Shamenorming

by Jason Stotts

I recently had a conversation with someone who argued that slut shaming was dead and that it didn’t happen anymore. I haven’t heard such a naive and fanciful position since religion. For those who have any doubts, here are two very sad stories of slut-shaming. These are certainly not outliers, but just the stories that actually made news.  There are literally hundreds of cases of slut-shaming going on every day ranging the entire spectrum from mild to excessive, like the following two stories.  I don’t have time now to do the kind of commentary that would do this justice, but an essay on shamenorming is forthcoming.

Story 1: Artistic Swingers

James Ryan was fired from his job as the music director at the Spokane Civic Theatre merely because he was a swinger and someone outed him. (Story)

On the morning of Oct. 17, Johnson summoned James Ryan to the Civic for a board meeting that afternoon, saying his only options were resignation or termination. After requesting a chance to plead his case and being refused, he chose termination.

That same day, shortly before the next performance of Buddy, Johnson informed the cast that James and Lynn had been fired. She wasn’t clear why, say some who were at this meeting, but Johnson and board president Michael Muzatko indicated that the Civic needed to “protect the children” — leaving some to think that James Ryan was a child molester.

Story 2: The Beautiful Kind

Kendra Holliday runs a blog about her sex life and blogs on sexual issues.  She recently came out and started using her real name.  After a newspaper story, she has lost her job and now her ex-husband is suing her for custody of their children.  She has a post up asking for help because of the enormous pressure people are putting on her to conform to societal standards. (Link)

It feels like a bad dream. A lot of notable things have transpired since the RFT article featuring me in October was published. While plenty of it has been good, the worst thing imaginable has reared its ugly head:

I have officially received the lawsuit papers from my ex-husband – he is suing me for full custody of my daughter.

The reasons listed in the lawsuit all point to my sexuality.

Slut-shaming is alive and well and is brought to bear on any woman who dares to be a sexual being and step outside of societally approved norms.  It happens all around us, constantly.  You have just to open your eyes and look around to see it.

A full essay on this will be put up soon.

2 Responses to “Shamenorming”


  1. D. Bandler

    Slut shaming is all but gone. With the post 60s sexual revolution, social shaming mechanism designed to keep woman’s hypergamous instincts in line have all but disappeared. Look at the results. You have a slut culture where the worst, most superficial aspects of women have been released. Look at the Miley Cirus phenomenon for more details.

    As regards child custody, I don’t know what world you are living in dude but men are getting SLAUGHTERED in family courts nation wide. Women initiate 80% of divorces and they routinely get custody as post-feminism the entire family law system penalizes men and favors women. No-Fault divorce has been a disaster for society and the nuclear family.

    But let me guess, Objectivists no longer care about the nuclear family. Atomistic individualism gone mad. You are essentially doing what the Left does. You are looking at our culture and criticizing it for being too Right-wing when in reality we are living in a post-modern Leftist nightmare.

    Insane.

    Oh and why don’t you try to actually argue against my position rather than just cowardly delete it. Don’t Objectivists know how to debate?

  2. JasonStotts

    D. Bandler,

    First, I don’t know why you assume that the reference was to you. Unless I personally know you, you are a grad student at one of the U.C.’s, and your initials are J.H., it mostly certainly was not directed at you. Frankly, I’m not even sure the person to whom it was directed reads my blog, but if he does he’ll understand the reference, because we talked about it at length.

    Second, I never delete comments on my blog unless they are ad hominem’s or just nonsense. I know that I have never deleted any of your comments. In fact, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed or not, but your comments aren’t even moderated anymore; they appear immediately. So, I don’t know why you get insulting at the end of your comment. It clearly isn’t warranted.

    Slut shaming is not all but gone, just look at the examples in the post. There is not a full argument here because this is not my essay, just the precursor to it. Further, I don’t know what you mean by the “Miley Cyrus” phenomenon. I don’t watch TV and avoid tabloids, so I don’t know what is going on with her. If you just mean young women being sexual, then I’m all for that: as long as they’re doing it responsibly.

    Women win in court so much because it is a cultural assumption that women are more nurturing and caring. That assumption is much older than feminism.

    I think the nuclear family is fine. I also think that close living extended families are fine. As well as single parent families. They can all be good, but none is necessarily so.

    ~Jason