Amongst many other random beings, I follow @girlonetrack on twatter – this is the lass who wrote the ‘Girl with a one track mind’ blog & books.
You know, this one:
As is the way with twitter, from time to time she’ll throw out a question to the world, which I’ll spot in my timeline. If I can help, I’ll sometimes reply. Usually it’s a geek question, but whatever. I know about geek stuff.
I can’t say I can recall her ever responding even with briefest of thanks. Whatever; I’ve not exactly gone out of my way by providing 140 characters of free advice.
Today, I noted a comment she made:
I thought about this for a moment or two and, as I did, the fog of cognitive dissonance settled.
I’ll preface the following comments by saying this: I am not judging her on the morality of the stuff she’s written in her books. I have no problem whatsoever with her sexual drives and mores.
What I don’t understand, though, is how she can be surprised or offended when someone calls her a slut. So I asked her.
Now, perhaps I’m sarcastic. Perhaps the bounds of twitter make embarking on such a conversation a fraught matter, open to misinterpretation.
Today, I got a response to my tweet.
Oh dear. Another diplomatic cock-up.
My premise, denoted in the final sentence of my tweet ‘And so what?’ was that the term slut doesn’t even carry any significantly pejorative connotation in this day & age.
Not all sources agree with me, however.
These cursory definitions seem to undermine my point in no uncertain terms. But let’s take a second look, and consider the ambiguities:
The accepted denotative meaning is a sexually promiscuous woman or "a woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade."
Or to put it another way:
Which is to say that ‘slut’ can refer to either a promiscuous woman, or to a prostitute.
We can safely say that the lady in question is not a prostitute.
But I think we can say with equal safety, that if she’s writing about her own experiences, she does indeed appear to be a promiscuous woman.
I have no moral or ethical objection to either prostitutes or promiscuous women, but I do understand it’s an important distinction to make.
In the context of twitter, it’s well known that the lady in question recently won an important libel case against a newspaper who mistakenly called her a hooker. So to me it was plain that I did not intend to imply that she is or ever was.
So where was I coming from? (For the citations see the Wikipedia page).
Slut is also used as a slang term in the BDSM, polyamorous, and gay and bisexual communities. With BDSM, polyamorous, and non-monogamous people, in usage taken from the book The Ethical Slut, the term has been used as an expression of choice to openly have multiple partners, and revel in that choice: "a slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you." A slut is a person who has taken control of their sexuality and has sex with whomever they choose, regardless of religious or social pressures or conventions to conform to a straight-laced monogamous lifestyle committed to one partner for life.
The term has been "taken back" to express the rejection of the concept that government, society, or religion may judge or control one’s personal liberties, and the right to control one’s own sexuality.
It strikes me that if Zoe Margolis isn’t part of the movement striving to ‘take back’ the word, then she should be.
UPDATE: This just in.
I’m not touching that. I’m gonna go draw some pictures of the prophet instead.