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an exclusive excerpt from “slut”

books

a gutsy feminist play

Slut: Just a word, right? Well... not really. As an insult, it's a way to shame women for their sexuality—but it's also a word that's used to justify rape. Slut, a play, explores those questions and more. It was created by The Arts Effect in collaboration with NYC high school students, and uses their experiences with sexual harassment and slut-shaming to shed light on the fact that girls and women live with an ever-present double standard and a constant threat of violence. The play makes for a riveting read. This edition, published by The Feminist Press and edited by Katie Cappiello and Meg McInerney, also includes essays by noteworthy feminists like Carol Gilligan and Jennifer Baumgardner. 

Read on for an exclusive excerpt from Slut: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence about being called a THOT, and let us know if you can relate. We sure can.  

You a tHot Anyways . . . krystal, 17

That Ho Over There

THOT. The first time I heard this word I never thought it’d be as popular as it is now—because of how stupid it is. Amazingly enough, this word has taken over with crazy force. Middle schoolers and forty-three-year-old women know what it means and many of them use it in their daily conversations.

Recently, my mom sent me to pick up my brother in my old neighborhood. I took the bus uptown to the Bronx and this older guy sat next to me. I try to do homework and I can feel him staring at me, but we don’t talk. Everything’s good. Then, as I was about to get off, he asks, “Can I get your number, sexy?” I simply said, “No.” It’s my number and I’m seventeen, and I don’t want to give my info out to some thirty-five-year-old on the uptown bus. “You aTHOT anyways,” he shouted at me, nice and loud— with this fuck-you-bitch sound to his voice. I caught his eye—shot him a look, but didn’t have time to respond, so I just brushed it off and went my way.

Then it hit me. I was just called a THOT by a thirty-five-year-old guy who doesn’t even know who the hell I am. To him, because I rejected him, I was one of “These Hos Out There.” I’m a piece of shit, a slut, trash because I didn’t want to give a stranger my phone number. He spit degrading words at me to make himself feel like a man again. And it made me want to punch a wall because it never ends.

Truth is, this is what we hear everyday. Girls are shamed and humiliated daily by men like that in public places because they don’t smile or strut or look in their direction or give out phone numbers. Most of us girls in the Bronx are known as THOTs or hos to the badass, gang-banger niggas on our streets. Just because we’re female. Female = THOT.

I have a friend named Anna who lost her virginity at a young age. The guy she lost her virginity to immediately went around telling everyone that he got into her pants. The next week her picture was plastered all over Facebook with the caption: “You’re not from the Bronx if you don’t know this THOT.” It broke my heart. But it’s typical. Anna likes guys, so Anna had sex...once. Expressing your feeling toward a guy (whether it’s “I’m into you” or “I’m not into you”) doesn’t make you a THOT. Nothing that you ever do makes you a THOT.

That day, I flagged and reported the picture— because that was my friend up there. We’ve all got to start saying enough is enough.

Slut: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence, edited by Katie Cappiello & Meg McInerney and published by the Feminist Press, $15.16. 

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."

Her Smell | OFFICIAL TRAILER HD www.youtube.com

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."