Friday, May 20, 2011

Defending SlutWalk

A quick note before starting: Whenever I use the word 'slut' in this post (or any other), I use it in a sex-positive sense only. If you are the type of bigoted jackass who uses 'slut' as a negative, this post is for you. Read on.

Last Saturday, I was at the end of my shift with my 'Off Duty' light on and doors locked, when there was a banging at my window. A lady, dressed like a club girl with a low cut, short, tight dress and a look of desperation. I rolled down my window, and before I could tell her I was off duty, she pleaded, "Please, can you take us to South Ferry?" She seemed close to tears, so I said, "Sure."

Three girls climbed into the back. All were wearing typical club gear, short tight dresses with stilettos. From their drunken and upset conversation, I was able to piece together what happened. They went clubbing and met up with some guy friends. They all went to one of the guy's apartment to continue the party. Girls #1 (the one banging on my window) was sitting on a bed with a couple of guys sharing a joint, when one guy held her down and the other started to fondle her breasts. She struggled and screamed, and they let her go. Meanwhile Girl #2 was sitting on the bathroom floor, having rid herself of excess alcohol, when another guy sat down next to her. He gave her a bottle of water and asked if she was feeling OK. She said she was doing better, and he went ahead and stuck his hand up her skirt.

So, the two girls grabbed their other friend and headed for the door. On they way out, one of the guys said something to the effect of,  "If you're going to dress like sluts, you shouldn't be surprised if someone hits on you."

Two thoughts immediately come to mind:
  1. Groping a woman against her will isn't "hitting on." It's assault, plain and simple. And, assault is a crime.
  2. Even if a woman is dressed like a slut, it doesn't mean she is. And, even if she is one, it doesn't mean she wants to fuck you.
This incident has been floating around in my mind, and I've been considering writing a post, when I came across this bit of ignorant humor. (undermyfitted) is a blog I read often. AJ, the author, has a way with words, and an interesting outlook. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't. But, this time he pissed me off. He wrote a piece belittling SlutWalk and the meaning behind it. I left him an irate comment and asked if I could repost his drivel so I could rip it apart sentence by sentence. He was game enough to give permission. His post follows. My comments are bracketed and in bold, and I address AJ directly.
Some things are just so ripe for parody [SlutWalk isn't a joke.] they barely require jokes [Yes, jokes are unnecessary, but that isn't going to stop you.], which is why this post lacks even a clever title. (I mean, how the fuck am I supposed to top that phrase for eye-catchability?) Nope, the title of this post refers not to a promisucous method of locomotion nor some website where one can Google the fastest and least conspicuous walk-of-shame [Why does it have to be a walk-of-shame? Are you ashamed going home after a sleep-over? Why should she?] route home, (hmm, ...I could totally see that...options for routes that take you past places you can get breakfast, streets where one can hail cabs or clothing stores to buy an outer layer of clothing so everyone doesn't know you're wearing the same clothes from that taken yet? If not, it's mine, bitch!) but an international event, coming soon to a city near you!

Where in the hell could one possibly get an idea like this and for what purpose? Well, for starters, we actually can blame Canada. This thing got and spread its legs in Toronto a few weeks ago when a police officer told a personal security class that they could "avoid being victimized by not dressing like a slut". Make of that sentence what you will [I make that sentence to be an ignorant cop victim-blaming rape victims.], but what a group of women in Toronto made of it was a 1,000 woman march of scantily clad women defending and demanding their right like sluts [No, it was a group of women demanding that police take sexual assault seriously and not dismiss women as 'sluts who had it coming.']. They were outraged at the suggestion that being dressed like something out of the back of an independent newspaper would garner negative attention [Correct, they were outraged. Are you implying that they deserved negative attention?]. Of course, a thousand women deep, no one was victimized, the march passed without incident, a tour of North America was planned, and the entire incident was cheered as a victory for women's rights...or...something. Of course, the question here is...what the fuck? [No, the question is...what the fuck don't you understand?]

