alg_slutwalk2

Why Slutwalk?

Gonzo Times feminism 31 Comments



a href=”http://www.broadsnark.com/why-slutwalk/”>Originally posted on BroadSnark By: Mel

One morning, when I was in eighth grade, I got dressed for school and went outside to wait for my father to drive me. I was wearing a long knit skirt, sweater, and some boots. My outfit would have met the requirements for an orthodox family temple outing. But when my father walked out the door and saw me, he told me I looked like a slut. I was devastated. More than that, I was baffled.

You have to understand that, when I was a kid, my father and I were as close as two people could be. There was nobody on earth that I would rather have spent time with. My father wasn’t some uber-conservative, misogynist douchebag. He was the guy who always made me feel like my opinion was important.  He was the one who made me believe that there was nothing I could not do.

There was nothing slutty about what I was wearing (if you believe in that sort of thing). It wasn’t about that. And at some level I knew that. But I still didn’t quite get what the hell was going on. All I knew was that my father’s attitude toward me changed. In fact, all men’s and women’s attitudes toward me changed. One day I was playing with barbies and the next day grown men on the street were trying to fuck me. The really mindboggling part was that somehow their desire was my fault. Somehow that made me dirty and wrong. There was some kind of code that I was missing.

One of my friends at the time had the misfortune of having huge boobs. She would spend hours in a store trying to find exactly the right t-shirt. If it was too big, she would look fat. If it was too tight or the neck was too low, then she would look like a slut. In the hours that she spent trying to find a shirt that fell just perfectly on the spectrum between fat slob and dirty whore, she could have written a novel.

It really didn’t matter if my friend found that perfectly chaste t-shirt. Because if something had happened to her, it would still have been her fault. If she was wearing a t-shirt, someone would say she should have been wearing a turtleneck. If she was wearing a turtleneck, someone would say that she should have been wearing a hijab. If she was wearing a hijab, someone would say the attack was due to some errant hair.

The idea that girls and women are in some way responsible for other people’s action, for the sometimes truly awful things that people want to do to them, is pervasive. It is so pervasive that, when an eleven year old girl was gang raped, the first reaction was to examine her actions.  Really? Is there something that an eleven year old can do to bring something like that on herself? What kind of society even lets that thought pass through their heads?

My teen-aged reaction to this bullshit (and a whole lot of other bullshit) was a big, punk rock Fuck You. I was not reading Betty Friedan. I did not have deep thoughts about how all of my personal mini-tragedies fit into a larger context. I knew that it hurt. I knew that trying to conform to social expectations would make me lose my fucking mind. I knew that, if I wanted to survive my teen years, I was going to have to give everyone the finger.

So I did. It didn’t always work out. Sometimes I did some really self destructive shit. I spent way to much time acting in opposition to things and to people.  I did not understand that, when you are acting in opposition to people, you are still letting them define you. But it was the road I needed to take.

I’m boring you with this tween years confessional because a couple of people have inquired about my participation in the upcoming DC Slutwalk. For those of you who have been on Mars for the last few weeks, there was an incident in Toronto that set off a firestorm.

“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” the officer said, according to Hoffman. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

Women in Toronto got pissed. They decided to give that cop, and all the others like him, a big punk rock Fuck You. So the slutwalk was born. And women all over the world have been marching – sometimes scantily clad, sometimes not. Tiara marched with a sign that said,

This is what I wore when I was raped. I still did not ask for it

I think Katherine Feeney and Suzanne Moore were a bit like me as kids. They get the riot grrl attitude behind the slutwalks. But lots of other people don’t like the slutwalks at all. Some people just don’t get the in your face fuckyouedness. Some people think that victim blaming really isn’t a problem anymore. Some think the word “slut” can’t be reclaimed. Some say the slutwalkers are just ruining things for real feminists. There are those who say it is too feminist and those who say it is not feminist enough. Some people think that it isn’t very sophisticated, only showing one side of the madonna/whore dichotomy. Still others say it is racist.

Every day that I open my blog reader there are more articles on the slutwalks. And I was going to respond to the criticisms. I was going to write about how some people just don’t get the attitude. I was going to write about how things don’t always have to be so fucking intellectual. I was going to write about how I thought some of the criticisms were valid. But then I thought….Meh.

The truth is that I am going to participate in the slutwalk because my inner fifteen year old thinks it is …like….totally….fucking… awesome. That’s it. I’m not going to intellectualize it or make excuses for its shortcomings. I’m not going to pretend that it is inclusive or that it is going to solve anything. I don’t believe that suddenly everyone is going to understand how debilitating it can be to be on the receiving end of that hate.

