Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The value of being a year-round slut

Saturday night, my gentleman friend and I attended a wild Halloween party that included two live bands, fire dancers, tightrope walkers, and vouchers for unlimited adult beverages.

Because we're losers highly sophisticated introverts, we sat on a couch in the corner all evening and watched people.

"Do you notice a theme with a lot of the female costumes here?" he asked about an hour into the party.

"You mean the fact that everything has a slutty twist?" I replied. "Slutty vampire, slutty cat, slutty Wonder Woman, slutty witch, slutty giraffe–"

"Where's the slutty giraffe?"

I pointed out the group with the African Safari theme, and we both sat quietly for a moment and pondered the idea of a slutty giraffe.

"Is it more politically correct to say sexy instead of slutty?" I asked.

"When did you start caring what's politically correct?"

"Good point," I agreed. "For the record, I don't see slutty as a derogatory term. In the right context, I see it as synonymous with sexually empowered."

"Duly noted."

A moderately slutty ninja, and Dexter the serial killer.
We studied the crowd some more, more acutely aware of the number of women who'd seized the chance to appear in public wearing their bras. To be fair, I spied several men wearing bras as well.

"I think it's sad," I said.

My gentleman friend shot me a startled look. "How is it sad?"

"Women should be proud to be slutty all year-round," I said. "Not just Halloween."

"I think I saw that on a Hallmark card."

"It's true," I said. "I write romantic comedy, so it's not like I set out to deliver some big moral message with my writing. But if there's one soapbox issue I feel passionate about, it's that women shouldn't be afraid to be open about sex. To be able to approach it with enthusiasm and pride and a whole lot of humor."

Awhile back, someone asked me if there's any subject or theme I'd never write about in one of my books. Though I never like to say never, I don't believe I could write a romance novel with a sexually naive heroine who magically discovers her inner slut under the careful tutelage of the wise and experienced hero.

It's a theme I've read many times in romance, and I always have trouble wrapping my brain around it. I don't deny there are plenty of women – and men, too, for that matter – who are raised to feel shameful or embarrassed about their sexuality.

I can't relate.

In the little utopia that exists in the back of my romance author brain, there's a world where people of all ages and genders are comfortable with their bodies and all the magical things they can do. A world where everyone can embrace their inner slut 365 days a year.

Admittedly, that's not as inspiring as Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, but I'll take it.

How do you plan to celebrate your slutty self this holiday season? Please share! And please let me know if you find that phrase on a Hallmark card. I'd like to buy a case full.

9 comments :

Malin said...

I'm still waiting for the day when I meet the woman with whom I can live out all my inner slut dreams 365 days a year.

Matthew MacNish said...

This is a tough one for me. Because while I believe in sexual empowerment for all (it's like a slogan!) I am also the dad of two young women. Taking them to the Halloween store can be pretty uncomfortable.

Now, I'm not saying I don't believe in my children's right to be sexually empowered as well, just ... you know, when they're grown ... and somewhere dad can't see it.

Geoffrey Cubbage said...

Halloween's always a tricky one. You're pretty much guaranteed to have a mix of ladies wearing sexy costumes because they like them and feel awesome in them, and ladies who felt kinda pressured into doing the sexy Halloween thing and maybe would have rather gone as a big plush dinosaur.

And that's tough for an observer to judge, and most observers (particularly privileged male observers like me) really shouldn't be judging whether someone is nearly naked for "the right reasons" or not anyway.

But I do feel like the "wonderful world where everyone can be slutty all the time" does need to come with the corollary that it's equally okay to be unsexy, if you're not that into public sexuality.

When we make a big deal of how sexualized women's costumes are compared to men's on Halloween, that sort of misses the point that women's clothes and the way they're advertised are way more sexualized than men's EVERY day. And that can lead to some pressures and attitudes that aren't awesome and sexy and slutty in a positive way at all.

For the record, I wore a skirt, but no bra.

Jenny Hansen said...

I'm with you, Tawna...I celebrate my inner slut EVERY day. :-)

Aurelia Blue said...

Sex is a beautiful, dangerous thing. Use it wisely. Men do not hold the patent on this. All women should be free to embrace their sexuality if they want to...or have someone else embrace it... ;)

Mary said...

I'm wearing cat ears to work. And a Supernatural shirt. But the bra is definitely coming off when I get home. My inner slut is rather tame, sad to say. Or maybe she's just tired.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'd like to say that I'm brave enough to wear one of those sexy Halloween costumes. But I'd also like to say that I'm a size 2. :) The truth is, I'm pretty conservative when it comes to my own clothes.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I agree, I'm really tired of those books w/ sexually inexperienced heroines. Ditto the heroines who haven't had sex in 10 years...you know, they're just waiting for the hero to come along. I know it happens, but come on.

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