SlutWalk is out-of-context feminism

Protesters participate in SlutWalk Toronto

Global movement: protesters participate in a SlutWalk rally in Toronto, Canada. (SlutWalk Toronto: Supplied)

Women everywhere are losing their ability to act responsibly, instead insisting they should be able to adopt a mantle of total infallibility when it comes to their own behaviour or the way they communicate.

“‘I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this. However, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”

Those words have reverberated around the world since they were uttered by Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer in January.

A global protest movement has been sparked in the wake of his comment.

Constable Sanguinetti has apologised for his remarks, made during a safety address to a group of Canadian university students in January.

But outraged students organised SlutWalk to protest against the idea that sexual assault victims are to blame, and the event quickly galvanised an international movement.

SlutWalk’s broad message has been welcomed in Australia, but not everyone has reacted warmly to its controversial moniker – or its mission of re-appropriating the word slut as one of empowerment.

Rory Killen, who is organising the upcoming SlutWalk in Brisbane, says the aim of the walk is to enforce the idea “that victims are never to blame”.

We are forgetting that communicating is not purely verbal. Your tone, behaviour and certainly visually, forms 55% of effective communication. Dressing and acting like sluts, but saying "No" is a communication contradiction at the fundamental level. It's ridiculous to think that confusion and arousal do not begin to take over both men and women after hours of such visual and behavioural foreplay. This is psychology.

We are forgetting that communicating is not purely verbal. Your tone, behaviour and certainly visually, forms 93% of effective communication (see Source material). Dressing and acting like sluts, but saying "No" is a communication contradiction at the fundamental level. It's ridiculous to think that confusion and arousal do not begin to take over both men and women after hours of such visual and behavioural foreplay. This is psychology. You are responsible for how you communicate.

The S-word

Mr Killen says another aim of the walk is to “reclaim” the word slut – which has an overwhelmingly negative connotation – as one of sexual empowerment. (When was the word Slut ever “claimed” in the first place?)

Many who welcome the walk’s anti-rape message  grapple with its attempt to reclaim the s-word.

“It is absolutely degrading for you to call yourself a slut. Have some respect for yourselves girls,” wrote Facebook user Boxeo Hincha on the event’s page.

“Just have a problem with being called a slut at all. Why can’t it be a feminist march against women being called such horrid names???” wrote Sally Ariad, while Garry Pattinson said: “The event runs the risk of entrenching the very idea that it seeks to subvert.”

The blurred, blurred lines between seduction, giving in, and rape:

With the above photo’s caption in mind, assess this particular scenario:

Erin, a Melbourne lawyer who plans on attending SlutWalk says she was raped by a man she went on a date with.

“When I got home that night I cried and cried and cried and cried – I thought that I had done the wrong thing by allowing myself to be taken off into a private place by this man and be kissed and do all the things you do when you’re getting to know someone,” she said.

“[I thought] it was my fault for not saying no to that, even though I made it clear I didn’t want to have sex, because I didn’t draw the correct line… when the whole time I had said no.

“If you don’t have consent, don’t have sex with someone. It’s simple. I knew that then and I know that now, but in the aftermath there was a real confusion about how I felt about it.”

Erin says she has not told many people about her assault because she fears the finger of blame will be pointed at her.

“I expected to be judged. I expected people to say ‘oh well you shouldn’t have gone off with him because that’s what happens’,” she said.

“[Slutwalk] comes down to the issue of consent and that it shouldn’t matter what a woman is wearing, what she’s doing, where she’s walking, what kind of behaviour she’s had in the past, she should never have to live in fear of being raped,” she said.

There was no indication here that Erin was forced. If she had been, I’m guessing it would be one of the first things she says in her defence. Seduced, sure. If you insist on drawing the line at foreplay… only to seduce each other to the point that you change your mind and consensually give in to arousal, all the way to intercourse… is that fair to call it rape? Especially bearing in mind that the majority of communication is non-verbal?

This actually goes on daily in relationships. Are girlfriends (and boyfriends) everywhere being raped by the art of seduction, if they begin by saying no?

Is it rape if you are having sex merely to gratify your partner? 

If you feel bad about it afterwards, does that automatically elevate it to rape?

What are the odds that Erin felt confused and cried because she felt cheap, because she went against her values? By promoting SlutWalk, Erin now sends an ambiguous and confusing message that even if you act easy and cheap, you still weren’t communicating that you said “yes” because verbally, the word “No” came out of your mouth… to start with.

