THE SLUT DIARIES: What Teen Girls Think Of Slut Shaming & Sexual Harassment

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, a critically-acclaimed new play, 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.

Developed over a two-year creative process, SLUT explores the sexual assault and shaming of a 16-year-old girl.

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. Over the next few weeks, GirlTalkHQ will feature some their personal experiences with slut-shaming and sexual assault.  Here is Clare’s story:

CLARE FRUCHT

This post was written by Clare Frucht, a 16-year-old high school junior, who plays JANE in SLUT. 

Clare-Frucht

The Rydells in 3E don’t like me. They think I’m a slut. Whenever I’m on the elevator with them they glare at me – looking me up and down the whole ride.  Sometimes think I should just take the stairs because, honestly, I don’t need them judging me – making me feel like my ass is huge or that I’m a piece of trash.  And I’m actually not even allowed to get in the elevator with the Simons anymore.  I wouldn’t want to anyway.  They live on the 7th floor and I can’t stand being in a small space with them for that long.  I know they think I’m a stupid whore and they don’t really try to hide it.  Helping to pay for his attorney wasn’t really a good way of covering it up.

The lawyers say that as long as he doesn’t work in the building anymore and stays away from me it should all be fine. It’s not fine though, because I have to deal with my neighbors and their stupid assumptions. No – I’m not an immature 16-year-old who freaked out when his hand “accidentally grazed” me.  No.  They’re so ignorant.  They don’t know that for months leading up to it, when I’d come home from school or rehearsal or babysitting, he’d give me the mail and tell me how beautiful I was becoming, how I was growing-up, and then he’d ask for a hug and try to kiss me on the cheek.

They don’t know that on that day, when no one was home and I forgot my keys, he made me walk up the back stairs with him to my apartment because “the elevator was too slow.”  I live on the 8th floor.  They don’t know that he told me I looked “so pretty.” They don’t know that he wouldn’t unlock my door until I gave him a hug. They don’t know how tight he hugged me. They don’t know that I tried to run into my apartment. They don’t know that he grabbed me and pulled me into him and grabbed my breasts and said, “ I want a piece of this.”

CLARE-FRUCHT

They don’t know that I waited an hour in my apartment alone – waiting for my mom to get home, sobbing – and that I changed out of my skinny jeans into sweatpants because I was afraid I looked too sexy. They don’t know that I haven’t worn the clothes I had on that day since – because I don’t want to carry a reminder of all this shit around with me. They don’t know that because of him I feel less safe in my own home. He was supposed to be guarding my front door, keeping people just like him from getting in.

They don’t know that because of all of them, I feel guilty. They don’t know that because of them, I think I’m a slut. They don’t know that I was truly just trying to be polite and nice and friendly to my doorman, I wasn’t leading him on, or teasing him, or trying to ruin his life.

They don’t know how hard it was to come forward, to tell my parents, and to press charges.

And as they all blame me (never him), shame me (never him), hate me (never him), shoot hurtful looks at me (never him), and pool their money to cover his legal fees, they clearly don’t know how hard I plan fight, how hard I plan to defend myself. They don’t know how much I value my right to be safe in my own home, in my city, in my body. They don’t know that no matter how awkward, tired, uncomfortable, ashamed, dirty, foolish, sad, and slutty I feel – I am actually proud. They don’t know that I’m proud of myself for not being silent.

That is what I carry with me when I step into my elevator.  That is what I am going to carry with me always.  I will not allow their slut-shaming to silence me.

 

DANIELLE EDSON COHEN

This post was written by Danielle Edson Cohen, a 17 year-old high school junior who plays NATALIE in SLUT.

Danielle-Edson-Cohen

I am guilty of slut shaming.  There…I said it!  And, like those of you reading this, I am someone who cares about making a difference in our world, striving for change for our future, and for better attitudes towards girl sexuality. Many of us believe girls have the right to own and enjoy their sexual selves, but we’ve also been called and/or definitely judged someone for their “slutty”  behavior.  It’s just the truth.  We’re players in this game.  Slut-shaming is the way we process and digest the world and other girls/women around us, and sometimes it’s how we make ourselves feel better.

I go to this typical Jewish summer camp, where promiscuous behavior is practically encouraged and cultivated. I mean, let’s be real, it’s literally 8 weeks of teenagers breaking the rules of counselors (who actually egg us on!) in an isolated campsite in the middle of Milford, Pennsylvania – the middle of nowhere!  In those two months, with no parental supervision, there are lots of sexual firsts for everyone.  There is this group of girls that I’m friendly with, who define themselves by their flirty and sexual interests.  There is one girl in particular, “Georgia,” who is really petite and very pretty, and she actually doesn’t speak that much.

She’s always hooking up with someone and she lost her virginity before many of the rest of us.  Basically she’s Dream Girl for all the guys at my camp.  So when the annual camp reunion rolled around I wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing all the guys drool over her.  Much to my dismay, I was unable to attend the steamy night-before-reunion sleepover with all of the guys and girls.  That night, scrolling through Instagram checking out the great time I’d missed, I was barely able to breathe.  I came upon a picture of “Georgia” straddling a guy from my camp, a guy I had “gone out with” that past summer, “Josh.”

Immediately I was jealous and pissed. I vented and screamed psychotically to my friends about how of course she would do this because she’s a SLUT. A stupid, slutty whore. I hated her.

danielle-edson-cohen

Then the next day I learned the full story: Everyone got very drunk. Two of the boys, including “Josh”, had practically forced “Georgia” to give them blow jobs, while others filmed it on their phones. Watching the videos disgusted me. They were persuading her to take off her clothes and give other guys in the crowd blow jobs – and all of this was going on in the backyard of someone’s home!

The girl persistently, yet very drunkenly, declined these boys’ offers, but she ended up giving into their demands anyway. The scariest part is that her best friends were doing nothing to stop it – in fact they were encouraging. My jealously of “Georgia” faded.  I realized it was all of my ex-boyfriend’s doing – in the videos he was the one forcing her, a very drunk girl, to perform oral sex. I felt bad. My heart broke – not for him but for her. I felt horrible for judging “Georgia” so harshly, and for defining her by such a degrading word that she didn’t deserve.  “Georgia” could be any girls I know.  Even me.  Any girl caught up in a culture that encourages her to be sexual but then immediately degrades her for it.

This past year at sleep away camp, I heard “Georgia” talk for the first time. We were actually having a conversation, and in a sense, became quite friendly. So I wonder, how are girls supposed to feel good about themselves and free to explore their sexuality in healthy and confident manner, if we’re not even on each other’s sides? How are we supposed to eradicate the negative light on girls’ sexuality and empowerment, if we cannot even support one another? It is essentially impossible to move forward in our movement, if we girls don’t even have each other’s backs.

This is why the understanding of, breakdown of, and eventual demolition of the word slut and the negative connotation that comes packaged with girls sexuality is so important, for us and future generations as a whole.

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Stay tuned for the next installment of THE SLUT DIARIES and if you are in Los Angeles don’t forget to reserve your FREE tickets for the performances on Sunday, April 27 or Monday April 28th by clicking here.

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “THE SLUT DIARIES: What Teen Girls Think Of Slut Shaming & Sexual Harassment

  1. My God, how sad that this camp even exists! This is crazy! But she is right they egg these girls on and put a dirty label on them and then wonder why they have mental problems!

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