I’ve been wanting to write something about Slutwalk for a while now, and putting it off because I have so many complex and conflicting ideas on it I think it’ll be a neverending rant.
There’s been a bunch of critiques of Slutwalk all over the interweb that have seriously resonated with me. Then there was this opinion piece, which reminded me why Slutwalk is actually really relevant:
‘But suddenly the women who had worn the dungarees – or perhaps the daughters of the women who had worn the dungarees – said they were still feminists, but that they were something called “new feminists”. This meant that they still wanted to be treated as equals by men, but that now they could wear very, very short skirts, and very, very low tops, and very, very high heels.’
Well let me clarify: I am not a ‘new’ feminist. I am the regular old fashioned kind of feminist. The kind that thinks women should have autonomy over our own bodies, and that this extends to choosing our own wardrobes. There is nothing new about the notion that feminism is a political stance, not a fashion statement.
‘It must be quite hard for [men] to tell the difference between the women who join “SlutWalks” and the ones who want to drink a lot of alcohol in nightclubs and maybe have sex with a stranger.’
There is a clusterfuck of sexist assumptions here. Starting with the assumption that women who wear revealing clothes do so because they want to have sex with strange men, moving on to the assumption that women who want to have sex with strange men are not feminists, and finishing back at the assumption that women who wear dungarees never want to have sex with strange men.
This is victim blaming rhetoric. The implication is that women who dress in ‘short skirts, low tops and high heels’ are doing so because they want sexual attention, and that because they want sexual attention they are inviting sexual harassment or assault.
This really pisses me off, because it reinforces the idea that women should have to choose: that we should have to choose between being virgins or whores, that we should have to choose between never saying yes to sex and never saying no, that we should have to choose between never getting laid and being raped, that we should have to choose between being appreciated for our intelligence and talent and being appreciated for how hot damn sexy we are.
I’m not willing to settle for these crappy choices. I want to have sex when I want, how I want, with who I want (when and how they want).
And I will fight like hell for everyone’s freedom to do the same. Because I’m a fucking feminist. Not a new feminist, just the regular old fashioned kind.