As I was reading Wednesday’s “Humpin’ Letter to the Editor,” I found that I quickly became incensed. Not simply because the words “skank” and “prude” always get my blood boiling, but also because, as a native San Franciscan, I instantly wanted to defend my beloved city. How, I wondered, could this young woman have been so misled about the city’s identity? Perhaps if Miss Chack had utilized her formative years to do a little more exploring outside the Catholic monolith, she might have discovered San Francisco to be what it is for most of its inhabitants — not only the intersection of gay culture and Haight-Ashbury, but the epicenter of sex positivity.
In the interest of avoiding deterrent feminist jargon, I’ll describe “sex positivity” as an outlook that champions sexual freedom and a lack of judgment. College is a time when we come into our own (pun intended), learn how to see ourselves within the world and, in the case of male readers, within our chosen sexual partners. But I think in order to really reap the bounty of this experience, it’s important to stop judging ourselves. I applaud Miss Chack’s newfound sexual freedom, but in the words of Tina Fey, “You’ve got to stop calling each other sluts and whores.”
As you can tell from my chronically bombastic diction, I had a rough time in high school. I came into college with similar notions to Miss Chack — if you’re going to be sexual, do it behind closed doors; intelligence is inconsistent with “sluttiness,” and other such bullshit. I quickly found myself facing glazed eyes at frat parties whenever I used polysyllabic words and decided that I was now in a community where one could be “hot and dumb” or smart. After a year of admonitions from my friends for excessive ironic comments and wearing weather-appropriate footwear, I began to use my time standing awkwardly in corners at parties to contemplate my worth as a woman and how consistently it was defined by a world I had invented in my head. I had decided somewhere along the line that blondes were the prize-ponies, that baring cleavage would undo the damage of uttering an intelligent comment, and that the only way to be noticed was to give in to a culture where the number of catcalls you received on DP was directly proportional to the amount of glitter with which you were able to coat your visible skin.
What am I saying? I’m saying that as we venture out into I.V., it’s important that we not let what we perceive to be the opinion of the outside world taint our most private moments; that yes, there are people that will slut-shame you for following your bliss, and there will be people that will pat you on the back for it. And that overall, culture is what you surround yourself with, and if you can find friends that don’t judge or force you into the slut/prude binary, that you might start to find the remedy to that shame we were all instilled with in high school.
Lexi Cary is a second-year English and theater major.