One thing that is certain is that we are talking about this issue in a huge way. I think that is a good thing. I wish that there had been a big public discussion like this when I was a teen. Maybe it would have helped me. Maybe I would have put two and two together a little sooner. Maybe I would have seen how scared shitless and emotionally ill-equipped my father was. Maybe he and I would have found a way to heal our relationship before he died, because we would have understood that what was going on between us was much bigger than just us.

Or maybe not. All I know is that me and my inner fifteen year old are going to put on a completely inappropriate outfit and give a big, cathartic Fuck You to a lot of clueless people. And it is going to feel good.

Gonzo TimesWhy Slutwalk?

Comments 31

  1. SayBlade

    I understand what the protest is against and wish all women could be free of this idiotic standard women are held up to when being attacked and raped while going about their own business. However, I question the part about trying to “reclaim” the word slut.   I think it would diffuse and water down the reason for the protest.  Rather, I would extend the word to the behaviour of males where applicable to give it the power it needs to describe what people are *doing* (not who they are) that invites the use of that word. Using the language in social media and in social conversation is paramount to moving this forward.  Example:  He acts very slutty.

    Keep the slutwalks going.  Get the message out!

      1. MerlinYoda

        True, but there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. There is a price to be paid (as there is in every decision) for being overly sexually promiscuous. To the best of my understanding a “slut” is just that … the fact that it only gets applied to women (even though it *can* apply to men as well) *is* a problem.

        1. Anonymous

          “There is a price to be paid (as there is in every decision) for being overly sexually promiscuous.”

          Um, what price?

          Use protection correctly, and be honest and clear about what you want (a.k.a. being an Ethical Slut), and it’s no more harmful than a monogamous relationship.

          1. MerlinYoda

            There’s not so much problem in case of the “Ethical Slut” (i.e. being promiscuous but up-front about your promiscuity) per se. However, if one’s sexual promiscuity is merely a symptom of a greater problem (e.g. outright sexual addiction) then there is a price to be paid in over indulgence in the same manner as if one were addicted anything else, either tangible (like food) or intangible (like approval-seeking to clam an anxiety disorder). Like many addictions that aren’t outright physical dependencies, the addict is looking to fill a void in their life with something more enjoyable but the void is only “filled” temporarily as the underlying cause of that void is not addressed leading to have to continually mask that void with the addictive behavior.

            Another price is more societal/relationship issue in that even an Ethical Slut may at some point in their life come want to be in a monogamous relationship, but their promiscuous past may make it hard for those also interested in a monogamous relationship to be willing to enter into such a relationship with them because they are reminded of the old adage “a leopard can’t change its spots”.

            Every choice has its price to be paid; in economics it’s called “opportunity costs”. Even if the “price” is something minuscule like “If I wasn’t having sex at the time, I could have seen that double rainbow yesterday”. Of course, there are cases where we don’t mind paying the opportunity costs. For example, “If I wasn’t having sex at the time, I could have been in an elevator that malfunctioned at the top floor and plunged to my death yesterday” is one opportunity cost that I wouldn’t mind paying ;-).

          2. Anonymous

            I don’t disagree that sex addiction is a terrible thing.  But I’m still not entirely sure how you could possibly “overindulge” on sex, unless you do the trope of trying so many things that nothing turns you on.

            Another price is more societal/relationship issue in that even an
            Ethical Slut may at some point in their life come want to be in
            a monogamous relationship, but their promiscuous past may make it hard
            for those also interested in a monogamous relationship to be willing to
            enter into such a relationship with them because they are reminded of
            the old adage “a leopard can’t change its spots”.

            Only true if you consider it a bad thing to have ever been a slut, or if you’re one of those people who think sluts are never capable of maintaining a relationship.  It is perfectly possible to be a slut at one stage of life and be content with a monogamous relationship at another, and vice versa.  And you never know why a person is a slut — perhaps it’s because they’ve never found anyone they want to be in a monogamous relationship with.  It’s as much about perspective of the prospective monogamous partner as it is about the perspective of the once-slut, and if both people are open to the idea of having and maintaining a monogamous relationship, there’s no reason why it can’t work.

          3. MerlinYoda

            “It’s as much about perspective of the prospective monogamous partner as it is about the perspective of the once-slut, and if both people are open to the idea of having and maintaining a monogamous relationship, there’s no reason why it can’t work.”

