At the Daily Beast, radical feminist Amanda Marcotte is upset that someone would name a new Elizabeth Banks movie “Walk of Shame.” There should be no such thing, she insists. Ban it from the English language! No one should ever feel bad for a bar-night bump-and-run.
She rejects the spin phrase “stride of pride,” but then goes on to make it worse: “Instead of acting like they’re regrettable mistakes, why not start thinking of one-night stands as one-off adventures, or, at worst, important learning experiences?”
Naturally, “Always Smelling Sexism” Amanda thinks women are subjected to “unfair mixed messages,” that they need a boyfriend as “paramount to their existence,” and “Then they go out and do exactly as they’re told to do—get pretty, go out, and attract boys—and then when nature takes its course, we fling the word “shame” at them.”
Just as obviously, conservatives aren’t “realistic” to hope women don’t have one-night stands. They're cartoons who don't like sex or consider it normal: "most people, men and women, expect sex to be a part of a premarital dating life these days. As they should, since sex is, no matter how many on the right live in denial, a normal and healthy part of life."
The problem with this is that attaching all this shame to sex does end up hurting people. If women feel that being known as sexually active is shameful, odds are high that they’re going to have trouble speaking frankly with their partners and their medical professionals about their sexual health needs. [Like one-night-stand-related abortions.]
If our reaction to public acknowledgement of sex is to stare at our feet and blush, the conversation about having to use a condom is going to be that much harder to have. If we encourage women to think they should be embarrassed to encounter someone they had a one-night stand with—or worse, to run away in shame—then what’s going to happen if they need to notify that person if they come down with STI symptoms? The “walk of shame” may sound like just a cutesy phrase, but it points to larger attitudes that feed actual public health problems.
A better solution is to stop treating sex like it’s shameful, and instead speak openly about how it’s a normal part of life. Yes, even one-night stands...
Why does the walk home after a sexual encounter need a name at all? We don’t have special names for the walk home from a party or the walk home from brunch or the walk home from a shopping trip.
The best way to reclaim the “walk of shame” is to simply drop the concept of shame from it. You had a good night. Now you’re taking a walk. There doesn’t really need to be any more to it, does there?