Juicy Campus: A Cultural Gross-fest of Slut-Bashing

One of my friends just sent me a link to a new "social networking" site called Juicy Campus. According to the home page, "this is the place to spill the juice about all the crazy stuff going on at your campus. It's totally anonymous - no registration, login, or email verification required."

What this means is that students have free reign to post whatever, anything at all, about anyone or anything. So of course it's a huge racist, sexist, classist, sizeist, ableist, just-prejudiced-in-general party.

If I had any extra time this semester, I'd want to write a research paper about this site. It takes all the bigoted tensions under the surface of our culture and brings them right out into the light. I mean, it's pretty awful stuff on there and it kind of sucks to read it, but it's fascinating nonetheless.

I've never seen more obvious examples of slut-bashing than on the site. I'd say a majority of the posts on the site (or at least on the pages for my college) are about specific girls and their sluttiness. (They cut off search results at 150 posts so I couldn't compare the number of "slut" posts to anything.) It's just a reminder of how hurtful that stuff can be.

There were a couple of girls from my school who were specifically targeted over and over again. One of them bravely stood up for herself on the site and said that she knew the posts were mostly made by a guy she rejected. Shocking, right, a girl labeled "slut" because she wouldn't have sex?

If you read Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation by Leora Tanenbaum, which I highly recommend, you'll find out that the slut label is often completely disconnected from sex. Not always, of course, but a lot of the time it's just a way to punish girls who aren't "normal," who dare to be "deviant" in some way. It's a punishing word, a weapon.

It is also, of course, a word that reinforces sexual stereotypes and the female gender role. By forcing girls and women to toe a line between being called a slut and being called a prude, patriarchal culture keeps our sexuality strictly controlled. We have to fight hard in order to have a respectful, healthy relationship with our own sexual desires. It's yet another way the patriarchy strips our personal power, leaving us so caught up in living up to its standards that we don't notice how ridiculous they are and throw them over.

In the last year or so, I've been on a personal crusade to stop slut-bashing when I find it. It doesn't always work, of course, because some people are stubbornly mean. There are lots of people, though, who don't think about what they're saying when they call a girl a slut. "Do you mean she has a lot of sex? Sex is fun. Why is that bad?" actually gets a pretty thoughtful response, especially if someone's using the word in a way unconnected to sex. "Do you mean you think she's mean and you don't like her?"

So I encourage all of you to combat "slut" when you hear it. It's such a "small" thing, but it makes a big difference in individual people's lives, and it's the combination of a million small things that leads to big patriarchy.

Cross posted at Fourth Wave Feminism.


Christian Holm said...

"Do you mean you think she's mean and you don't like her?"

This is pretty accurate and has been for, well, I'm probably twice your age and it was true when I was ten...

But let's face it, women can be very, very mean...

I just put up a blog explaining how simple men are, we just don't have the kind of imagination necessary to retaliate against feminine cruelty... :D

jennifer said...

Hi, I'm Jennifer (or BPDinOKC in the blog world). I somehow stumbled onto your blog tonight, and boy am I glad I did. I've read several pages of your posts, and we've got a lot in common. I really respect your honesty and openness no matter what topic you're writing about. I'll definitely keep reading your blog in the future. My blog (bpdokc.blogspot.com) is similar to yours in that I try to be as open, honest, and "bitchy" in my posts. I don't normally hold back. I normally share my opinion and don't care what anyone thinks. Feel free to check out my blog and leave your opinion, no matter if it's positive or negative. I can handle it :D

Anonymous said...

I still cannot believe that site exists! But, then, people are horrible. My campus just got added - and the school paper ran a whole article on it! So now, we're the most popular campus on the site.

I feel like screaming. Nothing good can come out of that mess.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I actually write a sex column for my school paper and I took the opportunity to write about gossip about sex and how to be ethical about it. I didn't mention JuicyCampus, though. It's not like they need the publicity.

It is pretty infuriating. I actually put a post on there trying to encourage people not to be racist and sexist and if they're going to gossip to say stuff that's true.

They took it down.

The only free speech they're protecting is racist, sexist, homophobic, able-ist gossip. It's their perogative, but if they're going to advocate free speech they should practice what they preach and allow people to respond to what's said.

On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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