TW: reference to rape and graphic depictions of sex
‘Other girls aren’t like you are they?’ whispered the Tory before he proceeded to brutally fuck me four times and request that I leave. ‘You’re like a bloke when it comes to sex aren’t you’ muttered the socialist, after he explained to me that gender roles are the product of capitalism. Ever since I heard what the word ‘slut’ meant I wanted to be one. I wanted to be the worst thing you could call a woman – and revel in it. I wanted to take back the power, reclaim if you like, my right to sleep with whomever I wanted.
So I slept with anyone who wanted it, like Emma Stone in Easy A, except I followed through and didn’t charge. I have a ring and a t-shirt that both say ‘slut’ on them. I wore them proudly (still do) and delighted myself at the discomfort it aroused. I knew that this discomfort was rooted in the fact that the word ‘slut’ did not belong to me. It was the possession of my peers who could hurl it at me to shame me and put me back in my place. It was the property of a society, which would control me with it in order to silence me and refuse my sexual liberation. Well fuck that, I was gonna have the best time, I was gonna be a feminist icon like Courtney Love; legs spread and arms open.
That’s all very well isn’t it? Be a slut – do what you want etc. But I realised that my power was limited, in my easiness I became a blank slate for whichever man asked first to project himself onto me. I have a strong memory of the night I went out in ma freakum dress, wearing red lipstick and feeling like a feminist goddess – only to go home with a rugby player who, in an attempt to normalise his urgent need to fuck me up the arse, informed me that ‘any man who does not like anal sex must be gay’. Or the time when I was handcuffed to a bed post and suddenly enquired to my visitor ‘are you a feminist?’ to which he replied: ‘of course not babe, don’t worry’. So I find myself gritting my teeth, repeating this is empowering, for fucks sake this is empowering, I am using him to objectify myself over and over in my head till I believe my own bullshit.
“Christ, you’re actually enjoying this aren’t you?”, gasped by ex boyfriends best friend with incredulous delight after he decided to use my hair as a lever while he rammed his dick in and out of my mouth at a mechanical rate. How on earth he managed to decipher any enjoyment is beyond me. I should point out that this was all consensual; I may have been misguided or fucked up but I said yes. Of course there were times when I said no, and sex happened to me anyway. Some have suggested my easiness made me ‘fair game’ as if having regular sex with different men somehow made my body public property to be used and disposed of at will.
I said earlier on that I slept ‘with anyone who wanted it’ and that, right there, was my fatal flaw. I never stopped to ask myself whether I wanted it too, I bet half the time I actually couldn’t be arsed. Sexual liberation is only liberating when you allow yourself to exist freely within or outside of labels. I will always find the word ‘slut’ empowering: it holds great strength for me, however it is my label. A label that only I can apply to myself. As soon as I acted out the role of the ‘slut’ that individual men fantasised about, I started losing grip of my autonomy at an alarming rate.
Of course sex is never just sex. Tracy Beaker once told one of her mates (CBBC, c’mon) that her heart had been broken so many times, it was half sellotape. Granted, her heart was probably broken for different reasons than mine, but that phrase still resonates with me. What I’ve learnt is this: openly being a slut has also opened up masses of vulnerabilities in me that have been exploited by people I could have loved. I wasn’t sexually free on my own terms; I was like play dough being moulded into whatever shape by carefree children. Except, a lot of the time, I was a fifteen year old girl being tossed around by older men.
I don’t know why I’ve written this blog post to be honest; it’s lazy, self indulgent writing and yet it is important to me. Being a slut is important to me. And while reclaiming the word slut is not high on my agenda as a feminist activist; it is high on my agenda for coming to terms with who I am and making peace with myself. Being ‘easy’ is actually really hard: you learn to embrace the ephemeral, the temporality of those who are important to you. You get humiliatingly rejected by people who you don’t care about anyway then shamelessly used by people you would die for.
The resolution is a simple rejection of people who make me feel shit about myself. I have no obligation to fuck anyone but I am allowed to have consensual sex whenever I want. This is where the beautiful word ‘no’ comes in.
Jeanann Verlee writes:
Learn how to say “no.”
Cram that word inside your mouth,
the whole thing, make sure all of it
gets in there. Let it walk on your tongue.
Practice with it in the mirror, push it
out, make faces, learn to love the salt
and bitter of it. Teach it to perch on your lip,
buzz, collect pollen from your sugary gloss.
Make it swarm between your cheeks.
Then, when the days come (there will be
many) where he pushes too hard, speaks
too sweetly, when the hand at your thigh
draws a thump in your stomach, when
the bitch gremlin inside whispers ‘it’s not
worth the fight,’ says you can barter
for your worth tomorrow, when your ribs
shrink, when he unfurls his Almighty Smile,
when four come at you at once, when
you love someone else, when the bar
is closing and your name becomes ‘Take
What I Can Get,’ when the girls hate you
anyway, when you want him until the burn
if only he wore a different face–
pull back your lips, bare the teeth you have
sharpened to their perfect points, flick
your stinger tongue, set free your swarm.
Be a slut. Do whatever YOU want.
disclaimer: the socialist who thought I I was like a bloke when it came to sex IS NOT the socialist I’ve been hanging out with lately 🙂
Next blog post: A Review of Germaine Greer at the Harrogate Theatre (1 ticket available if any1 wants to get spangled with me)