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From the diary of the 6th grade “slut” — The UnSlut Project

Date: May 7, 2013 | Posted By: Stacey

“I can’t dump him now, because then people would think I am even more of a slut than they already do. How could one mistake cause my life to crumble like this?”

Would you publish your diary from when you were a pre-teen on the Internet for the entire world to read?

The UnSlut Project text logo from Tumblr page.

From Facebook: “Working to undo the dangerous slut shaming in our schools, communities, media, and culture by sharing knowledge and experiences.”

This is exactly what 27-year-old Emily Lindin (pen name) is doing in the name of countering slut shaming, with a Tumblr blog she has named The UnSlut Project.

Emily says, “I was branded a ‘slut’ by my classmates and for the next few years of my life, I was bullied incessantly at school, after school, and online (this was 1997 in the days of AIM, and of course online bullying has only gotten worse).”

The term “slut shaming” has been popping up in media, especially on the Internet, for a little while now, but is recently making its way into mainstream conversations about young women, girls, and sexuality.

The term is used to describe the ways in which our culture criticizes and vilifies young women and girls for being sexual, having “too many” sexual partners, or perhaps not having sex in the “appropriate” way (ya know, for making babies—but only after your very heterosexual, traditional wedding).

Emily was “the 6th grade slut.” The UnSlut Project features unedited entries from her 6th grade diary (1997-1998 so far), including an entire cast of friends, enemies, and of course, boys, boyfriends, boy “friends”, and crushes… who are boys.

Emily’s diary travels through her on and off (and on, and off, and on, and off) relationship with Zach, it talks about various crushes, sexuality, jealousy, friendship, bullying, self-esteem issues, even thoughts of suicide, and all of the other ups and downs that come with adolescence. Her recollections of her daily life show us how quickly and dramatically rumors are spread and escalated in schools:

“Aaron said he had heard that Zach ‘ate me out.’ I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I said it wasn’t true, just to be on the safe side.”

Black and white photo of woman with "end slut shaming" written across her chest.

End Slut Shaming.

Besides countering slut shaming, the publishing of Emily’s diary also rejects current assumptions about slut shaming and bullying—people often blame social media and technology for the bullying that is happening today.

While there is no doubt that bullying happens online and through text messaging, Emily’s diary shows us that it isn’t because of social media and texting; it’s because of the culture in which we live.

Whether we’re talking about Emily’s world in 1998 or another young girl’s world today in 2013, we are taught to follow very rigid, traditional gender expectations. These lead to dangerous double standards (such as “he’s a stud, she’s a slut”) that can result in cruel slut shaming and bullying that have even driven some young people to suicide.

No one, especially young people navigating their way through this crazy world, deserves to be bullied. No one deserves to be isolated and shunned for being a sexual being (or not).

I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed that this glimpse into a young girl’s mind, as well as the experiences shared by others on the blog, will help bring to light the problems in our culture surrounding girls and sexuality. I have even more hope that perhaps we can all work together to find solutions.

If you want to share your story with The UnSlut Project, you may do so here.

Stacey Speer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University in May 2012. While she waits to discover her calling in life, she enjoys utilizing the tools she gained as a student of Women and Gender Studies to critique media and the world around her from a feminist perspective.




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14 Responses to From the diary of the 6th grade “slut” — The UnSlut Project

  1. Beth on 05-09-2013

    I believe bullying is wrong for both girls and boys but I think the girls do have a right to call out bad behavior that another girl is doing.Her actions and choices maybe be having a negative effect on their wellbeing.
  2. Reply
    • Stacey on 05-09-2013

      Hi Beth, I'm curious to know what you consider "bad behavior."
    • Reply
      • Beth on 05-10-2013

        What is concidered bad behavior might vary from person to person but it is the outcome that counts. By her actions she may have caused a sexually charged enviroment that the others girls had to deal with.
      • Reply
        • Timberly on 05-11-2013

          What does that even mean? Bullying aside for one second, how could a girl exploring her OWN sexuality create a "sexually charged environment" that those mysterious other girls would have to deal with?? I don't recall my own private, blossoming sexuality causing the environment around me and my friends to start feeling.... horny. Seriously.
        • Reply
          • Beth on 05-13-2013

            Sorry you don,t get a free pass to do whatever you want without having someone tell you they don't like it.If your display of your "blossoming sexually" offends me I have the right to tell you I don't like it.
        • Emma on 05-11-2013

