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Saturday, March 7 • 3:45pm - 5:00pm
Slut-Shaming: Do Social Class or Clothing Make It More Acceptable?

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The word “slut” has typically been used to describe a woman whose behavior is inconsistent with gender norms (Poole, 2013). Researchers have suggested various motivations for “slut-shaming”: intrasexual competition (reducing the value of a sexual rival; Vaillancourt & Sharma, 2011), retribution for non-conformity to feminine scripts (Jost, 2001; Poole, 2013), and female-on-female control of sexuality (Baumeister & Twenge, 2002). While researchers have examined how people view “sluts” (Crawford & Popp, 2003; Fugere et al., 2008), minimal research has explored the perceptions of the “shamers”. One prior study has shown that “shamers” are generally disliked (Papp et al., 2014), and we hoped to expand upon that idea with this project. In this study, we used mock Facebook profiles to illustrate the relationship between the “slut” and “shamer”. Participants were assigned to one of four conditions, in which the socio-economic status (SES) and clothing of the target were randomized. We altered the “slut’s” SES and clothing because these variables may affect how someone is perceived (Kraus et al., 2011; Montemurro & Gillen, 2013; Vaillancourt & Sharma, 2011). Participants responded to measures of person perception (“slut” and “shamer”) and social distance (“slut” and “shamer”), were asked to evaluate the “shamer’s” remark, and indicated if they identified as feminist. SES, clothing, and feminist identity significantly impacted how participants viewed “sluts” and “shamers”. Participants wanted more social distance from the “shamer” if she shamed the conservatively dressed “slut” and wanted more social distance from the high SES “slut” when she dressed provocatively. Participants were more likely to perceive the tone of the “slut-shaming” comment as serious if the “slut” had high SES and dressed provocatively. Women who did not identify as feminists wanted greater social distance from the “slut”, and feminist-identified participants did not find “slut-shaming” justified regardless of the attire of the “slut”.


Saturday March 7, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm
California