“If you call one of us slut, you call all of us slut!”
From the dawn of time, females have been fighting to be recognized as fully human and deserving of equal rights to males. Within this fight, women everywhere have been trying to end the concept of the “slut.” Our patriarchal, misogynistic, and sexist world has decided that females need to be controlled. One method of control is over our sexuality. Girls are taught from day one that they are the “gatekeepers” of sexual activity and must prize this forced responsibility. Boys are taught that they are to be the “pursuers” of sexual activity and must “conquer” girls sexually in order to be true men. These social scripts fuck up both the sexes in the head. It also creates double standards that make it harder for females and males to coexist. Putting the burden of gatekeeper on women makes them victim to constant policing by society. How we dress, how we act, where we go, and almost every other facet of our existence is judged. And when girls and women are sexually assaulted, they aren’t seen as victims of a crime, but as criminals themselves. And all these judgments lead down the same road: “was she, or wasn’t she a slut?”
And why? Cause in a rape culture a “slut” deserves any violence that comes her way…because the culture says “she was asking for it.” The reality makes my stomach cringe and my heart sink. Individuals Such as Dan Rottenberg remind us that educated professionals are holding this view and spewing it throughout media outlets.
Since the word “slut” describes a social construct, it’s definition is constantly changing based on the subjectivity of the user of the label. A female can be labeled a slut for all kinds of absurd and nonsensical reasons. She could wear clothing that is deemed “revealing,” she could have what is considered too many male friends, she could be someone who enjoys parties and drugs such as alcohol, she could be someone who males say they had sex with even though it’s a lie, she could be someone who goes out at night. In a word, she could be any of us. But the label only gets applied when others feel the need to shame her. Whether it’s her gossiping peers, former love interests, or the court system when she tries to bring her sexual assaulter to justice, the label hurts just the same.
On January 24th, 2011, females everywhere were reminded how far behind our world still is in giving us full human rights. While giving a lecture to a law class at York University, a Toronto police officer stated that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. This comment sparked the movement that is known as “SlutWalk” which spread from Canada to locations all over the world. This protest has brought together people of all sexes, ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and beliefs. Everyone knows that something has to change in our world when 50% of the population is dehumanized simply because they have vaginas! It’s timed to let go of entitled thinking that leads to notions like slut. In my hometown of Philadelphia, women are rallying hard to pull off our own SlutWalk.
The protest will take place at 11 am on Saturday, August 6th at Kahn Park (11th & Pine Sts.). Please check out the website and Facebook page for more information. Below is the full protest route.
There are also many exciting events taking place when the protest arrives to Dilworth Plaza, including an amazing speaker lineup. The goal is to make this protest a success and create energy that sparks a local revolution. After the protest, keep up to date on ways to get further involved with the movement through the SlutWalk Philadelphia site.
The SlutWalk Philadelphia protest has been a group effort of several passionate activists. We’re working hard to raise funds to cover the cost of this event. If you have even a dollar to donate, we would greatly appreciate the support. Fundraising will go towards stage equipment, audio/ visual, permit fees, speakers, printing costs, and such. Click here to find out how you can donate online. You’ll also get a chance to purchase pins and t-shirts at the protest (all profits will go toward event costs). Thanks for all your support and we hope to see you at the protest!