‘Slut’ Is What I Am Supposed To Feel Like

‘Slut’ is what I am supposed to feel like when I went for a routine check up to a doctor two days ago and was molested by him.

‘Slut’ in all its phonetic glory is a word sublime enough to convey the wide spectrum of emotions I experience everyday.

‘Slut’ is that shade of scarlet lipstick that I have taken to wearing lately – the exact shade of the bandhni dupatta I carried with me during college, when I had to wait at bus stops because my breasts scream for attention, seemingly with a life of their own.

‘Slut’ is what I am supposed to feel like when I went for a routine check up to a doctor two days ago and was molested by him.

‘Slut’ is what I definitely feel like when I come home after that experience cool as a cucumber and sneak in a beer, edit a few essays, watch a documentary and try to fall asleep. ZERO tears, ZERO pain. It’s just another day and just another ‘it happens’. For a quick minute, my numbness accosts me. That word ‘slut’ softly passes through the back of mind again when I message random people from my address book, wanting to find the person who is the just right degree of ‘stranger’ – won’t burden me with sympathy I don’t need and will probably just listen.

‘Slut’ is that sensation I feel when I confront the doctor the next day and he implies that I should not have come alone for a consultation, unleashing the full depth of my anger. I come home again and stand nude in front of the bathroom mirror for a full five minutes and just feel comforted that I am older and invulnerable to that sensation of shame that I know I am supposed to feel.

Slutty is that cringe I try to hide when I know someone circulated a video of me dancing drunk at some party. Slutty is that tiny smirk that finds its way to my lips when I’m dancing in a club with those filthy moves and a woman says quietly, “She will dance with ANYBODY.” So true!

Sloppy is what I feel like when I accidentally let slip to some auto driver that I live with my Grandma, and then quickly reassert that my brothers live with me, too. Epic fail on feminist grounds and for the ego.

It’s definitely the slutty side of life I am staying on when I refuse to change how I walk when a friend tells me I sway my hips a little too much. My laughter is too loud. My clothes are revealing…and on it goes.

With age, comes the ability to break down problems and see patterns. I sure as fuck see it. There is a nuance in language that I would have missed when I was younger. It states that my body is not just my own, and that permission is formality. And that women, with all their dreams and darkness can be shoved into cute little checkboxes that convey the dichotomy of their existence.

Sexy OR shabby

Shy OR confident

Sweet OR slutty

Hard to get OR easy

Smart cookie OR stupid cow

The language is designed to fool you into thinking if you fall in the right box, you will be treated well by men (in whose hands your safety rests).

I can deal with gropes and verbal abuses hurled at me when I walk down the street, but when my little cousin tells me that she doesn’t want me to read her the Barbie story because Barbie wears a revealing bikini on the beach and hence is a ‘yucky’ girl, I am fucking broken at how ingrained the concept of shame is (and who’dda thought I’d defend Barbie? Sweet irony). I’m convinced that I should write it all down, even if I think catharsis is what is truly yucky. Shaming anybody for their gender is never okay.

It’s taken me a good number of years to realize that I fit neatly into a hybridized version of several definitions of a slut, and I am inexplicably comfortable with it. These days I am just hoping to prove that I will not let that bullshit language colour how I see myself. So when I hear someone mention how women who smoke are just trying to be slutty, I resist the urge to start a fight. I realize it’s much more liberating to embrace every appellation thrown my way, selected to make me uncomfortable. So there you go. That four letter word doesn’t leave me reeling , wishing to give an unnecessary explanation to some fool about how I’m really just another person trying to get by. I’m just happy doing whatever it is that gives me pleasure, and if that make me a slut, I’m happy with that too.

About the author

Revathy Krishnan

Remedied former wild child. Zero tolerance for bull shit. Obsession for punk rock and prawns. Will challenge the hell out of the status quo. Labels to me are what Kryptonite was to that flying dude. Architect of castle-sized dreams.