On Wednesday, we mentioned that liberal pundit Ed Schultz will take one week of unpaid leave from MSNBC after he called conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.” Today, editors Jennifer Wright and Ashley Cardiff penetrate this complex issue from every angle.

Ashley: So, is it ever okay to call a woman a slut? I think it’s obviously not okay in the case of this so-called progressive and that slut from Fox. If you read the full comment, it’s not just misogynistic, it’s also completely unnecessary. Though it’s always unnecessary. I guess what I’m asking is why are you such a slut?

Jennifer: See, it didn’t bother me at all that you called me that. Party because you’re such a goddamn hussy that I can’t take anything you say seriously, but also because… I don’t think that word applies to me? Because I’m comfortable with my sexual identity. It would be kind of like if you called me a faggot. I’d be offended that that’s the kind of word you think in your head, but not offended on a personal level because I’m not a gay man, and therefore it would just make you seem like you didn’t understand how words worked.

Ashley: You’re afforded a kind of luxury in not being offended when I call you a slut, though, because we’re friends and you know it’s in jest and we’re implicitly agreeing it’s okay. Schultz comes off as hateful and misogynistic. Anyway, I’m surprised you’re not more offended because you’re such an uppity tart most of the time.

Jennifer: Why do you have to be such a hurtful harlot? Is it because you only think with what’s between your legs?

Ashley: You mean my four brains down there? Must be weird not to have like 30 goddamn brains and just be A GIANT RAVENOUS MEAT SOCK.

Jennifer: Cockgobbler!

Ashely: Craven skank.

Jennifer: Gobble gobble!

Ashley: I will knock that scarlet lipstick from your hands, you abject whore.

Jennifer: You filthy… wanton… I’m running out of synonyms!

Ashley: Shit. Me too.

Jennifer: Thesaurus.com?

Ashley: Duh, you… jade. …That really doesn’t have the same weight, does it?

Jennifer: Floozy! Floozy just makes you sound like some sort of Fitzgerald-era flapper though, right? Which is interesting, because it points to how the impact of these words gets lost over time. A hundred years ago it would have been cool to call a woman a slut because the word didn’t mean what it now means.

Ashley: What did slut mean 100 years ago?

Jennifer: Wait. I’m an ignorant whore. That word comes up in Chaucer.

Ashley: Man, he thought of everything.

Jennifer: So, fine, if you called a woman that in 1300 they wouldn’t know what you meant. They’d be like “eh, I don’t care, going to resume my plague avoidance routine.”

Ashley: “Shine yer balls fer a shillin’ gov’nah!”

Jennifer: You just wandered into Mary Poppins, I think. But! My point was going to be in 50 years the word slut wouldn’t be around, or would seem charmingly quaint.

Ashley: Because we’ll reclaim it or because it will become so overused that it loses impact?

Jennifer: No, I was wrong. It will be around because it’s been going strong for the past 600 years.

Ashley: Yeah, it’s got legs. Like some sort of promiscuous, leg-showing woman.

Jennifer: A slatternly lady of the lexicon, indeed.

Ashley: Okay, but back to the point. Obviously, it’s completely unacceptable for some media bro to call some media ho “a slut.” It’s repulsive. How can he call himself a progressive? It was an awful thing to do.

Jennifer: Yes!

Ashley: But I’m unwilling to say that the word itself is inherently offensive. Because you’re a slut and you seem pretty happy-go-lucky about it.

Jennifer: What’s interesting about the word slut to me is that, at this point, it really has very little to do with a woman’s sexual behavior, at least as I hear it used. If a woman wears a twin sweater and doesn’t drink much and is softly spoken and fucks FUCKING EVERYONE she will most likely not be called a slut. Meanwhile, if a girl is more brazen and wild and seems crazier, while having sex with no one, she’ll be branded a slut. I think it has to do more with what we perceive as okay behavior in public – which is different from Chaucer’s use where it actually meant what women did in private.

Ashley: Yeah. Calling a woman a slut is usually just a lazy way of marginalizing her. I mean, I doubt Schultz is intimately acquainted with her and it certainly wouldn’t justify what he said (or matter at all) if he was. But in all seriousness, who doesn’t love a slut in a twin sweater?

Jennifer: Well… my point is that woman (in a twin sweater) won’t be called a slut. It has nothing to do with sexual behavior. It has to do with saying that a woman’s behavior in public is not conservative. Which is ludicrous, right?

Ashley: Right, but the weight of the word is in saying the woman lacks moral virtue. Because a woman’s sexual proclivities are so tied up in her identity and the way she’s perceived.

Jennifer: Yes.

Ashley: I wish you weren’t such an agreeable tramp.

Jennifer: It’s because I’ve had all my brains fucked out! Okay, wait, I think this is funny to us because we’re weirdly secure in our identities. And from that standpoint, we’re INCREDIBLY lucky. I think we can joke about it because we’ve never had reason to feel in the wrong about our behavior.

Ashley: Go on.

Jennifer: I think the word would be much, much more damaging to anyone who had –I mean hell, let’s go there–had some sort of sexual trauma. I can’t imagine how damaging. Which is the reason it shouldn’t be used. I think it’s hilarious because we don’t perceive each other as slutty or think of ourselves that way (and never have)… even though you’re a sperm burper. We can’t make those assumptions about people we don’t know. Maybe we should be careful about making them about people we DO know.

Ashley: I disagree there because–regardless of any sexual trauma–if some talking head called me a slut in a public forum because he disagreed with my politics, it wouldn’t change whether I’m a slut or not but it would certainly make him an asshole. He’d be appealing to peoples’ values to discredit me. And that’s cowardly. …Did you call me a sperm burper?

Jennifer: [It’s offensive] because he didn’t know what your experiences had been like and therefore it would be dreadfully insensitive, right? I mean, safe to say this would be a bigger deal if instead of brushing it off, Fox-slut had responded by breaking down in tears, right?

Ashley: No. I’m saying it has nothing to do with her, whether she’s a virgin, she’s been with 1 person or 20 or 100. Her sexual history is irrelevent. He’s still an asshole.

Jennifer: I’m suggesting she might have had a bad experience and we don’t know about it as outsiders. In which case she’s going to have conflicted, difficult feelings about her sexual identity and it’s horrible to throw the word slut in there.

Ashley: Okay, so you’re saying the word “slut” might have a charged meaning for the person accused of being one. I’m saying whether that’s the case or not, it’s unacceptable. I think we both agree that you shouldn’t go around calling people sluts. Additionally, I think we both agree that between the two of us you’re the bigger slut.

Jennifer: Ultimately, I think I’m saying that what he did was potentially cruel, and you’re saying it’s just underhanded and inappropriate. Either way, bad. As for me being the bigger slut, that is technically true and also not true at all! I am wearing a shirt waist dress, have twinset in my purse! You are wearing sexy jeans!

Ashley: Oh no! These jeans are tight and torn! My argument is invalid!

Jennifer: We have agreed it is a meaningless term defined only by public perception!

Ashley: But manipulating public perception of a woman through the use of that term is vile.

Jennifer: Yes.

Ashley: I think we both need to break for an hour and have some anonymous, meaningless sex to clear our heads.

Jennifer: We’re in agreement there. Great! Slutty slutty mcslut slut.

Ashley: Why is your mouth open?