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British Psych. Society Defends Use of the word "Slut" To Refer to Clients

4W Staff
4W Staff

The British Psychological Association (BPS) is under fire after encouraging psychologists to use "culturally specific or reclaimed" terms to refer to clients at their request, which included the word "slut."

On January 6, Australian Psychotherapist Tania Marshall tweeted out a screenshot of a section from a BPS professional guideline pamphlet. The snippet was encouraging BPS member psychologists to "use the preferred language of gender, sexuality, and relationship diverse people" in a professional setting.

Marshall highlighted a few sections of concern but the reference to "reclaimed terms," including the word "slut," gained the most attention. Many questioned why it would be necessary to validate such an identity without concerns about where such a self-applied label originated from.

In the replies, Marshall goes on to state, "I don’t know who wrote this. I’m curious how the @BPSOfficial can explain in what situation is referring to your client as a ‘slut’ would be therapeutically beneficial?"

The post quickly gained attention, and within an hour, the official account for BPS responded, stating that the term was "long established psychological/psychotherapeutic practice" and was in line with guidance. They went on to state that the term "slut" had been reclaimed by feminists.

The response rapidly attracted hundreds of confused comments from women and feminists, most replies echoing the question asked by one user by the handle of La Scapigliata who stated, "Two scenarios in which a patient might demand a HCP refer to them as "slut" - a traumatised woman or a male fetishist. In either scenario it is unacceptable. "

Dr. Jessica Taylor, a feminist psychologist and bestselling author, also replied to the BPS today, noting that the word had been used to oppress women and had "definitely not been 'reclaimed.'"

As of this article, the BPS's defense of their wording has gathered over 465 overwhelmingly negative comments, and over 200 furious retweets.


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