THE SLUT DIARIES: Teen Girls Share Personal Slut-Shaming Experiences

The following posts were written by Darci Siegel, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, and India Witkin, a 17-year-old high school senior, a 16-year-old high school junior, who are cast members of the critically-acclaimed new play SLUT. Developed over a two-year creative process, SLUT explores the sexual assault and shaming of a 16-year-old girl.

On a cold night in New York City, Joey Del Marco puts on her favorite dress, her highest heels, and meets up with her oldest friends, George, Luke, and Tim, for a little pre-gaming. They play video games, dance, and down an entire bottle of Absolut Vodka. Everything is hazy fun, until they squeeze into the back of a cab… Through Joey’s story and those of girls in her community, witness the damaging effects of slut culture and the importance of being heard. 

slut-the-play

SLUT ran off-Broadway at the Lynn Redgrave Theater in NYC and ignited the ‘StopSlut’ movement, which provides tools for middle/high school and college students to combat sexual double standards and assault in their communities while promoting healthier attitudes toward female sexuality. The movement has reached thousands throughout NY and NJ.

SLUT will now travel across the country April 27th-May 10th raising awareness and sparking conversations about sexism and sexual violence in Los Angeles, CA, Fargo, ND, Moorhead, MN, and New York, NY. The cast will be joined by special guests: Amanda de Cadenet of The Conversation, award-winning actress/activist Maria Bello, actress/activist Daphne Zuniga, and more. Tickets to the spring performances and StopSlut activism workshops are available now: www.SLUTtheplay.com

SLUT was inspired by experiences of the teen members of The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company. GirlTalkHQ will feature some the cast members’ personal experiences with slut-shaming and sexual assault. Here are Darci and India’s stories:

 

DARCI SIEGEL, 15

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In middle school, having a boyfriend was really important if you wanted to be “socially acceptable.” There was something about having someone want you that made other people either like you or want to be you, and it somehow turned into some sort of vicious circle of want and desire. Kind of intense for 11-13 year-olds right? Well, in eighth grade, I wanted to be a part of that cycle. There was something so cool and so mysterious about it – having a boyfriend seemed so adult and grown up, and I was completely enthralled by this idea. (Thanks to every romantic movie or lusty TV show I’ve ever seen!)

There was this one guy Nick. I had a crush on him and I guess he had a crush on me back, and BOOM – we were labeled as a couple, because that’s how middle school relationships work. A week after we started going out, I was sitting across from Nick and his friend Jack in the hallway. Jack was also a good friend of mine. They were sitting there messing around on Nick’s phone, typing and laughing. They saw me watching them, and called out, “Hey! Check your phone.”

My phone started vibrating and texts flowed in from Nick saying things like, “You slut – you’re such a little whore, get the tampon out of your ass, your pussy is probably so tight,you’re a fucking slut.”

I was mortified. I was 13.

What was going on? This was coming from someone I had a crush on, someone I was supposed to be in a relationship with. I was devastated to get this negative attention from him. And, on top of it all, Jack, my friend, didn’t stop Nick from sending the texts!

I felt like complete shit. I began questioning everything I’d done over the last week:

What did I do that got me labeled slut and a whore? I hadn’t hooked up with anyone else, I wasn’t around that many guys, I usually stayed with my group of close girl friends, and when I wasn’t in class or with my friends, I was with him.

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I was extremely embarrassed to be the target, I didn’t want anything to do with him, and I actually started to convince myself that maybe I was a slut? Even though I wasn’t sure what actions of mine would’ve characterize me as one, but I started to believe it.

On my way to my class, one of the assistant principals saw I was upset. I broke down and told her what happened. She took me to the school administration and they talked to me about everything. I was kind of in a daze as they took screenshots of the texts and had me write a detailed report. They were clearly as stunned as I was.

When the administration talked to Nick, they admonished him for hurting my feelings, and told him what he said was “inappropriate” for school. He was told to apologize. He never did. But that’s not the thing that most upsets me. What infuriates me beyond words is that no one ever told him why calling me a slut, and a whore wasn’t okay. Do I think Nick felt bad? Yes, but not for the right reasons. He felt bad because he got caught and was required to spend the next day doing community service as his punishment.

Now I look back on that middle school day as a teaching moment in my life. I think it’s unfortunate that the words of one person can make us completely change how we think about ourselves. Over the past year, I’ve learned the name for what Nick did to me – it’s called slut-shaming and it’s done to take girls down. There is no real definition for the word “slut” any more – in today’s society, we’ve created countless instances where someone’s actions can be justified as slutty.

Slut-shaming affected me because I let words like “slut” and “whore” convince me that I was less of a person – which is exactly what those words are meant to do. People think that calling someone, slut, whore, hoe, bitch or any word of similar connotation can be funny or even sometimes affectionate, but it’s really a form of bullying and degradation. We shouldn’t let labels define us, we define us.

 

INDIA WITKIN, 17

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It was freshman year and my first time cutting school. I planned out the whole day with 3 of my friends and I was beyond excited. I felt so grown up, you know? Badass and adult. Yeah, I was breaking the rules…AND I was doing it in my tight Hollister tank top and my white Abercrombie short shorts that I still love to this day because they make me look 5 shades darker than I really am. Don’t judge me for my brand love.

It was 2010. A year when almost everyone in the city had a very public obsession with Abercrombie and Hollister – with their half-naked models greeting people who had actually waited in line to enter their stores. I mean, who didn’t want to get in on that? I was standing on subway, feeling confident, listening to my music on my way to Union Square, holding on the pole when suddenly, out of nowhere, a man groped me. He just completely went for it and squeezed my ass as if I were just this public thing there for anyone to grab onto – like that pole I was grasping.

I really freaked out. I felt my stomach drop. I was too scared to look up from the ground. I didn’t even want to look at him. With my head now down in shame, I shifted so my body was out of his reach and pretended to be keep my cool. I was shaking, my hands got so wet and slippery that I could barely hold on any longer, my hand kept sliding and I jumped when it touched some random person’s hand below mine. I felt him staring at me. I wanted to turn around and scream FUCK YOU, but I was silent – I had been silenced.

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It was a crowded train and what would everyone think? My shorts were too short and my tank top was too tight. I knew everyone was thinking what I was thinking: I was a “slutty teenage girl” and I was “asking for it”. Why else would I wear that outfit? Was I desperate for attention? Pathetic slutty girl with her ass in everyone’s face? I felt myself start to get smaller. I saw my reflection in the subway doors – who was this girl?

Just 10 minutes before, I was confident, I looked and felt amazing. It wasn’t about the brand but it was about the way my body felt and looked. I was like a model in Cosmo or Elle, basically half-naked and deserving of everybody’s attention and admiration. Powerful. Was that wrong? Was it wrong that I wanted to feel like those girls? The moment before this man grabbed me, I felt good and didn’t care about anyone’s criticism or judgment. I wanted to feel desired and sexy. Yes, I wanted that. But I didn’t want what actually happened to me on that Q train. I didn’t want to be touched, and made to feel like a slut who deserved it – I didn’t want to be made to feel like I wasn’t even a person.

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Join GTHQ and reserve your free tickets to the Los Angeles dates, April 27 and April 28, click on the WEBSITE.

28 Comments

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