UPDATE #2: The project has not only reached its goal of $18,000 but surpassed it by $1,758, so look for this documentary to be completed sometime in 2014.
UPDATE: With just four days left to mee their goal, Emily Lindin will be hosting a live pledge drive on Saturday, August 31, from 4-7 pm Eastern (1-4 pm Pacific), with guests including co-producer Jessica Caimi and Dr. Timaree Schmit of the Sex with Timaree podcast. The show, which requires no registration to watch/listen, can be found here.
CYBERSPACE—There are likely very few adult actresses who haven't been called "slut" at some point or other, and for some, the epithet was used as far back as their junior high school days. For many, what the word actually meant, of course, was that the person simply enjoyed sex and wasn't ashamed of it, or maybe she just dressed attractively (some would say "provocatively") or spoke in sufficiently non-judgmental ways about sex and sex-related subjects such that others made assumptions about her behavior. (Anyone remember Sandra Fluke?)
But of course, one need never have engaged in any particular activity to be labeled a "slut." It's just that the insanity that passes for "moral" views about sex in American society leads the ignorant (and there's no shortage of those!) to use the term as the ultimate put-down—and sadly, the victims of such name-calling are often so similarly steeped in that insanity that they take the insult deeper to heart than if they were called "pig" or "stupid" or even "ugly"—sometimes with dire consequences.
For instance, in May, a 12-year-old from Queens, N.Y., hanged herself after, as her diary recorded, having been called "a slut and a whore" by classmates. And then there's the Staten Island teen who threw herself in front of a subway train after "ceaseless verbal abuse from classmates," most notably her high school's football team, one of whose members she had dated. And then there was the seventh-grader from Mantorville, Minn., who hung herself after she'd had the word "slut" scrawled across her gym locker, and some of her classmates called her a "prostitute" even though, according to her dad, she'd never even kissed a boy (or, we're guessing, girl). After her death, her parents found a note card on which she'd written, "I'm fine = I wish you knew how I really felt," along with a picture of a broken heart.
The list of such tragedies and near-tragedies goes on and on, and those, together with the repeated "slut-shaming" of Sandra Fluke, led to the SlutWalk protest movement, which began in Toronto after a police constable told an assembly at York University that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Since then, there have been SlutWalks in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles (in which several adult actresses participated), Philadelphia and Seattle, and internationally in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Bhopal, London, Jerusalem and several other cities. And while those are continuing, more can be done.
Enter Emily Lindin, who several months ago founded The UnSlut Project, a blog on which Lindin shared portions of her private diary about how she was sexually bullied in junior high school, and where she encouraged women who had similarly been targeted to share their experiences with "slut-shaming" and sexual bullying.
And now Lindin's taken the next step. She's teamed with documentary director Jessica Ciami to tackle the whole issue of women being degraded for their sexual attitudes, real or perceived or just completely made up. It's called Slut: A Documentary Film, and it's currently seeking funds on Kickstarter.
"Slut: A Documentary Film will demonstrate the extent of sexual bullying and slut shaming in our schools, media, and culture; and explore the steps we can all take to work toward change right here in the United States and Canada," Lindin wrote, adding that the movie "will feature the stories of girls who were driven to suicide by sexual bullying, interviews with women who have experienced the effects of slut shaming in their own lives, and the opinions of media figures, sexologists, psychologists, and other experts."
Among the experts Lindin will have on board with the project, whose names are likely familiar to the adult content community, include sex educators Dr. Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross (both plaintiffs in Free Speech Coalition's lawsuit against 18 U.S.C. §2257); gender politics expert and teacher Dr. Shira Tarrant; Dr. Ted McIlvenna, founder and president of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco; and Dr. Melissa Jones, a clinical sexologist and board-certified sexuality educator in San Antonio, Texas.
"Slut shaming involves denigrating a woman or women generally for perceived or real sexual behavior," Lindin wrote on the Kickstarter site. "It ranges from something like one teenager calling another teenager a 'slut' for wearing a short dress, to mainstream media coverage of rape that puts blame on the victim or victims. It is closely tied to the practice of sexual bullying and the concept of 'rape culture,' which refers to society’s dismissal or even condoning of rape."
"The biggest challenge that we face in getting Slut: A Documentary Film out to the world is that many people don't believe slut shaming is a dangerous force in our society," she added later. "This might present challenges in acquiring parental signatures on releases for the appearance of minors, whom we hope to feature in interviews in the film. In many cases, we will be able to address this issue by having honest, open-minded conversations with these parents about what we hope to accomplish with this film."
It's a daunting project, to say the least, and they plan to film it on a shoestring budget—a mere $18,000—and if they manage to go over that goal, they'll put the additional monies toward getting even more interviews for the movie.
Sadly, the movie, if it's made, will be too late for the 17-year-old girl who was caught on video giving blowjobs to two guys at an Eminem concert at Slane Castle in Ireland. Almost needless to say, someone recorded the activity on their cellphone camera and posted it on the internet, where it and photos taken from the video wound up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and elsewhere, while a series of tweets with hashtag #Slanegirl drew comments like "dirty tramp," "dope," "fucking slut" (of course!), "stupid cunt," "only good thing about slane girl is she definitely swallowed," and "Disgusting. Some girls just have no respect for themselves." As for the girl herself, she was reportedly hospitalized on Monday after becoming "distraught" when she learned that the video and photos had gone viral.
"Welcome to today’s reminder that it's different for girls," wrote Sarah Ditum in the New Statesman. "A culture that hates women for having sex is one that simply hates women, and that is the grotty truth photographed at Slane."
Pictured: An image from SlutWalk Toronto.