What do you think of SlutWalk?

Hundreds of people have signed up for SlutWalk Minneapolis, a march to protest the view that women bring sexual assault upon themselves. Some critics think the march and its name work against women’s interests. Today’s Question: What do you think of SlutWalk?

  • CB

    This is a poor choice of words and instantly reminded me of the “walk of shame” women would be tagged with in college Sunday morning.

  • Hiram

    I think the Strib makes some very interesting editorial choices.

  • Zach

    What are we talking about here? Politicians or Bodacious Ta Ta’s

  • Eric

    I think I want to see this :)

  • david

    I’m going, but only because my fiancee wants to, otherwise I would have never heard of it.

  • David

    I just hope it’s on level ground and not on a slippery slope :)

    Etymology: First attested in 1402 CE, with the meaning untidy woman; cognate with the Dutch slodder, dialectal German Schlutt (sloven), and dialectal Swedish slata (idle woman). From the Late Middle English slutte, from slutMiddle English, slut (mud); of uncertain origin beyond that. Cf. the Norwegian slutr (sleet, impure liquid).

    Personally I like people to be naked or comfortably/appropriately dressed in a manner pleasing to themselves. Dressing provocatively is a call for attention, never for attack. Attitude and behavior of a person may stir things in positive or negative ways. There is never a reasonable motive for attack/assault , only a need for a person’s own self-discipline, self-responsibility and self-respect is called for.

  • barracuda

    CB: You hit it right on the head. That’s the first thing I thought when I saw the headline.

    The walk is a fine idea, but they should have gotten someone involved who understands PR.

  • Chris Oinonen Ehren

    In concept this reminds me of take back the night walks, and as a concept I have no problem with it, but the idea that the word slut is something that can be claimed, that it is something that women should want to own and label themselves with is wildly repugnant to me. Other attempts to claim words have never taken the power of the words to harm, only turned those words into “in crowd” pet names. As soon as they’re wielded by somebody with an aim to hurt they go right back to their original intent. Look at the “n” word or the “q” word.

  • Wendy-Gail

    We the People of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding Metro Area…

    in order to form a more perfect society for all, support Justice, ensure the belief of the victim, provide the means to end stereotypical thinking, promote active consent, and secure the Safety of All People, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or situation.

    Mission Statement

    1. The Walk is inclusive to all. Period.

    2. People are not required to dress “slutty” or reclaim the word “slut”. That is entirely up to each individual. Dress in what’s comfortable for you.

    3. We will emphasize the motto: It’s not “don’t get raped”, it’s “don’t rape”

    4. We will encourage people to think about the Rape Culture and how it is mostly propagated by men against women, although rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone.

    5. We will ally ourselves with the people in the sex industry (strippers and prostituted women and teens) and those who were in the sex industry, as we realize that they are very vulnerable to sexual assault/rape by the very nature of their work.

    6. We will expect our SlutWalk participants to be respectful of all our Walkers. All diverse groups are welcome here: “radical feminists”, “riot grrrls”, “dudes”, “punkers”, “rockers”, “new wave feminists”, moms, grandmas and grandpas,GLBTQ folk, high school and college kids.If you don’t see yourself represented here, give us a shout! We want to acknowledge you. We welcome people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, and religious and non religious beliefs…there is no ticky box involved. All respectful beliefs are valid.

    There are many concerns about this Walk. We welcome any comments and suggestions that will make this Walk as inclusive and welcoming as possible. Please read our blog to see what we are about before making assumptions about this Walk.

    http://www.slutwalkminneapolis.org/

    “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.” – Jessica Valenti

  • Paris

    That depends, will there be pot as well?

  • Steve the Cynic

    On the contrary, baracuda, calling it the Slut Walk was stroke of PR genius. Just look at how much attention it’s getting. It’s making a very important point. Would it have made the point as effectively if it were called the “My Skimpy Outfit Doesn’t Mean I Want Sex Walk”? Marginally better would be something like the “No Means No Walk,” but without the shock value of “Slut,” how much media coverage do you think it would get?

    Embracing a slur with pride as a way of deflecting it and discrediting those who’ve been using it has a long history. It’s been done by folks ranging from “queers” to “rednecks” to “n****rs” (sorry, can’t bring myself to spell out that one). “Methodist” and “Lutheran” were both first used as derogatory terms.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “Other attempts to claim words have never taken the power of the words to harm….”

    On occasion they have, but that’s not the point. The point is to highlight the inappropriateness of using slurs in the first place. Since GLBT folks started embracing “queer,” for instance, I’ve heard it used much less often as an insult.

