- March 7, 2013
- Favorite Current Daytime Soap Opera
- General Hospital
- Favorite Soap Opera of All Time
- Days of Our Lives
- Favorite Current Primetime Soap Opera
Sorry, i mistyped. A number of women don't think like that is what I meant. Not a majority of women or all women, or anything like that. It depends on the crowd, I guess. I know many highly educated women but think just a handful of them would be outraged by the insult because I hear the majority of these women, from good families and means, using these terms and thinking nothing of it. It's a term said in passion without thought, usually.
- Mar 21 2013, 11:16 PM
- Mar 21 2013, 09:07 PM
I give the writers a pass because it's so common. Seriously, I see it all the time. And the women don't think like that: that it's misogynistic or wrong. So why should the Days characters? It's not slut-shaming in their eyes; it's not sexist. It's just calling someone a name. I don't think it would be in character for someone (other than Marlena, maybe) to take exception to this insult.
For me it being common makes it worse, not better. I see it all the time too, that's precisely why it bugs me. It's so common and accepted. Complacency is a huge problem, in my view. What women do you refer to when you say "the women don't think like that"? Because I'm an actual woman, honest I am, and I think it is sexist. Lots of women think like that. A lot of my friends hate being called sluts for sleeping around or dressing the way they dress. Again, I don't see why calling someone a slut is "just" name-calling while calling someone a fag is so much worse
Research suggests that for girls, "slut" and its derivatives are among the most common and most feared of possible pejoratives hurled in the high-school social arena, equivalent in regulatory power to the "fag" label for boys. Both "slut" and "fag" tell young people that they are doing their gender "wrong" and that they'd better get in line or suffer the consequences. The virulence of "slut," and the reduction in a girl's cultural capital that accompanies being called a "slut," make clear to all that there is an association between a woman's worth as a human being and her sexual behavior. Abusive naming practices reveal not only the in-group/out-group dynamics (who's hot, who's not) but the cultural value system that situates the named positions within the social hierarchy. In other words, calling a girl a "slut" not only marks her as "undesirable" but simultaneously restates that sexually active women are unwelcome pariahs. Our culture still marks a woman who is sexually active outside heterosexual marriage (or perceived to be) as a person of little value.
I think the fact that people don't realize that they are comparably bad is what's so wrong. That's the exact opposite reason of it deserving to get a pass, in my opinion. The more widespread and accepted it is, the more internalized and entrenched the sexism is, and the longer and harder it'll be to change it, and that's all the more reason to work on it. If someone says "OMG your outfit is so gay" they may not be aware that it's wrong, but it's still wrong, man. They're just ignorant.
But I'm not going to sit here and give an (even more) extended lecture on the politics of gendered insults, anyone can google slut shaming and the history of it and why women do it too and why calling men "sluts" doesn't come with the same baggage and all of that jazz. I'll say this: back in the day young Jennifer would've qualified as a feminist. She called out men for being macho and chauvinist, she was amused/appalled by Jack trying to lecture her on feminism. Believe it or not the 1990s started out as a much more forward thinking time than what came after it, especially by the time the 00's rolled around television regressed on the feminism front in a few ways.
But most especially I am extremely disappointed to hear it from Abby. She's basically my demo, a well educated 20-something young middle class woman. Plenty of young women in my age and socioeconomic bracket and education level are aware enough of gender politics to be above it. Some say it, but some don't, and those of us who refrain are certainly not golden egg laying geese or unicorns, never to be spotted by mortal sight. I honestly found it shocking that Abby would go around calling such and such a whore or a slut, she grew up in the 21st century and was characterized as a somewhat worldly and sophisticated young woman, and with parents like hers I don't think that education would have been taken lightly, for all that she's attending dinky little Salem U now.
And FWIW I recall an episode recently of some of the Days women discussing the sexual politics of "The Scarlet Letter". Random-ass as it was, the writers are clearly capable of giving these women awareness of gender politics that, yes, actual real life women have.
Do I excuse the term or their using it? No. But there's another interesting dynamic here: Should this soap opera really shape the message or contaminate the writing with an agenda? I would question that.
Think of how people on this very message board roll their eyes when Sonny gives a sermon about homophobia that pretty much no one, in real life, would ever say to his boyfriend who already believes the same thing (obviously).
If female characters suddenly react differently from how they have in the past, and all of a sudden dissect and parse everything, it would be strange.
Also, about Abby. I agree that she flew off the handle. It shocked me, too, that she'd use that kind of language. But education may not hold a candle to pop culture's influence. I can recall Rachel on Friends calling someone a slut. It happens all the time across movies and TV. Abby may have been taught right, but that doesn't mean she's not susceptible to terms - as we all are - in passionate moments.
Sometimes, people do say the worst thing imaginable in moments of passion. And it's not the show's responsibility, in my opinion, to clean that up. Because that takes the realism from it and immediately deflates our ability to suspend disbelief and go with the scene. (Like those WilSon scenes.)
That's why I suggested characters who we'd reasonably believe would be more mature and avoid doing this should and those who have been saying these things, well, live and let live. Good writers don't inject their personal values into characters unless they feel it's in character.
I think your hope that the world weren't so judgmental or sexist comes from a good place and is admirable, but doing so with movie and TV scripts presents the same disastrous effect as when schools use textbooks that eliminate history that is racist or sexist and, in effect, present a false, white picket fence or otherwise artificial reality where things are as they should be.