The Lusty Vegan: Enough with the Slut Shaming


By Zoe Eisenberg

For those of you who aren’t aware, birth control has been bathing in the political spotlight lately. Basically, Obama’s healthcare reform mandates that employer-provided insurance will cover contraception without a co-pay, and while this originally exempted churches—for which providing birth control would go against their beliefs—it did not exempt faith based organizations such as universities. Some objected and Obama compromised by stating that employees of faith based organizations can side-step their employers and receive contraception for free from their insurance company. Now many are unnerved at walking the line between religion and providing free contraception, and many are outraged at the idea of the government providing free contraception, and many are outraged at the outrage. You lost yet?

Recently, Rush Limbaugh,everybody’s favorite conservative, has gotten himself in some swampy water when he called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “prostitute” (as well as a slut) for wanting health insurance to cover birth control, which he claimed means Fluke wishes the government to pay her to have sex. Gaga’s Government Hooker makes so much more sense now… Unfortunately, Limbaugh slaughtered his own er, credibility, by making his lack of knowledge about birth control obvious. He told Fluke that if she wanted birth control to be cheaper perhaps she should have less sex. If he knew how oral contraceptives worked he would know that you could have no sex ever and you would still need to take the same amount of birth control—you can’t simply take it when you feel like having sex. And as for condoms, he said it was easy to “get free condoms.” I have no idea where this mythical condom fountain is, but if anybody has an inkling, please do share. As condoms are my contraceptive of choice, I would love to know where I could get them for free. Limbaugh also failed to address that oral contraceptives are often prescribed for medical conditions having nothing to do with sexual activity.

But even more vomit-inducing was Limbaugh’s following statement:“so Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we all can watch.”

“Feminazis.” Classy. The politics of birth control aside, it’s disgusting to see Limbaugh slut shame a woman for wanting to take care of her own sexual health. Taking control of yourself, as well as commandeering your own sexuality, certainly does not make you a “prostitute.” Nothing against sex-workers, I just mean to say that a prostitute is one who receives money for sex. As for the word “slut” which Limbaugh also used, well that word has been given a bad reputation. In response to Limbaugh’s misuse of the word, my favorite vegan condom company, Sir Richard’s, created a pro-contraceptive campaign playing up the word, called SlutsUnite.org. The campaign features a ‘slut’s oath’ that visitors can swear by and share on social media outlets, showing their support of birth control.

I am excited that Sir Richard’s (whose homepage currently reads “My sexual preference is often”) is joining the movement to take back the word “slut.” I wrote a year or so back about embracing your inner slut. In my opinion, a slut is one who isn’t afraid of their own sexuality, and enjoys expressing it. There is nothing wrong with being a bit slutty, or a whole lot slutty, for that matter. Most of us are having sex. We should come at it with open legs, er, arms, instead of creating a cloud of shame around it.

My column last week on dating as a non-vegan sexual got some terrific feedback. A dozen or so vegans shared their stories of vegan on non-vegan love. These were tales of love and acceptance, and I was thrilled. Unfortunately, not everyone was happy about my meaty confession. One reader went so far as to pull a Limbaugh and call me (and my non-vegansexual friend, Kristin) a “whore” who “stabs animals in the back.” This makes me sad because it further cements that stereotype that vegans are angry and elitist, which just is not true. It also shadows all of the slut shaming going on in the media these days.

So to be called a “whore” by a grouchy vegan was sad but not completely surprising. Had the reader, whose user name is Vegan Until Death, called me a slut I would have perhaps agreed. I am open and enthusiastic about my sexuality. But the fact that this comment came in response to an article written about my committed, loving relationship and the way I accept my partner for who he is, well that was a bit ridiculous. I must have missed where I talked about getting paid to have sex with my boyfriend. Heck, I WISH someone would pay me to have sex with my boyfriend, since I’m doing it anyway. (Kidding! Spare me the lightning rods, please!).

I am excited to see the population of women (and men, too!) across the country rearing their lovely, sexually confident heads at the misogynistic actions percolating in politics right now, and happy that companies like Sir Richard’s—who are already morally and ethically on the right track—are helping us take back the word. So please, enough with the slut shaming, people. Just because women want to have sex, take charge of their sexual health and be provided with the tools to do so, does not make us sluts. And, Vegan Until Death, the fact that I want to have sex in my committed relationship does not make me a whore. There is no transfer of money here. And even if I was a whore, that would be my choice and who are you to wag your finger at the way someone else makes a living? But this post is in defense of the sexually confident, not sex workers—that’s a different post for a different day.

Now please, enjoy my defense in the form of this YouTube video, delivered by LMFAO. I first heard this song when it was performed at a drag king show in Province Town, where I was being awfully slutty by embracing and being entertained by the sexuality of others.

The Lusty Vegan is a lifestyle and sex column focusing on living and loving as a twenty-something year old vegan. More rants from Zoe Eisenberg can be found at www.sexytofu.com. Follow her on Twitter @Sexytofublog.

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