A Slut by Any Other Name (is Just a Girl)

PROMISCUOUS Cover - 400 x 699PROMISCUOUS (is just a fancy word for SLUTTY) by Isobel Irons

(Excerpt from Part III: “Slutty”)

Shakespeare once wrote, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’  But what about those words which aren’t so sweet? What makes one word seem so much nastier, and cut so much deeper, than another? For instance, what’s the difference between a ‘skank’ and a ‘slut?’

Apparently, quite a lot.

According to UrbanDictionary.com (which is basically the Webster’s of my generation,) a ‘skank’ is defined as the following:

‘Derogatory term for a (usually younger) female, implying trashiness or tackiness, lower-class status, poor hygiene, flakiness, and a scrawny, pockmarked sort of ugliness. May also imply promiscuity, but not necessarily. Can apply to any race, but most commonly used to describe white trash.’

Well, shit. That’s a pretty spot-on description of me, up to this point. Wouldn’t you say?

 On the other hand, ‘slut’ is defined by UrbanDictionary.com as: ‘A woman with the morals of a man.’

You thought it was going to be worse, didn’t you? I know I did. Seriously, the word ‘slut’ just sounds so much worse. It sounds like there should be a minimum number in there, right? Almost like a legal definition; ‘You can only be counted as a ‘slut’ if you have sucked off at least half a dozen dudes, per fiscal year, and/or had  ten or more hookups with nameless strangers behind various fast food establishments.’ But no, as it turns out, a slut by any other name…is just a dude, apparently.

So, there you have it, I guess.

Proof that nobody gives a damn what a word really means, or whether or not it’s true. People love labels, and as we mentioned before, they hate the complex messiness of the truth. That’s why they’ll continue to throw those words around, regardless of how much damage they cause, and believe whatever the hell they want.

-II-

IsobelIrons

Isobel Irons
http://isobelirons.com
@IsobelIrons

WHY I WROTE PROMISCUOUS:

In the “About the Author” portion of my books, I normally include some variation of the bio from my website, where I talk about my obsession with film—which hopefully makes you want to forgive me for my copious and occasionally gratuitous movie and TV show references—and explain why I love telling stories, while making fun of romance tropes in a cheeky, irreverent way. If you want, you can follow the above link to read all about my other, less controversial books, which almostalways have a happy ending, and very little swearing.

But for the purposes of understanding why I chose to write this particular story, in such a particular way, there are some other things you need to know about me.

First of all, almost everything that happens in this book, whether to Tash or one of her friends, happened to me or someone I love. Yes, some details were changed, and some situations were slightly altered for the sake of the story. And no, I wasn’t as angry or violently opposed to the social order as Tash is throughout the majority of this book.

But Gretchen Cader was based on a real person, my childhood babysitter. And Margot Riley is based on a real person, and Becca Foster is based on a real person. (And in case you’re thinking that I’m going to get sued at some point for saying this, you’re probably right. Chances are, it won’t be by the right people, though. Because, as I mention in the book, nobody recognizes their own reflection–especially not in fiction.)

Even Grant Blue is based on a real person. Yes, it does seem hard to believe—especially for girls like Tash—that there are actually guys out there who will love you for your flaws, and not just in spite of them. That there are men, real men, who will stop if they think they might be moving too fast physically. Or if they worry you might be making a mistake.

Even if they’re attracted to you. Even if they want to keep going. Even if you don’t say no.

Unfortunately, there are also real guys out there like Trent Gibson, who get written off as ‘jerks’ or ‘sexist douche bags,’ when in reality there’s a more accurate word for them: rapists.

The “real” Trent Gibson—whose name has been changed in this book, because he does not deserve to be immortalized in fiction—was a super-senior who threatened to rape me in math class, my freshman year, in front of witnesses. At the time, I thought he was horrible and disgusting, but that his words were just that—ugly, inappropriate words. Nothing more.

After all, he didn’t ever follow through on those words, at least not with me. He didn’t follow me into the parking lot after school, or slam my head up against his car. But he did keep taunting me with his threats, almost every day, for the rest of that year. And to my ultimate dismay, I never did work up the courage to bash his head in with my math book.

I wanted to, but I didn’t. In fact, I never told anyone about the things Trent said. Not one living soul.

I’d like to say this part of the story has a happy ending, or even an ending. I’d like to say that ‘Trent’ never did more than talk. But a few years after I’d graduated high school and moved on with my life, far away from the small and often narrow-minded town I grudgingly called home, I saw an article in my hometown newspaper about how the real life Trent had been convicted of more than three different counts of forcible rape, and sentenced to ten years in prison.

As most experts on this type of crime will tell you, for every victim that comes forward, there’s usually at least one more victim who chooses to remain silent. Maybe because they’re embarrassed, or ashamed, or—worst of all—afraid of being targeted by people who will find it easier to label them ‘sluts’ and ‘liars,’ instead of facing the truth: that rapists can look like anyone you know, and once they think they can get away with it, they do not stop hurting people.

Even if it wasn’t six girls or more, even if it was only two, or three. That’s still way too many. And six years is still way too long for a rapist to go unpunished.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself over the years, what if I’d just said something? Tash’s circumstances were extreme, she thought she wasn’t worth listening to. But I was a good student. I came from a good family. People might have listened.

I can’t tell you how sick it makes me, to think that the authorities and school administrators might have taken my word for it, when so many other girls are labeled as liars and shamed for being sluts. Just because of where they were when it happened, or what they were drinking, or what they were wearing. Just because of who people thought they were, they must have brought it on themselves, they must have deserved it.

This attitude is not okay. This precedent is not okay. The fact that at least one in three girls will likely read this story and say to themselves, ‘This could be me,’ is Not. Fucking. Okay.

So let’s stop pointing fingers, and throwing around labels. Let’s stop trying to rationalize or make excuses for things which are inexcusable. Let’s try to understand that each person’s story is not everyone’s story.

What happened to me was wrong. But it was not my fault.

My hope is that by telling Tash’s story, and my story, I’ll inspire and encourage others to tell theirs. And hopefully, if enough of us start to come clean about our dirty little secrets, the world will, too.

If you know someone this story might apply to, please click here to get help.

-II-

Contact Isobel Irons

As a proudly self-published author, there’s nothing I love more than connecting directly with my fans. Hearing their opinions, anecdotes, and even just making a connection.

I look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories! Here’s where you can find me:

 

Website – Contact Form

Amazon

Twitter

Facebook

Facebook Author Page

Goodreads

Goodreads Author Page

Pinterest

The Book Escorts: Dominating Self-Publishing (in a Good Way) Since 2010

The S&M (Self-Publishing & Marketing) Podcast with Maven & Minx (I’m Minx)

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