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Don’t Talk to Her, She’s a Slut

Dont Talk to Her, Shes a Slut i am not a role model just a story  High school hallway1

I often joke about my lousy . And it’s true, I have a really bad memory. But sometimes, stories pop to the surface. Nearly whole, with just the haze of time and knowledge.

This is one of those stories…

My elementary school was one of the smallest in the district, and unlike most kids, I didn’t attend Sunday school or participate in any ‘activities’. No dance classes or soccer or anything like that. So I entered middle school with a tiny network of friends. Much smaller, it seemed, than everyone else’s.

Not knowing any better, I guess, I spoke to everyone. Or rather, everyone who would speak to me. That was how you made friends, I thought.

It was in the hallway, or the cafeteria. One of the few areas of my middle school where the hordes actually mixed. Otherwise we were carefully tracked. Isolated in our academically determined cliques.  I’d noticed L before. It was impossible not to. She was a head taller than all of the girls and most of the boys, and fully-developed. She looked more like a teacher than a student, except for her clothes. I don’t remember where, exactly, we were. But I remember being near her, starting a conversation, and being pulled away by a friend.

- Don’t talk to her, she’s a .

I was 12 and had yet to kiss a boy. I knew the definition of slut, but didn’t understand why I shouldn’t talk to someone who was one. What I did know was that I didn’t have that many friends, and I couldn’t afford to lose the ones I had. And that the friend who’d pulled me aside was popular enough to crush me. If she told me to not talk to someone, then that’s what I had to do, or not do. Even if I didn’t understand why.

So I never spoke to L again.

Months later, rumor spread that L was pregnant. And then the whole school watched and whispered as her belly grew. She disappeared for a few months and then came back. Through it all, I never saw a single female student speak to her. She had a few male friends. But no girl friends. Not a damn one.

I hadn’t thought of L in years. Or of middle school, for that matter. And then I read this story in the NYTimes about sexting amongst middle school kids.  Well, it’s not really about sexting, although it kept getting framed that way as it bounced around the blogosphere and twitterverse. Here’s my 2 cent summary: 8th grade girl sends a nude pic of herself to her boyfriend. Not that shocking when you consider that 8th grade girls are notorious for their lack of both judgment and self-esteem. Boyfriend shows pic to female friend. Also not that shocking. Female friend then blasts pic to everyone she knows with “Ho alert!” as message. Cruel but not unusual. Horrible things happened.

I don’t mean to be glib, I don’t. It is horrible.  But this isn’t all that different than L’s middle school experience in the early 80s(yes, I am that old), except for the nude pictures. Some boy told his friends that she was easy, or a slut, or that he’d gotten lucky. Whatever. Word spread. And every girl in school shunned her. Some out of malice. Most out of fear. Not of her, most likely, but of what people would think of them if they were seen speaking to her. Skip forward a couple of decades and now we have new and creative ways for sexually precocious teenagers to torture one another.

I have no idea what happened to L. Or her baby. Funny/sad, I don’t remember anyone at school ever talking about her baby. I hope she grew into a strong woman who realized how young and foolish we all were back then. How scared. And I hope that the kids who are foolish enough to be sexting and posting ridiculously inappropriate messages online will one day be able to look back on this time in their lives and laugh at it, shake their heads and say, “what the fuck were we thinking?”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today’s post is my contribution to the Insomniac Club. You can follow along in real time via twitter using the #insomniaclub hashtag. Now go check out what the other members of the Insomnia Club have written.  And bookmark their blogs while you’re at it.


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14 to “Don’t Talk to Her, She’s a Slut”


  1. It’s funny – because now, in my mid-30′s – things are the same. My adult friends tell me not to talk to other girls because they are sluts. Um really? 1. I’ll speak to whomever I wish 2. I don’t really see a problem with sleeping with people that you want to sleep with. It’s fine. Sex is natural – its all good. It is just jealousy on my friends part – usually the “slut” is a happy, confident, popular, beautiful woman.
    itsybitsyknitsy recently posted..PulgitaMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      I can’t imagine adults telling their friends who they should and shouldn’t speak to, but then, I’m usually the one people are pointing at and saying “SLUT”.

