Monday, June 18, 2012

Reclaim "Slut"? You Can Keep That!

The organisers [of SlutWalk] claim that celebrating the word "slut", and promoting sluttishness in general, will help women achieve full autonomy over their sexuality. But the focus on "reclaiming" the word slut fails to address the real issue. The term slut is so deeply rooted in the patriarchal "madonna/whore" view of women's sexuality that it is beyond redemption.  
- Gail Dines & Wendy J. Murphy, from theguardian
“I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this—however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.” I doubt Constable Michael Sanguinetti could have foretold that this comment which he uttered at a safety forum at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School would have sparked such a world-wide protest like SlutWalk. His comment (which was apalling to say the least) infuriated young women because it placed the blame for rape on the victim as opposed to the offender. SlutWalk co-founders, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis, wanted to redeem or reclaim the world “slut,” hence, the name SlutWalk.

The protests were organized in the form of marches where many (but not all) young women opted to purposely dress in revealing clothes even though they were asked to dress in regular clothing to show that women could be the victims of sexual assault no matter what they wore. (Most of the pictures you find from the marches will be of scantily clad women since they are the ones that capture the attention of the public the most.) The first protest was on April 3, 2011 in Queen’s Park in Toronto where over 3,000 people (men included) participated. It was not long before the protests began to spread from Canada to the U.S. to Europe to Australia and even India. Women everywhere were tired of the blame-the-victim game.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why I Didn't and Won't Be Participating in Any "Slut"Walk

Friend: Danni slutwalk is monumental, as a feminist I don’t get how you don’t want to be a part of this revolution. I participated, it was monumental.

Me: Exactly whose revolution is it given that Black women have been called sluts, whores and bitches for centuries and given that ignorant feminist can walk around with signs quoting “Woman is the nigger of the world”? Guess that makes Black women double niggers or something right? Were you there when that sign was proudly held by that ignorant girl who wondered why anyone should feel offended? Feminism in and of itself excluded Black women and women of lower classes, and good grief if you were both because then you didn’t matter at all. lost your damn mind if you think I’m going to be a part of that.

*silence at the posh dinner table in New York*

- A conversation between a friend and I about slutwalk

I recall walking away from my friend’s home after our conversation about SlutWalk. She could not possibly believe that I, as a feminist, would not want to be a part of such an "amazing" event. I’d hopped on an international flight to come back to the States to engage in a roundtable discussion about feminism among friends and other scholars from New York University. I recall the feeling that overtook me as I walked further and further away from her home. She was as appalled about me not wanting to be a part of SlutWalk as much as I was appalled that she wanted me to be a part of it. Furthermore, I coundn't believe that she assumed because I was a feminist I was going to jump on board the movement.