Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What's Your Number? The Rise of the Slutshame

Image courtesy of PRISA Radio
Anyone who knows my in car singing habits knows that my girl crush heart is devoted to Taylor Swift. And no, I don't care what you think about it. Each to their own and all that jazz, I won't judge your try hard alternative facial piercings or your reality show fake tan, don't judge my love for Swifty. Anyway, moving on.. Taylor Swift, known for diary like lyrics and being a champion of all things fairytale and fluffy, has had her fair share of boyfriends. After moving on from Conor Kennedy to One Direction's Harry Styles in what seemed like half a heartbeat, Swift received an onslaught of abusive tweets and threats from the hardcore One Directioners.

Long story short, the relationship took the same path as her previous romances and kicked the bucket. Cry. Again, an onslaught of degrading remarks towards Taylor and her dating habits rumours began circulating of the catalyst of this particular breakup. So apparently, it turns out Taylor Swift wasn't as keen to put out as Styles would have liked. Interesting, so is Swift now being called a prude or a slut? The most common opinion is the latter, as she's been linked with too many of our celebrity crushes and fake husbands. The girl is 23 years old, and her romantic disasters are becoming fuel for Tina Fey jokes and Bradley Cooper is apparently avoiding her because of her reputation. Not every woman will choose the path of Taylor Swift, and date a lot of men in her twenties, but many will- and they are all grateful that TMZ doesn't follow their own scandalous lives when stumbling down the street clutching a lipstick stained empty bottle of Rose. Everyone has their moments, everybody has to kiss a few frogs, everybody has a skeleton (or twelve) in their closet. Swift's actual problem, is that she gives everybody a chance. This is a mistake all women make, because after all, what's the harm in trying?

The issue here is the problem that women are now judging the love lives of other women. Where's the solidarity? As women we have enough problems with men calling slut on every woman who has sexual history, we don't need to contribute ammunition to the slut shame scrapheap. In Swift's particular situation, she had slut shamed actress Camilla Belle on her third album, and is now open to the criticism of people who see the hypocrisy of that. The other problem exists in the expectation of gender roles. As women we expect men to have a greater sexual history than our own, and men expect women to have a shorter list. Swift's list of men is growing, but who says she actually slept with them all? and is it any of our business? The sad thing is, society stigmas and regulations still exist. One must be attractive but not available, one must allure men but not give in to their advances. One must not have too many boyfriends in their twenties, or write songs about them. How many boyfriends are too many? Does the three date rule still exist? We haven't actually come that far, apparently women like Swift are the kind of female that "make men sad", if that's what makes men sad then that's what makes us even sadder - that while navigating through the male dominated dating minefield that we are judged for things we're both proud and regretful of. Swings and roundabouts.

So what's your number? What's my number? It's none of my business, or yours.