The political reaction to “slut” was opportunistic, of course, but it worked with a lot of women because — apparently, even in this age of sexual liberation and “slut pride” — women are still somehow deeply affected by charges of wanton and undiscriminating sexual behavior. This might even account for the importance of the contraceptive issue, because mandated contraceptive coverage may be seen as representing not just a modest monetary benefit, but also perhaps some sort of societal validation. I would have thought that a strong independent woman wouldn’t need a stamp of societal approval for her choices, but apparently I would have been wrong. I leave it to the evolutionary-psych folks to work out why the “slut” charge retains such power in liberated times.There is no need to resort to the ESS fairy tales of evo-psych, as Game suffices to explain the phenomenon that Instapundit is observing. Freed from the cultural restraints of a civilization that prioritized marriage and child-rearing, women were "liberated" to pursue their hypergamous, serially monogamous instincts and politically empowered to legally enforce their instinctive desire for resource security.
Apparently, however, it is especially wrong to “slut-shame” even though lefties feel no compunction about shaming people regarding other personal choices — from not recycling to owning an SUV to, worst of all, being a Republican. As I say, there’s something more going on here. And if the “shaming” part of slut-shaming isn’t bad, because shaming is fine in other contexts, then it must be the “slut” part.
There’s a very real kind of sexual insecurity underlying this, it seems to me. Very odd, after so many decades of liberation. Perhaps some of the ev-psych bloggers will comment.
However, such changes don't happen in a vaccuum. As the sexual marketplace changed, male behavior also changed. So, not only are there fewer men now deemed marriageable, but those fewer men face significent negative incentives to marry. As per the law of supply and demand, the "price" of a husband of even moderate socio-sexual rank has gone up due to the decline in the supply.
One of the most highly valued aspects of a wife is a low N-count. This is instinctively preferred by most men, and indeed, there is considerable statistical evidence that such women make for higher quality wives who come with considerably less risk of divorce. So, as the percentage of divorces increases, the importance of wife possessing a low-N count increases in line with it as a statistical indicator of fidelity. We haven't reached the point where virginity is a requirement, but the trends are generally pointing in that direction.
This means that for a woman to receive the slut label, she is also being served with a quasi-death sentence for her expectation of marrying a man with high socio-sexual status. Indeed, it reduces her chances of any marriage at all. This is why women with even a moderate amount of sexual experience, almost without exception, will lie about the true extent of that experience. They feel justified in doing so because their future lifestyle, as well as the lifestyle of their theoretical children, often depends upon it.
I estimate that a slut designation reduces a woman's marital rating between three and four points in men's eyes; it's roughly comparable to her being 30 pounds overweight. In other words, a slut who is a perfect 10 is probably just a little more attractive as a wife than the average woman, which means that she isn't going to be seriously considered as a marriage prospect by the high-rank men who would normally be her natural counterparts. The problem is that a slut designation doesn't reduce her attractiveness as a short-term sexual partner, it probably increases it by one or two points instead, so many young women who aren't initially looking to be married happily throw themselves into Alpha-chasing and ride the carousel for a few years only to be upset when they subsequently discover they will probably have to settle for marrying men of lower socio-sexual status than the men whose attentions they had been previously enjoying.