I have a few friends who are really excited about SlutWalk. I didn’t know much about it; I just assumed that it had to do with sex-positivity and the fact that wearing “provocative” clothing doesn’t mean that someone is “asking for it.” Those are good messages, and so I didn’t give it much thought. And then another friend posted a link on Facebook to Aura Blogando’s “SlutWalk: A Stroll Through White Supremacy,” and everything changed.
If you are at all interested in SlutWalk, or feminism, or racial issues, or social justice, please read the blog post. In the author’s own words, “SlutWalk completely ignores the way institutional violence is leveled against women of color.” While I think that the creators of SlutWalk were well-intentioned, and I obviously agree that people shouldn’t be blamed for having been sexually assaulted, after having read “SlutWalk: A Stroll Through White Supremacy,” I find SlutWalk highly problematic.
The author highlights ways in which SlutWalk was essentially created by, and for, relatively privileged white women. Although I have included a few quotes below, I urge you to read the full, actual post.
. . . . SlutWalk was conceived after a cop reportedly told a group of Toronto students that women “should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” during a campus event to address sexual assault, which he was invited to. I understand the need to denounce this type of speech, particularly when uttered by a law enforcement officer. But what struck me was the fact that a group of students gathered with law enforcement to begin with. As people of color, our communities are plagued with police brutality, and inviting them into our spaces in order to somehow feel safer rarely crosses our minds. . . .
. . . . If SlutWalk truly wanted to bring attention to the systematic ways in which women are harmed by regressive and misogynistic thinking, they could have done the heavy lifting of reaching out and supporting black, poor and transgender women in New Orleans, for whom the word “slut” carries a criminal sex offender record. . . . [“As Trymaine Lee has reported, black, poor and transgender women are being disproportionately and systematically branded as criminal “sex offenders” on an online database for engaging in “survival sex” in New Orleans.”]
. . . . According to SlutWalk’s website, the event is slated to be reproduced in Argentina sometime this year. . . . I do not want white English-speaking Global North women telling Spanish-speaking Global South women to “reclaim” a word that is foreign to our own vocabulary. To do so would be hegemonic, and would illustrate the ways in which Global North “feminists” have become a tool of cultural imperialism. . . .