I try to wear my label of ‘slut’ with pride. It means I am pissing people off, that I am unwomanly,  and am (hopefully) having a varied and fulfilling sex life (although the final condition is not necessary to be called a slut). I try to embrace it, to say it doesn’t matter, and those who don’t know me are the ones who call me a slut.
But it does matter. It is the old cliche; how to undermine a woman. I first got labeled a slut by my rapist. He actually started spreading rumors about me being a slut before he raped me, laying the groundwork if you will. It didn’t matter that I had only had one very bad experience with sex when I was 13, and wasn’t keen to repeat the experience. It didn’t matter that I was essentially a 15 year old virgin. It didn’t matter that my friends (or, at least, people I thought were friends) knew all of this. I was called a slut, far and wide. And the label stuck. So when he raped me, and I started telling people about it, there was a reputation already in place. I know being a ‘slut’ is irrelevant to being raped. I know that. My friends know that. Sadly, most people feel they can dismiss you when you are a slut. You deserved it. You made yourself at risk. All the usual bullshit.
The label sticks to this day, 11 years later. People who have never met me know me as a slut. And I try to say it doesn’t matter, because I don’t want to be friends with people who think being a slut is a bad thing. I am trying to reclaim slut. I am trying to be proud. And on the most part, the people I associate with means it doesn’t matter if I call myself a slut.
But it does matter. It matters greatly. That one word caused irreparable damage to me. It is the one word that hurts. It is dangerous. And I need to know what to do.
(Side note; unwomanly is red squiggly lined, and suggestion for it is ‘unmanly’).
EDIT:: Extensive discussion on twitter has decided that unwomanly isn’t a word because the true word for what I am trying to describe is slut. It is funny how these things work out, isn’t it…