Feeling Like a Whore

According to the following, I must be a boy:

I was mortified to ask the Pharmacist for Plan B. I felt like a complete whore for having consensual sex where the condom just happened to break. In this country, if you are a girl who acknowledges her sexuality, you feel like whore by default.

I never felt “like a whore” in my life. I don’t know that “a whore” should have some special feelings that are inaccessible to not whores. I also never felt that my happy acknowledgment of my sexuality needed to make me feel “like a whore.” Until a feminist blog told me that I should feel that way, or I will somehow magically stop being female.

I’m perfectly fine with anybody narrating their experiences of feeling like whores (although I do question the terminology, which I find degrading to women). What bothers me is this attempt to suggest that everybody who doesn’t feel the same is not fully female. The desire to grant women acceptance into womanhood on the basis of how much or how little they have been victimized is very disturbing.

I was born a woman. I don’t need to pass daily exams as to whether I count as one. Both Liberals and Conservatives keep coming up with definitions of womanhood that exclude me and many other women. Maybe we should stop trying to define women? We are all different. We all feel differently. We all count.

22 thoughts on “Feeling Like a Whore”

  1. Clarissa, from what I see the author was quite young when it happened, probably during university days.

    * I also never felt that my happy acknowledgment of my sexuality needed to make me feel โ€œlike a whore.โ€*

    So you were totally like now when at school and at university? I understood differently.

    Besides, in USA many had religious, anti-sex parents AND their religion shaming them, plus the horrible lack of information. Was it before internet? I am surprised she didn’t know what Plan B is, until the condom broke.

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    1. Yes, I was always like this. When I was 16, my father said to me, “Don’t you understand that your older boyfriend is using you for his physiological needs?”

      “No, Dad,” I responded coolly, “you don’t understand. I’m the one who uses him for my physiological needs.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      I understand that other women feel differently in such situations. However, I object to generalizing any experience.

      As to the situation of American women, I was raised in a deeply Puritanical environment where the word “condom” was considered a swear word. So let’s not blame the “horrible society” too much. Women have all kinds of responses to all kinds of situations.

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      1. You had very tolerating parents. Some parents would start screaming a lot, telling “go live with him” and “I’ll never be able to look at you the same” (the latter happened to one girl I knew), throwing away condoms (a true story of another girl I knew, would they prefer her to do it without?), do everything to stop it by lots of pressure on their daughter and a “talk” with the BF, etc.

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      2. *telling โ€œgo live with himโ€ and โ€œIโ€™ll never be able to look at you the sameโ€ (the latter happened to one girl I knew), *

        “The latter” means โ€œIโ€™ll never be able to look at you the sameโ€ sentence. Don’t know about you, but for most people hearing this from closest to them people they love *hurts*. A lot. Especially, if one is a teen and believes it 100%.

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        1. Not to minimize your friend’s suffering, but that’s honestly child’s play compared to what I got. I only wish I heard such things and that was that.

          I can’t say that any of it hurt. It was enraging, mostly.

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      3. I had a very similar conversation with my mum, and my then-boyfriend was almost as old as my parents. Every single person who knew was absolutely sure I was being “exploited”, yet completely befuddled how “such a strong and smart girl” could be “exploited like this”.

        It’s the visual equivalent of putting fingers in your ear and going “lalala”, because acknowledging what was really going on would mean every single assumption that held their worldview together.

        I should ask, though: is the writer American? I notice Americans use the word “whore” (or ‘ho’) very very casually, minus particularly derogatory connotations. It bothers me, but I suppose that’s their way.

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        1. The write is from NYC, so seems to be American. I read “like a whore” as “very ashamed and frightened”.

          RE older boyfriends, the water becomes muddier, when you think on the survey that teen girls with significantly older boyfriends have higher risk of pregnancy due to among other things sabotaging birth control. You and Clarissa had healthy relationships, but many young woman have what one of them called “sleeping on the floor” (figuratively). As a parent, I would be more suspicious of my own age man with my teen daughter than a boy her own age, more equal in experience, at the same stage in life.

