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Slut-shaming more about class than sexual activity

spikepipsqueak

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This accords with research I read more than 20 years ago. From memory it was New York based and I can't remember the population but we can bet it was uni. students.

The study found that women showed more respect for other women who were sexually active by their own decision, regardless of the level of activity.

So

1 Prostitute who needs the money. Slut
2 Woman with self image issues who allows herself to be used (and this was mentioned frequently) Slut
3 Woman who drinks enough to make herself a viable target for predators. Slut

4 Woman who has sex in pursuit of her own pleasure (This one surprised me) Not So Much
5 Woman who is using sex to pursue other objectives. Not So Much

This dovetails with the class idea you're floating. The women were comfortable with the idea of sex as commercial transaction (1 and 5), just not with the ideas of having no choice. To me the basic difference between 1 and 5 would boil down to wealth, which you could call class.
 

Loren Pechtel

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I don't even see it quite as class, but rather as to whether her partner(s) are worthy of respect.
 

Loren Pechtel

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I don't even see it quite as class, but rather as to whether her partner(s) are worthy of respect.

Why is it that it's OK for rightists to make excuses for blatant classism like this without being called an "elitist"?

What classism? Respect as in a good person, not respect as in rich.
 

doubtingt

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It should be noted that this study did not find that "slut" was reserved for "lower class" women. Rather both lower and upper class women used "slut" to refer mostly to women not in their class. So, its just a basic out-group bias shown by people in both higher and lower classes. Also, it is false that sexual activity didn't matter. Rather it was the qualitative nature of the sexual activity rather than the simple quantity of activity that mattered.

The above is the best case interpretation of the study. After looking at the actual research paper, I have concluded it is pretty much a pile of nothing with no interpretable data. Its methods are about as “soft” as you can get and don’t qualify as science. Their sample is small and non-representative, their class and status variables are all absurdly confounded with countless other factors, they don’t quantify anything despite plenty of opportunity to do so, and conduct no statistical analyses. It is all just a story woven around a set of casual observations, making it closer to anecdotal experiences of a small select group than useful social science.
Here is a summary of just some of the problems:
Basic method: A group of researcher lived in a dorm for a few months informally observing and interviewing 50 midwestern white women all on the same dorm floor, in a dorm known for being a “place to be” if you want to be in the Greek party scene and hang out with rich kids.
Note that this means that the women that were low “class” or “status” were still women seeking status and association with higher “class” students.

Class: parental income and occupation, need for loans and employment during school
However, the analyses are not really done on “Class” but on “Social Status”. The authors repeatedly claim that these variables are “largely aligned” so they talk about their findings using “class” and “status” interchangeably. But this is false. 30% of the “low status” women were from the “affluent class”.

Regular participant in Greek system parties
Confounds likely to be inherent to “status” criteria: more exposure to “hook-up” partners, heavier and more frequent drinking, more well-known on campus
Other differences between high-low “status” women noted by authors (IOW, confounds even though authors don’t know what a confound is). High status women tended to have the quality on the left and low status on the right. Note that these are strong trends that differed between the groups but don’t characterize every person in each group.
In a sorority – not in a sorority
Extrovert-Introvert
Many Friends-few friends
Conformist to trends – “alternative”
Less serious about schoolwork – “nerdy”
Traditional gender role – less traditional
Demure and coy – more outwardly sexual
Quiet and polite in public conversation – louder and more crude (note that these are the characterization by the researchers themselves not me or other women in the study)
Thin and “fit” – less thin and fit
Blonde - not blonde
Fashionable – less fashoinable
Traditionally “hot” - less so
No boyfriend - boyfriend
Sexually active – not sexually active (combined with above this means the low status women were either in a relationship or not sexually active)
Out of state – local resident or in state (and the countless differences that entails)

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The authors pay no attention to these numerous differences and how they could explain any results. They forge ahead with their assumptions as though "class" is the driving causal factor. There is no quantitative data presented in the paper, except a single table showing that most of the low-status women were in monogamous relationships or not sexually active while almost all of the high status women were single and sexually active. No quantitative data are given to support any of the claims about how and when "slut" is used (and stat tests probably wouldn't support significant results anyway given the small samples).
 
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