Slut Walk NYC: I is real feminist now?


Trigger Warning: Rape, Rape Culture 

Well, Indelibility has been featured in The Communicated Stereotype, which is a blog which tries to deconstruct and study the nature of stereotypes, a subject that I think might be of interest to my readers and potential-readers, so check it out.

Also, in the post that was featured in  The Communicated Stereotype I suggest that I will engage in some feminism activism that goes beyond writing about it. Well, on October 1st I started working on that activism with my first femimist protest/Slut Walk NYC.

What’s a Slut Walk?

Chicks don't dig sexual harassment.Slut Walk  is a protest that began after a representative of the  Toronto police spoke to York University last January. His advice to women was that they shouldn’t dress like a slut if they want to protect themselves from assault. This comment hit a nerve and created Slut Walk Toronto, the first Slut Walk.  It obviously resonates to people outside of Canada because since then there have been Slut Walks globally— stretching from the United States, to Chile, to France, to Morocco, to Romainia, to Singapore, to Australia .

First, I’ll clarify what was offensive about the police officer’s comment. What he basically communicated is that rape-prevention is the responsibility of the victims being raped. He also used the term ‘slut’ which is a word that has historically used to contain (and control) women’s actions often without any sort of credentials. For example, girls are called a slut for how they dress however attire is not a necessary portrayal of an individual’s sexuality– girls are called sluts when they wear a dress that is deemed too short however the girls wearing such may not be interested in having sex at all.

But, a girls sexual history isn’t a good reason to rape someone anyway– thereMy Dress Is Not Saying Yes is NO good reason to rape someone. Rape is a horrendous act, quite possibly the evilest of evils, an act of violence that no one deserves especially over one of the petty reasons we victim-blame.

The word is part of a binary deeply ingrained in our society: the Madonna/the whore. But in the 21st century the Madonna is no longer idealized like it once was. To be a (/appear as a) virgin means there is something wrong with you. Even if you don’t “dress like a slut” your behavior is still called into question by prude-shaming you. At the end of the day, don’t matter what you do as long as you are a women you are wrong and will use aggressive terminology to make you realize it.

What the slut walk is about is bringing attention to this binary, bringing attention to how this binary is used to demean and disfranchise women, control women, bring attention that rape is not a passing issue for women (of all types), and to redirect rape-prevention out of the hands of women and into the hands of the rapists because otherwise you can create a dialect that leaves plenty of room for victim blaming.

I.E.:

“This is difficult for me to say but I was raped last night”

“Oh my God–
What were you wearing? {Wrong.}
Where were you? {Wrong.}
What time was it? {Wrong.}
What were you doing? {Wrong.}
Who were you with? {Wrong.}
I can’t believe someone did that to you, are you going to press charges? {Better} ”

October 1st 2011, Slut Walk: NYC
A couple of posters.The Slut Walk posted posters, messages, and conversations around the web: noon, Union Sq.

I started my day with a celebratory stuffing-myself-with-pancakes-and-maple-syrup, with a first date with an individual who probably didn’t get how having a date and having vegan pancakes weren’t a common occurrence for me and triggered my whimsical hope that today would be magic.  That sounds a bit cliche but I never done this before. Advocation. Awareness. I never tried to bring attention towards the issues that are integral in my life before. But this is so much larger then my shyness. As my teeth grinded the mushy partially-digested pancakes my tongue twirled into the bitter taste of reflection; I tasted the way sexual assault has changed my life, all of us that pass as women, and our loved ones.

Patriarchy is for dicks.My parents are completely horrified that I would be sexual assaulted. This is an issue they have taken up with policing my actions, relationships, and presentation however they never once taught me to not assault others or my brothers to not assault girls. They have told my brothers to respect girls, but in that ambiguous way which leaves room for interpretation. (Which is probably why guys feel like chivalry is the best way to be a “nice guy”, but this is another blog post)

My parents attempts to forbade me from spending alone-time with my guy friends have been consistent, loud, and obsessive. This has led to me having a very unhealthy relationship with men, a lot of general anxiety and paranoia, and has completely ruined a very prized relationship I was in about a year ago.

I was previously involved in a polyamorous relationship with a married couple; also important to note that the couple is 13 and 14 years older then me, didn’t live in the same state (but we’re driving distance away), and I met them online. My parents did not know about  the relationship which made seeing the couple while I was home during the summer-months impossible. About two years into the relationship I started becoming more involved in public clubs and organizations in New York City (Not talking about kink, actually). The ex-boyfriend suggested that I could use these organizations as a way to fabricate an explanation on how I met the couple.

Nobody Asks to be Raped

So I did that. I didn’t talk about the relationship but I introduced them as friends and asked if I could go visit them one weekend.
The reaction was explosive and to just spoil the outcome up-front no, I didn’t get to see him that weekend, or any summer and the months apart added a lot of tension to an already long-distance relationship and killed it.

My parents did not believe that someone older then me had anything positiveto contribute in my life. They could not be my friends; they would have no interest in hanging out with someone in their 20s. They went on about how my judgement is flawed, how teachers and priests can’t be trusted so therefore no one can be trusted. I must  have very strong standards on who I spend my time with and I must put everyone through a rigorous test before I can be their friends because otherwise I will be raped. They continued to tell me that must be consistently conscious of my choices because they come with consequences.

My parents did not trust me, my judgement, my lifestyle, or the people who IHow to prevent rape: Men should not rape. share my life with. Their mind automatically went “older man RAPE”  and then went on to explaining me that it was my job to ALWAYS make sure that I’m not doing something where I can get raped– completely ignoring that people get raped by their own husbands, uncles, cousins, when they are with groups and in public places, even though they were holding and watching their drink all night, even though they wore sweat pants and a hoodie, even though they were a quiet wallflower and didn’t direct attention to themselves, even though they never went out late, never used public transportation, and spent their free time with their virgin-friends of the same age– rape happens anyway.

I can guarentee that if I did get raped by my ex-boyfriend (which by the way would of NEVER happened, he respected me more then anyone ever respected me ever and would of never done something nonconsensual to me) my parent’s first reaction would of been, “But why did you go there in the first place? I told you…”


And THAT’s the problem.

Group ShotSo on October 1st my comrades stormed Union Square and the Lower East Side, with loud vibrant posters, chanting Yes means yes! No means no! / However I dress! Wherever I go!, and celebrating, actually, the optimistic hope that by educating the world about rape culture, we can form more comrades, and make a nation that isn’t vastly  comprised by rapist, rapist-sympathizers, and victims.

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One thought on “Slut Walk NYC: I is real feminist now?

  1. Pingback: Dating in NYC – A city of SLUTS | julietjeske

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