FringeNYC 2013: A letter to SLUT.

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The Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company refuses to be silent about our culture of name-calling. Their newest piece, SLUT: The Play, explores the effects of “slut shaming” on young women and is rooted in the experiences of NYC girls. And it couldn't have come soon enough. On Tuesday, NYC Mayoral Candidate Anthony Weiner’s Communications Director publicly degraded a former intern using sexist language, including words such as “slutbag” in response to the intern going public about her feelings towards the Weiner campaign. In response the creators of SLUT drew up a letter to Mr. Weiner, which can be read below.

August 1, 2013 Dear Mr. Weiner, As girls from NYC, we've been watching the series of disturbing events unfold in your quest to become our mayor. While we're disappointed by it all, on Tuesday, you and your staff hit us personally. You see, we've always dreamed that one day, when we left our high school hallways, we'd be free of certain painful things like standardized tests, Chaucer, and...slut-shaming. You brought us back to a heartbreaking, frustrating reality: even at a professional level we're taught to aspire to (i.e. a mayoral campaign) we will not be safe from the degrading slur "slut." A word used (in your office) to tear down women. This week you reaffirmed our commitment to ‪#‎StopSlut‬. We're offering Team Weiner tickets to our new play SLUT which exposes the damaging effects of slut-shaming on the lives of girls. We hope you and your communications director will take 75 minutes to understand the impact of your words. See you at The Lynn Redgrave Theater. Tickets will be waiting for you!

Sincerely, The Members of the Arts Effect All-Girl Theater Company Winnie, Vikki, Marcela, Samia, Eliza, Casey, Alice, Willa, Clare, Amari, Danielle

So with excitement and curiosity, we here at pxp drew up a letter with questions and comments for the creators of SLUT.

Dear Creators and Cast of SLUT The Play, We here at pxp wanted to get in on this conversation you are having. Firstly, we are super impressed by your peaceful action and open dialogue to respond to this issue. Language is a tricky and important thing, especially in the world of art. As you already know, artists struggle for the “right way to put it”, the most effective way to express what they intend to say. A playwright, an author, a lyricist know that one word can skew the point of view or fulfill its purpose and more. Words clearly hold a lot of weight in theatre and in our everyday lives, but we recognize that people often forget the latter. So, even when we aren’t intending to hurt a specific person, we naturally allow some words with weight to escape our mouths in conversation. But we live in a world where the word “slut” has a nasty connotation, “pimp” has a congratulatory one, and “queer” has an ambiguous one which depends on the use. So what to do? pxp is asking for your thoughts on understanding these “buzz words”, words that some might say are ingrained in our language - that are said even if they aren't meant to target another. Does the speaker or the listener define the word? Can we reclaim words to empower ourselves, or do they always retain one meaning? What does the word “SLUT” mean to you? It clearly caught our attention when we perused the FRINGE guide. Expect to see us at your play; we cannot wait to be there! Congratulations to all of you, we applaud and admire your work! Sincerely, Your friends at pxp