  • barracuda

    Wendy-Gail:

    Thank you for your post! I think this is a wonderful idea – I especially like the focus on “Don’t rape” instead of the traditional approach which has typically been, “You girls be careful you don’t get raped.” That not only assumes women are responsible if they get raped, it also implies that pretty much all men are dangerous potential rapists.

    My only suggestion would be to change the name. I’m not really sure what it would change to, but SlutWalk makes it sound like “Slut Pride: A Celebration of [Women's] Promiscuity”

    While it’s good to encourage people to check out the web site and learn more about the event before making judgments, realistically that is not going to happen. Labels are important, and they do influence how people view the substance of things.

    All that said, good luck with the event and I hope that you are able to achieve your goals.

  • Alex

    I am not sure how I feel about it. But, I do know blaming women for their own rape is not okay.

    I feel like this may not be the best approach to deal with the issue.

    But, kudos to those tackling the issue.

  • Carl

    I think Slutwalk is a great name. Would this much attention be paid to a “Women’s Empowerment Walk” or a “No means No Walk” or “I Dress Appropriately Walk”? Afterall the walk is attempting to bring attention to the fact that women are not asking to be raped simply because they dress a certain way.

  • Kent

    Why is Cathy Wurzer not promoting the question of the day in the usual way, by asking it on air? Instead she is euphemistically referring to it as, ‘a controversial question’ that can be read online. Is there a concern about actually offending listeners — if so, the offense would be a good way to lead in to on-air discussion of the issues behind the slutwalk. Hopefully there will be an upcoming show that covers the walk and interviews some of the organizers.

  • Quantum Tree

    I love it. We need to get the message across that what a women wears is not why rape happens. If this is true then men are mindless animals that have no self control. All genders should be upset with the way our legal system treats women.

  • Katia

    It’s always rubbed me the wrong way.

    I agree that a woman’s dress should not be blamed for assault against her, but I think there are better ways to maintain the seriousness of the issue.

    On my campus, the walk was being promoted as an edgy activity to participate in, likely because of this controversy, and the tragedy of rape in this country felt overlooked by the hype.

    Maybe it’s more about clothing choice than rape, though…

  • James

    To draw attention to my cause I would like to have a “StraitWhiteGuyNon-DrugyDadworkinghardWalk”—Look at me I am special.

    People that worry about stuff like Slutwalk have too much free time to think up stupid things to do.

    If you are looking for ways to improve life volunteer for a worthy cause,,, like Girl / Boy Scouts, Red Cross, local law enforcement….

    DTOM

  • Nicholas

    The event has been brilliantly named. The point of any protest is to draw attention to your cause and Slutwalk is doing an exemplary job of that. It is taking the sting out of the word slut and changing perceptions about what causes rape. Bravo.

  • bench

    Dressing a certain way is not an invitation for sex. However if you become known as a “slut” for being promiscuous, you tend to bring it on yourself. I am not saying any woman deserves to be sexually assaulted, but advertising you want sex and a good time isn’t helping.

  • Abby

    Perfect title, let’s take back the word, let’s own the word. It’s like Jennifer Baumgartner’s film “I had an Abortion.” Women are taught to feel shameful for so many things such as the way we dress or if we choose to have an abortion.

  • Tulsy Klawhammar

    If you dress up like you are a member of the kkk and walk through a black ghetto, you are asking for it.

    Why are you not asking for it if you are a pretty female and dress like a slut and walk around men?

  • Jessica Nelson

    I think it is about time for Slut Walk.

    We encourage our girls to dress sexy, then we condemn them for dressing like they “Wanted” to be raped.

    In response to the person who says we should be spending time on more productive activities like Boy/ Girl Scout or other activities, I think this is a Both, not either / or. I volunteer at my church, am an Asst Cub Scout den leader, am the Secretary for our Girl Scout Service Unit, and donated $ to the Walk. I was planning to attend Slut Walk, but we have both a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout activity.

    Rape is about Power, it is about a society that thinks it is OK to use a “she asked for it” defense when a 12 year old girl is ganged raped. It should not be OK to use “How she dresses” or “she is promiscuous” as a defense against rape.

  • kirsten rome

    Women who want sex do not want to be raped, even if you dress “advertising you want sex and a good time”. No means No – however you are dressed.

    I am going on the slut walk and taking my friends and my daughters – after 25 years (Take Back The Night) I am marching again for women’s rights to control their bodies. It has gotten better (conjugal rights were struck off the book in MN in the late ’70s) but the “Don’t Rape” message is still much weaker than the “Don’t Get Raped” message.

