What I’ve been reading – rock and roll whores, and sexy women aren’t actually human

I’m still trying to process this particular story: girls who like rock and roll are whores (thegloss, hat tip to lastyearsgirl). One should always begin a discussion which involves the word “whore” with the question: “what is a whore”? It’s a much-used term yet I’ve never quite understood what it means. It’s generally directed at those women who have sex and enjoy sex, though if those women are married the term doesn’t apply, as I understand it. So, unmarried women who have and enjoy sex are whores. (So what about lesbians who can’t legally get married in the traditional sense? Or does it just apply to heterosexual females?) There’s also a consideration of the number of partners, I believe, although that number is entirely arbitrary and subjective. I don’t know if five sexual partners makes you a whore, or if it’s 10, or if it’s 20, or if it’s 100. Other behaviours are often discussed also; for example, if a woman likes a drink of an evening, she may be a whore. There’s probably an age consideration also, with younger women arguably more likely to be “labelled” whores than older women, and there could also be an ethnic element in the mix. And, of course, if a man whistles to a woman on the street and comments on her “nice tits” and she ignores him, it’s very likely that he will call her a whore. Because, you know, that’s a complement, right, and she’s a slut for not indulging his ego and god-given patriarchal right to objectify her. But I digress. A whore is anything or anyone you want it to be, m’kay?

In the case of the linked piece, Men’s Health – that pinnacle of philogyny – reports that women are whores if they like rock and roll. Women who listen to Nirvana are more likely to “put out” on the first date than women who listen to Coldplay.* (Yes, seriously!) And why? Because of the lyrics, of course. Cobain was a shagger and Martin is, well, he’s not a shagger. (They do make a semi-interesting point about normalising different sorts of behaviours but it’s impossible to take any of it seriously when it’s all intended to slut-shame.) It is admitted that the study is unscientific. Ahem.

In somewhat related news, Psychology Today reports that Princeton researchers have found that sexy women are more likely to be seen as sex objects. Why? Because some male brains neurologically deny sexualized women “humanity”. When these men viewed pictures of scantily clad women (that’s the study’s definition of sexiness, by the way), their brains did not perceive them as being fully human. (Other studies have found, you may be interested in noting, that such women are less moral, likeable and intelligent!) A couple of things. First, these men can’t help themselves if they dehumanise a sexy lady because it’s all to do with their brains and their cognition over which they have no control. Irrelevant, it seems, is the patriarchal culture which has permitted them to dehumanise women in the first place. Second, sexy ladies, you only have yourself to blame if you’re not given the respect you deserve; again, remember, it’s the poor menz brains going all awry when they see you. Third, perhaps you just shouldn’t be sexy at all, for your own sake. And, by sexy, don’t forget that we mean scantily clad. If nothing else, you should have a care for what your appearance is doing to these poor blokes whose brains are fried every time they turn the corner. Not a bit wonder they see you as sub-human, you flipping harlot! Psychology Today there, always good for larks.

* Women who listen to Coldplay have a whole other term in my book but it applies to men also.

8 responses to “What I’ve been reading – rock and roll whores, and sexy women aren’t actually human

  1. Actually, there are quite a number of studies which show basically that human beings are not “wired up” to be as nice as we would perhaps like to be, and that shouldn’t really be any surprise to anyone; think of all the studies which demonstrate that violence is part of human nature (er, you don’t say). I don’t think we ought to discount them. I think that, instead, our reaction ought to be, “OK. Fine. Well, we don’t have to be the slaves of our genetics or our instincts. More than any other species, we have the ability to rise above them. It does help to know what they are in the first place, though, so well done to the scientists for pointing this out – now we can use this information to show the areas we need to be specifically working on.”

    It’s pretty much exactly like the studies which suggests that left-handed people have a slightly shorter life expectancy than right-handed people, on average. I’ve no idea where I fit into this because I don’t have a clear-cut hand dominance, but if I were outright left-handed I would want to know that. Then I could take extra care to avoid – or take measures against – whatever it is that tends to kill left-handed people earlier.

    • I expect that it is can openers that kill lefties off early. My lovely unwife is a southpaw and so is one of our daughters and they curse the can opener. The stress probably bumps them off early. If only someone would invent a ring pull or left handed can opener or something.

    • I’m not discounting them; I’m discounting this one. First, because its methodology is clearly flawed and second, because it allows for excuse-making for patriarchal and sexist attitudes and behaviours, and encourages victim-blaming. (You’re right about studies on biological or genetic influences on behaviour, though. They are, generally, flawed, not hugely respected at all, and much too deterministic for and sensible person’s liking.)

  2. it’s all to do with their brains and their cognition over which they have no control

    That’s right. Our manly brains are actually disconnected from our bodies and live completely separate lives on the moon. Doing science, thinking deep thoughts and stuff like that. Our bodies are controlled by a vestigial brain that can only have one thought at a time (a bit like Tinkerbell) and it has to stop every six seconds to think about tits or bums or it’ll overload and burst into flames. That’s why men go bald on our heads.

    Seriously though, I’m not a believer in free will, I’m more of a determinist kinda guy, but we can’t go blaming our biology for everything. Speaking personally I happen to find women attractive (generally speaking) and I see nothing wrong with that at all. See all those wants and desires are safely housed in my brain pan and I am free (in a limited, deterministic sense) to act or not act on them. One way that I choose to not act is by applying labels to people that they wouldn’t want applied to themselves (except when it comes to politicians who are exempt). So I am happy to call my gay friends, gay, for example. I’m not going to call them anything else and I’m not going to use it as a pejorative (which I find offensive anyway).

    Given that I don’t know anyone who would want to be called “whore” and I don’t think that it is appropriate to use the term around people who might object I think I’ll just avoid it altogether.

    If some men view some women as not fully human then why do they want to shag them. I’ve met some people that I’d consider “not fully human” and I really wouldn’t want to spend more than a minute in their company, let along a few hours of naked fun and frolics. Besides which who would want to shag someone who just saw you as an object to take pleasure from, like a dildo or one of those amusing flesh light things that I keep getting emails about?

    • On the moon you say! Your man friends and their genetic sexism couldn’t get far enough away, if you ask me! And FINALLY an explanation for baldness. Genius!

      Why do they want to shag the non-humans? I assume it’s that lack of control again. Or perhaps being human isn’t an requisite. Who the heck knows!

    • Indeed, indeed.

      I’ve never been sure of reclaiming words, tbh, and not terribly au fait with what has been reclaimed and what hasn’t, but my generally feeling is that we can reclaim all we like, “whores” and “sluts” will always be “fallen women” instead of women who love the shagging and don’t give a damn who knows it.

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