This is how slut-shaming works

Rebecca Watson has provided an insightful overview of why calendars featuring pin-up photos of women, even for important causes, may be doing more harm than good:

The women were objectified on a level unmatched by those viewing and commenting on the men. This was something difficult for me to objectively evaluate at the time and was just a hunch based on my casual observations, but that hunch was confirmed last year when I had shitlord after shitlord emailing me to tell me that I have no right to complain about being groped or propositioned at conferences because I posed in a calendar for skeptics (see my filthy slut photo as the featured image on this post). If Phil Plait ever complains about a woman grabbing his crotch at a conference, I’m confident that no one will forward him his entry in the 2007 “Skepdude” Calendar and tell him to stop being such a whore if he doesn’t want that kind of attention.

It’s all worth reading, but this part stood out as especially important for everyone to understand. Regardless of the noble ideals of the movement for sex-positivity, the reality is that we live in a world where many men will make it simply impossible for any woman to exercise the full range of her choices as a sexual person without incurring intolerable penalties. They do this by using women’s personal and sexual decisions which they disapprove of as a cause to brand them for all time and invalidate anything else they’ve ever done. That’s how they police women’s sexuality: by threatening to erase her entire history, body of work, and depth as an individual, and reduce her existence to a single scarlet letter if she ever fails to obey their (unjust, suffocating, no-win, double-standard) norms.