Hot Take: Fuckboys Don't Exist
Fuckboys don't exist.
I remember being enraged, frustrated & saddened years ago that there was no male equivalent to the word "slut."
If a woman embraced her sexuality, had multiple partners, flirted, wore clothes that society deemed were too little or too much, said the wrong thing, asserted herself, did to be honest almost anything someone didn’t like, she was a "slut" - the word absolutely being used in a derogatory manner, casually or aggressively. I have seen many women reclaim this word and redefine it; using it themselves as an empowering term. Taylor Swift said in her Miss Americana documentary that "There is no such thing as a slut." and she was absolutely right. It's a term used to negate a woman's sexuality and agency over her own body and desires, to diminish and disregard the human being inside. It's a term of control and patriarchy and fear.
In efforts to take back this term and take back power, somewhere along the way the term "fuckboy" became a part of our collective lexicon. I'll be the first to admit, I was happy there was finally a word to call men that felt almost as derogatory as "slut." A word that disregarded everything about them as a living, breathing human being and reduced them to their sexuality and sexual behaviours. It felt good. Take this: you think you're good for anything other than your dick? You're not. You're a fuckboy. It felt like justice, satisfaction, retribution...dare I say equality. But equality on what level? A level so low we stop viewing ANYONE as human beings, regardless of gender? Is that the kind of equality I want? Is THAT the world I want to live in? Hell fucking no.
I want to live in a world where I am respected for my accomplishments, valued for my character, held accountable for my mistakes and allowed to grow with grace and patience. I want to live in a world where my sexuality doesn't overshadow everything else about me as a human being. So WHY THE HELL would I call someone a term that does exactly that?
I think when we call people fuckboys, which I'll admit I have done, definitely behind men's backs, but also, once in particular...to a guy directly, there is so much going on subconsciously. I remember how awful I felt after using the term on him, and I knew he was a bit shocked and hurt I had called him that. He called me on it and I immediately apologized. Yes, this person was a highly sexual person and we had tons of sexual chemistry...but he had also never been anything but kind to me, made me feel extremely safe in a sexual context, and was always so good at practicing ongoing consent, even in texting! I always knew his intentions. He was a good, honest, up front and kind person. And I reduced him to sub-human, used a part of who he was against him in a hostile, dismissive, derogatory way with one little word. I did all that with 7 letters. It happens so quickly, and the effects can last much, much longer. Just like when you call a woman, or anyone else, a slut. I felt like shit, and rightly so.
I've never been called a slut, at least I don't think I have...not to my face, anyways. The closest thing I've gotten a few times is, "Oh, when I first met you, I definitely thought you'd been around." I had never had sex when that was first said to me. I had never even seen a man below the belt. And yet, that first comment has stuck with me for over a decade. I sometimes wonder even now, if that's how I come off. And you know what? So what if I do? That's an assumption someone else is making about me, and other people's assumptions are none of my damn business - not my problem and definitely not worth one iota of my energy. My point is - I remember that comment. I remember how it made me feel: defensive, judged, embarrassed, ashamed, self conscious. I NEVER want to make another human being feel that way.
I have felt the fatigue and exasperation that comes along with being a woman in this world since I was around 10 or 11 years old, maybe even younger. It’s hard to pinpoint because I don’t know anything else. The comments about my appearance, the focus on my body, the clothing restrictions I had to follow, the pointed thought about the unsolicited attention I would inevitably attract by wearing certain clothes, which by the way, has nothing to do with my clothes and everything to do with the person giving said attention and the culture they were brought up in, the fear of being asked how many people I've slept with, which is something I've felt since my very first partner...I could literally go on forever here. Myself and dare I say every female identifying person I know lives in a neutral state of subconscious defense.
I don’t want anyone to live this way. And if we term men the same way we have negatively termed women for so long, that’s not progress. That’s not justice. It’s shameful and it’s lazy. Yes, living in the patriarchy sucks. And if you think that word is overused or the be-all end-all of whiny feminists – I challenge you to do some research on what it actually means. Take a leap and look, listen, and read people’s opinions who you don’t identify with and come at their ideas with a sense of openness and curiosity. It won’t hurt you, I promise. (Well, actually, changing long-held beliefs and challenging subconscious bias within ourselves actually can suck and feel like an attack, but that’s your ego talking. It only makes us better people in the long run, that I do promise.)
So, do sluts exist? No. Do fuckboys exist? No.
What does exist are human beings. Many of whom have been hurt and/or never taken the time to examine the world in which they were socialized. What does exist are people who are fearful, for many real and valid reasons. What does exist is immaturity and a lack of communication skills, carelessness, selfishness and underdeveloped empathy. I am not saying myself or anyone else should tolerate that in their life. I am saying we ALL need to do the work to overcome that shit within ourselves.
Am I being a wittle cry baby and tawking about feewings? No. I’m talking about having the courage to show up for yourself and others in an open, whole-hearted way so that we can all experience the joy of other human beings, in all our glory.