Tag Archives: SlutWalk

Slutwalk San Francisco – August 6th

Laurie says:

If you haven’t heard about SlutWalk this is a good explanation from Katie J.M. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle:

In January, Toronto police officer Michael Sanguinetti told law school students during a lecture on safety that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

What does it mean to dress like a slut? Sanguinetti, who later apologized, didn’t specify – he just advised that women shouldn’t do it. The likelihood that he was only trying to be helpful became the driving force behind the SlutWalk movement: Why do we teach women how not to dress instead of men how not to rape?

Thousands of Toronto residents, mostly young women, marched in the first SlutWalk in April in a protest where marchers attempted to reclaim the word “slut.” Since then, SlutWalks have taken place everywhere from Dallas to Delhi. San Francisco will get its own SlutWalk on Saturday.
The concept behind SlutWalk, organizers say, is that no outfit justifies sexual assault. SlutWalkers wear all types of apparel. Some wear bustiers, while others wear burqas, sports bras or combat boots.

When I went to the original Toronto SlutWalk website, I was amazed at how many and how nationwide and worldwide the marches are. The one in New Delhi was last week.

From their website:
These are our guidelines and work for us here in Toronto. They may work for your area as well or they may not. Please feel free to edit them to suit your needs if you choose to use them:
• SlutWalk is not about hate, and we do not use hateful language.
• SlutWalk aims to reclaim the word “slut” and use it in a positive, empowering and respectful way.
• Refer to sexual assault, not solely rape.
• Do not frame sexual assault as something solely done by men to women.
• Women are most often the targets and men are most often the perpetrators, but all genders are affected. SlutWalk recognizes all gender expressions as those that have been and can be negatively impacted.All genders can be sluts or allies.
• Some communities/people are at a higher risk of sexual assault than others based on their status, work, ability, access, race, identity, and a variety of other factors. We aim to recognize this and come together, in all our diversity, as people who are all affected and unite as sluts and allies. We suggest you engage in dialogue with groups in your area that will help include many diverse voices in your event.
• Use inclusive and respectful language when discussing the diversity of people affected: men/women and all gender expressions, racialized communities, people of different abilities, etc.
• SlutWalk is an impassioned and peaceful stance that aims to engage others in dialogue.

And here is Baker again on the SF Slutwalk and the feminists who don’t get it.

Some feminists say SlutWalks are a superficial distraction. “I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort,” wrote Rebecca Traister in the New York Times Magazine. In the Guardian in London, Gail Dines and Wendy J. Murphy argued that women should be protesting against gendered violence, “not for the right to be called ‘slut.’ “

I stopped by a SlutWalk SF Bay meeting last week to ask local organizers what they thought of their detractors’ opinions.

Three women and one man sat around a small table in the back of El Cafetazo. Two of the four had backgrounds in social justice, but the chief organizer, 29-year-old Evelin Ramirez, said she never expected to be running the show. After reading about SlutWalk online, the San Francisco State student e-mailed the founders to ask when SlutWalk was coming to her city. They told Ramirez that she was the first to inquire, and asked her to orchestrate the San Francisco event.

“It’s time to determine how the women of the future want to be approached by men, and by each other,” said Ramirez, who was hesitant about her leadership role but fervent about the cause. She joked easily with the other organizers, some of whom she had just met. When her dog jumped onto the lap of the only man at the meeting, she laughed. “What a little slut; just kidding, she’s neutered.”
A few moments later, Ramirez told me she was raped as a 5-year-old and grew up thinking the incident was her fault. “It took me decades to realize it wasn’t,” Ramirez said. “SlutWalk is an attainable, actionable way to help other women realize that it’s not theirs, either.”

Critics who dismiss SlutWalkers as half-naked women striving to be “sluttish” are oversimplifying the movement. It’s more sensational to describe SlutWalk in those terms, but it’s inaccurate; click through photos of SlutWalks past and you’ll see that there are just as many women dressed comfortably and conservatively as there are in booty shorts.

If you’re looking for a simple message, try this poster from a London SlutWalker: “How to prevent rape: Don’t rape anyone.”

Slutwalk San Francisco – August 6th Dolores Park at Two PM

“Lust for Control”: Erica Jong Says that Like It’s a Bad Thing

Laurie and Debbie say:

Courtney at Feministing has some pointed things to say about Erica Jong’s recent NY Times Op-Ed column decrying Jong’s impression that young people aren’t excited about sex.

Here’s Jong:

Generalizing about cultural trends is tricky, but everywhere there are signs that sex has lost its frisson of freedom. Is sex less piquant when it is not forbidden? Sex itself may not be dead, but it seems sexual passion is on life support.

The Internet obliges by offering simulated sex without intimacy, without identity and without fear of infection. Risky behavior can be devoid of risk — unless of course you use your real name and are an elected official.

Not only did we fail to corrupt our daughters, but we gave them a sterile way to have sex, electronically. Clearly the lure of Internet sex is the lack of involvement. We want to keep the chaos of sex trapped in a device we think we can control.

Lust for control fuels our current obsession with the deficit, our rejection of passion, our undoing of women’s rights.

And here’s Courtney:

[Jong’s] strange amalgamation of arguments includes a weird riff about “internet sex,” by which, it appears she means Weiner-style tweets (though I suspect Jong isn’t sure what kind of sex folks are having on the interweb these days based on the super vague language of this section), a short political rant about anti-choice activism, and ends with a men-and-women-should-work-together bang. Badum-ching.

Contrary to being a clinical rejection of passion, the internet is often a wild west of sexual exploration and expression, and young feminists are very often at the helm.

Either we’re too focused on sex, and therefore frivolous, female chauvinist pigs, or we’re not focused enough on sex, and therefore frigid, control freaks who are missing out on the best part of life. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t–even by our own feminist foremothers. How frustrating.

(By the way, Tracy Clark-Flores also has an interesting take on all this over at Salon.)

Not surprisingly, we agree strongly with Courtney. Passion is hardly dead, and the young women we know are hardly kicking its corpse. The San Francisco alternative newspaper the Bay Guardian didn’t just bring on our friend Gina DeVries as a brand-new mid-20s sex columnist because they don’t want new readers. As one of Courtney’s links reminds us, the gigantic international phenomenon of SlutWalks doesn’t work as evidence of young women rejecting passion. Courtney has a great set of links and references, including to news articles, blogs, and books.

This is how social change works. The things one generation fights for, the next generation includes as part of their lives, which means the next generation assumes those things, builds on them, and broadens their impact to a wider portion of the population. It may no longer look like activism.

We want to dissect a little bit of Jong’s phrasing: she pinpoints “lust for control” as fueling everything from the deficit talks to the destruction of women’s rights. But whose control are we talking about? She doesn’t seem to be talking about young women (or any women) taking control of their (our) own sexuality, our own bodies. One of the books Courtney references is Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. That’s passion, and that’s power … and it’s control.

“Lust for control” can make for a truly interesting sex life, whether that means having a monogamous D/s relationship, having consensual flings (Jong coined the term “zipless fucks” for quickies with strangers) either in person or on the Internet or both, trying different flavors and finding out what suits you for the longer term, or just about anything else. It can also mean deciding to take control of your sex life by not having one: a choice that is completely right for some people and gets very little respect.

We vote for: 1) fewer op-ed pieces by writers with no data, who haven’t spent much time thinking it out; 2) more lust for control in women’s lives; and 3) hot passionate mutual sex for those who want it, and none for those who don’t. Is that so hard?