            This is partly what I was trying to get at (without being too verbose towards the point of write a mini-thesis on the matter:-) ). In the set of people seeking monogamous relationships later I life, even if it’s a favorable percentage of potential partners (say 80%) that would have absolutely no problem with them having been an ethical slut in the past, that’s still less than the whole set of potential partners that would have been available otherwise (minus any partners that outright prefer their partner to have been a slut before seeking a monogamous relationship but I don’t imagine this is a very significant percentage). 

            To your credit, there are countless factors as to why relationships do or do not work out for any set of partners well beyond one or the other’s past sexual activity and, depending on the partners, that one factor’s weight may be minuscule to various others. It’s damn near chaotic (i.e. “nearly impossible to predict” as opposed to “without order”) when you get down to it :-).

      2. Anonymous

        Unfortunately alot of so called “sluts” don’t necessarily enjoy the sex they are having.  They are doing it to please the guy. It is low self esteem.   They think having sex means they are attractive. So if a woman/teen is haveing sex to please the man I don’t think that is a good thing. If she is haveing sex to please herself than good for her.
        And as far as dressing is concerned; actuallly it all depends on why a woman/teen is dressing “slutty”. Is it because of negative perception of oneself and the need for male acknowledgement or self confidence.
        And actually most of us can tell the difference, if we know the women/ teen,  that is  dressing “slutty” or acting “slutty”. 

  2. Michael Orion Powell

    Holy shit on a stick. 536 followers.

    This issue, like bullying, has been in the forefront of our lives yet hasn’t really actually been discussed for some reason or other. Maybe it was 9/11 and the Iraq war overtaking our lives and the prior abundance in the 1990s and 1980s making personal issues seem less significant. I’m not sure.

    One thing I can agree on is that it is better for things to be out in the open. If that had been possible then, and your father had known how to talk about these things, I’m sure he would express that he knows full well what brutes men can be and doesn’t want to see you brutalized. Alot of men operate on a sexual footing of wanting to fuck something for the sake of it, and this is reinforced in popular culture through films like American Pie or Superbad. I’m pretty confident that a good portion of men win the bragging right of having lost their virginity not by having won a girl’s heart on their own merits but by taking it. That element of our toxic culture has yet to really be discussed.

  3. Diana Logg

    If there’s a slutwalk Seattle, can someone tell me?
    I was wearing jeans and a tshirt, sitting in the school playground waiting for my friends to arrive, backpack on my back.
    The people who say we ask for it: I was nine years old and scared.  I wasn’t actually raped, someone came too close for his comfort and he ran. I wanted to go to school, on a tuesday morning. All I know is that there was suddenly a man pushing me to a fucking wall, trying to get me stripped.
    I asked for it?
    I’d never met him before, never even seen him before.

  4. Anonymous

    Your Dad IS a douchbag for verbally abusing you and what was his fucking problem anyways? Women need to use thier brains and stop dressing like skanks becuase it WILL get them raped. It’s the way sociopathic men behave and it would be simply common sense to send out your personal messages by your clothing, This cop, although crude, was right.
     
    Peace.

    1. Michael

      ????
      A rapist is a rapist. I know that sounds like I’m just pointing out the obvious. But it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a G-string or sweat pants, a rapist doesn’t care what you’re wearing as long as he does what he wants.
      Raping is uncalled for under any and all circumstances. Rape is not a natural reaction, proven by the fact that just about all men will never rape anyone. It doesn’t matter how teased you are. Would it be right for me to justify the theft of a T.V. because it was on display? Of course not.

    2. Lauren Hunter Rogers

      See, you’re the type of feminist I hate. The one that thinks that all men are trash and all women are godsends. Hardly. As the post said, what of the women that wore jeans and a tshirt at the time of their rape? Yup, damn those skanks to hell. I mean, what type of woman wears a tshirt? WHORES. God damn, you’re retarded. So you’re telling me that if I wear a skirt ?that is above my knees, I’m a skank and I’m going to get raped because men just BEHAVE that way? Once again, you’re retarded.  I’m sure that this comment is jumping around, but that’s because I can’t even wrap my head around how ignorant you are.
      I’m currently wearing a Bob Marley tshirt. What “personal message” am I sending out by my clothing? That I smoke pot? I’m sure that’s what you thought. No. I don’t.
      I just, I can’t even express my distaste for you. I’m 18, and I get this. Why are you so incredibly dumb that you believe that what someone is wearing at the time of a rape is a direct tie with the actual incident? Go live somewhere where no soul will ever have to be exposed to your toxic ignorance – maybe that will save a few lives.

