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Fifth Harmony responds to their slut-shamers with an important message

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Fifth Harmony's latest admission proves women are hugely contributing to our slut-shaming society

For a group whose debut studio album dropped less than a year ago, Fifth Harmony has quickly become a force to be reckoned with. In addition to turning out some of the catchiest singles of the summer, the ladies have proven they aren't afraid to use their voices to speak out against slut-shaming and other social issues affecting women.

Most recently, they exhibited this emboldened spirit during an interview with Cosmo for Latinas. When asked if they'd ever found themselves on the receiving end of criticism for how they dress, Fifth Harmony — comprised of Camila Cabello, Lauren Jauregui, Normani Kordei, Ally Brooke and Dinah Jane Hansen — didn't hold back.

"Yeah... it's ridiculous!" said Jauregui. "Just because we dress according to our body types and dress the way that we want to. A woman embracing her sexuality isn't wrong. It's not being a slut."

More: Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans slut-shame Scarlett Johansson's character (VIDEO)

This statement is unequivocally true, obviously, which is why it is so unfortunate the sentiment bears repeating (and repeating and repeating). What's equally disheartening, however, is Kordei's revelation that the backlash they receive comes "mainly [from] women."

While I'd love to say this isn't true and argue that perhaps the derogatory comments lobbed by other women are just more noticeable, I know Kordei's words to be true. As a writer who is part of the public forum, I've been on the receiving end myself and constantly see peers subjected to hateful scrutiny — I'm always, always genuinely shocked that the sharpest barbs (and the bulk of them) come from other women.

When did we stop being on the same team? Was there a memo I missed?

I may have missed that memo, but it's impossible to ignore societal double standards when they rear their ugly, misogynistic heads in situations like this. This frustrates Fifth Harmony, too, as evidenced by Jauregui's impassioned response.

"I've noticed on our video comments. It's people's go-to, to accuse us of the whole 'slut thing.' Then they support men who do the craziest things and say nothing about them. F***ing Justin Bieber... I'm sorry, excuse me. Justin Bieber takes his pants off, posts a pic of it, and it's like, 'OMG, he's so hot.' What.Is.That?! How is this reality? Know what I mean?" she fumed.

More: Fifth Harmony fans freak after Vamps singer slut-shames Lauren Jauregui

Naturally, we do know what she means. It's an imperative point she makes — that the reasons society glorifies men don't hold up when applied across the gender threshold. When men are strong, it's sexy. When women are strong, it's too "butch" (worst word ever) or "manly" (WTF does that even mean?). When men flaunt their bodies, it's a turn-on. When women do so, it's superficial or slutty.

We're constantly being villainized for the very things men are being celebrated for. The fact that relatively young voices in the social fabric of the music landscape aren't afraid to speak out about it breeds hope, though.

Said Cabello, "People aren't getting that it's time to move on and be accepting of other women dressing however they want." Her statement in and of itself illustrates that some people do get it — and hopefully that faction will continue to grow in number and strengthen in resolve.

At the VMAs last weekend, Amber Rose and Blac Chyna furthered the dialogue by foregoing upscale designer dresses and instead rocking, respectively, a custom bodysuit and a gown emblazoned with "slut-shaming" terms women have become accustomed to hearing — words like "whore," "stripper," "ho" and, yes, "slut."

And if you think this issue only pertains to celebrities, you'd be sadly mistaken. In fact, you've probably been slut-shamed yourself at some point. Think to a time you were walking down the street and were cat-called in a lewd manner. At that moment, you very likely became a victim of slut-shaming, because someone made an assumption about you or your character based on the clothes you were wearing. Or perhaps for the confidence with which you carried yourself.

More: Emma Roberts shamed for being too fit and thin in lingerie campaign (PHOTOS)

A quick glance at hashtags like #slutshamed and #slutshaming show that women from all walks of life are being subjected to this degradation every single day. Interestingly, I've only come across a few men using the aforementioned hashtags — and they're using them as weapons, not tools.

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