If Erin felt forced or threatened, then that’s definitely another matter. However, here, the scenario is this: She made the decision to allow sex in the wake of seduction and persistence from the male. By calling this scenario rape, SlutWalk implies that in this situation, Erin loses her ability to make her own decisions. It’s almost like pleading Temporary Insanity. Are you happy to class your boyfriend a rapist if you are not in the mood, but through his persistence you have sex anyway?

This kind of behavioural ambiguity is what SlutWalk is not only allowing, but promoting as OK – because if you have sex after that, you’re infallible.

SlutWalk: ‘Undress To Impress’ message OK

The underlying message of SlutWalk may be that “victims aren’t to blame” but the secondary message: the promotion of “Freedom to act or look like a Slut without fear” is in sheer contradiction to the growing concerns on how these sorts of messages rub off on teenagers and children.

Vogue editor Kirstie Clements said it appeared many teenagers were making a concerted effort to look trashy and wear little to no clothing.

“Skirts so short they didn’t even cover the butt cheeks,” she said.

“Half a metre of stretch nylon seems to suffice as a dress.

“Where have all the teenage girls gone who just look pretty and fresh, with sandals and a cotton sundress on? I see girls heading off to work in tops that I think are too low-cut for the office. I think some girls do themselves a disservice by letting so much hang out.”

Fashion commentator Zoe Foster said the tight, skimpy trend was being influenced by reality TV stars such as Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, celebrities who have become fashion idols by pairing super-short dresses with stripper-style platform heels.

“Girls feel they have to show legs, breasts and bum to be sexy and to stand out,” Ms Foster said. 

“I see young girls out on a Friday night and all I want to do is put a jacket on them,” she said.

Shop Til You Drop editor Justine Cullen wrote in her editor’s column this month in a bid to get young women to cover up, calling for “basic nipple and private-parts coverage”.

“Why has it become so hard to tell your average 20-something from your average streetwalker?” Ms Cullen wrote.

Read more: Australian Fashion Experts Concerned as Teenagers Undress to Impress | The Sun.

Roly Sussex, emeritus professor of applied language studies at The University of Queensland says the use of the word slut is “a slap in the face to everybody”.

“It’s part of a big group of words which are derogatory words about females for which English has almost no male parallels,” he said.

“It’s used principally by men about women, but also by women about women in the sense of moral standards. It’s a bad word that one should avoid … there’s very little to be said in favour of the word.”

He says it may be possible for the word slut to be reclaimed with a more positive meaning.

“There’s an interesting example of this in the word nigger,” he said.

“It’s called in America the n-word, and now only can be used by black people to black people, and it’s out of use for anyone else.

But along with identity comes accepting and taking on the behaviour behind that identity.

Sources:

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Events, Health, Medicine, Multiculturalism, People, Politics, Law

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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49 Comments on “SlutWalk is out-of-context feminism”

  1. Mr S B
    June 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    Andrew,

    I am at a loss to understand your stance on this issue and, to be honest, I am more than a little concerned for the safety of any of your sexual partners.

    To disagree with the reclamation of the word ‘slut’ is one thing. It is a controversial issue and if a person does not want to engage with it then they are, of course, free to make that choice. But to say that somehow the survivors of sexual assault invite or consent to their attack through their body language and that those who persist and pester cannot be charged with sexual assault? Disgusting.

    Since you are obviously such a fan of non-verbal communication, understand this. When a man physically pesters a woman, persisting with his advances until she gives in, she does so out of fear. Fear that if she doesn’t, he will get angry or upset and hurt her. It’s a fear that is always there. Every time she walks down the street and gets unwanted attention. My girlfriend refused the attentions of a man in the street a few months ago, his reaction? To scream angrily at her, calling her names and gesturing aggressively. If she hadn’t been on a busy street, I shudder to think what could of happened. She was scared and shaken up and rightly so. If I had been on the receiving end of those threats, as a man would I have been so scared? Probably not.

    I urge you to stop for a moment and really try to understand the issues here. Not just for your own betterment but, when/if you have children, for theirs too.

    Best regards.

  2. Shaun
    June 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Do you lnow what I learned from reading this? I learned that YOU are probably a rapist. At the very least, you areencouraging other people to go out and commit coercive rape, which makes you an accessory to rape. This is not an accusation I make lightly. Your description of “seduction” IS IN FACT a description of “coercive rape” and it is ILLEGAL and punishable by law. If I say no, my partner backs off immediately. If my partner says no, I back off immediately. Note that either I or my partner may change our minds at any time, but we do so without the use of implied threats, cajoling, and harrassment.

