Saturday, June 04, 2011

Slutwalk and Female Negation

I was recently asked to cover an event coming to London known as the ‘Slutwalk.’ The event, which features scores of women walking down the street dressed as ‘sluts,’ started in Toronto on April 3, 2011, with an attendance of over 3000 people. Since then (at least according to the Wikipedia article about it) it has spread to other towns throughout the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and even the Middle East. It is shortly to reach London.

It is anticipated that the event in London will be the biggest Slutwalk yet, with thousands of marchers meeting at Trafalgar Square. If the Toronto and Boston events were anything to go by, the march will feature scores of women dressed in bikinis, miniskirts and other minimalist outfits (some have even gone completely topless). In an earlier walk one woman marched in her underwear with the word 'slut' written across her skin.

There are many issues that an event like this raises and in an article at Alfred the Great Society I have explored some of the fundamental issues at stake regarding sexual identity. To read my article click on the following link:

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Bryan Owen said...

Thank you for an excellent, thought-provoking look at this issue that upholds Christianity's understanding of the sacred character of human sexuality and our bodies.

pastavangelist said...

You're missing the whole point.

This is about solidarity with all the little girls and teenagers who are committing suicide over being labelled a "slut". This is about the ELEVEN year old girl in texas who was gang raped by 18 men (teens and adults), but was blamed by the media for dressing "older than her age". This is about a girl who was labelled a "slut" in middle school because she developed breasts earlier than other girls and then when she was 16 years old, a boy asked her out on a date, and when she told him she wasn't ready to have sex, he raped her because "you can't rape a slut". He didn't feel bad until he realized that she was bleeding, as if her stolen virginity was the only thing that made it "real" rape.

This isn't about being proud to be a "slut". It's about being proud of who you are, no matter what others want to call you. It's about not turning that shame and humiliation inward, and taking your own life. Boys are called fags, and girls are called sluts. Both are hurtful enough to cause kids to commit suicide regardless of their actual sexual behavior. How many teenage girls turn a boy down and he gets revenge by starting nasty sexual rumors about her that will follow her all the way through high school, ruining any chance she had of developing a positive self image and healthy self esteem?

The Slut Walks are about a woman's right to report a rape without the fear that they will be BLAMED and SHAMED for the way they were dressed. Remember Matthew Shepard? I'm sure if he had acted like a heterosexual, those two men would not have lured him to a field, beat him, tortured him, and tied him to a fence to die of severe brain trauma. Yes, acting gay increases your likelihood of being victimized. But that's not the point. The point is that we live in America, and a gay man like Matthew Shepard should be able to "act gay" without being blamed for his own murder. The solution to gay violence is not to tell gay men "Don't act like faggots". The solution is to prosecute murderers and not foster a toxic environment that makes men think that violence and rape are excusable if the victim is a "fag" or a "slut". The solution to rape is not to simply say "Don't dress like a slut." It's offensively simplistic, not backed up by any actual evidence, and it blames the victim. Rape effects women of all ages, all religions, all races, and all "clothing styles". The best way to combat rape is to teach men at a young age to respect women's right to say no, and teach women that they should NEVER feel ashamed of a rape. When a woman feels ashamed of herself for being a victim, she is less likely to report it to the police and identify her attacker. That leaves one more rapist free to continue hurting people, and every rape he gets away with makes him more likely to rape again.

The Slut Walks are to raise awareness that no matter how you were dressed, no matter how many boyfriends you've had, and no matter what other people think of your reputation, you didn't deserve to be raped.

Robin Phillips said...

Thanks Pastavangelist for that feedback. But did you read my full article? The reason I ask is because I addressed those specific points

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