These are the details for this year’s London Slutwalk. As with the Edinburgh Slutwalk in July, I won’t be attending because I find the concept of Slutwalks deeply problematic. However, Slutwalk has ignited debate about victim-blaming and sexualised violence. It has also created a safe space for women to share their stories. There is no greater gift. So, whilst I stand by what I wrote in July about the Slutwalk Edinburgh, I also have to give props to the women attending. The Patriarchy must be destroyed. We’re just destroying it from different angles.
This is what I wrote about Slutwalk Edinburgh:
I would have marched in the original in Toronto because that had a specific purpose: to raise awareness of the misogynistic discourse normalised within the police as it manifested in that specific incident. The worldwide movement to reclaim the word “slut” bothers me. There seems to have been little real political analysis of the word and its specific connotations for different groups of women due to race, class, and ethnicity. Personally, I don’t believe it is possible to re-appropriate the words of your oppressors. I also think its incredibly odd to try to reclaim the word “slut” in order to demonstrate that rape isn’t about being a “slut”.
Violence against women is endemic and systemic. It is everywhere and it is excused a thousand times a day in a million different ways. Slutwalk doesn’t address or even attempt to analyse VAW. It only attempts to address one facet of rape myths without questioning the rape culture in which those myths are perpetuated and perpetrated. Rape isn’t just about controlling women’s sexuality as Slutwalk seems to imply. The act of rape [and the fear of the act of rape] are about controlling every facet of women’s lives. Rape isn’t about how women dress [or don’t dress]. Rape is the practise of misogyny. It is misogyny that we need to eradicate but we need to do this by attacking every facet of VAW. Slutwalk privileges the lived experiences of middle class, white women. It merely reinforces the racist constructions about the sexuality of Black and Ethnic Minority women. It ignores the structural oppressions of poverty. It ignores how the structural oppressions of poverty specifically target Black and Ethnic Minority women.
I want the eradication of the patriarchal-capitalist structures which oppress women. I don’t want to reclaim or re-appropriate the words of my oppressors. I want them gone.
I wish my sisters luck [and sunshine] for Slutwalk Edinburgh. I won’t be on the march but, if Slutwalk becomes the catalyst which destroys the Patriarchy, I will be the first one to apologise.
Some interesting blogs and articles on Slutwalk:
Amplify Your Voice: In Context: Criticisms of the Slutwalk
People of Colour Organize: Four Brief Critiques of Slutwalk’s Whiteness, Privilege and Unexamined Power Dynamics
Black Women’s Blueprint: An Open Letter From Black Women to the Slutwalk
The Crunk Feminist Collective: I Saw the Sign but Did We Really Need the Sign? Slutwalk and Racism
Gail Dines & Wendy J Murphy: Slutwalk is not Sexual Liberation
Alternatives to Slutwalk: