Sunday, December 16, 2018

SLUT: THE PLAY: Nymphets Re-Claim Slut Status


On the cover of the book Slut: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence, which was published by the Feminist Press of my alma mater, The City College of New York, Gloria Steinem opined: “SLUT is truthful, raw, and immediate! Experience this play and witness what American young women live with every day.

Playwright Katie Cappiello and Meg McInerney wrote in the book that during the sessions to develop the play at The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company in New York City, the word slut kept coming out of the mouths of the twenty East Coast high school students. For example: “I feel like a slut.”, “I was dressed all slutty.”, and “Haha. Oh my [G]od, you’re a dirty little slut!” 

Cappiello and McInerney wrote: “There’s an attempt being made by girls and young women across the country to reclaim the word. Being a “slut” means you’re sexy, fun, experimental, willing, popular, wanted, “fuckable” [...]”

Cappiello and McInerney shared that Slut: The Play is: “[...] authentic, nuanced, and hard-hitting.” And that: “[...] everything in this play is inspired by real events.”

(During the sessions about seven of the nymphets admitted that they had experienced sexual assault, which is probably inaccurate, because most victims of sexual assault don’t share their experiences. However, Cappiello and McInerney referenced a study that found that: “Eighty-one percent of kids and teens experience sexual harassment during middle school or high school years.”)


In the play, Joey (Winnifred Bonjean Alpart), a sixteen-year-old, was forcibly “fingered” in the back of a cab. “Luke is grabbing my other leg … Pulling my leg to the side, so my, um, legs would be more open [...] Then George all of a sudden really aggressively pulls my underwear to the side and jammed two of his fingers inside me [...] Then he (Luke) put two of his fingers in his mouth [...] and then he stuck his wet fingers in my vagina” 

However, Joey is “slut-shamed” for the incident, because an online picture of Joey suggested that she was giving George a lap dance in the back of the cab and a picture of her tasting fruit flavored condoms implied that she planned to give George and Luke “blow jobs”. Joey defended her raunchy behavior by proclaiming, “And we aren’t afraid to be sexual. If all that makes us sluts, then I guess we’re sluts.” 


Some motifs in the play, that’s set on the Upper East Side, are: cursing (e.g., “Ugh - fucking nasty.”), drinking (e.g., vodka), name-calling (e.g., “You don’t let a guy hook up with you when you have your period. Is she [thirteen-year-old Nadia Boyd] retarded? [...] Is she mentally challenged?”), raunchy teen behavior (e.g.,“[...] George once followed me into the bathroom and locked the door and wouldn’t let me out until I gave him a hand job. True story. I didn’t tell anyone. We ended up going out for, like, five months....”), rape (e.g., While visiting her brother, a college junior, Sylvie, a sixteen-year-old high school junior and virgin, shared, "The second night I was there, I was raped [...] College parties are fucking ridiculous, okay.”



The actual text of Cappiello’s Slut: The Play wasn’t as revealing as some of the submissions in the chapter “Reality Check From Young Voices”. For example, Sonia, a fifteen-year-old sophomore from a small town in Pennsylvania shared: “We [My boyfriend and I] had been dating for a little over a month, when I asked him what he wanted for this sixteenth birthday. All he wanted from me was a blow job. [...] “Fine! I’ll give my boyfriend head because I’d rather that than him yell at me again.”

Fred, a thirteen-year-old, shared: “I started watching porn halfway through fifth grade. I had just begun middle school, and befriended a lot of kids in the seventh and eighth grade. Sometimes when I hung out with them they would make jokes about the porn they watched, referencing certain sites.”


Sixteen-year-old Clare wrote that her doorman “grabbed” her, “pulled” her into him, and “grabbed” her breast before he said, “I want a piece of this.” However, her neighbors paid his legal fees and opined that Clare was “[...] leading him on, or teasing him, or trying to ruin his life.”

And seventeen-year-old Danielle related: “I go to this typical Jewish summer camp, where promiscuous behavior is practically encouraged and cultivated [...] with no parental supervision, there are lots of sexual firsts for everyone [...] There is one girl in particular, Georgia, who is really petite and very pretty [...] Josh and another boy coerced - basically forced - Georgia to give them blow jobs, while others filmed it on their phones.”




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