    I am looking forward to the day when men are given laminated cards with checklists for ways to not rape, instead of women being given information on how not to be a victim. I’m with Golda Meir, who was asked to put a curfew on Israeli women to reduce rape and she preferred to put a curfew on men.

  • Margaret

    Bottom line: The vast majority of rapes are acquaintance rapes. Nearly all of the perpetrators of this crime will experience no consequence for their crime and will assault multiple individuals. Very few will ever be formally charged with any crime – and no wonder when you see what happens to those who do seek justice. Of course the victim is not to blame no matter what their personal history or what their current wardrobe choice – we ALL know this and yet nothing changes. What other crime victim is held to such ridiculous standards such that they can’t even know someone suspected of dishonesty or criminal behavior before someone can be found guilty of a crime against them? The police and judicial system are clueless about the nature of these rapes, both the true cause as well as the real and devastating impact of the crime upon the survivor. And it isn’t so much the rapists, themselves clearly troubled individuals, that cause me to shake my head and despair – it is the supposedly healthy people in power who probably would not rape anyone, yet do nothing tangible to stop it. We need true change in this system and the culture that perpetuates it. If this walk can call attention to this far reaching cultural horror – I don’t care what it is called.

  • Marcus

    Will this be followed by the “Rich Jerk Walk” wherein some guys covered in jewelry, gold chains, and cash sticking out of their pockets parade down the most impoverished streets of a slum? Clearly it would be wrong for someone to assault them and steal their valuables, yet I doubt a public radio listener in the state would defend the “Rich Jerk” because, well, you know, because he’s a man.

    If you are sufficiently provocative, some guy somewhere is going to lose control of his impulses, no matter how well the rest of the male population controls itself. When idealism runs up against nature, there have to be some compromises.

  • http://www.kristineholmgren.com/ Kristine Holmgren

    Has it come to this? That the only way women can get attention for a social ill that hurts us is to call ourselves “sluts?” The women who organized and lead this movement are ignorant of both history and context. No. this “march” will not change the rape culture. It will, however, please and tease the men (and women) who think all women’s issues are a joke. Slutwalk is a frat party in the streets. Its meaning is lost, lost, lost in its delivery. And it makes me sad.

  • Carry
  • GregX

    As is often said – All advertising is good advertising. If you want the issue discussed – you need to get into people’s minds. This is one way of doing it. It would be a far worse harm to women , in this case, to allow the many threads of “common sense” on this issue to continue strengthening through lack of review and testing. While this one gesture may not specifically change a lot of minds – the seed of the question is placed there to grow.

  • GregX

    Bench stated “However if you become known as a “slut” for being promiscuous, you tend to bring it on yourself.” ================ If you have a moral-ethical compass … it shouldn’t matter what the other person looks like or what you know of their reputation – you should be meeting them with the same general respect you would a priest or a cop. the fact that you would consider your “profiling” approach as an acceptable way to view some negates the need to consider their input in the relationship equation. You may assume all you want of any person for personal consumption between you and yourself – but verification should be required before you involve anyone else – including that person youare assuming about.

  • georgette

    “slutwalk” will get you noticed, but I am not sure it is the right kind.

    I know that there are millions of women and men who have suffered greatly because of rape.

    I also know that there are women who use sex to gain power,and manipulate, (men too but in my personal experience its been the women). When their agenda boomerangs, they yell rape.

    I understand that this ‘slut walk’ may be an attempt to take back their power that they felt they have lost but I am not sure it is being done in the best way.

  • Peter

    Well, assuming they want attention, and created that name in pursuit of attention, it is working, as evidenced by your question. As a father of two daughters, I give them an attaboy!

  • Roul

    Slut walk is a poor choice in terms and since we have laws against rape, shouldn’t the focus be upon preventing those factors that encourage rape such as certain sanctions within Sharia law.

    London is a current example. It is the acid test hot spot for what happens when excess liberalism and embracing diversity comes at the expense of dissolution of a country and their rule of law and national culture.

    If these folks at Slut Walk want to encourage better enforcement perhaps they should march against all cultures that embrace it before our country evolves into what is seen in London?

    The following post is from the Times of UK article. Shocking and preventable unless we continue to ignore the truths that some cultures do promote rape beyond our own media hyping provocative attire.

  • Roul

    from the Times, and why Slut walk is misguided in their approach while I think the term alone is demeaning to women.

    Gordon Brown, prime Minister recognizes now that allowing or being bullied into accepting some courts to use Sharia law in the UK has been a mistake.

    ARTICLE:

    “A GIRL of 15 was tricked into a “telephone marriage” ceremony to a Sheffield man with a mental age of five in a ceremony recognised by sharia (Islamic law).

