Sunday, August 7, 2011

SlutWalk and me

In my new issue of Ms magazine, there is an article on SlutWalks which is a topic that I find very interesting. I have been looking on tumblr at some ladies who have been to some SlutWalks and liked how empowered and positive their experiences seemed. So I did a little more research and then experienced a major facebook blowout.

SlutWalk started in Toronto when a police officer made the comment that,

Amazingly, this did not go over that well. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is not uncommon. Victim blaming is so prominent and the idea that women who dress like they are asking for it (whatever that means) deserve to shoulder some of the blame for being brutally assaulted is still very prevalent. Many rapes go under reported by police and rapists are not prosecuted due to backlogs of  rape kits which is not some kind of a kit that goes to the victim like I thought, but is the evidence gathered from the victim's exams such as hair and fluids that needs to be DNA tested. These kits are just sitting in some states, and nothing is being done about them.

And so a group of people started SlutWalk. A protest style march to show that women (any gender really) should not be blamed for crimes committed against them. From SlutWalk's website:

"We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault."
These events have gotten a lot of flack from feminists and others for the use of the word "slut" and stating that trying to get that word to a more positive connotation is a waste of time.To some extent I agree with  the fact that "slut"probably is not ever going to be a positive thing. HOWEVER, I think that misses the underlying point. To me this is about creating an event that will have a lot of media coverage(which obviously it has) in order to show that people are upset and fed up with how our culture treats victims of rape.

Which brings me to a Facebook argument that revolved around a man's point of view that this is a waste of time and he would go to ogle the ladies (note: it is not required in any way to dress "slutty" for these walks) and that if a woman goes out drinking dressed provocatively (which he never defined) then he "hope[s] rape was worth it." Can we say unfriended?

SlutWalk's Minneapolis info page here
SlutWalk Toronto's main page (with links to planned walks in other cities) here

Geoff and I are both signed up to go and I am really pumped. I think all I can do is get as educated as I can and try to pass that information along. Has anyone gone to one? Thought about going?

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