Every time I see who hear the term “slut-shaming” I cringe. That noun hyphenated to that verb should be unused out of existence. Rather than enforcing the idea that they are no sluts, that slut is not an acceptable title to be used against a woman to remind her of her sexualized subordination, activists are actually maintaining the use of the word to the point that it remains culturally normalized.
Arguing the subjectivity of the use of the word completely ignores the patriarchal context in which all women live in and the fact that this word, along with other gendered, misogynistic slurs, are not something women can collectively “reclaim” considering it’s not a term that was coined by women for women, but something used initially and continually by men for their benefit and as long as patriarchy remains intact, the concept and connotation behind the slur “slut” will also remain intact.
Even if an individual refers to another woman as slut personally believing this slur can be positively re-stigmatized in a society embedded with rape culture and a misogynistic porn culture, that individualistic approach to undoing thousands of years of patriarchal oppression and the hateful weight carried by the slur is grossly unrealistic.
"Slut" is not just a referral to the double-standard that, men have sex and they are socially rewarded, women have sex and their social value diminishes. It’s also about how the slur slut relies on the use of women by men to the effect of being sexually objectified, in that, in patriarchy, women exist for straight men’s visual and sexual pleasure.
When the oppressed class starts to willingly take on the slurs of their oppressors, this action does not dismantle and destroy the views that keep the non-privileged group oppressed, it acts as a reinforcement. It’s reacted to as if women are finally realizing their place in that, we are sluts and they - men - can continue using the word as a form of hate speech, sexual harassment and sexist bullying.