By Rebecca the Bookseller, who isn't one (I even took the test, so I know)
Everybody's a critic. So I shouldn't have been surprised to hear that a critic once labeled one of our very own Book Tart's female characters as Sluts. Are you kidding me?
Look, I think we all know a slut or two, maybe even in the biblical sense. Maybe even - dare I speak it? Some of us, during certain times of our lives, could've been labeled as a slut. Hmmm. Before you can answer that question, you need to know what a slut is.
According to Wikipedia, source of information on all things, a Slut is a pejorative term for a person (usually female) who is more sexually promiscuous than is deemed socially acceptable. The term has traditionally been applied to women and is generally used as an insult or offensive term of disparagement. Slut has also been reclaimed as a slang term in the BDSM, polyamorous and gay and bisexual communities. The term is not interchangeable with whore or prostitute as those terms denote a person who engages in sex for money.
Well, as long as they weren't calling them whores. OK - now why is it usually female? Well, the term is from the Middle English 'slutte' which referrred to a dirty or slovenly woman. Our man Chaucer, however, used it to refer to men, which is nice. But it did, and does, normally refer to women. Why? You know why. Because men who sleep around are 'The Man' or 'The Dawg' or 'The Big Dog'. It's a badge of honor. Women, not so much, even though the Big Dawg is certainly not in it alone, if one believes his CV.
People who believe that men and women should be subject to the same standards of sexual behavior even have different terms for men - Pig, for example. I liked Mimbo, but it never caught on. How about Mutt - a combination of Man and slut? No offense to the actual canines, of course.
Still not sure whether someone is a slut? Check out the Slut Test at OKCupid.com. And no, I'm not putting the link in here, you lazy tramp. Kidding.
Now, for those of you waiting, patiently or not, for the bits about the other sexual communities, chill and learn. Good news for Sluts everywhere. And it came to pass that two angels from San Francisco appeared before the sluts and said - "Fear not! We bring you glad tidings that:
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." (Easton, Dossie & Catherine A. Liszt, The Ethical Slut, San Francisco 1997, p. 4, emphasis in original). 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. This modern application for the term has given it a less derogatory and a more experienced tone.
Amen. There's a good bumper sticker: Sex is nice and pleasure is good for you. And a great choice for your next book club folks: "The Ethical Slut". Who says we don't talk about books around here?
They do have a point - one partner for life? Fugeddaboudit! In many schools, these kids have more than one partner before the end of the Junior Prom, for heaven's sake.
So to the critics who think that one of our favorite heroines is a Slut - Wake Up! Last time I checked, and believe me, I had Margie do the due diligence on this one, not one of our Book Tart's protagonists were even remotely slutty, let alone polyamorous or even bisexual. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
What do you think?