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September 20, 2015 | by  | in The Week In Feminism |
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Slut-shaming

White Ribbon New Zealand defines slut-shaming as the idea of shaming or attacking a woman for being sexual, having one or more sexual partners, acknowledging sexual feelings, or acting on sexual feelings. Shaming can be done verbally, or online (usually found in comment sections). Another way of defining slut-shaming is the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior because she has sex that traditional society disapproves of. A form of slut-shaming that has popped up as a consequence of the image sharing features of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is shaming based on looks. This means that someone will decide a woman engages in lots of sex based on her appearance and consequently shame her based on this assumption. It means that girl’s outfits are judged by how much skin is showing, whether there is any cleavage, and if they photograph themselves in a revealing pose.

Slut-shaming is a way for people to police women’s appearances and actions, and force them to fit into a way of dressing and behaving deemed appropriate by either a majority or just a really vocal bunch of people. A recent example of this practice that has happened in New Zealand is on the radio station George FM, where two anchors named and shamed two girls on Instagram for posting what they deemed sexually suggestive pictures. The hosts, Thane Kirby and Kara Richard, used derogative terms such as “slut” and “hoes” while abusing the girls. They have since been suspended from the radio station and made a public apology to the two girls involved.

This deplorable example is made even more upsetting by the fact that it was broadcast nationwide on the radio, which held the two girls up to public scrutiny and humiliation. When people from the media use their privileged platform to slut-shame, it becomes a step closer to becoming socially acceptable, justifiable, and even deemed harmless. Perhaps the scariest part of the public’s comments on articles covering this story is the idea that these girls deserved it because they posted the pictures to a public forum, which serves as an attempt to redirect blame and normalise the hosts’ actions. In both cases, the hosts gave out the girls full names and both girls have since said that they have been messaged by strangers. This is an awful case of abuse of a position of privilege in New Zealand media to slut-shame two young women.

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