Twitter is currently tackling an issue that is constantly overlooked, even in feminist circles. It's about STI's an the stigma attached to having conditions like herpes that can't be cured. Stigma around HIV has been discussed, but what about the conditions that aren't life threatening but basically get you labeled as a sexual deviant? Or, if you're a woman, any number of gender-based, whorephobic slurs?
STI stigma has also long been used as a weapon to further oppress marginalized and vulnerable people. It hurts, not helps. #shoutyourstatus— Scarleteen (@Scarleteen) April 8, 2016
I myself haven't thought much on this issue at all, being one of the lucky ones with no indication of an STI. But it's definitely true that my lack of illness associated with sexual contact has nothing to do with integrity or intelligence or any positive attribute. In fact, my low number of sexual partners has everything to do with my mental illness. And I regret that said mental illness prevented me from having a lot of experiences that could have helped me grow as a person. I don't at all think of myself as better than those who weren't hampered by fear and trauma and who had the self-confidence, self-love, and adventurous spirit to do what they wanted to do.
The idea that oral herpes is tied to sexual deviance comes from a pharm company's fear campaign in 1980s to sell ointment. #shoutyourstatus— Beth Elderkin (@BethElderkin) April 8, 2016
One of the tweets I've seen under this tag pointed out that herpes, a highly stigmatized STI, is nothing more than a skin condition. And it's true! All it does is create some bumps or sores sometimes. I have eczema and I get little skin sore things on my skin if I don't change my bath pouf often enough. Does that make me a gross, immoral person? Sometimes I get ingrown pubic hairs that cause a painful bump near my genitals. Am I disgusting?
Most people have an STI. The CDC confirms this. That probably includes you or someone you love. #ShoutYourStatus pic.twitter.com/v8QfTjypoF— Britni de la Cretaz (@britnidlc) April 8, 2016
As always, STI's carry far more stigma for women than men, because men are allowed to sleep around and women are not. Nevermind the fact that you don't have to have sex to get an STI and you can get one from having sex with just one person who either didn't know or lied about it. And as we should all know, condom use is not 100 percent effective. But regardless, the vast majority of STI's are no big deal and none of them should carry any kind of stigma. You don't stigmatize people for catching colds, so don't stigmatize people for catching gonorrhea. Stop shitting on women for having sex.
#ShoutYourStatus [TW] You can tell me to my face that my STD is my fault for being raped when I was an underage virgin. Go ahead. I'll wait.— Ana Mardoll (@AnaMardoll) April 8, 2016
Ouch, that's gotta hurt, sex shamers.