Slutwalk began just over a year ago in Toronto when a Toronto police officer told students at York University to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” The co-founders of Slutwalk, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis deliberately used the word ‘slut’ in their protest to attempt to remove the negative connotations of the word. It is similar to ‘Bitch’ magazine in that respect, who decided that if being called a bitch means they are outspoken women then that’s actually a compliment. Similarly, if being called a ‘slut’ means you are a woman in control of her body and sexuality then it’s not necessarily a degrading term.
Here at Feby we’re all about female empowerment, whatever form or linguistics it uses. Slutwalk is about fighting slut-shaming and victim-blaming. Women have the right to dress however they choose and not be raped, punished or dominated as a result. Hugo Schwyzer (professor, writer, husband, father, feminist) tweeted numerous reasons he supported Slutwalk including ” I support #slutwalk: because #slutwalkers stand against sexualization, and for healthy sexual expression. The difference matters.” and “I support #slutwalk: because no always means no, even if it comes from someone who’s said “yes” 1000 times to 1000 others.”
Anti-pornography activist Dr Gail Dines says ”Women should be fighting for liberation from culturally imposed myths about their sexuality that encourage gendered violence.” but society is controlled by the opposite gender and they encourage us to encourage. Sex sells everything and as women we are told if we aren’t sexually desirable then our worth is lowered. We ‘buy’ that notion and the six inch heels and the push -up bra and then told we’re stupid and irresponsible and asking for trouble. This paradigm is what western society is built upon, how do we women remove that like our make-up? Many things about this protest are contradictory but I think that’s the struggle women are now facing, the right to be autonomous sexual beings and the media image we have absorbed of what female beauty is thanks to the constant objectification of women in the mass media that preys upon our insecurities. As Gloria Steinem said ” The way women’s bodies are looked at, we’re supposed to be ornaments, not instruments.”
To me Slutwalk is about the right to define myself and not let others do it for me and that’s why I’m going to Slutwalk and bringing my two teenage daughters along.
Photos taken at Slutwalk 2012 in Toronto