Stampede Cheating and Slut Shaming

Wow, here I thought I wouldn’t be writing about Stampede this year, and that scandal had passed us by.  Looks like I was wrong.  As I was listening to the radio, on my way to do some book I writing I heard the tale.  Today, there was a woman standing on a very busy street corner, with a cardboard signing that read “I cheated on my boyfriend at Stampede this is my punishment”.  The woman was dressed in oversized clothes, a hat is covering her eyes, and the sign blocks most of her.  Obviously, I have some thoughts. 

I try very hard not to make an knee jerk reaction until I can find out as many facts as I possibly can.  Was this a stunt for publicity?  Was this simply attention seeking behaviour for a little fame?  Was this, perhaps, just a dare or a bet?  The skeptic in me asks as I delve into the research.  And then, I realized, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is the public reaction to this woman, standing on the corner, obviously hiding as much of herself as possible.  Whatever the motivations behind, in that moment, she projects shame, and guilt.  The word cheated is underlined.  The busy street corner catches commuter on their way to work.  This is a statement that impacts an incredibly large amount of people.  And the comment section on Reddit did its very best to show pretty much every possible reaction to this incident. 

The rallying cries of foul are plenty.  Slut shaming at it’s finest.  The cynics call say it is all a rouse to get her out of the house to pack up her stuff, and change the locks.  And whatever the fallout is as a result, one thing is clear, this is that particular relationships price of admission.  You cheat, you are shamed and humiliated.  Agree with it or not, public airing of the dirtiest of laundry has occurred. 

In my true balanced nature I ask you to pretend that this was a male standing on the street corner instead of a female.  My gut reaction is that if it was a male, he would be in physical danger.  I truly believe that people would be throwing things at him, sneering, and the temptation to “nudge” him with their vehicle would be strong.  Whether the same risks existed for the female are not initially clear, I do believe that we have a stronger opinion to a female cheating in hindsight, and a stronger physical urge to act when it comes to a male.  If you find out a male has cheated, you want to slap them or kick them in the nuts.  You have a physical urge to even the playing field.  With women, it’s different.  We are cruel.  We use words like slut, and whore, and all sorts of vile sneers and snickers. 

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I wrote about the differences in our societal reactions between males and females cheating in this post, and while it did not make me popular with the female in question, I think it still holds water.   We have a clear gender bias when it comes to cheating.  Take for example the Stampede slut a few years back.  She was a woman who basically had to own the sexual act and capitalize on it rather than become swallowed up in the scorn and shame.  No one asks about the men in question, and there were two in the act, and one filming, so I guess 3 technically.  Did they lose their jobs?  Were they all single?  What level of societal shame did we place on them?  Oh, that’s right, they were opportunistic males.  So they got a pass.  She took fame by the horns, and they just slipped quietly into the night.  The same is true for the person this woman cheated with.  His picture is not on the cardboard sign, he is not standing with her in solidarity, he is nowhere to be found (if it is a he, which I assume, only because a female to female cheating scenario would have received a jovial hi five and entered into the spank bank).  

I think we all can agree that this relationship is doomed.  Tit for tat relationships are not sustainable.  Public shaming is something we do not as a society accept.  We believe we have evolved beyond the Roman games at the coliseum.  Slut shaming is not something we should be proud to do in a public forum.  And make no mistake, that is exactly what this boyfriend is doing to his girlfriend.  He has brought her shame out into the limelight, and that is deplorable.  There is no balance in that behaviour, and the relationship will not survive. 

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It’s Calgary’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth Time Again!

Stampede the Greatest Show on Earth

Yes, that’s right, it is time for my annual post celebrating everything that I love about Stampede, from the sluts, to the men in tight jeans, and of course the ability to drink without shame at pretty much anytime of the day!  If you are like many of my readers who have yet to experience the Calgary Stampede, I can honestly tell you that it would be worth checking out at least once in your life.  From the rodeo, to the grandstand, rides, live music and parades, there is something for pretty much everyone.  And did I mention the booze?  Because, yes, there is a lot of it!

Now one of the first things you will notice is the daisy dukes and cowboy hats.  Next, you will probably notice that the entire city transforms into a western wonderland, ripe with window painting of horses, chuckwagons and everything that can wear a cowboy hat.  And if you want to sit down for a moment, why not try one of the hay bales found pretty much everywhere?  While you take a seat, enjoy the street performers and more enticing to me is the incredible people watching.  It’s basically one big party, where young and old celebrate this incredible 10 day festival.  I actually tear up the first time I see the rides each year, and smell that intoxicating scent of mini donuts!  Our community comes together, united by western pride, and it is freaking awesome.

