SlutWalk Vancouver.Posted: 05/15/2011
Sucks that I couldn’t make it out to SlutWalk Vancouver today. It is something that I believe in and echoes an important message in society that “no means no”. It was organized by someone whom, we, as women, can all relate to. A daughter, a girlfriend, a colleague, a neighbour, an organizer. When I first heard of the event a few months back, there was much controversy that surrounded the issue, especially using the terminology, “slut”, and that many people just weren’t getting why this event was set to take place. There were common misconceptions and, of course, uneducated people making uneducated assumptions and comments on the issue. I read the comments on the Facebook event’s wall and it really angered me because people just didn’t get it. Even some tweets that came up on my twitter feed were misinformed of the event. Was it a pre-Canucks party? An anti-prositution demo? No. The whole point of the event was to raise awareness around the issue of victim blaming, sexual assault, and zero tolerance. Women should be able to express themselves in any attire that they wish to appear in without being labeled as a “slut”. A skirt, no matter what length it is, does NOT ever mean that we are asking for it. No one ever asks to be raped or sexually harassed.
And just on the term, “slut”. I was called a slut many times in highschool. I hated it. I was called a slut by both guys and girls. Girls kind of just toss the term around as a “compliment” (I still don’t get that) or to seriously insult someone. Guys would use it in the same demeaning fashion. Why was I called a slut over other girls? Was it because I hiked up my kilt too high? Too much cleavage? Tons of rumours going around how I made out with guys? From what I recall from highschool, it was mostly based on appearance. Just because I dressed a certain way (and I’ve certainly changed my style since then!), does not allow you to address me in such a way. I fought hard to not let it bother me. Until this one time, it really did hurt. A loser type of guy came up me and called me a slut right in front of my face. It made me cry. And that was it. That was the last time I would ever tolerate being called that derogatory word.
Even though I still find the word offensive, it was interesting to see that they would use that word to showcase the event — and I can see why. The way I see it, women are taking this once offensive, slang type of word and playing with it and exclaiming to the world that, “Hey, yeah, I’m a slut. So what?”. It’s almost like a sense of empowerment. Kind of how the lesbian community took the word “dyke” and ran with it, now using it as a word to classify and self-identify oneself, and also popularizing the term within another event, the Dyke March.
All in all, I do hope that this event occurs again next year in (with better weather!) — such a great cause and message that everyone should hear about.
Check out this empowering and inspirational speech by SlutWalk Vancouver organiser and SFU alumni, Katie Raso!