    3. Lauren Hunter Rogers

      See, you’re the type of feminist I hate. The one that thinks that all men are trash and all women are godsends. Hardly. As the post said, what of the women that wore jeans and a tshirt at the time of their rape? Yup, damn those skanks to hell. I mean, what type of woman wears a tshirt? WHORES. God damn, you’re retarded. So you’re telling me that if I wear a skirt ?that is above my knees, I’m a skank and I’m going to get raped because men just BEHAVE that way? Once again, you’re retarded.  I’m sure that this comment is jumping around, but that’s because I can’t even wrap my head around how ignorant you are.
      I’m currently wearing a Bob Marley tshirt. What “personal message” am I sending out by my clothing? That I smoke pot? I’m sure that’s what you thought. No. I don’t.
      I just, I can’t even express my distaste for you. I’m 18, and I get this. Why are you so incredibly dumb that you believe that what someone is wearing at the time of a rape is a direct tie with the actual incident? Go live somewhere where no soul will ever have to be exposed to your toxic ignorance – maybe that will save a few lives.

    4. Anonymous

      How do you dress?
      Do you wear tank tops?
      Have you ever worn a skirt?
      What about tight jeans? I doubt you wear clothes that cover every inch of your body, and I doubt that you wear clothes that are so baggy that people can’t tell what your figure looks like.

      How do you define dressing like a skank? What does that even mean?
      You can’t blame rape on the way the victim dresses. The bitch still says no. The fucker who’s INSTIGATING THE ATTACK doesn’t stop.

      How are you going to feel if you go out to a party and some asshole keeps dogging you and you keep saying no, and he doesn’t listen? Or if you’re walking down the street too late at night, and someone just pounces on you? Or someone that you trusted betrays your trust and takes advantage of you? It could be a friend, a boyfriend, a family member even.
      Are you going to blame it on him? Or yourself?
      You’re probably too self-righteous to blame yourself, from the sound of this post.

      Don’t blame rape on the way a girl dresses. It’s fucking ignorant.

      Lastly, don’t end your post with “Peace.” You are in no way an advocate for peace. I don’t care if that’s your way of saying bye, or later. Peace symbolizes safety, comfort and goodwill between beings. Your post symbolizes ignorance and hypocrisy.

      I don’t usually like to go after people so hatefully, but your words represent everything that is wrong with our society. Blaming the victim for something they could not possibly foresee is wrong. Plain and simple. You might think that you’re smart, but you aren’t displaying that. Just like all of the other people, like that cop, who think that they’re good people, but are contributing to the hurt and pain of so many young women who didn’t ask for it.

  5. Emileigh Radcliff

    The way I see it, women have the right to dress like “sluts,” but no one has right to rape. Rape is a terrible, traumatizing assault on another person; dressing with minimal clothing hurts NO ONE.
    Even though I don’t like dressing like a “slut” (personal, nothing to do with society’s pressures or that crap) and even though I’m a 17 year old who prefers the intellectual stuff, I think this is awesome. Plus, society needs to make up its damn mind on whether we women should be submissive slutty sex-objects at which men just ogle OR whether we’re supposed to be overly puritanical. I agree with neither, but these hypocritical messages are driving me nuts.

  6. Anonymous

    Thats just it. Participating in a SlutWalk does not make you a slut, “slut” is a name, a myth of woman. The intention of the event isn’t to dichotomize woman but to commemorate the rejection of the myth. The participants are walking in protest, not asking to be raped, under the shout of “slut”. 
    As the writer mentions, if her friend had chosen a tshirt, she should’ve been wearing a turtleneck, if she had chosen a turtleneck, she should’ve been wearing a hijab. If she’s wearing a hijab, now thats too far. We must understand that we are affected by infinite details, as much as we affect them as well, but thats not to mean woman asks to be raped.
     Of course a bear skinned beauty should not walk down dark alleys, but that itself is not illegal: rape is, and no one asks for it. Perversions strike from within, regardless of whether it is a child outside school or a young woman outside a club or a mother outside her home: rapists dont descriminate except by probability of punishment, and even then, so it is ridiculous to excuse them from even an ounce of blame. 
    It would be wise to not dress provocatively, but even the most appropriate attire can be declared controversial, so is conservatism really a virtue? “Provocative,” “appropriate,” & “controversy” being not my voice, but concepts juxtaposed by the world of myth.

    Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex highlights the problem of woman through analysis of the myth of the eternal feminine, 2010 transaltions, nothing prior…

    Is there a SlutWalk in LA?

  7. Anonymous

    Thats just it. Participating in a SlutWalk does not make you a slut, “slut” is a name, a myth of woman. The intention of the event isn’t to dichotomize woman but to commemorate the rejection of the myth. The participants are walking in protest, not asking to be raped, under the shout of “slut”. 
    As the writer mentions, if her friend had chosen a tshirt, she should’ve been wearing a turtleneck, if she had chosen a turtleneck, she should’ve been wearing a hijab. If she’s wearing a hijab, now thats too far. We must understand that we are affected by infinite details, as much as we affect them as well, but thats not to mean woman asks to be raped.
     Of course a bear skinned beauty should not walk down dark alleys, but that itself is not illegal: rape is, and no one asks for it. Perversions strike from within, regardless of whether it is a child outside school or a young woman outside a club or a mother outside her home: rapists dont descriminate except by probability of punishment, and even then, so it is ridiculous to excuse them from even an ounce of blame. 
    It would be wise to not dress provocatively, but even the most appropriate attire can be declared controversial, so is conservatism really a virtue? “Provocative,” “appropriate,” & “controversy” being not my voice, but concepts juxtaposed by the world of myth.

    Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex highlights the problem of woman through analysis of the myth of the eternal feminine, 2010 transaltions, nothing prior…

    Is there a SlutWalk in LA?

  8. Sara Bowyer

    I have tried many times to put my feelings about the word slut into words as simply and yet eloquently as this. I label myself a feminist because of my experience and reaction to being called a slut, and no one seems to understand what that means. This is, in my opinion, the most pressing issue facing women today and the message is still shockingly misunderstood. But…at the same time…rather than trying to convey that message in an educated and intellectual manner…I’d rather just flip the bird and say fuck off. Thank you for this!

  9. Lina Andrea

    Thank you for helping me understand why people were taking part in these ‘Slutwalks’ in the first place. None of the female or male participants could explain to me why they were taking part in these demonstrations in a clear, concise and rational manner. It’s easy to pander to sensationalist movements, so I was skeptical when I first heard of similar demonstrations near my area. You did an excellent job getting to the heart of the matter. Kudos.

    I fully support what you are doing, and I agree with @squishy …no one should feel guilty for enjoying sex.

  10. E

    When I was abducted off the street in broad daylight in an affluent, whitebread neighborhood, I was a 13 year old child. I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, jeans and sneakers. I was scrawny, angular, flat-chested, with buck teeth and braces. I was by no means a tempting and attractive sex kitten. I was scooped up and thrown into the back of a van full of 5 men who took turns beating and raping me before throwing me out into a field.  I saved the clothes I wore that day for 15 years. Needless to say, I never wore them again. I would pull them out now and then and look at them and wonder how anyone could find them so slutty as to justify what they did to me. Intellectually I knew that it wasn’t the fault of my clothes or how I walked or styled my hair. But emotionally, I blamed myself for “not being careful enough” or for the disgusted grimace I made when the driver of the van first blew his horn at me and whistled.
    If a plain, klutzy, ungainly child of 13 could whip a man to such a frenzy, what hope do any of have to be safe in this world? I’ll tell you what hope there is. It’s women standing up and shouting, “However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no!” Long live the sluts!

  11. anna goodwin

    At school we were going over sexual harassment and on the slideshow they showed us the following was considered sexual harassment:
    “Wearing revealing clothing.”
    Now, I know that “revealing clothing” is a problem in schools, and I know that in some freak accidents it might be considered sexual harassment, but this is just too close to “she was asking for it” for me.

  12. Mandi

    Whenever I hear of a rape, and the person I am with questions what the girl was doing to let/make that happen, I die a little inside.

    The question isn’t why was she wearing that skirt/walking alone/flirting with him. The question is, why did that evil POS f**king rape her?

  13. PearlBuck

    @Brittany Leann Shepard: Fuck that shit. I have the right to show as much skin as I please because I live in America. If some pig makes a grab for me, it’s his fault. Not mine. I do not buy that women need to take responsibility for the actions of some sociopath who thinks it’s okay to rape. And we ARE talking about sociopaths. These people who victimize and abuse women cannot form right and wrong in their minds. How are we supposed to reason with that? Wearing conservative clothing doesn’t stop these people.