A Brief History of Slut-Shaming for the Modern Kpop Fan


Following recent rumors and allegations regarding the sexual practices of unnamed Kpop idols, and the ensuing slut-shaming of fans and anti-fans alike, we feel it is our moral duty to help instruct those who wish to engage in this act in the long and and storied tradition of which they are a part.

A Brief History

Slut-shaming is a time-honored tradition, dating back thousands of years. Notable early sluts include Leda, Lavinia, and Lucretia. Cleopatra, of course, was a well-known ho-bag. Hosea married the whore Gomer, and Ezekiel metaphorically slut-shamed Samaria and Jerusalem. Due to the frequency of use across so many languages and borders, the etymology of the word, “slut,” is very difficult to trace. We can, however, point to some of the earliest recorded uses of the word as a positive baseline by which we can measure the success of our modern-day shaming.

The earliest recorded slut-shaming in the English language is an honor reserved for poet and clerk, Thomas Hoccleve. Following a painful breakup with his longterm girlfriend, Betty, in the Spring of 1402, Hoccleve fell into a deep depression. Tired of hearing his mother ask about Betty, calling her a “nice girl,” and asking why they hadn’t wed, Hoccleve penned the now famous Letter of Cupid, a fictionalized correspondence from Cupid to Hoccleve’s mother in which Betty was referred to as “The foulest slutte of al a tovne” [the foulest slut of all the town].

But what is a slut, and how do we define one? The Catholicon Anglicum, an English-Latin wordbook, defined the word in 1483 quite succinctly for young pupils: “A Slute, vbi foule” [a slut, where foul]. There’s typically a bit more nuance in the term, however, that goes above and beyond merely being “foul.” A slut should also display loose character, as noted by Robert Burton’s definition in 1621 in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1st edition): “A peevish drunken flurt, a waspish cholerick slut.” Charles Dickens, another well-known slut-shamer, further defined the impudence of sluts in his third novel, Nicholas Nickleby, published in 1839: “Never let anybody who is a friend of mine speak to her; a slut, a hussy.” As one can see, the connection between sluttistry and whorishness is very firmly rooted in the history of the word.

The manner of dress also plays a role in the definition of sluts. Stefano Guazzo’s Civil Conversation, translated to English by George Pettie in 1586, connected the appearance of a slut with her foul actions: “I haue noted often those dames which are so curious in their attire, to be verie sluttes in their houses.” In other words, women who dress like sluts, are probably definitely sluts.

In one of the more exciting developments of slut-shaming in the past millenium, clergyman Thomas Fuller proved in 1642 that it was indeed possible to successfully slut-shame an entire culture. In The Holy State, Fuller casually remarks that “Did Rome herein look upon the dust behind her own doores, she would have but little cause to call her neighbour slut.”

It is also important to note that slut-hood, or slutterdom, once assigned, can never be shaken off. Henry Fielding, author and magistrate, noted this quality of sluts in his 1742 publication, The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews: “I Never knew any of these forward Sluts come to good.” Once a slut, always a slut.

The Next Evolution

Although slut-shaming has played a pivotal role in maintaining the dominance of the patriarchy throughout most of the past two-hundred thousand years, this remarkable history is in desperate need of a modern evolution in Kpop. Without those of you who are willing to carry the torch (and pitchfork) of slut-shaming forward, this tradition might not survive.

As some of you have rightly noted, it is simply not enough, in today’s modern world, to wait for a slut to present herself. We must be vigilant, yes, but we must also be active in seeking out the woman who has not yet betrayed herself as the “ragged, slatternly, dirty slut” that we know she is, or soon will become (credit to Samuel Carter Hall for that classic 1883 shaming).

Rumor has long been employed as a means of beating the bushes, so to speak. But we can do more. The next evolution in slut-shaming will undoubtedly be the blind internet rumor. As a practice, the blind internet rumor involves releasing a damning (but extremely general) list of slutty practices, then refraining from tying the practices to a name. Though it would seem counterintuitive to the art of shaming, we may actually cast a wider slut-net by encouraging the internet to then “guess” which woman we might be referring to. In this way, the blind internet rumor slut-shames not one woman, but as many women as we can imagine. By taking a once-solitary activity and applying the principles of crowdsourcing, we may exponentially increase the number of scarlet letters we apply, thereby bringing our modern world back to the level of greatness with which we were once accustomed.

As was written in the cycle of 42 Medieval mystery plays, Ludus Coventriae, “Com forth, thou sloveyn! com forthe, thou slutte!” And be judged.

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