Is there anything more telling of our generation than the coining of the term “closet slut?” To me, the term represents a divided time where people try to split who they are and what they believe into as many realms as they can to avoid conflict. In public, they remain a beacon of a socially acceptable standard.
Behind closed doors, however, they are changed completely. When they exchange sexually charged picture messages of themselves with pouty lips and bare midriffs, their actions shock and appall the citizens who so dutifully follow them. How could, say, Miley Cyrus take a semi-provocative picture and send it to her boyfriend? For God’s sake, she’s a 17-year-old Disney Channel star!
To anyone who either has common sense or has taken some sort of health course, this news should not be overtly shocking. Sure, Miley is a fixture of the Disney Channel, which features programming for children and young adults, and is thus seen as a role model for young girls. However, her status does not change the fact that she is a human capable of being sexually active.
Miley is a true example of the closet slut, but as with a growing percentage of closet sluts today in America, she is not this way because she chooses to be. Her public sexual repression is the doing of the Disney Channel and the parents of children who watch Hannah Montana, the show that made Cyrus a household name. The news of Miley dancing on a pole at the Teen Choice Awards in 2009 doesn’t exactly do wonders for her work in the House of Mouse. However, is it really fair to Cyrus and the millions of girls right now who are going through the same feelings of sexual confusion and independence to perpetuate the message that sexuality is wrong?
The main reason for the “closet slut” phenomenon, especially in females, is the double standard pertaining to promiscuity. If a male is sexually active, it is considered a positive trait, while promiscuous women are considered to be slutty.
This is apparent in the Hollywood scene, especially among singers and other artists. 3OH!3, an electro-rap group from Colorado, reached the pinnacle of the charts in 2009 with their smash-hit “Don’t Trust Me,” which glamorized the lead singer’s “tongue on the inside of some other girl’s teeth.”
On the other side of the spectrum, pop singer Ke$ha blew speakers up in 2009 with her hit single “Tik Tok” and 2010’s “Take It Off.” She showcases anything but a closet slut in her music—one lyric in “Blah Blah Blah” states, “Don’t be a little bitch with your chit-chat, just show me where your dick’s at!” She was lambasted in the media for being so sexually forward.
In one instance, blogger Perez Hilton posted the music video from 3OH!3’s single “My First Kiss,” on which Ke$ha is featured, with the title “Hey Ke$ha! This SUCKS!” He criticized both the video and Ke$ha’s sexy image, despite her having nothing to do with the creation of the video. Is it not obvious to anyone else that the men of 3OH!3 are as slutty, if not more so, than Ke$ha, yet she is the only one attacked? While Ke$ha is torn apart in the media for her use of sexually charged lyrics and obnoxious punctuation in her name, 3OH!3, an all-male group, receives none of this criticism.
When young people, especially girls, see that sexual freedom is frowned upon and that embracing it will lead to ridicule, they will undoubtedly condition themselves to hide their sexual expression.
I completely disagree with the sexual repression of America. I salute Ke$ha for being open with her sexuality and, perhaps more importantly, not apologizing for it. The problem with closet promiscuity is that it promotes unhealthy living. Sexual repression makes people believe that natural sexual urges are dirty and wrong.
So how exactly do we “clean up” closet sluts? We do so by banning our own prejudices. By reinforcing the notion that sexual freedom makes someone slutty, we are simply creating deeper issues within our own society. Allowing people to express themselves freely without fear of backlash would help “clean up society.” So to quote Ke$ha with class, “Take it off, everybody take it off!”
Drew Kellogg is a freshman journalism major whose first kiss went a little like this… and twist. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.