    When the girl arrived from Pakistan expecting to meet the handsome man she had been shown in a photograph, she found that he was 40 years old, unemployed and disabled.

    To make matters worse, her mother-in-law decided to exploit her attractive looks by forcing her into prostitution.

    The family invited men to the family home to rape her before she managed to escape to the police by bolting through the front door. She was taken into care and now lives in a refuge.

    The case is highlighted in a report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, which has found that policemen, councillors and taxi drivers are turning a blind eye or even conniving in enforcing the Asian community’s strict “moral code” on young women.

    The girl’s marriage last April was not recognised by the Home Office but was approved by the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain. She is typical of the runaway brides at risk of an “honour killing”. According to official figures, 10 to 12 women are murdered in Britain in honour killings each year, but the government has been warned by MPs that this is a serious underestimate. Police often record the deaths as cases of domestic violence, while other girls are driven to suicide or taken away to their family’s country of origin and never seen again. Many Asian parents would rather resort to violence against their children than see their reputation tarnished by the perceived dishonour of allowing them to become “westernised”.

    The report, Crimes of the Community, claims the problem is no longer an issue of first-generation migrants importing attitudes from “back home” but is “indigenous and self-perpetuating” because it is sustained by third and fourth-generation immigrants.

    The study reveals the case of Saamiya, a 16-year-old girl from Birmingham, whose parents were so angry when they discovered she had a boyfriend that they flew her to Pakistan and told her they had arranged a marriage two hours before the ceremony.

    “During the Islamic ceremony my dad was standing behind me with one hand on my shoulder and with his other hand he had a gun which was pointed at my back so that I didn’t say ‘no’,” Saamiya said.

    “To everyone else it looked natural — he was just standing there stroking my shoulder — but just before he had told me that he would shoot me if I didn’t go through with it.”

    She was rescued from Pakistan by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s forced marriage unit and now lives in a refuge in the Midlands, but has been told that she will be murdered by her brothers. The girl told investigators: “I haven’t been back home since then. My brothers say that they want to take me back to Pakistan so they can kill me basically. They’ll just pay the police there to keep quiet… I don’t want to be killed. I’m only 16. I want to live my life.”

    The think-tank’s report comes after Gordon Brown, the prime minister, said last week that he was extremely concerned that too little was being done to prevent honour crimes.

    The study criticises the police and schools for failing to take action in a misguided attempt to avoid offending cultural sensibilities.”

  • Roul

    from the Times, and why Slut walk is misguided in their approach while I think the term alone is demeaning to women.

    Gordon Brown, prime Minister recognizes now that allowing or being bullied into accepting some courts to use Sharia law in the UK has been a mistake.

    ARTICLE:

    “A GIRL of 15 was tricked into a “telephone marriage” ceremony to a Sheffield man with a mental age of five in a ceremony recognised by sharia (Islamic law).

    When the girl arrived from Pakistan expecting to meet the handsome man she had been shown in a photograph, she found that he was 40 years old, unemployed and disabled.

    To make matters worse, her mother-in-law decided to exploit her attractive looks by forcing her into prostitution.

    The family invited men to the family home to rape her before she managed to escape to the police by bolting through the front door. She was taken into care and now lives in a refuge.

    The case is highlighted in a report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, which has found that policemen, councillors and taxi drivers are turning a blind eye or even conniving in enforcing the Asian community’s strict “moral code” on young women.

    The girl’s marriage last April was not recognised by the Home Office but was approved by the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain. She is typical of the runaway brides at risk of an “honour killing”. According to official figures, 10 to 12 women are murdered in Britain in honour killings each year, but the government has been warned by MPs that this is a serious underestimate. Police often record the deaths as cases of domestic violence, while other girls are driven to suicide or taken away to their family’s country of origin and never seen again. Many Asian parents would rather resort to violence against their children than see their reputation tarnished by the perceived dishonour of allowing them to become “westernised”.

    The report, Crimes of the Community, claims the problem is no longer an issue of first-generation migrants importing attitudes from “back home” but is “indigenous and self-perpetuating” because it is sustained by third and fourth-generation immigrants.

    The study reveals the case of Saamiya, a 16-year-old girl from Birmingham, whose parents were so angry when they discovered she had a boyfriend that they flew her to Pakistan and told her they had arranged a marriage two hours before the ceremony.

    “During the Islamic ceremony my dad was standing behind me with one hand on my shoulder and with his other hand he had a gun which was pointed at my back so that I didn’t say ‘no’,” Saamiya said.

    “To everyone else it looked natural — he was just standing there stroking my shoulder — but just before he had told me that he would shoot me if I didn’t go through with it.”