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          1. I think it’s got to do more with the kind of people we are, than the unqualified age-gap approach. Certainly, the older partner has more years of worldly experience and might put one over her/his younger partner, but the younger partner has to be correspondingly ill-informed, non-assertive and perhaps a touch dumb for that to happen.

            And that’s the point. Random people can see a younger partner as a generalised statistic (representative of the sexually-active teen female demography, in this case), but I expect their families to see their age in the context of their whole being.

            Certainly, a clever and assertive woman of 30 may not have been as confident or well-informed when she was 17, but she could not have been a spineless limpet drawing self-confidence from the approval of her older lover. Admonishments and strong-arming would likely have very little effect on a person of this sort, whereas providing information and protective measures (like on birth control) would help everyone involved.

            Unless of course she was having this relationship with the exclusive desire to provoke, in which case feel free to jump in ๐Ÿ˜‰

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        2. The logical thing to assume is that a strong and smart girl is strong and smart enough not to get exploited. But that’s just me, I guess. When my sister was 19 and started dating a 31 year old guy, it didn’t occur to me to suspect she might be exploited because I knew her. Ten years later, they are still together and have a baby daughter. ๐Ÿ™‚

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          1. That’s great, but I was thinking more along 14-16 and 27 lines, not 19 and 31. At this age every year counts.

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      4. —I understand that other women feel differently in such situations. However, I object to generalizing any experience.

        Of course generalizing anybody’s experience is wrong. However, I suspect that your experience, shaped by being raised as a contrarian and by being autistic, made you much more immune to mainstream cultural pressures than average girl/woman. Which is a good thing, but let’s not pretend your experiences are as statistically relevant as those of women which internalized the slut-shaming (or feel victimized by the mainstream culture, re different topic).
        NB: I am talking only about statistical viewpoint here. I am not questioning the relevance of your experience per se.

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  2. My parents were fairly tolerant, but I’m still very shy and discrete about my sax life. If I went to the store I would probably be ashamed, but not about being a whore, but about telling too much abut my sex life to a stranger. I really don’t need strangers to know when I mate and what happens during the act. Uttering “I’d like Plan B, please”, you also say “I had sex last night and the condom broke” and if it’s 9:00 o’clock in the morning and the pharmacist is not up to smiling at you, you might just misinterpret their serious face as judgment, and there you go; much ado about nothing.

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    1. I wouldn’t remotely care, because I don’t go to a chemist for smiles. And also because at 9AM I’m not up to smiling much either.

      I’m beginning to think V has a point about autism making one immune from being dependent on other people/social approval for self-esteem, and I’m also beginning to suspect Clarissa was right when she said I might be mildly autistic myself =)

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      1. I don’t know if it’s autism. I’ve never been non-autistic, so I can’t judge. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, I think that in a situation where you are fearing an unwanted pregnancy, concentrating on what some complete stranger might think of you is kind of bizarre. I had a situation like that when I was 17. Of course, I was terrified and could think of nothing else. This is a difficult and scary position to be it because it will change your life no matter what decision you take. I obsessed about it until I discovered everything was fine. Really, whether strangers thought I was a whore or anything else was the last thing on my mind.

        I honestly don’t get it and think that my reaction is actually healthy. If you are in danger, you concentrate on yourself. When I was being carted off to the emergency room this past winter, was I likely to worry of my underwear was clean enough for the doctors to see? Obviously not. If I were, that would be very unhealthy on my part.

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  3. This reminds me of how many of my friends (granted, guys included) are too embarrassed to buy condoms in the store and either have their partner do it, or purchase them online. I am absolutely flabbergasted by this. Do they not realize that the vast majority of humanity has sex? Do they really think they’re going to be judged by the store clerk for belonging to this majority?

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