By the time girls get to eighth grade, they start monitoring sexual behavior of others.In addition almost 70 percent of students have undergone some sort of non-physical sexual harassment, inclusive of "slut bashing" in middle and high school, states a new study.
According to Maureen McHugh, a professor of psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, "slut bashing", which means spreading sexual rumours about other females, may have long-term consequences like decreased self-esteem, depression or even suicide.
A 10-year-old girl called a "slut" by her classmates in Illinois, committed suicide on 11th November this year.
However, McHugh also said that girls and women who are labelled sluts may not even be sexually active.
"Many claim there is no sexual double standard anymore but levels of slut bashing suggest double standards still operate. Slut bashing is a common social practice," McHugh said.
"However, it becomes apparent immediately that the label slut is not really about objecting to the sexual behaviour of a girl, but is used as a weapon to hurt girls and women. It is frequently not about the sexual behaviour of the target. It is a weapon used by girls in adolescence to hurt other girls. It is a form of relational aggression.
"Why the label slut among adolescent girls who are probably not sexually active? Because negative attitudes towards female sexuality give the label slut power. According to students, the label is applied to someone of whom they are jealous, someone they don't like or are angry with," she added.