    And, for the record, lack of a “no” is not consent, either. To have consensual sex, you need two (at least) people clearly saying “yes”.

    I hope the police keep a copy of your rape encouragement handy. They might need to use it as evidence.

    • Chris
      June 9, 2011 at 7:11 am #

      “Do you know what I learned from reading this? I learned that YOU are probably a rapist.”

      This place needs a bouncer.

  3. WAAAMBULANCE
    June 5, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    Thankyou for the critique of the modern day rape “culture” . Sadly most so called “Feminists” have prevented people from having a mature discussion about rape and the many different kinds of rape. More and more i am finding todays culture is focused on denying the truth in favor of what the females would prefer, not to mention the responses here suggesting you are a rapist for lack of a better argument. Also to the idiot above me encouraging rape isnt a crime nor is he encouraging it, I assume it is save to assume you are a woman and a member of the minority of females whom still pretend that females are marginalized in modern day society whereas in reality hold far much more power in the legal system than men.

  4. Mr S B
    June 5, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Ah, WAAAMBULANCE. You were doing so well until you reached the end of your first word at which point it all started to fall apart.

    I assume that, like me, you are also a man. I would therefore like to talk to you ‘man to man’ in the hope that you may actually take this on board.

    I find it extremely concerning that you think that there are “many different kinds of rape”. There is only ONE kind of rape. RAPE. The survivor (be they a women or a man) is never responsible regardless of the circumstances.

    It is also clear from your comments that you have a blinkered view that discounts the lives of billions of women world-wide when you say that women are not ‘marginalised’ in ‘modern society’. Although female genital mutilation may not happen in Australia, does not mean it doesn’t happen in other countries. Just because gangs of government thugs don’t roam the Australian countryside raping women in their villages as a show of strength doesn’t mean it isn’t happening right now in other countries.

    Your comments reveal you to be exactly the sort of man that tarnishes the reputation of the decent men out there. I suggest you spend less time flicking through your copy of ‘Misogynist Weekly Online’ and head to somewhere like “goodmenproject.com” to educate yourself about being a real man.

  5. Malgender Swing
    June 5, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    I think slutwalk is great…..I am enjoying watching the sluts bring feminism to it’s ridiculous conclusion!

  6. WAAAMBULANCE
    June 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Mr S, you fail to also highlight that the good men project was a feminist based campaign to dismantle the mens rights movement, it is a direct contrast to the male anti suffrage groups of the yesteryears.

    TGMP, are trying to bind men’s voices to feminism. Many of their articles read like white knights trying to shame men into being betas. If being a good man means submitting ones rights and ideas for male equality, many pro equality groups have condemned such a website for its demonetizations of male sexuality and heavily biased articles.

    Mr s, please do not spread your false ideals to others, if the future of good men is submitting ones gender and sexuality to a female run society, with one sides equality then I weep for the future of our gender.

    • Hmm
      June 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      To be a feminist is to believe in equality. Equality for all genders, races, ethnicities and ages. That is the only overriding goal of feminism.

      Can people PLEASE STOP attacking different facets of what people believe is feminism under the name of ‘feminism’. All feminists have different opinions.

      My opinion is that if I’m wearing shorts because it’s a flipping hot day and some guy catcalls me and expects me to have sex with him because i’m showing my legs, he’s a loser. If he forces me to have sex with him, he is a loser who is also a rapist.

      Can I also add that sexual assault is committed primarily by someone related to the victim. So the idea that you can prevent rape by being ‘conservative in dress’ is sort of irrelevant. It’s an act of violence and power.

      Also WAAAMBULANCE feminists will never want to solely run society or ‘conquer’ men or whatever you’re trying to say. We love our fathers, our brothers, our partners. We just don’t love rapists. At all.

  7. Chris Floyd
    June 5, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    The only common ground I see both sides sharing is the tendency to over generalise arguments they don’t agree with.

  8. Natalie
    June 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    And what a surprise that the article was written by a guy. Why don’t we just go as far as saying children shouldn’t wear swimsuits or bathers on the beach so not to provoke pedophiles? And as for the reason behind the name of the march, I think it is a very apt word, to provoke a reaction, and make it just as shocking as the act of rape. But then again, the author doesn’t see rape as being that shocking does he, really its just an interpretation of body language and the 90% of communication that is non-verbal. What a pile of codswallop. I happen to have great legs and a big bust, so am I suppose to hide both of these, even though when I am covered head to toe I look frumpy and it makes me feel fat, just so I don’t send the wrong non-verbal message? I don’t bloody well think so.
    And if that makes me a slut, whether its in the traditional or the new re-appropriated sense of the word, so be it.

