Who really should be ashamed: Slut Shaming and Sexual Objectification

It was a warm, finally, sunny day in Belgium when my boyfriend and I decided to go biking. We searched for the perfect river spot to swim in. After a lovely day, we headed back home. It was still very hot so I decided, while being in nature, I could just go with my shorts and my bikini top on, until we went back into the civilisation. However, someone past by me and ‘silently’ said, “slut”.


I feel uncomfortable, disgusted, unsafe and I feel leered at.

Dear X,

Why couldn’t you just pass me by, smile very friendly and continue your own life?


I came across two types during my bike ride:

The ones who slut shamed me and the ones who looked at me like I was a prey. They go hand in hand. The shamer probably thinks the ones who were leering, were giving a normal response to my appearance. These two types are equally bad in so many ways.

Why is it that in warm weather away from the city, in nature, I can’t wear shorts and a bikini top without being called names? What about the guys I passed while biking? They were just in their swim shorts, not wearing t-shirt. Did you call them a slut, sir? Probably not.


I shouldn't have justify myself for what I wore that day, in that moment. I get it, “there are dress codes and laws when it comes to nudity” but I think the majority of us know where and when those lines are drawn. Plus, who made these rules do you think?

I am sick of it.


Every time I go out, I check the mirror a thousand times. I change outfits. I put on an extra top underneath so you can’t see my bra. I put on my ‘safety shorts’ as I call them, whenever I know I am going to bike or walk with a skirt/dress on. But then again, even with a ‘regular’ outfit on, we can still be judged and be called names.


The amount of times I see men (sorry for those good boys and men out there who treat us with respect) looking at me from bottom to the top, then deep into my eyes, as if am just one big sex object to them. This almost everyday.


I am not dressing nice for anyone else besides me. I do it for my own happiness and to feel confident. That feeling gets taken away by all those judgmental people. I have struggled with this problem for years, up until this very day.


Social Media and Everywhere else


“The more skin, the more likes.”

No, girls and boys, I am not a slut for posting a bikini photo. Can’t we be happy with our bodies? You do whatever you want, you will look as gorgeous in a bikini as in winter clothes. The more skin that is shown does not equal the prettier you are. We should be supportive of each other instead of tearing each other down.


“Having the mentality that a girl is only making herself look pretty to impress boy, is hurtful in two ways. It can be hurtful for the woman in question but also for the women who think like that. It gives more power to the idea that a woman's body's only purpose is to seduce the men. Clothing is a way of expressing yourself. If someone likes to wear something shorter or a little tighter, so be it!”


"Show me your boobs"

I could go on about the times I was yelled, called at in a public space. This one time there was a group of boys who were seated across the lake. They yelled at me: “Show me your boobs”, “Hey nice butt, where are you going”, “Lay your tits out”. That is the most ‘appropriate’ way I could phrase the vulgar things these boys yelled at me.

This continued for about 10 minutes long until I couldn’t hold it any longer. I yelled at them, that they should have manners and shut the f**k up. I was angry, I felt disgusted, I was upset and I cried while feeling helpless. My boyfriend was with me, not understanding the language and afraid. They suggested they would come over to fight and that would be 4 up against 1. I still don’t know what I should have done, neither does my boyfriend.

Honestly, how dare they?


Should have I just sat there and said nothing? Because they love it when we fight back. Or should I have defended myself, and told them what I had to say? Instead of allowing them to think that this was ok and they can get away with this behaviour? I am still so shocked about it. I was just trying to enjoy the nice day. I didn’t dare to put on my bikini and jump in the water, until they left.


I felt weak, ashamed, disgusted, furious, unsafe, scared and so many other things.

I know a lot of women struggle with this. Which makes me feel even more furious. We should not be ashamed. I have been shamed by people. I have been victim blamed myself, multiple times. It has affected me badly, I am scarred. It hurts.


What keeps me going is that the fact that I know better than them: The only ones that should be ashamed, are the shamers themselves.

Slut shaming can be harmful. We are not to be treated as some sexual objects. Slut shaming leads to victim blaming and continues to rape culture. Let’s end it!



 

Written by Luna Vavourakis


My name is Luna Georgia Vavourakis and I am 20 years old.

I was born in Belgium and grew up as the youngest of 4 girls. My mother is Belgian and my father is Greek. My passion for music brought me into the Conservatory for Classical Saxophone. The earth's environment has always been important to me, along with the animals in it. It drives me to raise my voice. The same goes for justice, equality, mental and physical being. Awareness and knowledge are the first steps to a more beautiful world and I will always try to contribute to that.

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