The "slutwalk" is a series of rallies that started when a police constable in Toronto suggested that one way for women to stay safe is to avoid dressing like sluts.
The feminist firestorm was quite impressive. The beat of the drum began..."we can dress any way we want to."
There have been a number of responses to the SlutWalk phenomenon, not all of them positive. For example, Australian commentator Andrew Bolt observed that guidance on how to dress in any given context is simply risk management, and such advice need not exclude opposition to victim-blaming.Rod Liddle agrees, saying "...I have a perfect right to leave my windows open when I nip to the shops for some fags, without being burgled. It doesn’t lessen the guilt of the burglar that I’ve left my window open, or even remotely suggest that I was deserving of being burgled. Just that it was more likely to happen."
But Jessica Valenti says: "The idea that women’s clothing has some bearing on whether they will be raped is a dangerous myth feminists have tried to debunk for decades."
Mary Kassian responds with Five Problems:
1. It absolves girls of risk-management responsibility:
Using an example from her own hometown, Kassian reinforces the idea that looking like a victim often results in being a victim.
One aspect that was missed in both articles is the statistic (I'm also reading "Rid of My Disgrace") that many women who are sexually assaulted know their attackers.
On one hand, if the attacker is a person who is seen every day, it doesn't matter how a woman dresses. If the attacker is about power and violence, that will come out, no matter who modestly the woman dresses.
On the other hand, if the attack is what we call "date rape" - if you dress like an invitation, you might get an RSVP.
2. It equates sex with power:
Here's the thing - in the world, sex IS power. In a world where sexual harassment is defined by how a woman perceives the situation, not by how the man intended it, sex is power.
In a Christian book, where sexual assault is so broadly defined that a man who asked twice for sexual intimacy from his wife, after being refused one is guilty of "assault" - sex IS power.
Is it right? No, but it IS.
In dressing like sluts (it's the term they want to use) these women who participate are stating that they can openly display their sexuality in any public forum they wish, while men have to deal with it in silence, they are claiming the power.
3. It teaches girls it's cool to be crass
This is the paragraph where Kassian decries the crassness of the word "slut" - I'm not sure I disagree, but there are way worse words out there. The word has a valid meaning and it's part of our language.
The protesters want to "reclaim" the word. Considering what the definition is, I'm not sure why all that many people would want to reclaim it.
4. It casts men as oppressors
Get rid of male privilege and you'll get rid of the problem. (...) Female to male domestic violence is statistically just as prevalent as male to female.
Kassian is correct here. The problem is not male privilege. it's violence.
5. It encourages sexual permissiveness
Again, correct. but I think that she gets it a little sideways.
Okay, let me get this straight. SlutWalk thinks that we live in a culture that's too permissive with regards to men forcing women to have sex. But it also thinks that it's healthy for women to be sexually permissive.
She's treating it as a false dichotomy- I don't think it is.
I don't agree with the world's permissive sexual standard, but I see past Kassian's portrayal.
Permissive sex is okay according to the world. Being FORCED is not.
The final paragraph is spot on.
Sexual violence is a horrific sin. But SlutWalk isn't helping matters any. Sadly, I think it's just shooting women in the foot. It's creating a mindset and culture that exacerbates the very problem it says it wants to solve.