    • June 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

      “And what a surprise that the article was written by a guy’

      Would it help as a female if I said I agreed with the article?

  9. Jane
    June 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I don’t know why people are being so polite. What you’re writing is disgustingly sexist.

    Women are oppressed everywhere. In Australia, women still get paid less than men. Women’s bodies are still used to sell almost everything. Women are worse now because there’s a triple burden: to work, to raise kids, and to look sexy while doing it.

    It’s particularly horrific that you as man feel you have the right to say such things in contradiction to what many women feel. I know that as a man you have been raised to think your opinion is always valid, but it’s not. And you’re not the centre of the world. So stop, think for a moment that you may be wrong, before you offend more people.

    And yeah, I agree with some people here, you most certainly have raped. For future reference as well – not that it’ll stick in your thick head – a drunk woman can never give consent. Even if she says yes or her body language satisfies your sick prerequisites, she can’t consent because she’s intoxicated and will certainly regret it the next day when she sobers up. Especially if it’s with you.

  10. Jane
    June 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    That sounds a little anti-men… I’m just anti this person and sexism in general. I do find it great to see other men disputing this shit… Shows it can be done and that men have no excuse to act like tools.

    • June 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      What about the women out there who act as ‘tools’ sometimes? Do we get away with it because we’re female and can play the feminist card? Surely a tool is a tool is a tool.

      Rapists ARE tools. And a No means no. I don’t debate that. I have however seen (and known) girls to put themselves out there (for want of a better phrase) and then be unable to say no, feel horribly guilty the next day, but at no point actually TELL the guy to stop (which he would if asked), in fact, continuing along with sex – not passed out in a corner and being taken advantage of. In which case, is that rape, if it’s reported?

      As a female, I don’t think my bad decisions should lessen the hideous wrongs that are forced rape in the world, in particular the nasty violent rapes that occur each day.

      Unfortunately a grey area (and errors of judgement) exist. Such is life.

  11. Jane
    June 5, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    That sounds a little anti-men… I’m just anti this person and sexism in general. I do find it great to see other men disputing this shit… Shows it can be done and that men have no excuse to act like tools.

  12. George
    June 6, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Men are not oppressed!!!!! Any men who think they are need to get over themselves. It’s sick that I have to clarify this at all. Men dominate high paid jobs, men are rarely the recipients of sexual abuse, men (and women) respect the opinions of men more than women and interrupt women more than men… Try to pay attention to conversations and you’ll see how true that is. There are also sociological tests that have proven it. Men do not dominate the sex work industry. Men are socialised to think sex is for their own pleasure and that women don’t enjoy it as much. Whig brings me to another thing: men need to make sure their partner comes. If she doesn’t, it means ou probably don’t give a shit if she gets off or not. Which is foul. You should instead just have it with your hand…

  13. June 6, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Hi everyone, there’s a lot of great discussion here which is exactly what we want — opposing points of view and good arguments etc. However a few of you need to be careful not to run away on tangents and make this about men vs. women in general, or turn it into vitriolic personal attacks… try and stay on topic: specifically, the article above is putting forth the argument that communication is, and always will be, recognised as more than just *saying* one thing while behaving in an opposite manner. It is not acceptable to promote an ambiguous message to teenagers and children that even though you may say one thing, you can communicate in total contradiction via body language and behavior, ie: like sluts. If SlutWalk even accidentally promotes a message of “it’s ok to act the slut” and this becomes widely accepted, I guarantee you that while rape may not go up (by your own defence), then guilt-ridden girls who wake up realising that they have cheapened their own values, just like Erin, certainly will. And while I’m certainly not defending rapists, I certainly am defending regular guys who end up becoming accused thanks to personal embarrassment in the wake of a girl’s own unforced choices.

    • sammy
      June 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

      thankyou!

