Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The other "S" word

Updated: please see the note at the bottom of the post.

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Last week, Donald Miller published a two-parter on his blog.

In a stream-of-consciousness style, Miller advises women to hold out for the right man. (The second part was aimed at the guys.)

The article makes some good points. I especially appreciated the section advising women not to seek male validation through their sexuality.

Sadly, the tone of the article was less-than-gracious. Several commenters (and fellow bloggers) took issue with Miller's use of the word "slutty," and with his implication that such a woman is less desirable as a long-term partner.

And I have to admit, much as I want to like Don Miller, he lost me there.

~~~~~

In my work and in my personal life, I've met many women.

I've met women who dress and act in ways designed to attract male attention.

I've met women who have only one partner, but haven't married him.

I've met women who hop from bed to bed.

I've met women who dance at a "gentlemen's club."

I've met women who trade sexual favors for drugs or cash.

But I have never met a slut.

~~~~~

As a counselor, I work every day with women who have made decisions with their sexuality that would put them in Miller's "slutty" category. And for far too many of my clients and friends, their first sexual experience was in childhood, at the hands of a relative or close friend.

For such a woman, the word "decision" didn't even factor in.

And she begins to think of herself as unlovable... as damaged goods. And she begins to believe that lie, and act as if it were the truth. And over time, the damage can permeate more and more areas of her life, and the self-loathing comes out in every self-destructive way imaginable.

Using a word like "slut" is just piling on. It's not redemptive. It doesn't show Christ's love for her. It doesn't tell her she's worth far more than that.

That word just piles on the hate.

Let's excise it from our vocabulary.

~~~~~

Updated 8/12/2011: Donald Miller has deleted the two blog posts referred to early in this post, and has issued an apology. Thank you, Don.

~~~~~

6 comments:

  1. This is wonderful in so many ways. I'm glad so many people out there are willing to see women where the world sees "sluts."

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  2. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Regarding your update: just for the record, his new post isn't actually an apology, and judging by his Twitter exchange with Rachel Held Evans, he's still a lot more interested in saving face over his sexist views than actually considering that he is in the wrong and speaking from ignorance and fundamentalist bigotry.

    I appreciate this post, though. "Slut" is more than degrading; it's dehumanizing.

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  3. Anon: it's probably a good thing that I'm not on Twitter, then...

    I agree with you about the word. I think that idea needs to be developed in another post... thanks for the idea.

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  4. Anonymous1:24 PM

    I get sad whenever I see a Christian "leader" (writer or otherwise) back away from a sincere apology and you can see taintings of pride stained throughout their response. To me it is like watching a person swan dive onto concrete...you know its a bad idea and it is gonna hurt.

    While some of his comments were well intended, his use of slut and slutty were fully out of line. These words dont allow for redemption and renewal, but are accusing and have the feel of permanence like a bad green tattoo. That, dear brothers and sisters in Christ dilutes the truth of redemption and forgiveness

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  5. Great post. Not only is that word unloving, but those who use it usually just spout it off without thinking. Too often I've witnessed people making assumptions about others' sexual activities when they don't even know anything about them.

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