The rise of Slutwalks — anti-rape marches that started as a reaction to a Canadian cop’s comments that dressing slutty encourages sexual assault, and have since spread across the world — has incited a debate on the use of the word “slut.” Some, like Gail Dines and Wendy J. Murphy over at the Guardian, rail against the term, because the “term slut is so deeply rooted in the patriarchal “madonna/whore” view of women’s sexuality that it is beyond redemption.”
Meanwhile Chloe Angyal at Feminsting defends the use of the term by activists, explaining that the term “Slutwalk” has been incredibly successfully in getting women “angry and active and inspiring them” to take no more BS. The debate is a good one, but, all in all, it is nothing new to Jewish women who have long been subjected to stereotypes about their sexuality. I’m with Angyal, on Team Sluts — and here’s why.
For generations J.A.P.s were seen as asexual and/or frigid, a stereotype that provided much fodder for Jewish humor. Take for example: “What’s a Jewish American Princess’ favorite position? Facing Tiffany’s.” Or: “A Jewish American Princess’s husband was making love to his wife when suddenly, to his intense surprise, she wiggled and let out a short cry of delight. ‘My God, honey!’ he exclaimed. ‘What happened?’ ‘It’s wonderful,’ she said. ‘I finally decided that those curtains would look much better in peach.’”
But then, over the past decade or so, we have been relocated to the other side of the spectrum and now are considered, well, kinda slutty.
In certain circles Jewesses are seen as the exotic, free-spirited, big-breasted, wild-tressed alternatives to the nice straight-haired Christian women who are taught abstinence until marriage. A number of the rather creative definitions of Jewish American Princess at Urban Dictionary refer to our alleged promiscuity. And throughout my dating years, I came across more than few non-Jewish men who would explain, twinkly eyed, how they thought Jewish girls were hot. Our reputation was sealed when Details ran a ‘trend piece’ about the rise of the hot Jewish girl. The article explained:
In a recent poll on the porn blog Fleshbot, “Jewish girls” ranked second among kinks (the winner: “freckles”). Jewesses aren’t just the rage in the triple-X realm, either: They’re seducing goyim on Mad Men and Glee and giving movie geeks conniptions over reports of JILF-on-JILF action between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Black Swan.
For me, being a “slutty” J.A.P. provided me with a way of thinking about my sexuality that is similar to what is being encouraged by Slutwalks. It helped me not associate my sexuality with guilt or blame, but instead pointed me towards a yes-means-yes world of female sexual empowerment. Sure, being thought of as promiscuous has negative connotations. But simultaneously, and somewhat ironically, it can also be empowering. When everyone else thinks of you as sexual it is much easier to say, ‘hey, yes, I am sexual.’ And once you feel comfortable saying that, you are one step closer to feeling in control.
At the Boston Slutwalk earlier this month, activist and writer Jacyln Friedman gave a speech which she finished with these words:
If you’re here to demand a world in which what we do with our bodies is nobody’s business, and we can all live our lives and pursue our pleasures free of shame, blame and free, stand up and say it with me: I am a slut. I am a slut. I am a slut.