Since when did sluttiness become a positive attribute? [Are you saying women should remain virginal? Are you a virgin? Waiting until marriage? Or do you have sex? Ever do anything slutty yourself? Ever fuck a slut? A double standard exists in which men get to sleep around as much as they want, but any sexually liberated woman is dismissed as a slut. The idea of a woman saving it until marriage dates back to the time when women were considered PROPERTY. Women were the property of their fathers until they were given to another man in marriage. We live in a time when most people realize that no one owns a woman except herself. And, she has the right to do as she please with herself and her sexuality. If you have a problem with that, it is your problem.] Why are women out there marching for their right to resemble dickholsters? [Is that how you view some women? As a place to park your dick? Just a come receptacle?] With all the problems out there facing women today...domestic violence, breast cancer, workplace discrimination, no more Oprah pick THIS cause to get riled up for? [Judging by your ignorant ass post, you need some educating. As do millions of other men and women. That's worth getting riled up for.] Really? [Yeah, really.] A slut walk? It's not even like it's a word with colloquial connotations that can be reclaimed. [They will reclaim it, despite you.] It's just a foul-ass word. [No where near as foul-assed as 'dickholster.']I mean, I can get away with calling bitches bitches, [That's pretty fucked up, too.] the bitches call other bitches that all the time and don't seem to particularly mind me doing so, as long as it's in the correct context...but let me call a bitch a slut without wearing an athletic cup and the only person who will regret it more than me are my kids who will never be born. Why would anybody want to be labeled a slut? [There are plenty of sexually proud women who want to be positively labeled a slut, and they expect you to respect that.] Susan B. Anthony risked being tarred and feathered so women could vote, in twentyleven we're struggling over the right to wear a bra as clothing or a negligee to the supermarket. [No, they are fighting for the right to be safe and respected.] Where the fuck are we at as a society? [Apparently, we still have a ways to progress.]

(I need you to read this next paragraph v e r y carefully [OK, read it a few times. Every time I got angrier.] ...don't comment with no bullshit, please. [I'll do my best, though the paragraph is pure bullshit.])

Not only that,'s not like Officer Maple Leaf [I like the nickname. Only thing you got right so far.] didn't have a point. I don't have any statistics to back me up, [It's called Google.] so honestly I'm quite fucked if you call me on that...but it would certainly stand to reason that people who lock their doors are less likely to be a target for home invasion. [In this case, no cop, or anybody else, would question whether a crime was committed. It would be reported and investigated as a home invasion. But, if a woman dressed as a slut gets raped, people, would question whether it was a rape. She would be put on trial herself. People would say that she had it coming. People would say that if she wasn't a slut, it wouldn't have happened. And, that's the point of SlutWalk. Women have the right to dress like and be sluts and have their safety taken seriously by police and society.]  It would also make sense that a locked car is less likely to be stolen, [Don't equate a woman's safety with a fucking car. Just don't] that carefully watched children are less likely to get snatched, [Child snatching, while tragic, is relatively rare. There were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007. That comes to about one assault every two minutes.]  that money kept hidden from others is less likely to be hidden from you later, or that your girlfriend is far less likely to find all those nekkid pics in your phone [Who sent you those naked pictures behind you girlfriend's back? Was it a slut? I hope you treated her with the respect she deserved.] if you keep that secure too. See where I'm going with this? I'm not, repeat, not, one mo'ginn, NOT saying that women who choose to look like they cost $50 [Slut does not equal whore. Learn that. And a whore who charges only $50 is either engaged in survival prostitution or she's a slave.] deserve to be attacked [I'm glad you realize they don't deserve to be assaulted. I just hope you realize that with your attitude (like calling a slut a 'dickholster') is contributing to the problem. It is your duty to respect ALL women, and preach it to your friends, family and neighbors to RESPECT WOMEN.] ...just saying there are certain steps one can take to decrease the likelihood of being targeted, [Read on to the end; I'll give you a whole list of steps to keep a woman from being targeted.] and keeping one's nipples on the inside when you're on the outside is one of those steps. [And, another step is re-educating guys like you.]