  14. Tash
    June 6, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Hello Andrew,

    I understand the point of this website is to incite debate. However i think it is nieve to expect a measured debate that doesnt involve personal attacks or emotive arguments when your article is apologizing for rape, claiming that a rape survivor who was brave enough to tell her story was just sad because she cheapened her values and imply that women are some how confusing temptresses who are so immoral that they will falsely charge a man with a crime they didnt commit.

    firstly, sure, some women (very very few) have wrongly accused men of rape, but the number of rape cases that are dismissed because the judge, jury, police, deemed the women asking for it, confusing men etc… is ALLOT higher, almost not comparable so lets not try to generalise the actions of a minority to those of the majority. The majority of rape cases are date rape cases. It is very rare that women (or men) or raped by a stranger who used physical force or a weapon to subdue their victim. Threat, intimidation and intoxication are the weapons of most rapist.

    body language is a stupid measure of consent. since most verbal communication is misinterpreted and that is easy to understand, being able to understand body language is near impossible.A friend of mine while working with Life Line was informed during training that some men who have been rape ejaculate or become erect during the rape. It was is a bodily response that cant be controlled. It certainly doesn’t mean that those men WANTED to have sex with their rapist, but if we were to interpret consent via body response/language it would paint a very different picture.

    I dont see your logic in assuming that encouraging women to not be ashamed of their sexuality would lead to more cases of date rape (or as you see it women cheapening their values then feeling bad). If anything, women should be encouraged to be proud of their sexuality however they want to express it, and not be subjected to people blaming them for their rape or worse, dismissing them when they claim to be raped, because they were probably seduced. If anything greater awareness of what rape is and how is it caused (the rapists own problems and actions) which is the point of slutwalk, will reduce the amount of victim blaming, increase how safe women feel to report rape and educate men what is consent.

  15. Chanty
    June 7, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    “Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.”

    Eff you Waaaambulance. Sexism still exists, and so does rape culture. I assume you are a man and you are mansplaining to us how the world works using your sexism and misogyny. Thank you for your critique. You have no clue. Stop talking out of your ass.
    As for the writer of this article, Andrew, she said no. What part of that did you not read of your own article? She. Said. No. You know what else? No means NO. No doesn’t mean no, only if she fights back and gets broken bones and bruises. You are either a rapist, or a rape apologist. Kindly stfu and gtfo.

    • Chanty
      June 7, 2011 at 12:21 am #

      Also, 4% of rapists actually remember what their victim was wearing. 80-90% of victims knew their assailant, which means, what she was wearing had nothing to do with it. Also, 2% of all rape cases turn out to be false, which, btw, is the same rate as with all other crimes, but apparently we like to only victim-blame rape victims.

      Slut:
      Sexually
      Liberated
      Unapologetic
      Too

      She may have a sexual history, she may actually enjoy sex, but that doesn’t mean that she has no right to say NO.

      • June 8, 2011 at 12:39 am #

        Ah Chanty. Quoting catchphrase stats and new-age rebranding acronyms is going to get you nowhere when you fail to identify the actual point of my article, which I have stated very clearly, instead making up a point of your own.

        Thank you, Lou, for being one of the few people here level headed enough to actually read the article properly.

  16. June 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Inevitably a topic that will always run away with both sides of any argument.

    It is interesting to see that in heated debate the point of many of these arguments have been missed. I am a female, and yet actually agree with Andrew. That does not make me a slut, feminist, man hater, or any other variant.

    I agree with the point many of you made – Rape is rape, and not to be tolerated. Fair enough. There are, I’m sure, women out there dressed practically as nuns who have been raped. HOWEVER, I’d be interested to see some statistical evidence to compare of the rapes that happened last year (of those that were reported – those that weren’t are potentially another story entirely) for example, what percentage were dressed modestly and what percentage were dressed provocatively. (Call it slutty, confident dressing, self expression, whatever you like).

    Fact. We communicate in a large part non verbally.

    If a girl has said no, then no means no (except in those cases it sometimes means yes, or maybe. – the joys of being female…) For a no that ACTUALLY means no,” bloody hell, I mean it,” then rape is 100% rape. The grey area comes (And I think the law agrees, whether it’s correct to or not) when the no may or may not mean yes, maybe or otherwise, or if indeed the female is too drunk or not sure what to do (feeling pressured or otherwise).

    Confused? Hell yeah, I am, and I’m a sober female. Try a drunk leering man on that one and see the confused look in his eyes.

    Now of course, sex if you didn’t want to have it, is not on, I agree, but how is it able to be policed when every non verbal signal (and potentially a cocktail of alcohol) makes the no line more blurry.

    That said….

