The UnSlut Project

“It gets better” for LGBTQ youth, but also for young women bullied and called “slut.” The recent suicides of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd, Felicia Garcia, and others demonstrate the tragic hopelessness “slut shaming” can create for young girls.

By encouraging women who have survived this type of bullying to share their stories and perspectives, The UnSlut Project offers hope to young girls who feel trapped and ashamed. The project also aims to draw attention to the dangerous trend of slut shaming, which extends beyond the school bullying environment to entire communities, the media, and our culture.

The UnSlut Project is inspired by my own experience. When I was eleven years old, I was branded a “slut” by my classmates and for the next few years of my life, I was bullied incessantly at school, after school, and online (this was 1997 in the days of AIM, and of course online bullying has only gotten worse).

During all this, I kept a regular diary. I decided to kick off The UnSlut Project by publishing these diary entries online, one at a time, without changing a word and with very limited commentary (except for changing all names, including my own). It’s my hope that, in addition to providing perspective to young girls, these entries can refresh adult readers’ memories by offering the unadulterated voice of an eleven year old who considered suicide multiple times and, thankfully, never went through with it.

You can read my diary here.

I’m now a Harvard graduate, PhD candidate, and freelance writer with a wonderful, supportive, live-in boyfriend. I am quite happy and fulfilled in all aspects of my life. It got better for me and for many other women; I’d like The UnSlut Project to give bullied young women hope that it will get better for them, too.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted April 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    What sometimes gets lost in the discussion about slut shaming is the other side of the coin, virgin shaming of boys. Many of these girls, Audrie Pott, the Steubenville victim, and Rehtaeh Parsons come to mind, were slut shamed because the boys were bragging about their sexual prowess. The virgin shaming of boys is so strong that these boys were willing to celebrate a rape. The slut shaming of girls is so strong that not preventing a rape is seen as a failing on her part and not her rapist.

    Many boys have felt forced to lie about their sexual history. Many have been called on it and many times other boys have demanded proof. I think at least in part that this is what you’re seeing, boys proving it. To be clear the failure is not on the part of feminists. Though women can be part of the discussion on virgin shaming, it is incumbent on men to lead. We have so far been woefully silent.

  2. Posted April 30, 2013 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    John, what a wonderful comment and very true. I literally just wrote something on this, which can be found here: http://www.policymic.com/articles/38057/rape-culture-3-reasons-most-men-are-to-blame-for-misogyny (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post links, but there it is).

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