Saturday, May 7, 2011

Slutwalk after-action report.

The Slutwalk was fun. Bigger than I'd expected--there had to be at least a couple hundred thousand folks there--and full of energy and anger and yet joy.

It's funny to think, the impact of the actual walk wasn't so much; we probably got seen by a few hundred people tops. The real impact, if there is one, comes when the photos get out in the news and on the Internet.

Here's a couple of the signs I saw there:

Mine: I'm a slut - I love consensual sex

Jesus ⟨3 Sluts

You got 99 problems and all of them are MISOGYNY

Love does not divide, it multiplies

I can have scalable, high-fidelity, multi-core love if I want to (this guy was awesome)

I hope the message isn't too diluted. A lot of people not involved seemed to be taking it as "HEY WE'RE SLUTS WAAARGH," rather than getting all the nuances of "Someone being a slut does not excuse shaming, harassment, or sexual assault." Was that a lot of nuances? Apparently it is.

That is, big letters now:

There was a "Pimp Walk." Five or six loud assholes. I don't think they were exactly anti-slut or pro-rape (maybe I give them too much credit), they were just there to make the rhetorical equivalent of fart noises. "You say women deserve safety no matter how they dress? Well, we say *FRRRTT* hahaha sluts hahaha *FRRRTTT* bro-five!" Something about that well-thought-out.

It was impressive, and wonderful, and strengthening to see just how many people turned out and how passionate they were. There's a lot of people on our side here and I think there's getting to be more. If all this got us one more, it was worth it.

On the walk and subway ride over, I hid my sign very carefully. Got catcalled twice anyway.


  1. Yes! We should remind America more often that Jesus <3's sluts.

    Thanks for talking about these events, it's made me want to go to the one that's coming up here.

  2. Well, if you believe that Jesus <3 everybody, you can't very well go making exceptions.

  3. "Worst Counter-Protest, EVER." -Comic Book Guy voice

    A real counter protest would have gotten drunk, and given those sluts what they were CLEARLY asking for. Begging, even.

  4. Anon - It would be nice if people gave us what we were, in fact, clearly asking for.

  5. Hahaha great signs. (Also, LOVE the new layout. So much much easier to read!)

  6. @Anon a gin and tonic and a back massage?

  7. Still I wonder:
    "Kids deserve safety no matter with whom they play, but if they don't leave with strangers they will be safer" - is a legit position,
    "Women deserve safety no matter how they dress, but is they dress less provoking they will be afer" - is bashing?
    Can't see why it's so radically different.

  8. It might be because loose jeans are not actually a magical rape shield.

  9. Because it's a misdirection from the real issue, and it misrepresents provocative dress as a significant cause of rape when it's not.

    Utah State University Sexual Assault and Anti Violence Information

    Myth: Rape victims provoke the attack by wearing provocative clothing
    · Most convicted rapists do not remember what their victims were wearing.
    · Victims range in age from days old to those in their nineties, hardly provocative dressers.
    · A Federal Commission on Crime of Violence Study found that only 4.4% of all reported
    rapes involved provocative behavior on the part of the victim. In murder cases 22%
    involved such behavior (as simple as a glance).

    I mean there could be a guy out there who's got an "if (skirt) action = rape; else action = !rape;" check going in his head, and you'd be safe from THAT guy, but most of us don't live our lives as if we're in constant danger of velociraptor attacks.

  10. "Kids with strangers" anon - Here's why it's different.

    1. It's a completely random analogy, for starters. "Mice aren't safe in blenders, so women should understand they aren't safe in short skirts" does not actually prove anything about women.

    2. As the person above says, clothing does not cause rape. Clothing does not even correlate with rape. And anecdotally from three years' experience as an EMT and ER tech, the vast VAST majority of rape victims I've encountered have been in jeans, sweatpants, cotton pajamas, hijab, etc.

    3. What clothing does correlate with is catcalling and other street harassment, slut-shaming ("ew, she looks like a total hobag!"), and victim-blaming--right up to police/DAs dropping the case or juries ruling "not guilty" even with blatant evidence--if a woman does happen to be raped. These are things that happen, yes, but they're things that the Slutwalk is fighting against.

    4. Dressing "modestly" is an unclear and moving target. Is a skirt two inches above my knees "safer" than a skirt three inches above them? Is it dangerous to be wearing a skirt at all? Are spaghetti straps okay when it's really hot out, or still dangerous even then? Do I have to wear sleeves, or would a thick-strapped tank-top be safe enough? Where do we stand on push-up bras? Is it okay for me because I have small breasts, but dangerous for someone with DD's? Isn't dressing too modestly also risky, because you might look like a lesbian and/or prude who needs to be shown the error of her ways? If "well, we all have to live by certain rules," I want a goddamn copy of those rules.

    5. Strangers really aren't a significant danger to children. Out of 797,500 children abducted in 2002, 115 were taken by strangers who intended to harm them. (US Dept. of Justice.) Just about all abductions are committed by family members, friends, neighbors, babysitters, schoolbus drivers, and other people not covered under Stranger Danger.

