It’s a whole new generation of feminists. They’re foul-mouthed (some of them), outrageously dressed (or undressed), with green and purple and orange hair (or just regular hair). They’re straight and lesbian and both. They’re young — in their early twenties mainly. And dynamite — these are not women you want to mess with.
A cynical press was quick to label a “new wave” of feminists in the 1980s as “fuck-me feminists” (aka, with weird decorousness here in Wikipedia, “sex-positive feminists”). Well, as the new generation of feminists would say, fuck that.
These are the fuck-you feminists. The SlutWalk feminists. There was lots of skin on display here in Seattle on Sunday, and great tattoos. There were ripped fishnet stockings and day-glo pink platform boots and deliberately slutty thrift-store bras and teddies. Five-year-olds with signs saying “Free to be me.” A super-sexy Superwoman. A woman in full Amish dress and bonnet carrying a sign saying “How I dress does not mean Yes.” And lots of people with black teeshirts with “This is what a feminist looks like” in white lettering — many of them men.
“The radical notion that no-one deserves to be raped,” read one ironic banner. “Fuck shame,” read another. And “Jesus loves sluts” (directed at the nutters from Westboro Baptist Church — the ones who picket military funerals — who gave up and took their “Jesus hates fags” signs to a gay picnic instead).
Shameless? You bet. These new feminists are taking all the old insults — slut, bitch, whore, dyke — and running with them, turning them inside out.
Rocking and shocking their feminist forebears? Definitely. Too many older feminists have criticized the SlutWalk movement for feeding into the over-sexualization of women — which makes them sound alarmingly like their own mothers criticizing them when they first took to the streets in protest (“I didn’t raise my daughter so’s she could go parading around like this in public…”)
Hey, the founding generation of feminists — my generation — don’t “own” feminism. That’s the whole point of founding a movement. You hand it on. Younger women take the reins. They reshape it, fight sexism in their own ways, redefine what it is to be free and female. They make the movement their own.
So what if most of the SlutWalkers haven’t read ‘Against Our Will,’ Susan Brownmiller’s classic on rape? They get it. Stop blaming the victim; blame the rapist. Stop shaming the victim; shame the rapist. You don’t get raped because of what you wear; you get raped because a rapist attacks you. It’s not a sex crime; it’s a crime of violence.
“I’m just sorry we still have to be out here saying this,” said one of the dozen or so women over forty in the crowd of over a thousand. I knew what she meant. In a perfect world, we’d be rid of rape. But it takes more than one generation. And this one’s going about it with an in-your-face directness that I totally admire.
So me, I just stood there beaming, aware of am alarming sense of absurdly maternal pride whelming up in me. I was so damn proud of this new feminist generation. Happy just to stand there and be part of their protest. And as ready as they were to stand up to any police officer who asks what a woman was wearing when she was raped and say “Fuck that.”
Later the same day, for those with ethical reservations:
Was just in Elliott Bay Bookstore and came across this:
bravo Lesley…I’ve posted this one to Facebook.
Do cops ask what a woman was wearing when she was raped??
Yes, even if the woman was raped in the middle of the night by an intruder who held a knife to her neck.
Yes. And when my daughter, at 14 1/2 was date-raped, they asked her what her grade point average was, too. At that point, I said we were “done” and took her from the room.
Nice post.. as always~
I say blame and punish the rapist but do not go slutty, also!!
You miss the point. THe point is people say women get raped for being slutty.
But the majority of women who are raped are not the least bit slutty at all.
A grandmother in her 70’s for instance, not slutty! It is not what you wear, it is the idea that women are responsible for being raped that is being attacked.
I say “Stay slutty and carry a BIG stick”
it’s a woman’s right to dress ‘slutty’, whatever that means, if she chooses to. noone, however, has the right to rape. What I wear has nothing to do with wanting sex – it is not asking for it. If i want to wear a burqa, I will. if i want to wear a bikini, I will. None of that translates into what I want in terms of sex.
The point is, women are often blamed for being raped due to what they wear, and this is not only ethically wrong, it is an example of an extremely fallacious argument – that choice of dress translates into consent, or something deserving of rape.
how about we focus on society targeting rapists for their actions, which are ultimately much more harmful than anything a woman chooses to wear or not wear?
that’d be nice.
Slut is a pejorative term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals.
It’s hard to rape a slut, they want it more than you do, goes the thinking.
Dressing like a slut will most certainly create some interest from individuals, whose thinking goes along those lines.
How does the Slutwalk effort lessen *anyone’s* chance of getting raped??
Or will this show of “solidarity” somehow make them immune?
The idea of the SlutWalks is to stop blaming and shaming the women who are raped. What they wear, how they behave, how much they drank, what grades they got in school, what jobs they do, etc is all irrelevant to the rapist. Time to wake up and start really thinking, Godfrey.
Mmm. The last 2 items you mention: grades, and jobs, have nothing to do with a rape scenario.
Alas the first three very much do; they create vulnerability in the victim, and can send very much the wrong signals to the would-be rapist.
And, what is commendable about dressing, behaving and drinking like a slut?
Is this the role model you are advocating for the young women of tomorrow?
I assure you that “the young women of tomorrow” are here today and am glad to say they have no need of my advocacy — and certainly not yours. Especially since you seem to have entirely missed the point. Just as a woman’s grades and jobs have nothing to do with rape, neither does her dress or behavior. Stop blaming women!
There’s no “blaming” involved.
If someone gives you good advice not to step into a busy road without looking, do not cry Foul when run over by a truck.
The truck was there first, and potentially dangerous.
Putting yourself in harm’s way is just stupid.
And advocating sluttiness is just…sad, really.
