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Slut Shaming: A Strategy to Deny Women Rights

Written by Amanda Marcotte for - News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice. If you were looking for a poll to capture exactly how much of America is judgmental and mean-spirited---especially towards women---you couldn’t top the recent Rasmussen poll that found that 48 percent of Americans think abortion is “too easy” to get.  I’m not entirely sure why Rasmussen took the poll.  Lack of generosity towards others and a dark eye specifically towards those you resenting people perceived as young, sensual, and not weighted down by the responsibilities of adulthood, which is how the public (incorrectly) imagines your average abortion patient to be.  (In reality, the majority are mothers trying to make ends meet.) You may as well have polled people asking, “Do believe kids these days listen to their music too loud?” or “Do you believe that you’re a sexually responsible person but there are some real sluts out there?”  Even though the reality is that women from all walks of life get abortions, the perception in the general public is that abortion is an indicator of sluttiness.  And sluts, last I checked, aren’t well regarded in our culture. When people imagine the obstacles between a woman and an abortion, they’re making an idealized judgment---some kind of major hassle that will teach the slut to keep her legs shut next time.  But mean-spiritedness, stereotypes, and generalized ideas about what counts as “promiscuous” aren’t something on which to base public policy. Read more
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