Why It's Time To Stop Using The Word Slut

Slut, the traditionally offensive, sometimes fiercely feminist word used to describe everything from Halloween costumes to unpopular female politicians, died on Tuesday. The word was 614.

20th Century Fox Television
She was well-known as a star of stage, screen, and internet comments sections.

The death was confirmed by reasonable thinking people everywhere. After a longtime battle with misogyny, she was eventually killed by outgrowing her usefulness as a descriptive term.

Slut's linguistic legacy was fraught with sexism, shame, confidence, and defiance. Her literary range was just as varied, dabbling in both children's books and an emerging progressive genre. As her friends Bitch and Ho have confirmed, Slut was everywhere.

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Slut was born in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in the 14th Century as a way to describe a slovenly man whose appearance did not live up to his station. Restless and prone to attempt reinvention even then, Slut transformed her usage to that of a female slob by 1402, which quickly morphed into a sexually active woman, because obviously. This was a female word we were talking about here. The whore image was one Slut could never quite shake, despite decades of trying. Unlike her reappropriated friend Queer, whose origins had a much less negative connotation (that of literally not being straight), Slut's origins were always nothing but insults.

In 1982, Slut tried her hand at children's literature, being used in a crass rhyme seemingly insulting Cinderella in Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. Decades later, the book's use of the provocative word would come under discussion, prompting some to ban it altogether.

Quentin Blake
"Who is this dirty Slut? Off with her nut." -- Roald Dahl

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Still attempting to spin the wheel of reinvention, recent years saw Slut's foray into her own genre: Slut Lit, which was meant to be a vehicle to portray female sexuality and all the inherent shame, strife, and loneliness that comes with it. It was a worthy attempt, but one that would not be able to overcome Slut's low beginnings.

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Slut would persevere, however, still intent on improving her public image. She began participating in feminist walks and demonstrations intended to fight a pervasively sexist culture. Demonstrations which would inevitably backfire, sometimes due to the patronizing dismissal of the protesting women's points by the very men the message was aimed at. Sometimes, the women themselves would get carried away while attempting to show the world exactly what their hardships were made of, using comparisons that were more offensive than Slut herself.

Via Racismreview.com
It isn't.

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Once, Slut flew close to the sun, flirting dangerously with the positive acceptance she had so long desired. For a while, the word was associated with the acceptance of women and their sexuality, being used to demoralize those that would mock women for their sexual exploits. This is when Slut met its most influential partner, Shame. The star-crossed pair would come to be known by a portmanteau nickname. That nickname, of course, was Slut-Shaming.

Despite her attempt at acceptance and awareness, Slut-Shaming's relationship was mired in strife. Unlike every other type of shaming -- body, gender, race -- Slut-Shaming left troubling implications. Body-shaming is wrong, but a person's weight is a fact that can be proven. A person's race, sexuality, age, intelligence, gender -- all things subject to shame, and all things which can, without a doubt, be proven as fact. Slut-Shaming, then, if examined under the same rules set forth by its peers, implies that a sexually active woman is, for a fact, a slut.

jstudio/iStock, Gurl.com
Surprisingly accurate. Just not in the way you'd expect.

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Slut is survived by her predecessor, Suffragette, a once politically charged word meant to insult women fighting for their right to vote. Perhaps learning from Slut's mistakes, Suffragette would go on to become fully reclaimed by its past victims, but not before a slight change to its pronunciation was put in effect, with some of its users changing the soft G into a hard one and forever changing the usage of the word. Maybe someday, if science should prevail and reanimation of the deceased should become a welcome reality, we could revive Slut and borrow Suffragette's successful methods. Silent T? An L that sounds like a Y? One of those cool U's with the dots on top? Maybe someday. But for now, we rest. Godspeed, Slut.

Carolyn's horrible tweets are sure to be the death of Twitter.

Also check out 5 Real Drug-Smuggling Schemes (That Went Hilariously Wrong) and 5 Horrifying Ways Old Hollywood Was A Living Hell.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out Slutty Halloween Costumes: A Carefully Worded Tribute, and other videos you won't see on the site!

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Last Halloween, the Cracked Podcast creeped you out with tales of ghost ships, mysteriously dead people, and a man from one of the most famous paintings in U.S. history who years later went all Jack Nicholson in The Shining on his family. This October, Jack and the Cracked staff are back with special guest comedians Ryan Singer, Eric Lampaert, and Anna Seregina to share more unsettling and unexplained true tales of death, disappearance, and the great beyond. Get your tickets for this LIVE podcast here!

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