Of course, who gives a damn what I think [Perhaps the 1 in 6 women who are victims of sexual assault give a damn.]...the Slut Walk will be in Philadelphia on June 17, and I'm sure there will be a very heavy turnout (if only to self-identify). People will wear whatever they want, and that's cool with me...hell, I'm definitely not gonna sit here and say women should wear those black ghost costumes some Muslim women wear [Seriously dude, how can you write that and not see the irony? Muslim women are often forced to wear those 'black ghost costumes' because Muslim men are not held responsible for their actions. The belief is that men can be driven crazy by the sexuality of women, and that if a woman shows the slightest bit of skin, it is her fault if she gets raped. Many Muslim countries blame, imprison, or stone a woman if she is raped. The man walks free. That is victim-blaming taken to the extreme. Even though you say that women should not have to wear 'black ghost costumes,' you are saying that a woman shouldn't dress immodestly. You are still implying that women are partially responsible if they are attacked. That is victim-blaming. It is wrong.] or anything, but realize there are certain inherent risks to wearing any controversial clothing. An "I (heart) the KKK" t-shirt, while perfectly legal to wear, might get your face stomped down your throat if worn in the wrong area. [Since you bring up the KKK, let me say that your grandparents could have gotten their asses stomped just for them being in  the wrong neighborhood. I hope you wouldn't say that they shouldn't have been there. Fifty years ago, black men and women fought and died for the right for you to live in a desegregated country. This country has made great gains for equality since then. But only for the MEN. Women have been left behind. Black women carry the stereotype of being easy, sluts, or whores. With your attitudes towards women, you are helping to perpetuate those stereotypes.]  A Speedo worn to Wal-Mart technically falls within the limits of the law, but will get you put on somebody's Facebook wall as a funny picture [Don't equate being mocked on Facebook with being raped.] (I know that because I would be the guy to do it).

Hell...a red shirt could get you shot in the wrong hood [There's a big difference with being sexually liberated and being a gangbanger.] why are we surprised that people who dress like hoes are often mistaken for them? [It's all about attitude and perception. Change yours, and you might be able to notice the difference.] Who knows...all I know is I'm strongly debating renting an electric blue leisure suit, feathered hat and a bejeweled cane and standing near the Slut Walk when it comes handing out fake job applications just for fun. [Please don't] Hey...that's what sluts are good for, right? [Fuck you.] Now get out there and get me my mon-aaaaay [Seriously, fuck you.]
 Now, let me quote sjfbarnett, one of the founders of SlutWalk,
I would label myself a ‘slut’ before a ‘feminist’ {funny, since I avoided the latter due to what I considered the bad reputation it had}. I’ve always enjoyed sex, hot sex, consensual sex. Starting to discover this in high school, I got the reputation of ‘slut’, and was pretty pissed that I got stuck with that label, when the guys I slept with got high fives. But despite the shame of such a label, it didn’t stop me from enjoying a good fuck. 
I always told myself that should a high school reunion come ’round, I’d never go. I didn’t want to walk in and have people think or say “oh yeah; you were such a a slut” {although, now that I think of it, sleeping with a handful of guys over my entire high school career doesn’t seem like much}. But in the last few years, I’ve come to embrace my sluthood, especially after honing a certain code. Sex should always be between consenting adults, and all parties involved {because sometimes there are more than two} need to know and be fine with such an intimate exchange. To be honest, I can’t respect someone who doesn’t live by a similar code. Anything involving lies and deception is something I don’t want to be near. To me, it’s a judgement of character. Excusable in high school students, not so much in adulthood. 
So when The Ethical Slut finally landed on my bookshelf, I felt vindicated. I could finally dump the learned shame of enjoying sex. I’ve seen people do way worse to others and never get labeled with such a harsh word originally meant to inflict a serious sting. So to hell with those who thought I was a bad person for enjoying sex, who thought I was less deserving of respect.
Having been a confident slut for sometime, this January the word was slung out again as an epithet, but this time it wasn’t by a high school kid. It was by someone who demands respect by way of authority. Someone who’s charged with a person’s safety. Someone who should know better. So when I read the quote in the Excal, “don’t dress like a slut…”, I could almost hear the blame dripping from the word.
And, as promised, guidelines for preventing rape:
  • If a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
  • If a women is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don’t rape her.
  • If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don’t rape her.
  • If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don’t rape her.
  • If your step-daughter is watching TV, don’t rape her.
  • If you break into a house and find a woman there, don’t rape her.
  • If your friend thinks it’s okay to rape someone, tell him it’s not, and that he’s not your friend.
  • If your “friend” tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
  • If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there’s an unconscious woman upstairs and it’s your turn, don’t rape her, call the police and tell the guy he’s a rapist.
  • Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it’s not okay to rape someone.
  • Don’t tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
  • Don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x.
  • Don’t imply that it’s in any way her fault.
  • Don’t let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
Stats on sexual assault in the US I got from RAINN. The rape prevention guidelines have been floating around the internet for years in one form or another. I got this copy from san fransisco love story. Special thanks to Yandie for debunking some rape tropes. I suggest you also read her post on Schrodinger's Rapist. If you are really up to doing your homework, I suggest Feminism 101 at Shakesville.

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