    Everyone has a right to say no, no matter how drunk, or compromisingly dressed they might be, and it is the responsibiltiy of every sane minded man out there to listen to that and act accordingly. The problem lies that we have a shit load of inappropriate men out there who don’t give a damn about that. THOSE are the men you’re more likely to get attracted to you when dressed like a slut.

    I don’t agree with it… I want to dress how I choose, but let’s face facts. It’s true.

    But …..
    It’s just as inappropriate for a girl to grope some guy’s ass as it is for the reverse to happen to a girl. But women seem to think they can get away with it. Sad fact is they probably can. Cheeky grin and away we go. We’re probably not going to take it any further though, granted. Not really the point though is it.

    Point is, it seems women want it all ways these days. We want to be respected, yet we don’t dress like we respect ourselves any more, and if we really have a problem with the men out there, we don’t seem to give much of a shit about giving them the wrong impression (considering we’re not trusting them to be smart or decent enough to take no for an answer).

    It works both ways girls. Rape is by no means acceptable, but surely we have some responsibility to deter those monsters out there who don’t care WHAT we say, no or otherwise, by dressing appropriately?

    I’m all for sexy clothing, but to be honest, I tend to drink less on a night out if I’m more scantily clad because I’m aware that I’m probably not as safe. But while, yes, it’s their responsibility to listen to my ‘no’ with this comes MY responsibility to ensure my safety as much as possible, by giving as few wrong messages as possible, be that language, dress, or action?

    For the comment re ” 4% of rapists actually remember what their victim was wearing. 80-90% of victims knew their assailant, which means, what she was wearing had nothing to do with it” I’m not disregarding this at all, but surely stopping those rapes that you can affect is better than not attempting it at all. If 10% of rapes happen because (using this as an example for the argument’s sake) the victim either led the guy on, or gave mixed signals, dressed like a slut / whatever, then surely affecting those percentages we CAN change is better than just complaining about it?

    • June 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

      By the way, none of this is a defence of rapists out there. I don’t think there’s a single person commenting on this thread that is doing that.

  17. June 8, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    “body language is a stupid measure of consent. since most verbal communication is misinterpreted and that is easy to understand, being able to understand body language is near impossible.”
    That is actually not true at all, and every communications coach and research paper on the planet will back me up.

  18. June 8, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Finally, on the stat:

    “80%-90% of rape victims knew their attackers.”

    If we choose to believe the ever-increasing accuracy of good old Wikipedia, the actual stat (at least in the US, which we shall use for our model of Western Society in this case) is thus:

    “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 38% of victims were raped by a friend or acquaintance, 28% by “an intimate” and 7% by another relative, and 26% were committed by a stranger to the victim. About four out of ten sexual assaults take place at the victim’s own home.”

    Just for anyone who is curious, as I certainly was. I personally find the stats interesting. 66% by a friend, acquaintance or partner? What kind of situation could *more likely* result in a friend, partner or acquaintance raping a woman? I’m going to take a guess and say “a compromising one”.

    SlutWalk, to me, is the equivalent of demanding I should have the right to walk into a biker bar and spit on the faces of drunk bikers, like that’s not going to affect my likelihood of being attacked whatsoever.

    • June 10, 2011 at 9:41 am #

      “SlutWalk, to me, is the equivalent of demanding I should have the right to walk into a biker bar and spit
      on the faces of drunk bikers, like that’s not going to affect my likelihood of being attacked whatsoever.”

      Absolutely. Putting yourself in danger without regard is as absurd as the very notion of pride and the word ‘slud’ being associated.

  19. June 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I am shocked that a lack of support for SlutWalk should be seen as synonymous to a defence of rape. It is absurd. Anyone who knows me knows that I am no feminist. I think that ‘feminism’, as a whole, has lost sight of context. Personally, I am not convinced that to suggest that the SlutWalk could be defined as feminism out-of context, either. De Beauvoir and her ilk certainly would not see it as such. I suppose it depends on which wave of feminism one is talking about. It seems, moreover, a misunderstanding of the ahistorical feminist agenda. It seems that ‘feminism’ defined is whatever suits the cause these days.

    Bottom line: the SlutWalk sadly ignores the systematic and institutional concerns around rape culture and victimisation by merit of the name itself, not to mention the lack of strategic organisation surrounding the ‘movement’. Of course, I can understand why women have got swept up in the moment of excitement, but there are no Pankhurst’s in the midst. In fact, the most problematic aspect of the approach of SlutWalk is that it skirmishes with the ahistorical understanding of women’s organising and it has happened at the expense of the feminist movement, undermining a struggle with so many triumphs to its credit.

