Thursday, 12 May 2011

Slutwalking comes to London - comment

The SlutWalk protest movement comes to London on June 11th. The speed at which SlutWalking has spread across the world is a manifestation of Womens Lib in the internet age. As you may know the trigger was the ill-chosen advice by a Toronto cop to a student safety forum: “Women should avoid dressing like sluts to not be victimized.”
That was back in January. Thousands of women and many men were so appalled by the implication that women can invite assault by how they dres – and by the same token men cannot be expected to restrain their animal urges in the presence of female flesh – they took to the streets in the first SlutWalk in April.
Clearly the anger felt by women at the Canadian demo resonated with their sisters around the world. This link to the London group’s Facebook page speaks eloquently about the cause. “No means No”; “rape is never, ever OK”; and “Yes to fun, love, and respect.”
The strength of the campaign in reclaiming the word “slut” is at the same time its weakness. It highlights the very reasonable wish of women to be free of the fear of assault any time, any place, regardless of how they’re dressed. It does so in an ironic, attention-grabbing way that isn’t anti-men.
But you can’t renounce all discretion. There are some parts of London I wouldn’t care to wander in daytime let alone at night. I wish it wasn’t so.
I see a danger in the message being muddled by the media. A SlutWalk could be misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately, as a campaign to support sexy clothes rather than a demand to focus action on rape against its perpetrators.
I would suggest that the word “slut” as a derogatory term for a promiscuous woman isn’t as widely used this side of the Atlantic as the equally nasty “slag.” Things may have changed but women are more likely than men to use the word as when condemning a rival.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you about woman condemning rivals in such a fashion.
    Just recently a friend of mine started chastising a mutual friend?
    The manner in which she described our friend was foul, and i did think that no man could match her language?

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