    She was rescued from Pakistan by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s forced marriage unit and now lives in a refuge in the Midlands, but has been told that she will be murdered by her brothers. The girl told investigators: “I haven’t been back home since then. My brothers say that they want to take me back to Pakistan so they can kill me basically. They’ll just pay the police there to keep quiet… I don’t want to be killed. I’m only 16. I want to live my life.”

    The think-tank’s report comes after Gordon Brown, the prime minister, said last week that he was extremely concerned that too little was being done to prevent honour crimes.

    The study criticises the police and schools for failing to take action in a misguided attempt to avoid offending cultural sensibilities.”

  • david

    I was wondering when the kim/roul was going to open its stupid mouth and try steering the question toward racist anti Islam hate speech.

    Come down to the slutwalk kim/roul and bring a sign, I want to see if you look like as big of an idiot as your posts portray.

  • Jason

    I think it’s questionable PR. By having an event with a tongue-in-cheek name it could potentially undermine the seriousness of the cause.

    Perhaps the organizers intended it to be eye-catching and to make people question their own judgments about others. But I still feel that using the term here only affirms it as an acceptable description. I almost expect someone to say ‘Well, no woman deserves to be assaulted, not even a slut’.

    Does that still sound like progress?

  • QCIC

    I think the main problem with this whole line of thinking is that it is focusing too much on the language of blame/guilt and not enough on practicality/common sense.

    The person who leaves their house unlocked is absolutely not to blame or guilty or at fault for having it robbed. Someone committed a crime against their property.

    That doesn’t mean it is not advisable to lock your house. It is absolutely a good idea to lock your house.

    Similarly the drunk woman staggering around in a 3 inch skirt is in no way to blame or guilty or at fault for anything that happens to her.

    That doesn’t mean it is advisable to behave that way.

    I just feel like the message is focusing on all the wrong things and in some ways may encourage situations which lead to the very things it is trying to stop.

  • Jim

    I like this and the similarly named event “boobquake” which brought attention to the more absurd notion that exposed cleavage causes earthquakes.

  • Rosemary

    I think that the walk is a great idea and that it is aptly named given the statement from the Toronto police officer that led to the first of these walks. Women and girls are claiming their right to express themselves through their appearance without having to worry about being blamed should someone decide to commit an act of violence–rape– against them. We should applaud this activism.

  • Alison

    I am totally on board with the message they are trying to send – that rape is never ok. I’m really having a hard time agreeing with the tactic though.

    I’ll be telling my own daughters that rape is never acceptable. But I’ll also be telling them that there are jerks in this world who don’t think like I do. If they don’t try to attract the attention of the jerks they will have a decreased (not eliminated) chance of being raped by them.

  • Kim

    @David__

    he says, “.. before steering this into anti-Islam or hate speech.”

    This is not hate speech nor is it anti-Muslim but it speaks to the blindness of the political correctness mob that refuses to question the blind acceptance of a culture that adheres to Sharia law….try walking through the muslim enclaves in London with a bottle of wine in hand let alone a woman walking alone. If people want to stand up for protecting women against rape, they should include standing up against Sharia Law…a system that denigrates women’s rights and allows for rape by their husbands….maybe we need a March called,

    ” American Women for all women against Sharia law.” Sounds good, no?

    So like it or not, many radical islamists are in America, and at least 28% of Muslims per polls show they support Shariah Law yet, curiously some of their idols such as Al Aw-Alaki was arrested twice for soliciting prostitutes before he ran to Yemen to plan more terrorist attacks.

    Remaining silent about these politically incorrect issues is what allowed Al-Awlaki to preach and recruit terrorists such as the Major who killed our soldiers at Ft Hood,, the hi-jackers and car bombers all while he lived freely in Minneapolis and then in VA.

  • janet

    //I like this and the similarly named event “boobquake” which brought attention to the more absurd notion that exposed cleavage causes earthquakes.

    Posted by Jim | September 30, 2011 1:54 PM

    no but it might cause haboob!

    Rape is a crime and so is trespassing. Both are violating boundaries.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Jason, the inappropriateness of the slur aside, what you “almost expected someone to say” is nonetheless true, isn’t it?

  • Jason

    Steve T.C.,

    Yes, and reading your earlier posts I see that you have less reservation about using the term if it’s “shock value” gets results. I do have a sort of ‘whatever works’ attitude about the walk, and hope for the best on its outcome. To clarify, I was expressing concern, not disapproval.

    A label is a powerful thing. I am cautioning those who think that the term would have no affect on their attitude. As long as someone believes that “slut” is an acceptable description, the implied consequences become easier to justify.

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