Women are strong! Except they wilt when they are called names!

Tough and enduring, save for when harsh words fly.

Steadfast and unyielding, until they wilt or shatter from the mean things people say.

Feminists are Greek columns made of styrofoam; a Potemkin village of bicycled fish.

The political reaction to “slut” was opportunistic, of course, but it worked with a lot of women because — apparently, even in this age of sexual liberation and “slut pride” — women are still somehow deeply affected by charges of wanton and undiscriminating sexual behavior. This might even account for the importance of the contraceptive issue, because mandated contraceptive coverage may be seen as representing not just a modest monetary benefit, but also perhaps some sort of societal validation. I would have thought that a strong independent woman wouldn’t need a stamp of societal approval for her choices, but apparently I would have been wrong. I leave it to the evolutionary-psych folks to work out why the “slut” charge retains such power in liberated times.

Apparently, however, it is especially wrong to “slut-shame” even though lefties feel no compunction about shaming people regarding other personal choices — from not recycling to owning an SUV to, worst of all, being a Republican. As I say, there’s something more going on here. And if the “shaming” part of slut-shaming isn’t bad, because shaming is fine in other contexts, then it must be the “slut” part.

Related: Self-Described Austin Sluts Protest Use of the Word ‘Slut.’ “They’re sluts and they’re proud, at least until someone else uses the term (and apologizes for it).”

There’s a very real kind of sexual insecurity underlying this, it seems to me. Very odd, after so many decades of liberation. Perhaps some of the ev-psych bloggers will comment.

UPDATE: So far no evolutionary psychology, but the pickup artist community is weighing in.

Still looking for evolutionary-psych comments. . . .

Another thought: I suppose the counterpart slur for men is something like “wimp.” But it seems to me that men are much less bothered by imputations of unmanliness than they used to be. Am I right?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Sarah Hoyt writes: “I think women are naturally more group-opinion conscious. I think it’s an evolutionary thing. The children of the women who fit in best got watched by their friends and therefore survived more?”

That’s interesting. If true, this would mean that women are more concerned about other women thinking they’re sluts than about men thinking that.