Over the years I have written posts about stampede sluts, dress code, and one lamenting the first and only Stampede I have ever missed.  And while I never tire of the Stampede, I have watched so many of my fellow Calgarians poo-poo the Stampede.  They see the gross underbelly of our little festival.  The extreme expense, the same ole thing year after year, and the infuriating influx of tourists on our roadways.  I get it, it can be frustrating.  But, as the eternal optimist, I see the power that the stampede has.  And the incredible way that brings people together.  For nearly a decade every time I went to the grounds I would run into my first childhood friend.  It was never planned, and was equally exciting to both of us each and every time we saw each other.  And if you consider that the grounds can get upwards of 100’000 people per day, it truly is serendipitous that something like that could happen.

I love watching my city transform for those few days.  And I love the sense of pride in seeing my city rally together to celebrate this annual time of year.  And of course, I love the freedom to dress as slutty as I want so long as I have added some sort of western flair.  It’s an outdoor event!  And it’s great… and I love it!  So go, Woop it up!  And give a little Yee Haw to your fellow cowboy or cowgirl.  So, go hog wild, have some fun.  And please, if you hook up with someone new, please practice safe sex, because I don’t want to have to keep writing posts about infidelity and STI’s in the aftermath of Stampede!

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Stampede “Prosti-tots”: Adult Perception Skews Their Intent

Well, this is my story about how that happens.  When I was in Jr. High, my best friend and I were given permission to go to stampede together, without adult supervision.  We were so excited, and had our outfits picked out weeks ahead of schedule.  We planned every matching detail, from the hat, to the braided hair, “shirt” and shoes.  Now I put “shirt” in quotations because the year prior there was a fad that was starting to take hold.  And that fad was bandanas for shirts.  Yes, you read that correctly, we had decided that we were going to look so cool wearing bandanas for shirts, jeans and cowboy boots. It was perfect for a number of reasons.  We would be at the height of fashion, we already owned bandanas and the most important to us, was that we would be comfortable in the heat that always accompanies the grounds (plus 35 Celsius most days). 

If this very strange term is new to you, here is a quick definition, “a prepubescent girl (generally 10-14 years of age) who emulates the overtly sexual fashions and attitudes of twenty-something women such as pop stars” (Urban Dictionary).  And I think it is safe to say that during Stampede week, we have all seen a young girl who has fit this description.  It has made many a man uncomfortable and more than a few women glare in disgust.  I mean how could parents ever let their daughters go to Stampede dressed so provocatively?

So here we were, the morning of Stampede getting dressed at our parents houses in our little make shift tops without a care in the world, then off we went to the exhibition.  To be fair to our parents, I am fairly sure we wore hoodies while leaving the house because it is chilly in the morning so they were none the wiser to our attire.  I can also tell you that I know I was not developed in the breast area, and I cannot for the life of me remember if my best friend was or not.  We genuinely felt amazing in our trendy “shirts” and we strutted all day long with Calgarian young girl pride.  I remember a glance or two that felt a little weird, however, we were both incredibly innocent and appropriately naïve so we figured they were just jealous which is a natural pre-teen reaction.

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We dressed trendy to be cool and comfortable.  We even brought sunblock and re-applied every 3 hours to ensure that our delicate skin was protected.  There was NOTHING sexual in our minds when we chose our outfits.  And that is the honest truth.  And yet, looking back, we were the very definition of prosti-tots.  We were those girls who I can only assume were making those around us uncomfortable.  And the thing is, if we had locked eyes with any man getting excited or blushing, we would have laughed in his face and walked away. 

I am aware that today’s young girls are exposed to a much wider range of social media and fashion trends that I was not.  I after all was in Jr High quite a few years prior to the social media or smart phone age.  So, my only exposure to anything socially relevant was the occasional copy of 17 magazine or Cosmo.  In fact, as I mentioned we (my best friend and I) saw a lady the year before wearing a bandana, thought to ourselves that she looked so cool, that we waited a whole year to emulate her.  It was a form of flattery if nothing else.  And we thought we were cool enough to wear clothing that made us look trendy and feel great.  If we were mature enough to go to the grounds alone, we were “adult” enough to wear what we wanted.  We never once thought that we were “slutting” it up to go pick up guys or get attention.

Now for the take away, I believe in a sex positive society.  I also believe that children and youth should never be sexualized or viewed with adult eyes or their biases.  I was a young girl, and I made a completely innocent fashion choice because I yearned to be cool and trendy.  I can tell you that if anyone had scolded or scoffed in my face that day nearly 20 years ago I would have been mortified, and then rapidly defiant!  I was innocent of the sexual perversions of adults and I am grateful that I grew up in an environment where I was safe to make these mistakes.  I cannot speak for the youth of today, but perhaps take a moment before you glare at a young girl/boy for exposing more than you yourself are comfortable with and just look away rather than parent them.  Let children be children.  And remember that we all made mistakes when we were young.  Stop calling these youth “prosti-tots” or any of the other sexualized terms of the day.  And take those first steps to acknowledging that you have a biased mindset as a sexual adult, and that skewed perspective can do much more harm than good when projected towards a young child.

