Thus, to call a man a slut is really no insult at all, as it’s only women who are intended to be shamed by the term and the judgment attached to it—implying that they’re deviant and of low value.It’s no coincidence that women identified as “slutty” in romance most often play the role of the unworthy rival or villain.
Low self-esteem, pirates, or aliens (or pirate aliens), or global warming made her do it.
In my reading I’ve found historical romances more problematic, because of the rigorous control that was exercised over women’s sexuality at that time (among the upper classes, at least) that boxed women into the categories of virgin, wife (and mother), or whore.
The bind, as I see it, is that if a historical romance doesn’t depict this cultural double standard then it isn’t historically accurate.
) have talked about slut-shaming in romance before, and there’s been a whole lot of online discussion of the issue since January, but I was prompted to write on the subject for my own reasons.
The first was my experience of being slut-shamed as an author of romance this year, and then being directed by another author (Ainslie Paton) to a wonderful research paper on that subject which can be found here.
That paper really helped me to refine my thinking about slut-shaming in romance writing, and of romance writers.
First off, there is some debate about what counts as slut-shaming.
Callie Beusman argued in a Jezebel article that the term is so overused that it’s lost all meaning.
While I agree that labelling any criticism of sexuality as slut-shaming isn’t helpful, I still think the term is useful to identify a particular type of moral righteousness and judgment used to stigmatize women’s sexual behavior and force them to feel shame for not conforming.
I say “women’s sexual behavior” because while a man may, now and then, be referred to as a slut, it’s usually laughed off (usually with a wink and a nudge) because male chastity isn’t valued in contemporary western culture.
Nay, the more conquests a man has, the more manly he is.