          Beth, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the United States and the society in which we live in is a sexually charged environment. Children, adolescents, and adults are subjected to sex via commercials selling cars, beer, and clothes all the time. Sex is everywhere. Her participation and curiosity about sexual acts should not be punished or shamed when it's always around her, and everyone else. Part of the issue is that kids shame each other for doing sexual acts, that according to our society and the images we promote, are "natural" and "normal." Then once they start doing it, they are judged, shamed, and tormented.The most important thing to do is educate kids in a non-judgmental way and provide them with options, birth control, condoms, so they have sex responsibly and treat each other well.
        • Reply
    • Celine on 05-11-2013

      No choice women and girls make about their own bodies will ever CAUSE men and boys to behave badly. No choice a woman or girl can make will force men and boys to visit sexual violence upon them. Any line of argument that does not place the blame for sexism, slut shaming, bullying, and sexual violence directly on sexist men and women who police other women is victim blaming bullshit. It is so seductive to blame women who appear to be sexual as being oppressed and exploited, as being tools of the patriarchy. I get that mentality, I understand why women do it. BUT IT'S WRONG. It's wrong like trying to "save" muslim women from their burkas is wrong. It's wrong like telling women they are bad for shaving their legs or for wanting to be housewives is wrong. And as Margaret Atwood in "The Handmaids Tale" says: "the easiest way to control women is to get women to control each other for you." Pre-teen girls exploring their sexuality do not cause pre-teen boys to be violent little shits; pre-teen boys deciding they have that right do. Sexy women don't cause rape, rapists do. Feminism should be about liberating women (we forget that feminism is about 'women's liberation' more than it's about equality---equality to what, the shitty constrained macho lives men suffer?) from a past where they had NO (safe) choices, to a future where they have every conceivable choice. Feminism is about ensuring women can make choices about their bodies, their sexuality, their health, their happiness, without fear of being oppressed. Thinking that women and girls need to be saved from their own slutty choices, or their own prude choices, is the exact opposite of what feminism should be; it's the same condescending, patronizing bullshit women have been living with for millennia. This approach to feminism keeps women perpetually in a state of childhood, and lets the people who perpetuate misogyny off the hook for their behavior.
    • Reply
      • Vanina on 05-11-2013

        ^^^^ THIS!!! a thousand times. Thank you, Celine, for articulating the concept so eloquently. Kudos.
      • Reply
  3. Doreen on 05-09-2013

    This is a much needed conversation to educate and inspire attitudes with our current culture.
  4. Reply
    • Stacey on 05-09-2013

      I agree, Doreen. Thanks for your comment.
    • Reply
  5. Emma on 05-11-2013

    Beth, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but the United States and the society in which we live in is a sexually charged environment. Children, adolescents, and adults are subjected to sex via commercials selling cars, beer, and clothes all the time. Sex is everywhere. Her participation and curiosity about sexual acts should not be punished or shamed when it's always around her, and everyone else. Part of the issue is that kids shame each other for doing sexual acts, that according to our society and the images we promote, are "natural" and "normal." Then once they start doing it, they are judged, shamed, and tormented.The most important thing to do is educate kids in a non-judgmental way and provide them with options, birth control, condoms, so they have sex responsibly and treat each other well. P
  6. Reply
  7. pianosandwich on 05-11-2013

    It is disgusting how far people will go to justify ruining the lives of women and girls in order to control them and their sexualities.
  8. Reply
  9. Aimee on 05-13-2013

    Great project Stacey and well -needed in our society...'slut shaming' has been around since Eve- the original slut. I say take it a step further and strike slut from the lexicon- let it tumble into disfavor along with the other bigot-inspired references. Slut shaming is one of the many ways society tries to 'reign in' women's behavior and power; a promiscuous man is a stud but every woman with the potential for sexual partners is a slut, a sexual suspect.
    And Beth, seriously- what 6th grade child is capable of 'sexually charging' an atmosphere- unless you're a pedophile? Furthermore, if I were you I would spend my time policing advertising and Hollywood and the way they sexually charge and exploit everything from cars and yogurt to celebrities rather than join in the idea of 'slut shaming' a child by wondering if her actions were inappropriate. There are no morality police in this country- our personal beliefs and morals are our own business, not the state.
  10. Reply
  11. The UnSlut Project: Challenging Slut Shaming One Diary Entry at a Time | Take Back the Night Hamilton on 07-08-2013

    [...] which place the blame for bullying on technology. Writing about the UnSlut Project, Stacey Speer asserts “While there is no doubt that bullying happens online and through text messaging, Emily’s diary [...]
  12. Reply