Monday, March 12, 2012

SlutWalk and Feminists

I honestly cannot remember is someone already wrote about this topic, so if they do, my apologies. Last week in class we discussed feminism. I remembered this one topic that has become very popular over the last year; it is called the “SlutWalk”. The first SlutWalk protest took place on April 3, 2011. The walk and protest was in response to a comment that a Toronto Police officer said in suggesting how women should attempt to stay safe, “women should avoid dressing like sluts”. This statement caused an uproar and the founders of the SlutWalk stated that they found this term derogatory and they did not believe the clothing a woman wears should give a male an open invitation to rape. Today there have been hundreds of SultWalks all over the world. The protests often take the form of a march, mainly by young women, some dressed normally and others dressed provocatively, or in their deemed “slut attire”.  

In response to our discussion on Feminism, I was curious as to what the feminists are saying about this walk. After researching a bit, it seems that they are not happy about these walks at all. Some popular responses have questioned the wisdom of using the word “slut,” in the walk’s title name, suggesting that “far from empowering women, attempting to reclaim the word has the opposite effect, simply serving as evidence that women are accepting this label given to them by misogynistic men.”

What is your response to the slut walk? Do you all think they went about it the right way? Or do you agree with the feminists that they are continuously using a derogatory term and therefore reinforcing the idea?


  1. I definitely stand with the feminists on this one. I support the walk's cause, but not its means of taking action. How does dressing like a stereotypical "slut," help to remove this derogatory term from our society? By having women dress provocatively in public, women are feeding into the misogyny that is behind the term in the first place. To me, all this does is feed into the stereotypes that were created as a response to this dress.

    As well, the fight against the word "slut" isn't a feminist cause to begin with. In fact, I feel that this word is used more by girls talking about other girls than it is by men. This isn't an issue about rape, or about the way women use men. In fact, this term represents a problem within the female population.

  2. I believe that everyone has the right to dress the way he/she wants to. However, if one was to dress inappropriately or like a slut, then I do think that it is an invitation to other men. They should realize that there are many different kinds of people in this world. Many of them, males, are insensitive and would readily take advantage of another person if given the opportunity. Human nature is inherently greedy and lustful. I am not saying that women should dress all covered up head to toe, but they should be mindful and aware. I also agree with the feminists that the term 'slut' is derogatory and that the term does far from empowering women. Instead, the word is misogynistic and degrading for women, targeting woman's promiscuity and there appearance.

  3. The term "slut" is definitely derogatory and part of hateful rhetoric (looking at Rush Limbaugh here) that I think should stop being thrown at sex-positive women, not reclaimed. "Slut" should be referring to actions, not a way of dressing.

    Also, rape has nothing to do with how she was dressed and everything to do with him abusing his power and not being the master of his emotions. There is no situation where she "was asking for it." Just take a look at this picture that has been going around the web:
    But what do I know, I'm a guy.

  4. I think if women are using the term "slut" so openly then they are giving men a reason to believe that it's okay to use the term as well. In my opinion, a "slut" walk is not an appropriate way to go about supporting women's rights and is rather an immature response. I agree with their belief that a woman's clothing should not be considered by a male as open invitation to rape; however, I do not see what parading around in "slut attire" accomplishes. By women dressing in this manner and calling themselves "sluts", they are only supporting the stereotype and term.

  5. I, myself, identify as a feminist and I support the Slutwalk movement. I don't have a lot of time, so I'm just going to copy/paste a response i posted elsewhere during the summer to similar concerns:

    ``The Slutwalks absolutely take rape seriously. We take it so seriously we refuse to participate in victim-blaming. We take it so seriously we actively work to educate people about the bullshit behind rape myths. We take it so seriously we openly, vocally and assertively support survivors of sexual violence of all gender expressions, income levels, immigration status, sexual orientation, number of sexual partners, etc. We take it so seriously that we encourage participants to attend in whatever attire they feel comfortable, because we do not want to revictimize people or make them feel vulnerable while aiming to support them. We take it so seriously that we actually do our homework and make sure we know what we’re up against, instead of vomiting up rape myths and sexual prejudices and positioning them as “facts”. We take rape so seriously that many of us actively support rape crisis centres, women’s shelters, and our friends and family members who are survivors themselves. We take rape really fucking seriously and I resent any insinuation otherwise.

  6. Women have the right to wear what they want- it is unacceptable to say that it is a women's fault for dressing "slutty" that a man's advances were justified. Women have the right to control their bodies regardless of the clothing that they wear. Comments made earlier in the post about this point only reveal how sexist our perception of right and wrong really is, and what we believe men are responsible for controlling. Is it really right to say that women shouldn't wear what they want because men can't control themselves? rather than tell women to wear more clothing, we have to do a little upstream problem solving- we need get to the root of the problem. Men are responsible for sexual assault on women, not the women who wore "promiscuous" clothing.
    If we think about the word slut, it seems strange that their is no male counterpart. There is no word that suggests a man is overly promiscuous (besides manwhore, but who really takes that offensively). Its wrong to have a standard that characterizes women as overly sexual, but not to do the same for men. Maybe this has something to do with the way men perceive their sexual boundaries, and why men seem to believe they are above standards that we hold for women.


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