Slut-Shaming in School: The Shameful Truth About Our Collective Past

Gender

Slut-Shaming in School: The Shameful Truth About Our Collective Past

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

There’s a scene in 2004’s Hum Tum where Saif Ali Khan’s character boasts about his sexual escapades. “If she holds my hand, I say we kissed. If we kissed, I say we made out…” I recall 12-year-old me relating to this with great joy because in the world that we lived in back then, you always tell when you’ve kissed. Sometimes, you tell even if you haven’t.

Hitting puberty in the noughties came with the pressure of espousing a Barney Stinson-esque take on women. Even though I went to one of the best co-ed schools in the city, I can’t recall a single instance where we were encouraged to better understand the opposite sex. In fact, stringent rules like making us sit separately and reprimanding us for being too friendly with them only added to our already vast gender divide. The result? By age 11, most of my guy friends and I had zero empathy for girls.  

Girls were recklessly labelled “loose” and “easy” for things as mundane as the length of their skirts or having too many guy friends. In fact, the length of a girl’s skirt was often indirectly proportional to how much she was gossipped about. The teachers often fuelled the slut-shaming culture by picking these girls out between assembly lines and lectures.

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