After 23 Things blew up, there seemed to be a large outcry about #3 specifically:
#3 Make Out With A Stranger
I don’t think I’ve ever been called a “whore” more in my life than in the first 48 hours that 23 Things when viral. It was like I had transcended into Mean Girls, but with fewer memorable phrases and more catty behavior. The claws really came out in the comments section and for a brief moment in the time space continuum, I was an internationally recognized “whore.”
I had no idea that I was selling my body for money… I feel like my student loans would be less crippling if that were really the case. But it MUST be true because everything you read on the Internet is true. Obviously. And if making out with a stranger is the new standard to qualify as a “whore,” then I’ve been hookin’ since I was 12.
It all started at church camp (classic Vanessa) when Travis from Tuson, Arizona caught my eye during a game of dodge ball. I found myself immediately infatuated with the way his curls bounced as he hurled a large rubber ball at my head. It was love… and a potential concussion.
On the last night of camp, Travis and I bailed on Bible study and snuck off into the forest hand-in-hand. I remember I was in the middle of a very important monologue about the implications and impact of Blink-182 on our generation when Travis blurted out,
“I want to be your first kiss.”
I definitely lost consciousness for a few seconds and then his lips grazed mine. A small squeak left my throat and I just stared at him, dumbfounded. Next thing I knew, I was sprinting into the forest as fast as my legs could take me. I heard him call out, “how was your first kiss?” so I spun around, flashed two thumbs up, and continued running as my heart rate and severe asthma simultaneously started to escalate.
My first kiss nearly killed me. #Worthit
When I arrived back at the all-girls cabin, I immediately dished on what happened with my inhaler in one hand and my heart in the other. The one mean girl at church came (wtf?) took it upon herself to burst my bubble and stated frankly,
“He probably thinks you’re a whore now. You don’t want to get a reputation for being easy you know.”
Well who the fuck are you? How dare you ruin the most magical moment of my life! You’re tacky and I hate you.
And whether I’m 12 or 22, the same question remains:
When people dislike a woman, why is it always her sexuality that the haters attack first?
The term has been coined as “slut-shaming” and honestly, being called a “whore” is probably the least imaginative insult known to mankind. Have some creativity people!! Open a book for once if you really need some inspiration. There are so many other things people could make me feel like shit about… all you need to do is choose one. What about my crass language? Or my OBVIOUS and judgmental dislike for boring human beings? Please! Criticize my over-employment of decorative punctuation and love for starting sentences with “And.” But can we PLEASE move on from my sexual aptitude for just two seconds?
And it’s not just men who throw around the word “whore” quite easily. There’s definitely some female-on-female hate going down on the Internet and it’s time to start consciously calling ourselves out on it.
Here’s the thing: respectable women don’t slut-shame other women. If you find yourself regularly muttering the word “whore” under your breath, you are a miserable excuse for a human being and will most likely never accomplish anything of worth.
Half the world is made up of women; you’re going to need to play nice to make it big. Get with the program.
Let’s talk about REAL whores or prostitutes for a moment. When I was in the Philippines, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of human flesh for sale. It was easy to identify the prostitutes by their flashy clothing and location choices in the clubs; they mostly congregated by the door or bar in hopes of snatching up tourists before their competition could.
Because I’m an investigative journalist (obviously), I took it upon myself to stumble over to these women and “lady boys,” after a half a bottle of tequila, to engage them in spirited debate and conversation. They were incredibly generous with their compliments about my hair and asked me if I had any male friends looking for a date. I couldn’t help but blurt out,
“Can I get a price quote or is there an opportunity to bargain?”
They all burst into laughter and shook off my inquiry as a joke… so I asked them again. I was incredibly curious about how they placed a price on their bodies and if it varied from girl to girl based off of beauty or something specific. From the sample size of prostitutes I interviewed throughout the night, there was definitely a set price that the community abided by, as to not undercut one another or cause inflation. Smart. I also discovered that prostitution was their main source of income and their monetary contributions helped support a whole network of family members; some as large as 40 people. They were making the ultimate sacrifice to survive and were selfless with their earnings.
The whole experience completely blew me away.
I consider myself to be a professional survivor. I’m super awesome at staying alive. Humble brag. But putting a price on my flesh is utterly unimaginable. To be frank, I think I much rather give up.
So why do we continue to use “whore” as a derogatory term? The only legitimate whores I’ve ever encountered are the strongest people I’ve ever met in my life. They use every single skill imaginable just to make it for a few more weeks WHILE they support other human beings too.
We’re all pathetic in comparison if you really think about it. We have the luxury of accessible education and comprehensive social programs; and this has transformed us into spoiled, bitter children. Most of us will never know what it really means to be down and out with no other options; so instead, we take the “other” and distort their strength into an insult. When people use the word “whore,” it is with the sole intention of making women experience humiliation, guilt, and pain.
Why are people still criticizing women for their basic human desire to be touched, held, and loved?
It’s 2014 people. If kissing a stranger qualifies me as a “whore” then I’ll give it to you: I am a whore. Huge freaking whore! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I couldn’t have done it without all my fans.
But if I’m a whore, I’d be willing to wager that you probably are too. I bet some of your family members are whores. Probably, most of your friends; and definitely ALL of your college graduating class.
Grow up and get over it.
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