She's just a slut": the effect of language on the perceived value and worth of women "

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Communication


Department of Communication


Advisor: Teresa L. Thompson


This study examines the word slut" and its impact on the way 638 participants perceived an individual woman. Two test groups were established using a survey that briefly describes a fictional woman named "Stacy." Test group B received a survey that contained the word "slut/slutty" in reference to "Stacy," whereas Test Group A received a survey that contained the words "flirt/flirty" in reference to Stacy. Using a semantic differential scale that featured 20 word pairings, this study examined the likelihood that participants who were exposed to the word "slut" perceived "Stacy" more negatively than those who were not. Results show that the participants who were exposed to the word "slut" did perceive "Stacy" somewhat more negatively overall and in relation to word pairings that were both specifically related to promiscuity and specifically unrelated to promiscuity. The implications of these findings are discussed within a Symbolic Interactionalist framework and conclusions are made about the impact on society at large."


Discrimination in language, Symbolic interactionism, Slut (The English word), Communication, Womens Studies, Slut, Symbolic Interactionism, Muted Group Theory, Victim Blaming, Slut Shaming, Women

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2016, author