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Battle Of the Sexes: Slut-Shaming - Are Women Scientifically Programmed?

July Westhale’s Avatar Article by Blog Slixa Late Night

The thoughtful advice and opinions of the author of this article are meant to be informative and entertaining and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Slixa.

Though gender-based conversations about sex/shame nature versus nurture have been ongoing since Radcliff Hall’s Well of Loneliness, the jury is still apparently out for many scientists about whether or not sex-related shame for women is primal or a social construct. Jezebel takes down the science of hard-wired sex regret, proving once and for (hopefully) all that shame happens because of patriarchy, and not because we’re like, animals.

According to Science Daily, the difference between how men and women experience sex and sexual experiences is due in large part to evolution and the drive to procreate: “For men throughout evolutionary history, every missed opportunity to have sex with a new partner is potentially a missed reproduce [sic] opportunity—a costly loss from an evolutionary perspective.. but for women, reproduction required much more investment in each offspring, including nine months of pregnancy and potentially two additional years of breastfeeding. The consequences of casual sex were so much higher for women than for men, and this is likely to have shaped emotional reactions to sexual liaisons even today.”

Aside from the reductionist nature of this statement, it seems maddening to create a theory that affects a wide audience (as in, all of human-kind) without taking the time to consider that not only are people invariably complicated, but we also live in a world where factors like systemic oppression and misogyny are alive and well. When I have experienced shame in my sexual history, for example, it usually manifests for me as a result of years of societal slut-shaming (which can vary from being told what I should and shouldn’t wear, where I should and shouldn’t go at night, who I should and shouldn’t fuck to the backlash that often occurs when people find out about my profession), gender-based bigotry, my feminine identity being policed inside and outside of the queer community, and the fact that I grew up studying the largely misogynist religion of Southern Baptist Christianity.

I can’t help but recall here the words of Daisy, in The Great Gatsby—remember that scene? Where she is meeting with her cousin one night at her grand Buchannan estate, and they take the walk down to the water? She turns to him and tells him about the birth of her daughter, ending with what is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking lines in canonical literature: “The best you can ask for in a girl is to be a fool. A beautiful little fool.” Despite the fact that Daisy is often portrayed as a whimsical, shallow creature (a kind of Depression-era Manic Pixie Dreamgirl), remarks like these underline the fact that Daisy actually had misogyny all figured out. Women are valued and priced at how beautiful they are, how their beauty and attractiveness can be commodified to serve men in one way or another. So perhaps the shame that many women feel after sleeping with someone is derived from the pop-culturally driven idea that once a woman sleeps with a man, she is no longer valuable, useful, or attractive.

These ideas of misogyny are a direct result of the marginalization of women, not because women are afraid that every time they have a one-night stand they need to be worried about a two-year breastfeeding sentence, though pregnancy is certainly a possible factor in considering many kinds of sex. A better scientific study might have been conducted on the ways in which misogyny and male-dominated societies have evolved or not evolved throughout the beginning of a human-populated planet, and how those findings contribute to the shame that many experience after sleeping with someone.

If we are relying on science to determine the way we fuck and feel about fucking, then to that end many, many things that we experience and desire as humans would be incongruent with our primal ancestry. Science Daily, where is your article on gender-based preferences for piss play, or why tall women seem to make my whole body feel like a violet wand machine? To that extent, why am I a big homo? Is it because, as Lee Edelman would say in No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, evolutionarily my people (my gay people) have some kind of inane death drive that propels us into a life where procreation is only possible with great intention and effort? Not only is the idea ridiculous, it is also inconsistent, and inconsistency.. well, isn’t that the basis for bad science?

To me, articles like the one presented in Science Daily read more like attempts at justification versus actual social studies.


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