"slut" in the news

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 29 18:35:51 UTC 2011

At 12:07 PM -0400 5/29/11, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>"Slut" may be insulting, but it quit being "sexist" long ago:
>1989 _Life_ (July) 29: "We talk about guys being sluts too," says one girl.
>1995 _Jerry Springer Show_ (synd. TV series): He's really pathetic. He's the
>biggest slut I know.
>GB disgorges more than fifty exx. of the phrase "He's a slut."  The Web,

I suspect the earliest uses of male-directed "slut" were from gay
usage.  I'd check the Rodgers lexicon but I don't have it on me.

Also back in the early 90s, Pam Munro's UCLA Slang Dictionary 3
included a sex-neutral entry for _slut_ (something like 'sexually
promiscuous person') but a listing for _skank_ reading 'female slut'.
No entry for 'male slut'.


>On Sun, May 29, 2011 at 1:05 AM, Ben Zimmer
><bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu>wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>
>>  Subject:      "slut" in the news
>>  ---
>>  http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/05/28/slut/index.html
>>  The word "slut" has been getting around a lot lately. Just this week,
>>  MSNBC host Ed Schultz was suspended after calling conservative radio
>>  talk show host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut." Soon after, he went
>>  on TV to express his regret at length and, interestingly, became
>>  choked up when he apologized to his wife in particular. This follows
>>  the hubbub over emerging global SlutWalks, edgy anti-rape protests
>>  staged in response to a Canadian official's remark that women should
>>  protect themselves by not dressing like "sluts." The marches have
>>  garnered international coverage all month long and revived debate
>>  about whether the slur can be reclaimed. [...]
>>  For their part, the women of "The View" were laughing about the
>>  four-letter word this week. While discussing the Schultz incident,
>>  Barbara Walters was quick to point out that she had been jokingly
>>  called a slut before by Joy Behar, who followed up by admitting to
>>  being a total "Scrabble slut" herself. Jokes! Then, just to keep
>>  things interesting(-ish), Whoopie argued that we shouldn't see any
>>  difference in the word coming from a man like Schultz than from a
>>  woman like her co-host: "No. Slut is slut" (unlike "rape" and
>>  "rape-rape").
>>  ---
>>  "Scrabble slut," of course, follows the "X slut" variant of the "X
>>  whore" pattern -- discussed in the past here and on Arnold Zwicky's
>>  blog. Arnold calls "X whore" a "snowclonelet composite [meaning]
>>  roughly 'one who craves X (or something to do with X) extravagantly'".
>>  http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0506C&L=ADS-L&D=0&P=22676
>>  http://arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/x-whore/
>>  --bgz
>>  --
>>  Ben Zimmer
>>  http://benzimmer.com/
>>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>>  The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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