  2. Jessica says:

    You know it’s funny because I didn’t really think about until I read this and the comment but it’s so true it still does happen even as we are older. I have had people not like me because I am too “slutty” I am not even sure what that means. Thankfully I have met many awesome people who don’t judge me based on that and I have some really amazing friends. But still, it’s quite sad that people feel you shouldn’t talk to someone based on their sexual choices. I don’t get it, really, I don’t. Awesome post my dear!
    Jessica recently posted..Sexting and the mean girl version 20My Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks darling. People suck, simple as that. There are always going to be people who look for reasons to hate, mock and fear people who are even slightly different than themselves. Or something like that.

  3. Lucky Girl says:

    I would never join any club that would have me as a member.

    The club you describe is one that no one ever signs up to join. And you’re right, although the tools have changed, the ostracism hasn’t. It’s a witch hunt, a Scarlet Letter, the Inquisition, McCarthyism. All the same, as old as time and apparently not going anywhere. But like you, I hope that L found her way, and that her child is maybe just the littlest bit stronger, better for it.
    Great piece, Simone.
    xo
    Lucky Girl recently posted..Unremarkably- Unregrettably UnknownMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thank you! I would love to believe that things will change and maybe slut-shaming will cease to exist. But it will just be replaced by something equally hurtful, I’m afraid.

  4. jackie says:

    My sentiments echo those of Lucky Girl; while our technology bounds forward our morality lags behind. What will it take for us to finally abandon these outdates social memes and eliminate the double standard?

    JFB
    jackie recently posted..The Consensus of Flies- A RantMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’d love to believe it’s possible for us to move forward, but… one step forward 2 steps back. I’m sure you saw the RECENT poll that had 46% of ppl in Mississippi thinking interracial marriage should be illegal. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  5. Very sad story, but not atypical. I, too, hope L and her baby somehow found their way…
    Dont Be a Slut recently posted..What It Means to be a Grown-UpMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      I’m going to choose to believe they are doing better than fine. And certainly better than a lot of the awful people I went to middle school with.

  6. SoloAt30 says:

    This totally reminds me of a girl I had forgotten about from my own childhood. We were as young as 4th grade, and she looked like a teenager. It wasn’t hard to believe that she was dating older, “faster” guys at so young an age. She was super friendly but because of how she looked, how she dressed and the company she kept, she was instantly labeled “easy”–don’t know if we even knew the word slut back then.

    When rumors spread that she was pregnant, no one thought to refute it. It fit the image, and when she dropped out of our school, that just sealed the impression. I wonder what happened to her, if she was even pregnant or just moved.

    I’m very glad that when you talked about the sexting, you also said: “Not that shocking when you consider that 8th grade girls are notorious for their lack of both judgment and self-esteem.” I think this is really a huge part of why girls this young are doing it. They get attention they so desperately crave, so why wouldn’t they do it, they are thinking…until they learn the hard way that there are consequences to their action, that texts and emails are viral and can’t be thrown away like the little gossipy notes passed around when we were kids.
    SoloAt30 recently posted..Things To Remember About MyselfMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      I think most people have memories locked away of girls from their childhood (maybe themselves) who got labeled “slut” and completely shunned by their peers. Utterly sad and too damn common.

  7. It’s amazing when you think how many girls lives have been arguably ruined (even if they make it through high school and seem to thrive on the outside, I’ve worked with many women who have disordered eating that can be traced back in some form or another to their teenage years) by society’s construct that girls having sex – or even worse, having big breasts – means they are a whore. Even that we have this word ‘whore’ that has such a bite, anywhere from age 13 to 31 and beyond, that women are constantly in the death grip of fear of being labeled that.

    I’m about ready to start a movement to reclaim slut and whore as the power of women’s sensuality and comfort in their skin. Problem is, we gotta get to the kids.

  8. Carlo Alcos says:

    This makes me wonder about the girls in highschool that I knew of as “sluts” and what the actual truth was. I specifically remember this one girl who was quite quiet and timid, but very pretty…and she was sweet as pie. But she had a reputation of sleeping around. And not many people talked to her. Sad.
    Carlo Alcos recently posted..The Tale of the 13-Year-Old SlutMy Profile


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