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Comment: Sex and the student city?

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University: many students beginning this year will no doubt believe it is the time to shed restraints on sexuality and enjoy three or four years of uncomplicated sex with whomever one wishes to.

This for many however is a rose-tinted view, if not a little naïve. What happens when sex at university gets complicated and unfairly leaves women bearing the brunt?

In a society which prides itself on attempting to give equality to women, women are still persecuted for their liberal attitudes towards sexual relationships. This is in dire contrast to men, who given far more freedom to enjoy sexual relations without the fear of criticism and tarnished reputations. Women are encouraged, arguably even pressured by society and their peers, to attract as many members of the opposite sex with hundreds of pounds being spent on vanity and clothes annually, from hairspray and cosmetics to high heels. Yet when women act on these impulses, they are ostracised.

Sites such as Uni. Lad and Lad Bible encourage university males to engage in as much commitment-free sexual relations as possible whilst women are condemned for such behaviour.  In universities, social networking sites share stories of those they have overheard, many commentators express hatred and derogatory comments at women who are either enjoying sexual relations or wanting to do so. Slut-shaming websites with daily visits from UK and US viewers publish pictures of women coming back after a night spent with a member of the opposite sex daily, intending to shame women and portray them in a negative light.

This stigmatisation may result in little-reported bullying, whether it is verbal, online or violent. One such victim is Annie*, a student at a leading university in the UK, who faced condemnation after engaging in sexual relations with numerous men in her student accommodation and became the victim of verbal and even internet abuse from her peers for her liberal attitude to sex. This culminated in her being ostracised from her social circle and removal from second year housing. Yet the men she engaged with seemed to have escaped from the stigmatisation easily, without their reputation being left in tatters.

Perhaps there should be more done to remove the stigma of female promiscuity. Protests such as Slut Walk, a campaign against slut-shaming and victim-blaming should be globalised, and women should fight for their rights. After all, we didn’t get the vote just by sitting at home did we?

Britain and the Western World priding itself on tolerant attitude towards women’s sexuality? I beg to differ…




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