First, a SlutWalk is a protest that says how a woman dresses or looks doesn’t mean she should be the victim of a sex crime. This protest originated after Toronto police used the term “slut” to label people, mostly women, who were at risk of becoming victims of a sex crime. It has turned into a movement across the world. Women are embracing and taking back the term slut.
Soraya Chemaly wrote a bold article titled, Why You Should Take Your Teenager on a SlutWalk. She was right to say it and it is a timely reminder to women and teenage girls that they have rights. Those rights weren’t just given to them, women have been fighting for these rights for centuries. It’s not just the right to wear what we, as women, want to wear, but the right to be paid equally and respected as equals.
How many of you have learned what suffragettes went through to fight for a woman’s right to vote? Have you read Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women? Did you know that until the the 1970’s women couldn’t even get a credit card in their own name? As a feminist, who studied feminism and women’s rights in college, I have read and know these things. However, I don’t think many teen girls realize just how long it took women to be granted rights that were just given to men.
Chemaly makes the point that these SlutWalks are about more than clothes women wear.
Yet, at the rate we’re going it will be more than 100 years before pay equity is accomplished, we still cling to the myth that educated women “opt-out” of working by choice and reproductive rights continue to be under assault. SlutWalks are simply the most glaring and attention-grabbing symptom of the underlying causes of these inequities — inequities that affect women of all colors, socio-economic classes and education levels. Talking about it to kids openly however is just so… unbecoming.
I don’t think women should have to justify what they wear. Women shouldn’t be told they are targets of sex crimes because their shorts are too short. Victims of these horrible crimes should never be blamed. That is why these protests are important. They are reminder that women have come a long way and still have a long way to go.
How about you: Would you go to a SlutWalk? Would you take your teenage daughter?