    6. Yeah, actually, it would be nice if people didn't abduct kids. The point being made by the Slutwalk isn't "women are perfectly safe however they dress," but "women should be perfectly safe however they dress."

  11. Somehow I doubt Anonymous(2:40) actually wants an explanation, but the key point is, as Holly said, that "Leaving with Strangers" and "Dressing like a Slut" are not even remotely similar.

    People do tell women not to "Leave with Strangers", and while that still carries some unfortunate implications, it's a hell of a lot more reasonable advice.

    And conversely, people do occasionally say children (well, mostly girls, come to think of it) are at more risk if they "Dress like Sluts", and that likewise remains insulting and useless.

  12. Has there actually been any studies done on this? Baring any hard data on this I find it difficult to have any opinion on this beyond my standard "do (or dress in this case dress) as thou wilt".

  13. Ha ha ha ha, fart noises! Those liven up any occasion. Except, of course, farting occasions.

    -A lot of people not involved seemed to be taking it as "HEY WE'RE SLUTS WAAARGH,"-

    Yeah, always those motherfuckers in any group of anything, ever. It's unfortunate.

    Well, glad you guys have fun, was there media coverage?

  14. I don't understand why the "women won't get raped if they dress modestly" crowd don't see that THIS IS A DIRECT ROUTE TO HIJABVILLE.

    "That dress shows leg and cleavage! You shouldn't wear it or you might be raped!"

    "Okay, I've changed into jeans and a t-shirt. Am I safe now?"

    "Well...the thing is I can still clearly see the shape of your breasts and ass. That's definitely enough to drive a guy crazy."

    " 'bout now? I'm wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt four sizes too big."

    "Well...a guy might see how nice and toned your arms look and extrapolate from there that the rest of your body is also nice and toned...I wouldn't risk it if I were you."

    ...and on and on it goes until finally women are wearing a fucking full-body tent with a mesh strip to see out of.

    And yet, rape is even more common in countries with these "modesty laws" than it is here.

    I'm curious what rape apologists would think if a woman went out in a floor-length baggy long-sleeved dress and strappy sandals...and got raped by a foot fetishist who felt she was "flaunting" her sexy toes. Would the victim get scolded for not taking foot fetishists into account when she got dressed that morning (after all, apparently it's our job to predict everyone else's reaction to our clothes and dress accordingly...)? Or are we to believe this situation is different - that it's not her fault and she didn't "provoke" her rapist - because, come on, everyone knows that a woman's breasts/legs/hips/ass/stomach/neck are incendiary, but who expects anyone to be into feet?

  15. This is all true, and another point is that a lot of rape, especially the classic stranger rape and rape with power differentials such as father/daughter, care worker/patient, is not about sexual attraction at all, but about power and control, which makes anything based on how sexy someone was dressed even more illogical.

    Not to mention how this line of thinking is just as misandrist as it is misogynist, given that it means believing that men are uncontrolled id monsters with no morals or empathy. And if they were, it would be much more efficient to put them all in chastity belts.

  16. A guy I'm subscribed on Youtube had a video about the Slutwalk you mihgt be interested in Holly:

  17. I attended the Slutwalk here in Melbourne, Australia. I have numerous qualms with it, and its approach to the issues it addresses...but in the end, the issues and the fact I felt they were worthwhile won out and I decided to support it with both feet.
    I also decided, in the days leading up to it, to try explaining it, in age appropriate terms, and have some resulting discussions with my son, who was then almost six. It was pretty interesting. Talking about it in terms of sex was not going to mean much to him...talking in terms of choice and autonomy...well, that is where a kid really lives. They understand the value of being able to do what you want, as opposed to what you get told to do because you must. So that was the facet we discussed it in. And he asked if he could come too.
    I had a couple of misgivings, but because we had talked about it and he had volunteered based on his understanding, I figured it would not be a token drag-your-child-along-to-a-protest thing. So there we were.....
    About ten minutes in, My son discovered the self-propelled couch that someone was driving along as part fo the walk. He approached and charmed his way aboard, and was promptly spotted by a news-crew who saw this bright independent young kid and pounced, believing that they would get footage of a kid totally out of place amongst adult issues and signs that read "It is not okay to rape sluts either!"
    I walked along beside the electric couch and decided to see what would happen. I could always get him out of there if he got upset. I nodded permission and they asked Miles what he thought the day was about. His answer was kind of awesome. (This is paraphrased because he sort of rifted off topic and then restated a few times and spoke like a 6 year old does. he said that he thought it was about a really bad kind of bullying. Because it is not like someone can see the bully hit you or call you names. The bully just makes you afraid that he will call you names if you do not behave the way he thinks is good. But that was still bullying and it was still wrong. Especially if you were meant to be a grown up and should be able to do anything.

    This made me very proud, as it is still one of the best articulations of the underlying core of Slutwalk. You do not make someone live in fear, you do not infantalise them to "protect them" because it is easier than changing the attitudes that propagate and normalise damaging behaviour toward anyone that does not toe the moral line as you see it.

    It was a rather good day, and reinforced for me the importance of teaching my son through talking things through and seeding ideas instead of instructing from on-high.