There truly is no end to the cultural wisdom that can be culled from the pages of the NY Times
Thursday Styles section. Today's edition offers perhaps the paper's most insightful piece yet in its ongoing, author-emails-her-10-bestest-journalist-
The title of the piece
, by Stephanie Rosenbloom, is "The Taming of the Slur." The subject? Women are sluts! But wait, not really, they just like to call each other sluts in an empowering sort of way -- "Hi, slut!" being an example of such an exchange offered by our ear-to-the-ground reporter. Also, they like to dress in slutty gear just like their favorite pop icons, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan, and engage in slutty everyday activities like pole-dancing classes, all of which was totally news to me and not at all something I had read before in about 15 million different mainstream media outlets. Three years ago. What any of this, by the way, has to do with a piece that purports to be about the shifting meaning of the term "slut" as a signifier is beyond me, but whatev. Sluts rock!
But wait, maybe they don't. See, it turns out that maybe women actually ARE sluts. Or at least, some of the sluttier ones are still seen that way, because according to "authors who have studied popular culture," there still exists a cultural double-standard regarding the sexual mores of men and women. No evidence is given to support this statement, but duh, we all know it's true. I mean, my god, remember that slut Samantha on "Sex in the City," how she was like totally judged for her behavior, even though most of the time she wasn't? So there you go. And to that end, it was very important to include a photo of Samantha with the article, because as I've begun to garner from repeated readings of the Times
arts and style sections, "Sex in the City" was the only piece of original programming to appear on television in the last 20 years.
Anyway, I could go on, but life is short and the siren call of my inner slut beckons me to walk the dog in my lowest-cut tank top. So to tantalize you like a good slut should, I'll just call out a few choice bits from the piece in the hopes that many of you will go to read it -- especially those among you looking to cultivate the more regurgatory methods of weight loss. A slut's gotta stay slim, after all!Like “queer” and “pimp” before it, the word slut seems to be moving away from its meaning as a slur.
See, that's really interesting. As a sociology major in college, I was always taught that lumping together three disparate terms like that would render your thesis invalid before your analysis had even begun. But I guess the Times
must be ushering in a new era of pomo social analysis, wherein all colloquialisms are interrelated -- nay, interchangeable. So with that new model in hand, lemme try something out....
Hey, it works!A slut, according to the primary definition in the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance; a foul slattern.” The second entry defines a slut as “a woman of a low or loose character; a bold or impudent girl; a hussy, jade.” For decades, the second definition has reigned.
Endless, heartfelt hoorays to the NY Times
for resurrecting the "Oxford's Dictionary defines..." mode of clarifying your terms. I haven't been privy to that device since my sister delivered her eighth grade graduation speech ("Webster's dictionary defines 'teenager' as..."), but by god, I've missed it. Jamie Breitman, 27, of Manhattan, has a friend she characterizes as promiscuous, a woman who, when they were in a bar in Spain, ended up singing on a stage and eventually making out with the bass player.
See, even though I'm an Ivy League graduate and all, I went to one of the lower rung Ivies and am not nearly as smart as those Times
writers. And so I'll admit that I was still a bit mystified as to what, exactly, constitutes a slut. But give it up for Ms. Rosenbloom: about five-sixths of the way through the article, she dug up this indispensible source -- with whom, I'm sure, she absolutely did not go to college or ever share an apartment -- who offered up a true, empirical example of sluttiness. I mean, singing on a stage AND making out with the bass player? Honestly, the mention of either act would have knocked me a bit sideways, but the two denigrating behaviors performed in tandem.... Just, wow.
And finally, we have the man I hope will one day sire me a gaggle of Duke lacrosse-playing, Goldman Sachs-toiling, Joe Francis-worshipping sons, one Don from Albany:When I think of the word slut,” wrote Don Reisinger, a student doing accounting and law work in Albany, in an e-mail message, “I think of a woman who has been around the block more times than my dad’s Chevy. I might date a slut, but I certainly wouldn’t marry one.
FUCK, dude, there's no need to bring your poor dad's car into this! But seriously, I have the best joke for you: what do you call the skin around a women's vagina? The WOMAN, dude! Awwww yeah.
So anyway.... call me?