    The arguments being propounded are unconvincing. ‘Personal Empowerment?’ Really? This is a defence for redefining the tangent of the tag ‘slut’? So, I can call myself a slut and say it is empowering but, when another person calls me a slut, it’s a problem? The organisers of the SlutWalk seem to believe, firmly, that calling themselves ‘sluts’ empowers women. All it does is make it even more difficult for young girls who are trying to orient an already difficult period of adolescence. Essentially, they are arguing that “the only person affected in this is me”. This is hardly a solid argument for feminism.

    Also, what it does is build a false dichotomy of women, which is not too far removed from pre-modern, pre-feminist assumptions. This is a polarising trajectory in which a woman can be one of two things: a ‘slut’ or a ‘prude’. The Victorians would have called them an ‘angel’ or a ‘whore’. Not much of a difference in the culturally-bound contextual definitions of the terms. I suppose political discourse has to lack such subtlety by its very nature. However, I find the limitations insulting to woman. I am not a caricature formed in the ethers of political discourse; neither is my sexuality. It comes down to the basic questions of personal identity and subjectivity in the end.

    SlutWalk is more post-feminist than feminist, and it is not building on any of the good done by feminism in the past. The very fact that the SlutWalk has occurred and is so named is ridiculous, not least because what these current ‘feminists’ assume is that there is no patriarchal context within which their terminology exists. The word ‘slut’, from the fifteenth century, has always been pejorative. Tracing the literary history of the word, for instance, you will find the word to be a male hold. Appropriating it, as women, is not subversive. I personally would not want to be reclaiming a word in reference to myself that has been historically used to attack and label women. Also, the use of the word and the aesthetic of the events play on the idea that rape is an outlet to channel sexual frustration. Somewhat reductive, I say. Rape is a tool which is used to intimidate, bully, violate and oppose severe physical and mental pain on the victim. It is a deeply rooted problem in the perpetrator; it is not merely the reaction of a man when he sees a girl in a short skirt!

    • June 9, 2011 at 12:00 am #

      Fantastic comment. A well written and well informed piece in itself.

    • June 10, 2011 at 9:48 am #

      “Bottom line: the SlutWalk sadly ignores the systematic and institutional concerns around rape culture and victimisation by merit of the name itself, not to mention the lack of strategic organisation surrounding the ‘movement’. Of course, I can understand why women have got swept up in the moment of excitement, but there are no Pankhurst’s in the midst.”

      Fabulous.

  20. James Hill
    June 10, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    “It seems that ‘feminism’ defined is whatever suits the cause these days.”
    This is 100% on point. Third wave feminism simply means whatever third wave feminists want it to mean at the time. Porn, promiscuous sex etc. are recast as empowering feminist choices rather than hedonistic pursuits. Instead of battling for genuine equality for women, modern feminists simply arrange self congratulating stunts like the slutwalk while at the same time policing modern media for anything that could even be remotely construed as “sexist.” Any man that disagrees with the agenda is either recast as a potential rapist or simply dismissed for being a male in the first place.

    • June 10, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      This is my favourite comment of the lot. Hard to argue with that observation!

    • June 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

      It would seem that men are still seen as a threat to this post-feminist group, which would suggest that all twenty-first century feminists are doing is undermining any kind of equilibrium in power shifts!

      Shakespeare’s Shrew had a point when she said, “I am ashamed that women are so simple”. I hear you, Kate!

  21. Paul
    June 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    To deny that a ‘grey area’ exists, is to ignore the cause of the problem and prevent any real solution.
    Everyone wants the same thing here.
    Let’s stop trying to assign blame and start taking responsibility for improving the situation.

    • James Hill
      June 17, 2011 at 10:56 am #

      Very interesting article:
      “But equal opportunity in the workplace has not resulted in equal achievement, and not all of this is the fault of continuing chauvinism. Women bear the children and, far more often than not, they wish to be the primary carer for those children. At its most strident, feminism can be mistaken for an ideology designed to make women feel they are wrong to want that.

      Worse, feminism has accidentally promoted the idea that it’s pretty easy to work and have children, with the right support in place. On even an average income, it’s never easy, even once children are at secondary school (though it’s certainly easier then). Your priorities change. Work is no longer the most important thing, for a while anyway. Ambition can dissipate.”

