Tomorrow I’ll Be Slutwalking

Burka bikini mashupBeen meaning to write this blog post for a couple of weeks now. Tomorrow I’ll be attending the local Slutwalk in the city. I was going to get into my sexiest outfit but I suspect it will be too cold for such extravagances. So now I’m considering just wearing my usual jeans and comfy shoes. Although perhaps I should wear my work pyjamas. Sitting here making porn wearing pyjamas makes me a slut, I’m sure.

I also had the idea of creating a crazy Angry of Mayfair-style costume that was half burka and half bikini because I thought it would make a great point about the whole nonsense concept of “modesty”. But naturally I didn’t have time to create it. So you’ll just have to imagine it*.

There’s been numerous mainstream media articles about the Slutwalk in the last few weeks and perhaps the most interesting part of those have been the comment sections (here’s an example – almost 250 rabid comments. And here’s Clem Bastow’s great piece with 150 comments). What the comments have revealed is just how much the Slutwalk is needed. A disturbing number of people, often men, have come in and repeated the same victim-blaming mentality that the Slutwalk is protesting against. Often it’s couched in terms of “it’s just common sense” but the attitude remains.


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Ideas about what female sexuality should look like are quite thoroughly entrenched in our society. It’s sad to see the number of people who unthinkingly regurgitate ideas about female promiscuity, “sluttishness”, uncontrollable male desire and the circumstances in which rape occurs.

We’re told that “that’s just the way it is” and Slutwalkers are “ignoring reality” by demanding that people rethink attitudes to rape and female sexuality. Well, fuck them.

Clem Bastow, one of the organisers of the Melbourne Slutwalk, wrote this comeback on her blog

STOP comparing women’s bodies to wallets/presents around the Christmas tree/your house/your car with your stupid, stupid “You wouldn’t leave your wallet on a bench” analogies. If I leave my wallet on a bench and someone steals it then, yes, that was a silly thing to do and I’ll probably regret it. If I go out and somebody rapes me, then THAT IS NOT MY FAULT.
STOP saying “But women have to accept some responsibility blah blah”. NO, the only people who have to “accept responsibility” are those who rape and sexually assault people.
STOP this inane idea that men are governed by such uncontrollable caveman urges that they simply can’t even look at a woman’s cleavage/legs/etc without needing to have sex with her then and there. Give them, or yourselves, a bit more credit.
STOP shaming women who dress “sexy” or “slutty” for wanting attention. Whether they want it from men, women, or because they like to think of themselves as sexy, wanting to be looked at or desired DOES NOT EQUAL wanting to be raped or inviting sexual assault.

I also want to feature the wonderful writing of comedian and author Ben Pobije who wrote about the Slutwalk today. It makes me want to pump my fist in the air and shout it from the rooftops:

This is why I like SlutWalk: because I want to send the message that when the bastards of the world, the paternalists, the misogynists, the rape apologists and the straight up-and-down arseholes, snarl the word “slut” at a woman because she’s not conforming with the way he wants femininity to manifest itself, the decent, well-adjusted people of the world will LAUGH IN THEIR FACES.

You want to call them sluts? Well that is just fine, guys. We will throw it back in your faces, laugh our heads off, and go on living our lives. Not just the sluts, but the men who love them, the children they raise, and everyone else who doesn’t accept the right of the pricks to shape the world.

Ben really nails what the whole thing is about. It’s a good reminder, especially in the face of those who are complaining that it’s “too vague” or not feminist enough (e.g this article from today’s SMH).

The big question is… what will I put on my placard? There’s part of me wants to be silly and hold something that says “I have a sign” or “Down with this sort of thing” a la Father Ted but I think that might be a waste of a good sign. The tricky thing is coming up with a short phrase that somehow sums the whole thing up easily. One of the suggestions I read on Facebook was “Got Consent?” I liked that a lot. But I think I’ll go with “Women like sex. Not rape.”

By the way, to all the guys saying they’ll be at the Slutwalk so they can look at scantily clad women: Thanks. That’s nice of you. May I suggest you join in as well? Because if you enjoy looking at women, you should also respect them. If you don’t, you’re exactly the kind of slut shaming arsehole we’re protesting against.

*Photoshop fun, done in a very dodgy and hasty manner but gives you the idea.

Edit: You just have to read Ben Pobjie’s hilarious piece in New Matilda about the Slutwalk. It’s PURE GOLD:

One of the feminists who doesn’t like SlutWalk is Gail Dines, who is such a big massive feminist that if you look feminism up in the dictionary, she’ll slap you because the first syllable of dictionary is “dick”. Dines is a powerful and kind-hearted feminist who has committed her life to protecting women from penises…

And then of course there is the issue of how, ever since nudity was invented in 1953 by Hugh Hefner, everyone is a rapist which is a shame.

And Catherine Deveney has lots of great things to say here.