Event: Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Ralliers outside the State Library on Swanston Street.

Best. Sign. Ever.

Last Saturday the highly anticipated SlutWalk occurred in several Australian cities, and I attended the Melbourne event with my fellow anti-slut-shamer friend Laura (both of us below).

We rocked up in our sluttiest outfits, which you can see above, complete with permanent marker declarations of our proud sluthood to boot. Some of the other outfits we noticed were short skirts with knee-high skull print socks and customised Doc Martins, worn by event organiser Clem Bastow (below), lace dresses and gym gear, the latter of which adorned a short-haired tattoo fan with a body Tracy Anderson would envy.

Clem Bastow.

Monica Dux.

As Bastow commented when she gave one of the opening addresses, along with fellow event organisers Karen Pickering and Lauren Clair, and noted feminists Monica Dux (above) and Leslie Cannold, amongst others: “thank you, God, it looks like you’re going to rain on me”. But no one was gonna rain on our parade and, despite the chilly temperatures, we still walked tall and proud in whatever get-ups we chose to wear.

Dux said this is the beginning of a movement, which I have to disagree with. SlutWalk is not the beginning of a movement; it is part of the reignited battle to stop victim-blaming and slut-shaming based on one cop’s archaic musings on rape and how much a woman was “asking for it”. Here’s a fun fact: WE’RE NEVER ASKING FOR IT! (See Bastow’s sign, above). No matter how we are dressed, where we are, how much we’ve had to drink, or what we do for work.

Speaking of, I was really proud to see the representation of sex workers at the event, and president of the Australian Sex Workers’ Association, the Scarlet Alliance (represent!), Elena Jeffreys (above) spoke about her sexual assault and that even though she was paid for sex, she was not consenting to assault. Her opinions on the SlutWalk were really interesting and I hope they receive as much publicity as the negative perceptions of the rally have in the media.

In the days leading up to SlutWalk, I was embroiled in a heated debate on Facebook with a friend who disagrees with the SlutWalk. I think he confused—like a lot of people—the meaning of the SlutWalk with an excuse to get gussied up in a very risqué manner when, in fact, that was not at all what it was about. That didn’t stop protestors on the steps of Parliament House at the top of Bourke Street brandishing their “rape is horrifying, but so is immodesty” placards (above). Like one of the speakers (whose identity escapes me: should have used my BlackBerry voice recorder!) said: it’s not up to us to curb our behaviour (and that includes how we choose to dress) at the risk of potentially being sexually assaulted; it’s up to those who sexually assault to curb their behaviour!

I think most people against the SlutWalk had a problem with the use of the word slut. As Cannold said, “words matter…: … we won’t stand for one, the same one, being slung at us over and over again to demean and degrade us.” Lori Adelman, in a post on Feministing, said she didn’t agree with the term “slut” and that she “would much rather have attended a ‘Do Not Rape’ Walk”:

“I find that the term disproportionately impacts women of colour and poor women in order to reinforce their status as inherently dirty and second-class, and hence more rape-able.”

To me, “slut” is just a word. It meant as much to me to be called a slut when I was 12 as it does today; as they (and Rihanna) say, sticks and stones will break my bones but names can never hurt me. It’s not about the term “slut”, it’s about the backwards and extremely offensive views that go along with that word. As coordinator of the first SlutWalk in Toronto, Sonya Barnett, told Rachel Hills: “if he [the policeman] had said something else, we would have called it something else.”

The speaker who garnered the most attention, though, was transgendered man, Cody Smith (above), who had been raped both as a biological female, and as a trans man. There were tears a plenty during his speech!

It was nice to see such a welcoming, non-judgmental turnout of everyday men, women and children of all walks of life, wearing all sorts of garb, not just the fishnetted and cut-out body con dresses that certain attendees chose to wear (guilty as charged!). After all, rape is not about what you’re wearing, what you look like, what size you are, how old you are, what your sexual orientation or gender is, or any other denomination that you happen to belong to as a person. It is about the perpetrator, and nothing you can or cannot do will stop them from attempting to rape you.

As Smith said, it shouldn’t be the victims of sexual assaults’ responsibility to educate the general public on sexual assault and victim-blaming. And I thought the sexual revolution happened several decades ago: it shouldn’t be up to members of a fringe movement to educate the general public on the sexual rights of women to express themselves however they please without the threat of retaliation. In fact, feminism—which is what the SlutWalk was all about—shouldn’t be considered as on the fringe in 2011.

[Feministing] SlutWalk: To March or Not to March.

[Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Ask Rachel: What Are Your Thoughts on SlutWalk?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] UPDATED: SlutWalk.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] So a Tattoo Makes Me Public Property, Huh?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Has Feminism Failed?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “S&M”: Is it Really So Much Worse Than Rihanna’s Other Stuff?

Black and white images via Ali Ryan Photography.

30 thoughts on “Event: Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

  1. Pingback: Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week: Conservativism Reigns Supreme in The Sunday Age’s Opinion Section. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  2. I’m glad you attended when I couldn’t myself. I am however in Toronto, where the event that sparked this whole thing happened. (And I am still shocked a Canadian police officer said such a thing. Everyone is so lovely!) I do agree that the name ‘SlutWalk’ can be seen in a negative way & I too was put off by the name but once you understand what it’s all about and it’s origins then any reasonable person would be willing to support such a worthy cause. Again, thank you for walking in protest for all those who have been raped, and even those (like myself) who have been sexually assaulted, who definitely weren’t asking for it, regardless of what they were or were not wearing!

  3. Pingback: On the (Rest of the) Net. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  4. Pingback: Event: FuckWalk—The Floodgates Have Opened. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  5. Pingback: Magazines: You Say It Enough, It Loses Its Meaning. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  6. Pingback: Guest Post: SlutWalk—A Smokescreen of Lies, Misinformation and Those Old Myths About Males. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  7. Pingback: TV: Witch Trial—Burning at the Stake on Charmed. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  8. Pingback: On the Net: Femi-Blogging. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  9. Pingback: Slut-Shaming as Defence Mechanism. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  10. Pingback: Event: Melbourne Writers’ Festival—A Long Long Way to Go: Why We Still Need Feminism. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  11. Pingback: The Taboos of Sexual Harassment. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  12. Pingback: Why Young Feminists Still Have “A Long, Long Way To Go” in the Eyes of Second-Wave Feminists. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  13. Pingback: Guest Post: On Stalking. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  14. Pingback: Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word? « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  15. Pingback: My Week in Pictures. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  16. Pingback: UPDATED: Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word? « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  17. Pingback: Slut-Shaming in Romantic Relationships: It’s Not On Unless It’s Not On. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  18. Pingback: Event: The Catholic Church Is Not a Force For Good in the World. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  19. Pingback: Event/TV: Glee—The Right & Wrong of It. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  20. Pingback: 12 Posts of Christmas: Slut-Shaming as Defence Mechanism. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  21. Pingback: 12 Posts of Christmas: Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word? « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  22. Pingback: 12 Posts of Christmas: The Taboos of Sexual Harassment. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  23. Pingback: Magazines: The Protester May Be Time’s Person of the Year, But SlutWalkers Aren’t. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  24. Pingback: TV: New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime… « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  25. Pingback: In the News: Hating Kony is Cool. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  26. Pingback: Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week: Feminism, Jackie O & C*nts. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  27. Pingback: TV: Special Victims Unit—SlutWalkers Are “Just What the NYPD Needs”. « The Early Bird Catches the Worm

  28. Pingback: Book Review: The Misogyny Factor by Anne Summers. | The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s