Next Friday is the Queens SpeakOut on women’s rights hosted by the SlutWalk Coalition. We at For the Birds are excited that SlutWalks have sparked a lively and critical debate on the ways in which we organize against violence and sexism. We’ve compiled a few articles that take both critical and enthusiastic takes on the approach:
Historically, this has come at a great cost to low-income women and women of colour who bear the brunt of institutionalized sexism – from lack of access to childcare and denial of reproductive justice to stratification in precarious low-wage work and disproportionate criminalization….
Having said all that, it might be surprising, then, to know that I did march in Slutwalk.
I attended for the simple reason that I am committed to ending victim-blaming. The Slutwalks in Toronto and Vancouver came out of the specific contexts of comments by police officers in Toronto and Saanich that were reinforcing to young women about how to avoid getting raped. In Manitoba, Judge Robert Dewar commented that a young Aboriginal rape survivor acted ‘inviting’.
People of Color Organize!: Four Brief Critiques of SlutWalk’s Whiteness, Privilege, and Unexamined Power Dynamics
And that gets to one of the essentially problematic things of privileged white folks attempting to define for everyone else what works for them personally or because they want a satirical device. When events are about everyone individually for themselves defining whatever they think is good for them, regardless of its impact on other communities (especially communities of color, who disproportionately face the brunt), do communities of color really need to define themselves in such terms?
Feministing: Slutwalk redux with Rebecca Traister
Sometimes the purpose of activism is in the theatre, in the noise and in the exaggeration. LGBT activists throwing glitter on homophobic politicians is hilarious, it may not make quantifiable policy change, but it makes headlines that are funny, ironic and dramatic and sometimes that is enough to get people to change their minds or rethink taken for granted assumptions about sexuality. Women marching around in “slutty” outfits (when they do, I have heard they don’t completely and the point is really about wearing what you want) yelling about injustice is in a way a type of mockery of conventional ideas about sexuality that is wholly refreshing.