I’m actually really surprised when I hear people use that argument. It’s horribly disgusting and makes the men of our species out to be primitive primates who are unable to control any urge that runs through their bodies. I understand, we bitches be hot, but I don’t believe that women can hurl men into an uncontrolable sexual frenzy with short skirts.
Well… some police man in Toronto made this argument, saying women shouldn’t dress like sluts if they want to stop being abused and out of his asshole-ry there spawned a new phenomenon: “Slut Walks“.
While I don’t support women being told to cover up and while I certainly don’t support women being called sluts… I also don’t really support these slut walks. I find it hard to believe that after generations of fighting to be taken seriously modern-feminists movements have turned the reclamation of a derogatory word as something worth putting their time and effort into. But that’s not all I’m befuddled and disturbed by… Keep reading for all the arguments and I actually have to give credit to Feminist Frequency for listing a lot of great resources to find these arguements.
I should also say that I understand the Slut Walk is a form of activism against a rude and ignorant man in Toronto – but I still think its problematic.
I’ve already mentioned my #1 issue with the Slut Walks, so I’ll hash it out to begin this – the argument of “reclaiming” the word for personal empowerment and to stand up against the people using the word. The logic being that if we women call ourselves sluts, then it can’t be offensive anymore. It legitimizes the word and the use of it toward women. I don’t care how many men I’ve slept with, how short my skirt is or how easy it is to get me into the sack – I never want to be called the word slut and I don’t want women I know to be called it either. The very history of the word tells a tale of women’s sexuality being insaulted by men, why do we want this to remain with us? It is derogatory, no matter who is using it. Also, reclaiming it for ones self and saying “hey, I’m not offended and no one has the right to tell me what offends me or not.. I want to be called a slut!” is not an argument that pushes feminism forward in time. It is giving in.
And by giving in and normalizing the word these women (and men) who are participating are making it more difficult for women in general. I’ve already had a discussion with one relatively uneducated man and he said (and I quote!) “if they are calling women sluts then I can too, and hell… sluts will want it anyway”. Is that the mentality we want to give people about women? Imagine this sort of logic being circulated in a high school setting. I happened to be an early bloomer and in grade 9 I had big boobs – this alone lead to the hormonal gropes and teasing rituals of 14 year old boys… adding in the idea that its okay to call women sluts? and that they want to be called sluts? It’s just messy.
What is unfortunate is that the feminist movement here in Toronto took an opportunity to really fight back on an ignorant cop but instead turned their sexuality, gender and feminism into a political ploy that a) further polarized women who are out and loud about sex and women who are quite about it (I’m certainly no prude, but I’m no slut either!) and b) disregards the fact that the word “slut” is a patriarchal and diminishing word that I would never want to associate with my gender.
The final argument that I want to address is the poor taste that this entire thing is in. There are women who are being sexual used and abused every single day. What an infuriating way to take attention away from women being seriously abused, assaulted and used. Women are taken from their homes, sold into sex slaves, treated as meat, raped and then murdered. Our response to modern day misogyny is to walk around claiming we are indeed sluts? These women have taken a prime example of regressive and detrimental words/attitudes at work in modern society and turned it into a meme… a joke… something not to take seriously… and actually told the world “HEY! WE ARE SLUTS!” instead of saying “HEY! YOU DON’T GET TO CALL US THAT”. It’s embarrassing. Rape and sexual abuse is a vicious and hateful act… not one spawned by short skirts, but that’s not the message these women have sent out. Instead they’ve sent out the message that men should just learn to deal with seeing our legs – instead of demanding respect.