons, myself included. I hate the uniform, the customers and not being able to paint my nails. There are, however, things that I like about this job. I like working in a male-dominated environment. I find guys easier to work with. I like the highly physical aspect to the job, I may be small but I’m strong and lifting, carrying and dragging things that weigh a lot makes me feel good about myself and my body. I feel physically useful. Dealing with shitty customers reminds me that I’m good at communicating and de-escalating situations. It also keeps me humble and teaches me when to stick up for myself.

It’s sad that everyone knows who this girl is, based purely on what she’s done in private. From an evolutionary stand-point you can understand why we view ‘sluts’ so negatively… but we’re not primates any more. We’re supposed to have evolved. So why is this reaction so deeply ingrained in us?

’til next time,

Wren x

 

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