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Roxana Shirazi

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The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage: Preface

Posted: 07/19/2010 5:45 pm

What does "slut" mean?

(Please note that in this entry the term "sex" always means consensual sex. Any sexual act that is not consensual is not sex; it is an act of violence.)

This short entry is only a focus on the meaning of one word. As much as I would love to write an introduction on how gender is socially constructed and discursive-regulatory discourses determine biological facts -- and how the concept of "masculine" and "feminine" are merely performances which have been produced as "truths" and taught to us from birth, I will stop myself. And no matter how much I want to talk about the commodification of sex in our mass-consumerist society, I simply don't have the space. That is another book in itself.

I want to say a few words about the word "slut."

Quite simply, the word "slut" means an individual (although the word is commonly referred to females) who frequently engages in sexual activity with a lot of partners. When describing a male who frequently engages in sexual activity with a lot of partners, the words usually used are stud, a player, horn dog, heartbreaker etc... and sometimes male slut. However, "male slut" is usually a label that men wear with pride; it is a term of approval and envy. A male who frequently has sex with a lot of partners is patted on the back, looked up to with admiration because he is "merely carrying out a role that is assigned to him as a man." It is seen as a progressive step toward the development of "masculinity." It is celebrated and encouraged and on the same level as childish misbehavior and being naughty.

In females however the disapproval is taken to the realm of stigmatization.

A female's pursuit of sexual pleasure and being sexually adventurous is still seen as a negative characteristic, somehow making her a "bad" human being. A female is not defined in terms of her humanity, but in terms of her sex life.

So logically, does enjoying sex with different partners make a human being a bad person?

Surely a human being should be measured by their human qualities and characteristics: kind-hearted, funny, lazy, expressive, determined, shy, mean, boring, bossy, happy-go-lucky etc...

How can an individual's sex life define them wholly as a human being? How can the definition of a human being just boil down to their sex life? It is basically saying that humans are just about sex; however, there is so much more to us and all other meaning is lost.

Sex, even though just a small segment in our existence, is still such a beautiful, sensual experience: Exploring one's sexuality and sexual diversity should be respected and celebrated.

In this book I am the last living "slut" (in the negative meaning of the word) and the first living slut (in its new positive and celebrated meaning of the word). Some will say that the word "slut" can never be independent from social and historical meanings attached to it (just like "nigger" or "queer"), and will always be bound and steeped in its negative sense of the word, and there should be a new word to describe a sexually-active and experimental individual to detach it completely from its previous meaning. Well, maybe, but in this book at least I have been conceited enough to give myself the authority to change the meaning of a word. Love your body, love your sexuality and realize that you are a bad human being only if you are unkind and cruel and do harm onto others, and not because of your sex life.

 
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