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Slutty Girls of Stampede AKA The Stampede Slut

 

Last stampede, the big headline was the alley way threesome, which involved a leaked video of 2 men, tag teaming a woman.  She became the Stampede Slut and took my top 3 Google search place of the same name.  I followed this story with much curiosity from Italy, as I was on vacation and missing my very first Stampede in 30 some years.  Now here is the thing, this woman earned her title, and deserved displacing my ranking.  I write about being a slut with pride, and this woman took it to a whole new level.  A quick search will tell you all you need to know about these events, and you can probably still find the now infamous video.  The take away from this, is that the woman owned what she did.  Getting fired and having her booty all over the internet was probably not planned, but instead of hiding, suing everyone in sight, and or curling up into a little ball in her basement, this woman took a much tougher path.  She owned it.  She admitted it was her, and even started capitalizing on the incident by making appearances at various strip clubs over the following months.

So here’s what I take away from this.  This woman owned the title slut.  And she made slut a word of power.  That is an incredibly hard feat to do.  I commend her for managing this, despite all the criticism, cruelty and backlash that she received.  With head held high, she embodied the word slut.  She did what very few women would dream of doing.  Whether you agree or not with her public show (which I would argue was sort of secluded in an alley), she pushed a boundary.  Again, she took control, she kept her power, and she was not a victim.

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Please don’t be thinking that my sex tape is going to be next, based on this post.  I will not be writing erotica to go along side my pictures, as it is just not my style.  The reality is, her event during last Stampede, could have harmed my work and my freedom.  If this woman had cried victim and started slut shaming, my follow up post would have been one screaming at her for setting women back yet again.  Thankfully, I get to reap some rewards.  She became the outlier.  She blasted through a societal norm and it allowed me just a little more play in my writing exploration.  She reset the shock value calculator, so I gain more freedom of speech. 

So thank you, stampede slut, for helping push the societal norm just a little farther.  I hope now for a little less uptight crowd, and maybe just a little less tisking from elderly women when I strut around in my pretty pink chaps!  Well everywhere but on the grounds, because apparently, they are cracking down on dress code that is not family friendly… for shame!  I embrace being searched as a positive female character, who is trying to embrace the word slut with dignity.  It is not a title I think fits my lifestyle, but it is one that I feel women need to use without shame if they so choose.  May the walk of shame be forever in your past, and your walk of sexual freedom be in your future.  Happy Stampede ladies!

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One Less Stampede Cowgirl This Year

Stampede Slut

I have been to stampede nearly every year of my life.  I cannot guarantee I was there as infant as I couldn’t be asked to remember such things, but as far as my working memory goes, my record is perfect.  I have attended as a little tike, enjoying the parade and all the aspects children can see right on up to adulthood.  Whereby I took my experience to a more adult level, including bars, pub crawls, and every aspect of debauchery that are expected as a seasoned Calgarian.   I have written posts about our Stampede centennial and in celebration of the Stampede slut.  However this year, I am writing from afar. 

I am missing my first Stampede to go on an international trip with my sweetheart.  And I wasn’t bothered by this until today.  I am really going to miss having a beer by 8 am with friends.  To the numerous stampede breakfasts, the midway, and general celebrations this city engages in.  Mostly though, I am going to miss the dress code!  I love dressing up in my best stampede wear.  I love the short shorts, the denim, the chaps, and the men in cowboy hats.  I love the tight jeans, the belt buckles and the general abundance of plaid.  Only for these 10 days can people from far and wide do plaid sexy.  And I love it!

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For years I have said just how lucky Calgary is to be able to dress slutty twice a year.  Halloween and again during Stampede.  Sex is in the air and it is invigorating.  As someone who promotes sexually positive attitudes I am missing my Mecca.  The holy land of tight, and a little bit trashy, filled with a boozy hue in the air it is for me, true freedom.  I can make choices to drink, party, and flirt my little butt off.  Or to just dress the part and put myself on a little personal parade.  The choice is there, and unless there are some ladies who are giving a disgruntled tsk tsk, the environment is generally accepting. 

I face a lot controversy on a regular basis with my online dating profiles, and a bit in my personal life as a result of writing this blog.  Some days it can really be a struggle to keep my head held high.  But during these 10 days, I feel confident.  There is comraderey in the fact that so many are engaging in their own deviant behavior during these 10 days.  I get to hear stories from so many  about their previous Stampede adventures in all their scandalous glory.  Why?  Because we give each other a pass for these 10 days.  It is not just me, sharing my crazy life, but getting to hear from friends who allowed themselves to be crazy.  To get in touch with their inner slutty selves.  And more importantly to be a little proud of making their own memories. 

Stampede, I am missing you.  

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