SLUT DIARIES: A Male Teen Explains What Happens When Guys Hear “No”

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Since 2012, a community of teen girls in NYC has been leading the charge to end slut shaming and transform rape culture through theater, writing, and youth-lead activism. The girls, all high-school students, and their mentors at The Arts Effect, an award-winning activist theater company, developed SLUT: The Play (written by Katie Cappiello).

Inspired by real events, SLUT follows the story of Joanna Grace Del Marco, a 16-year-old girl who is raped by three friends during a night out and fights to rise above shaming and victim blaming directed at her by those in her world. The critically-acclaimed play and accompanying workshops have toured the country engaging middle, high school and college students in conversations and protest around sexual shaming and rape.

Their efforts have sparked a national StopSlut movement lead by young women and men.  The team is partnering with the Feminist Press to release its first book on February 10, 2015 called ‘SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence’, edited by Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney.

In partnership with the authors, we are hosting a series of guest blog posts called the ‘SLUT DIARIES’ by some of the teen members of this movement who share their personal stories of slut-shaming and sexual assault. Alejandro Vich is a leader of the StopSlut movement. This is his story.

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What defines a slut? Is it the way a girl dresses? Is it the way she behaves? Or is it simply a broad term people use to define someone they don’t like?

From my perspective, slut seems to mean multiple things depending on the context, and the amazing thing is that often times slut is used to just describe girls in general.

For example, at parties I’ve seen girls get called sluts for anything at all—no matter what they’re wearing or what they’re doing: “Check out this room full of sluts.”

Generally, when coming from boys, it’s a derogatory term used to label girls and brand them as things to conquer, things to play with, easy to get with, girls who get with many guys, or just dress in a “provocative” manner. It’s a tool guys use to show their power and get what they want.

As a seventeen-year-old guy, I never really thought much about the word slut. I knew people used it but I didn’t always think about the impact. But recently I’ve realized that the word slut, all the ideas that go along with it, and the fear of being called a slut, make it hard for my female friends to be comfortable in their own skin. I’ve even seen the word prevent girls from saying “no” and guys from hearing “no.”

This is only one example, but I think it matters and it’s one we’ve probably all seen.

Not long ago I was at a party with a couple friends. As the night continued on and people began to loosen up (get drunk), I observed this kid, probably seventeen, checking out a girl who was hanging out with some friends. As the people around her dispersed and she was left alone, the guy approached her and asked to dance. She said no and looked away.

The guy pushed back: “You’re the only girl I want to dance with.” She said, “No thanks, seriously.” He pushed again, a little more aggressively but trying to be funny, “Come on—no other girl would dance with me—so dance with me,” and she replied the same exact way, “No.”

Annoyed that he was being rejected, this guy tried to act cool, he stood close to the girl and said, “Well, I’m gonna get something to drink and then we’re gonna dance.” The girl didn’t answer and the boy left. She sat there, not knowing what to do, and looked around the room for her friends. Five minutes later, he returned and asked her to dance again and again and again. She dodged him and walked away as he kept calling after her. Eventually, she found a friend and asked if they could leave.

I know it may seem like not that big of a deal but I think this small incident illustrates a bigger issue. This guy was desperately trying to show his dominance by repeatedly asking the girl to dance in a threatening way. No didn’t mean no to this guy. He was up in her face and refused to hear her.

It was as if what she was saying didn’t matter and what she wanted was secondary to what he wanted. Why? I watched (should I have intervened? I don’t know) as this girl was being pressured to do some- thing she clearly didn’t want to do to the point of having to leave the party to avoid further confrontation.

Why is she the one who feels like she needs to leave? Probably because guys like that call girls sluts, hos, THOTs, and bitches when they don’t get their way.

Doesn’t matter what the girl does, how she’s dressed, who she is—that’s the punishment for saying “no.” Boys at parties these days just try to get with as many girls as they can and do not take “no” as an answer, and that is the problem. If these guys can’t take no for an answer when it comes to a dance—are they taking no for an answer when it comes to heavier stuff? Especially when they have slut in their arsenal…

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Alejandro Vich is 17 and is a senior at Millennium High School. In the fall he will be attending Ithaca College. He spends his time skateboarding and biking, and loves spending time with friends and family. Alejandro is a contributing writer to SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence.

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