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Shaming and bullying have been present in human society since the dawn of civilization. It seems like people always tried to chastise those different from them or those that stand out from the majority. At the same time, it seems like the times of superstition and unreasonable prejudice are over, with the religion and otherwise oppressive or limiting ideology not being predominant. However, people still live in times of bullying and social shaming for things that appear to be rather common nowadays. Emily Lindin’s short documentary UnSlut demonstrates this phenomenon very well by showcasing how sexual shaming and stigmatizing only gets magnified in the modern age of the internet as well as technological and ideological progress.
Emily Lindin wrote and directed her short documentary UnSlut in 2015, yet the project has been in existence since around 2013. At that time, Lindin has rediscovered her teenage diaries that outlined her struggle with being labeled as a slut since she was 11 years old. The suicides of several teenage girls in the United States and Canada that had similar experiences largely added up to her inspiration (“The UnSlut Project: how sexual bullying ruined my childhood”). Given the context, the film becomes only a small portion of the impact of Emily Lindin’s work. Still, it is impossible to underestimate this impact, especially considering how much the film manages to tell within its relatively short time span.
In about 40 minutes, Emily Lindin’s UnSlut documentary manages to tell six stories of girls labeled as sluts without any appropriate reason or context. The film outlines the incidents that led to that labeling, providing a rather deep insight into the whole matter. In essence, what Lindin is trying to tell the viewer is that victim-blaming today is a more common thing than it seems. The story of every girl presented in the film involves sexual assault of some sort and the consequent shaming and bullying. One of the stories even led to the suicide of a girl being bullied (“UnSlut: A Documentary Film”). This makes the matter of social blaming of women for their sexuality more than serious and showcases the defunct nature of the moral compass of modern society.
The main problem of the shaming and blaming of women over their sexuality in modern society is that it has a largely self-causing nature. One of the greatest influence forces in the world today is social media. The thing about social media is that it has a very strong tendency to disclose large amounts of personal information to numerous people at once. At the same time, modern trends often cling to sexualization and objectification, especially of women. Looking “sexy” is considered overall positive and appropriate for women.
On the other hand, however, human society is still bound to certain cultural norms that pose huge constraints not only to the self-expression of many young people but also to their normal life. One of such norms is religion. While seemingly being archaic and unnecessary today, religion still has a serious influence on people, sometimes leading them to rather radical decisions and actions. As it has been provided in Lindin’s film, religion sees the world in a black-and-white fashion, unarguably taking women who wear certain clothing or behave in a certain way as “whores” (“UnSlut: A Documentary Film”). This, in turn, frequently leads to bullying, harassment, and other offending situations. With the thrive of being perfect (also courtesy of social media), many girls simply fail to meet the expectations of society, seeing their life useless, pathetic, and unnecessary. What follows next is one of many reasons Emily Lindin created the UnSlut project and film in the first place.
Thus, despite its short timeframe, Emily Lindin’s UnSlut: A Documentary Film manages to showcase some great issues faced by human society. The 21st century appears to be the age of ultimate progress, yet this progress apparently omits the moral compass that humanity has developed. Women are still being pushed around, limited, and sexualized, this time in a rather twisted and perverted manner. Although the effort to stop this has already been made, society appears to be quite far from the final goal, without even mentioning reverting the damage already done.
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Lindin, Emily. "The Unslut Project: How Sexual Bullying Ruined My Childhood". The Guardian, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/21/unslut-project-against-sexual-bullying.
Lindin, Emily. Unslut: A Documentary Film. The Unslut Project, 2015.
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