      The apparent wage disparity between men and women is an often touted statistic by feminists and it’s all too easy to blame the patriarchy when the root cause is a lot more complex. When you have priorities more important than your career, your career progression is delayed. The real crime though, is the implicit assumption that being a mother and full time carer is somehow inferior to being a working professional.

  22. June 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Gratifyingly, I heard about this post by word of mouth before I could read it, which is due to the very dicey issue that you’re discussing. I’m divided whether I should just comment or write an entire article to follow it up instead! I just wanted to make two points:

    The first was that where responsibility should rest: on the victim or on the perpetrator of rape. The argument that all responsibility should be on a perpetrator is a bit extreme (but only a bit), but I will say that that most responsibility will always fall on the perpetrator of the crime of rape because they made the decision to rape that person. The secondary responsibility on the victim, to take care of themselves by avoiding situations/people they know can be dangerous, will never be greater than the perpetrator’s but it is something every woman should think about. For example women should (and generally do to my knowledge) ask themselves, “Am I safe alone with this man? Am I safe with this crowd after they’ve gotten drunk or high on drugs? Am I safe dressed like this after midnight in this neighbourhood? etc…”

    However, the argument, that rapists often use, that scantily clad women are asking for sex and therefore they assume consent is extremely egotistical. Yes, those women might want to have sex, but they most likely don’t want to have sex with most men, they want to have sex with the man/men they choose to have sex with. In short, it is the woman’s choice (just as it is the man’s choice) with whom she has sex with. Also, do people have to automatically have sex with naked people? What if a naked 90 year old walked past? Are we supposed to jump on her? Is that what she’s asking as to do? What if it was a scantily clad man?

    The second point I was going to make was that a lot of people don’t understand the difference between feminism and women’s liberation. This is the problem in most discussions about feminism, because people can’t distinguish between these two completely different things when having even a simple conversation about the topic.

    The 1970s second wave of feminism was all about women’s liberation. That is to say, women’s freedom to control their lives, their sexuality, how they live and what they do. It was about women freeing themselves from stereotypes telling them how to think and live their lives. It was about equal pay for equal work and not only having equal rights with men on paper but actually experiencing those equal rights.

    Feminism on the other hand is such a noxious term, one assumes it was invented by some conservative politician to undermine and destroy the women’s liberation movement. It doesn’t say “equality”, it doesn’t say “liberty”, it says “here is a new stereotype of how men and women should now behave” and thus it is creating the very problem women’s liberation was trying to solve! Stop being sheeple and start being people!

  23. July 2, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Why is it so hard to understand?? – Slut walk is not about race, politics, gender, age, sexual appitite or any of this.
    It is about the right for any person NOT TO BE BLAMED for being raped/ sexually assulted. It is about a persons freedom to feel safe.

    Rape happens to men & women, regardless of age(from babies to elders), looks, (dis)abilitiy, education, social standing, politics, country…. and we want the culture of making excuses/reasons/allowance for the rapist to offend to be stopped.

    It’s a simple concept and yet seems so hard for people to get.

  24. richard
    July 4, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Let’s take being a woman out of the discussion.

    If I, a man, walk down a dark alley with my laptop bag and get mugged by 5x knife wielding teenagers…

    1. Why was I walking down a dark alley when I could have taken a safer, more well lit route?
    2. Why was I carrying my laptop bag visible into a dangerous situation?
    3. Why didn’t I use situational awareness to notice the knife-wielding teenagers and decide to take another route?

    This is an issue of RISK MITIGATION. It is about identifying RISK FACTORS and minimising the chance of an incident occurring. There’s an entire semester worth of material about this in my Kung Fu class.

    Unfortunately how provocatively a woman dresses is one of the RISK FACTORS above- women cannot escape it!

    Rape is never permissable. Blaming the victim isn’t cool. But if you don’t want to be a target , you DO NOT exacerbate your risk factors. Unless you want to get mugged or raped.

    The way the Toronto police officer expressed it was horrible. But there is a truth in what he said.

  25. August 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Hemmm I am fasting 😦

    but I will come back again next week !!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fuckwalk: Defending your right to swear « Intentious - June 21, 2011

    […] inspired by SlutWalk, but with a much less ambiguous message/agenda, FuckWalk has manifested itself as a Victorian event aimed to prove the difference between […]

  2. A Matter of Degrees « American Parser - June 28, 2011

    […] SlutWalk is out-of-context feminism (intentious.com) […]

  3. Slutwalks: Will They Change Us? « American Parser - June 29, 2011

    […] SlutWalk is out-of-context feminism (intentious.com) […]

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