The point is that men (or any would be rapist i suppose) is not an animal, they are in any case humans, and should really be able to control themselves, the idea that how a woman dresses increases the risk of her getting raped shows that men or any would be rapist has no mind or self control, or reason, and acts more like an animal than a human. I am not advocating sluttiness, but the message we are suppose to be giving out is: If you rape someone because you think she dressed like a slut, it’s your fault, not hers. If not dressing like a slut would avoid getting raped, then this shows we have a problem in how we perceive women. I think things like the slutwalk are not saying that women should wear like a slut, but it is raising awareness that nothing should be taken as an excuse to rape someone, rape is rape, no is no, it’s that simple.
did you just compare choice of dress and rape to stepping of a busy road, as though it’s the same thing?
How about, instead of asking women to dress a certain way, you ask men to not rape? Could you try doing that? Maybe you’d do some actual good instead of subscribing to stereotypes about rape and doing a damn good job of adding to rape culture.
Possibly some room then, for better in-depth studies into the mind of the rapist.
I suspect most of the present discussion is based on ignorance.
On the contrary, we know a lot about rapists. The ignorance is yours.
well said, lesley. dealing with ignorant people can be such a challenge – i try hard not to instantly yell, but I admit, I involuntarily raised an eyebrow at some of the stuff he was saying.
Did you know that a woman has a higher chance of being raped on a college campus as compared to women who don’t attend college campuses? interesting, eh? Make syou wonder how much good we do by classifying rapists as people outside of society and deviant – maybe we should focus on rape culture as a whole.
I suspect your discussions and viewpoints are based in ignorance.
here are a few things you should look up on your own time, should you have the interest or inclination or ability to perceive arguments rooted in logic, theories with a strong intellectual backbone.
1) rape culture
2) slut/stud paradox
that’s a good start. maybe it’ll lead you to other things such as
3) oppositional sexism vs traditional sexism
good luck godfrey – i hope you see what most of us mean on this site at some point in your life – if not, it’s a tragic thing for you and women in your life simply because of the way you perceive women.
also, comparing a rapist to a truck is is like saying that wearing provocative clothing makes a rapist rape – this is simply not true. Women in burqas are raped, women in hijabs are raped, women in so called modest clothing are raped – it is not the women’s fault that she is raped. Do you understand? Dress. is not consent. It is never consent. This is the fundamental thing you need to understand and recognise that rapists RAPE because THEY CHOOSE TO regardless of their victim’s choices. Their victims are tall short skinny fat promiscuous modest mentally challenged queer straight disabled abled strong weak – it doesn’t matter.
asking a woman what she was wearing while raped is the same thing as asking her “well why didn’t you just fight him off then?” – that is a much closer analogy than the one you were striving for, because it PLACES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HAVING BEEN RAPED squarely on her shoulders.
I don’t normally use capital letters when commenting, but then, normally, I’m speaking with people on an even intellectual plane. With some people, using such methods might make the message sink in better.
Well goodonya Lesley, always a pleasure to discover there is no other point of view.
Hope y’all succeed in whatever it is you aim to succeed in, and that you achieve a degree of pleasure from it also…
lol, we aim to succeed in getting rapists to stop raping, to stop this culture of shaming women, when we should be shaming rapists, that choice of dress is not remotely close to consent. We don’t care about women dress, we think men are not mindless creatures who think a particular dress means yes, and we think pejoratives like slut, which, in masculine culture translates to stud, is something worth reclaiming. Some of us would reclaim it, others not so readily – but all of us believe that CHOICE OF DRESS is not a reason or an excuse or a justification for rape. Do you understand that?
The point of slutwalk is to highlight a few things:
1) dressing like a ‘slut’ whatever that means is not an excuse for anyone to rape
2) no matter what you wear, be it amish clothing, a burqa, a bikini, short shorts, fishnet stockings – whatever it is – none of that translates to consent
3) the double standard of slut/stud – and that reclaiming the word slut in a positive context – why? because why is STUD such a compliment for describing the same actions that a woman labeled a slut is? ridiculous.
What you don’t understand godfrey, is that we have analysed your point of view, know it very well, inside and out, and can probably intellectualise it and demolish it with very good logical arguments. What you have to back your argument are social mores that are outdated, oppressive, and illogical.
there are many different points of view within feminist and queer theory – such as – is reclaiming the word slut really effective? some feminists would say yes, others no. There’s also classism to consider, and queer politics to consider – does slutwalk appeal to women from all socioeconomic classes and to those who do not identify as straight?
we’ve moved on from your petty arguments after having given them considerable thought – dealing with logical fallacies is a cornerstone of any academic or intellectual feminist – and a practical aspect of dealing with ignorance in our lives.
maybe you should read more, get out there, and actually learn why this is a movement. Go from a place of intellectual curiosity, and not defensiveness, and maybe you’ll learn things you didn’t expect to!
hope you learn a thing or two from these discussions or spread your misogynistic, stereotype-based filth elsewhere, and that you achieve a degree of remorse eventually when you figure out how wrong and ignorant you’ve been all along.
All those skanky men, dressed in their skanky underwear-showing baggy pants/ tight tops/ no tops with their bodies on show etc.
They’re dressing like studs, studs being those perceived to have loose sexual morals, they’re practically asking to be raped, abused, violated, hit.
They should choose what they wear with more thought! Watch what they drink, not drink like a skank! Otherwise they’re just inviting those dangerous evil women that are out there waiting to savagely attack, sexually assault and mutilate them…
..like walking in front of a lorry without looking.
Yes, it wasn’t entirely her fault, she couldn’t help herself, you were sending her mixed messages with how you were dressed /behaving/drinking.
How was she to know you didn’t want a gun butt smashed against your testicles or her long nailed fist shoved where the sun doesn’t shine? If you didn’t want it why didn’t you fight her off?