When I heard the news on the radio, I kind of…couldn’t believe my ears. I was at work, and between the sounds of machinery, it just didn’t make sense. On the next hour, I heard it again. Did they just say slut walk?
Oh yes. Slut Walk.
How exciting it must be for the announcers to drop a ‘slut’ bomb amid reports of accidents, uprisings, sports and weather. And so, once home, I research Slut Walk. This is the moment I stop typing, and rub my eyes as if I can’t believe them.
This is me with mixed feelings.
I get the concept. I appreciate the sentiment. I would not participate.
Or maybe…because I am emphatically for women’s rights; and because I also resent this accusatory rape culture, I could partake but wear a bitching muu-muu, or a 1920’s bathing suit. Can I be a slut but still wear a turtleneck?
This protect march was conceived in Toronto, in 2011, and there have been subsequent events all around the globe. Organizers suggested that women dress in regular clothes to represent the everyday woman suffering abuse in an average life. But then people showed up dressed like sluts. And this strange, slutty revolution came from a single comment. Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, while speaking at a safety forum, recommended that women err on the side of caution and”avoid dressing like sluts”. Okay, so while he could have found a gentler way to suggest that, it’s not the worst idea ever. There are bedrooms and beaches, nightclubs and stages where skin is welcomed in abundance. School, the office, the bank…not so much. Call me crazy, I don’t want to see that space where the tops of your thighs meet, but with frayed denim framing it. At the local–twenty people strong–march, one TWELVE-YEAR-OLD girl said she was marching because she thought it was unfair that she couldn’t wear short-shorts to school. Uh…I think you are missing the point of the march, which is that our bodies belong to ourselves, and no person has the right to handle without consent. No matter what you’re dressed like. But what is it that we are fighting for? Daisy Dukes?
And I hear the message loud and clear. But I don’t want to clobbered over the head with it. And I get that the word slut is being re-appropriated in the same way Kanye West and Jay-Z did in a song that the Grammy nomination list had to list as “________ in Paris“. It’s only okay if we say it. But why say it at all. There’s something about this concept that tastes like vinegar. And as I write about it, I have to question why this is so unsavory to me… and why it feels embarrassing to purse my lips at the notion. Am I a prude? The police officer, who must rue the day he made that remark–has probably seen a few victimized women in his time. He may have seen common denominators, I don’t know his story. But I reckon there were some sensitivity training in that man’s future.
The thesis of the march comes from an empowering place. And hey, I am all for choice. It is your body, do with it what you will. And I believe hand on heart, that there is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape’. We are living in a blame-victim culture, and I appreciate the anger, the clenched fists of feisty feminists that are sick to death of violence and abuse. I’m one of those women. But I also believe that rape has about as much to do with sex, as Lindsay Lohan has to do with sobriety. I also think it wouldn’t kill anyone to throw a cardigan on and leave a little bit to the imagination. I mean, Grace Kelly was one of the biggest sluts ever, and she was classy as hell.
And again, it’s not about how you clothe your body–it’s about the right to safety, support and sympathy. Everyone deserves that. There’s no need to be ashamed, hold those slutty heads high. And I’ll be here in my giant poncho, championing your cause.
I’d really love to hear your thoughts and opinions.