A Good Reason to Be a Slut

Women holding up a sign at SlutWalk

Image via Moxiebird.com

In January of this year, a Toronto police officer gave women across the world a reason to suddenly start waving their slut flags. During a campus safety information session at a university, the officer suggested to the students in attendance that women can avoid rape and/or sexual assault by not dressing like sluts.

That’s right, the police officer suggested rape victims are potentially at fault if they dress like a slut — however “dressing like a slut” is defined.

This completely backwards, misogynistic comment spurred school officials to call the police department and demand an apology. The police officer eventually apologized, but by then his comment had been so widely publicized via news outlets and social media that the apology had little effect. The righteous anger of women across the globe spread virally, inciting the very first SlutWalk that took place in Toronto in April and drew more than 3,000 people. More SlutWalks have been scheduled in its wake, furthering the momentum of this controversial movement.

The marches are not intended to justify promiscuous behavior; rather, SlutWalk is dedicated to protesting the “permissiveness” of rape that still pervades our culture. Though many believe we’ve dug ourselves out of the trenches of gender inequality, the fact remains that the blame is often placed on women in cases of rape and sexual assault. How was she dressed? Where was she when it happened? How was she acting? The implication that if women act or dress differently then men would not lost control and rape them is degrading to women, who to this day still cannot freely express their sexuality like men can, and is unfair to men, who supposedly don’t have the self-control to not rape a woman if she exudes too much of her sexuality around him.

SlutWalk’s message has spread insanely fast, spurring marches throughout the United States. If you’re interested in participating in one, check out the Satellite List on the SlutWalk website. If you can’t find one nearby, check out the guidelines for setting up your own satellite to see if this is something you’d like to bring to your area.

If you want to get involved in the conversations surrounding SlutWalk, here are a few ways to do so:

  • Read the SlutWalk Official Blog
  • Follow SlutWalk on Twitter:
    • There are many SlutWalk twitter accounts based on location. For the founders, follow @SlutWalkTO or do a search for the SlutWalk twitter account in your area.
    • @hugoschywzer is a gender studies & history professor at Pasadena City College who has been offering insights from the male perspective on the SlutWalk movement.
    • Search for SlutWalk on facebook and find the cause, community, or page for your area.
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4 thoughts on “A Good Reason to Be a Slut

  1. Caitlin says:

    I’m so proud of these women for starting SlutWalks. This notion that women had it coming or there words were saying no but their dress/actions/general vibe was saying yes is completely absurd and downright wrong. I’m interested in getting more involved with the organization and will definitely check it out! Thanks for providing such great information, Mika!

  2. Scott L. Clark says:

    It should be common knowledge that rape is not a crime of passion, but a crime of anger. The thought that a woman’s appearance has anything to do with her getting raped just doesn’t make any sense.

    I will, however, point out something that has nothing to do with rape, but everything to do with the dress that this particular officer is referring to. I can’t tell you how aggravating it is as a male to work in a professional environment with women who wear scantilly-clad clothes to work. It makes me feel uncomfortable (not because I’m afraid of boobs), but because I’m naturally drawn to low neck lines and short hem lines. If I look, however, I’m looked at as a pervert, so I have to divert my attention elsewhere (which is much easier said than done). Case in point: if you don’t want me looking, don’t flaunt it for the world to see.

    I will agree, however, that rape is a disgusting, inexcuseable crime that is no one’s fault but person committing the crime.

    • The Slasher Chick says:

      You’ve seen the way I dress, so you know I’m not necessarily an advocate of dressing provocatively (especially in the work place), and neither are the supporters of SlutWalk. I absolutely agree that ladies (and men — reminds of that SNL sketch in which Will Ferrell shows up at the office in a tiny white tank top and a red, white, and blue speedo)should dress appropriately in the workplace. And I don’t think the wandering eye is just a guy thing. When I’ve encountered too-low tops, I can’t help but check out the cleavage. It makes it so that I can’t concentrate on what the woman is saying to me because I keep thinking “please pull up your top please pull up your top please pull up your top!”

      Anyway, the main point of SlutWalk is to protest this victim blaming in cases of rape and sexual assault. Even if a women walks down the street naked, it doesn’t give anyone the right to violate her.

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