Debbie Archer was my first big crush. I was 11 and she was 14. I wasn’t her only admirer. There was something about her, poise. maturity, the impression (looking back nearly 50 years on) that when most of her contemporaries were still girls, she was well on the way to becoming a woman. And I didn’t just admire her from a distance. She played cello in the school orchestra and I played descant recorder which meant I sat directly behind her and we talked a lot, sometimes I got to sit next to her on the coach when we travelled to play concerts. I ran errands for her, passed on messages, was a sort of confidant. Even at the age of 11 I knew that she was using me but I didn’t care. Serving her was its own reward.
Then there were the boys in Debbie’s year. She used and manipulated them too. Some of them didn’t like it. Debbie acquired a reputation. It was said, quietly at first, then louder and more openly, that she was a slag. A section of the girls turned on her. It is said that slut-shaming is a patriarchal device to control women. Yet women play their full part in policing and condemning other women. School was no different. Yet I remained loyal and took a fierce pride in my devotion to a girl who was despised by so many.
I think I last saw Debbie in 1974. I quickly forgot about her. As you get older memories come back for no apparent reason and it was a few months ago that I took out my recorders for the first time in age and began to play them. And there she was before me, in her school blazer and green pleated skirt. And I began to reflect again on the ugliness of slut shaming.
I had actually been giving it a bit of thought. before then. After all as a woman who likes sex, and is always open to casual encounters, how could I not? I decided to claim the word slag as a badge of pride and had this tattoo done.
The tag is humorous and my lovely artist Kerry totally loved designing it and putting it on my skin bit it is also deadly serious. I like sex, I like casual sex, I sleep around (if I get the chance lol) and I am proud to call myself a slag. And I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks. I don’t.
This tattoo is also about solidarity. Solidarity with women who are shamed and stigmatised, and worse, for liking sex, solidarity with women I have known. That includes you Debbie. When others turned on you I remained loyal. This is for you.
A post for Wicked Wednesday. Follow this linkfor more wickedness