Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Sexologist: Don’t you dare slut-shame the Wingettes

Gallery: Wingettes of Wing Bowl XX

When asked whether I am offended by the Wing Bowl Wingettes from my perspective as a feminist sex-positive sexologist, my first response was, ‘the what bowl? What is that, a football thing?’ Apparently I’ve been living in a debauchery-deprived cave.

The Wing Bowl is a Philadelphia tradition in which contestants engage in a buffalo wing eating contest, stuffing their faces with greasy chicken while drunk spectators and Wingettes - women dressed in corsets, hot pants, tube tops, and fishnets cheer them on.

I feel the same way about Wing Bowl Wingettes as I do about the tradition of women dressing up as a sexy ______ (fill in the blank: fairy, nurse, school girl, bumble bee, whatever) on Halloween, or any other occasion where women dress up publically in revealing and sexually provocative outfits, and that is-- you go girl!

You see, I’m a big proponent of freedom of sexual expression, and if a woman wants to wear nipple tassels and cheer at a wing eating contest, that’s her prerogative. If she wants to wear midriff bearing shirts with cleavage at the Wells Fargo Center: good for her. If she wants to rock black stilettos and hot pink fishnet stockings: all the power to her.

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  • Feminist sex-positivity is about freedom for each individual to choose to express their sexuality as they see fit, and we can’t live in a sex-positive society until we refrain from trying to repress the sexuality of others with our judgment. Therefore, I have no problem with the women who make up the Wingettes.

    I do however have a problem with the people who are slut-shaming the Wingettes. What is slut-shaming? Slut-shaming is a sociological term used often in the field of sexology to describe the phenomenon of socially punishing women who express their sexuality through shaming, ridiculing, ostracizing, disrespecting, and name calling (such as calling her a “slut”, the namesake of the phenomenon). Slut-shaming is the antithesis of sex-positivity and it’s the bane of my existence as a sexologist and as woman for that matter.

    So no, I don’t have a problem with the Wingettes, but I do have a BIG problem with people calling them sluts, whores, tramps, and every other word designed solely to try to police women’s sexuality and bully them into repression, like the Philadelphia blogger (to whom I won’t give the honor of a link back) who wrote “Ahh yes, the infamous Wingette, a title any father would be proud to have his daughter hold. What they lack in brains they clearly make up for in whorishness. What do the Wingettes do again? Oh, that’s right: Slut it up.”

    Why can’t a woman be sexy and have brains? Why couldn’t a father be proud? And do women have nothing else to aspire to that pleasing their fathers anyway?

    “Every whore in the stands goal to get their tits on the big screen” said one commenter in an online forum. “Sluts is an understatement,” wrote another.

    Not cool slut-shamers, not cool. Wingettes: do your thing.

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    Dr. Jill McDevitt is a nationally recognized sexologist, and the only person in the world with a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in human sexuality, making her the most formally educated person about sex on the planet. Dr. Jill has reached a documented 8.1 million people in her relentless promotion of the idea that sex should be fun, and everyone has the right to enjoy their sexuality without fear of violence. She founded Feminique, her sex education business, at just 21 years old.

    Dr. Jill McDevitt thesexologist.org
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