In Feminism Friday, Lifestyle on
August. 26. 2016

The SlutWalk Movement: Empowerment or Degradation?

A guest post by Cassie Lopez of Cassie Wears What

The SlutWalk movement started in 2011 after a Toronto police officer claimed that if women do not want to be victimized, they shouldn’t dress like sluts. He was speaking to a group of college-aged women at safety program. Since then it has turned into a global movement. Chicago just hosted one over the weekend, and Amber Rose has her second annual Walk scheduled for October in LA. During these walks, many women wear provocative clothing and carry signs denouncing slut-shaming and victim-blaming, often with raunchy language. Do these actions empower them or degrade them further?

A quick scroll through #SlutWalk on social media will show you mixed reactions. Many people, of all sexes and gender identities, offer words of support. They praise these women for being comfortable with expressing their sexuality. However, an almost equal amount of people, mostly men, degrade them further. They call them “trash,” “sluts,” and “whores.” They respond to “My Pussy, My Choice,” with “My Dick, My Choice,” thus propagating rape culture.

The SlutWalk movement falls beautifully under the umbrella of intersectional feminism. While the title initially seems niched, it actually speaks to all women. The word “slut” once meant a promiscuous woman, but it is now as a generic, degrading slur. All women are judged based on what they choose to do with their own bodies, no matter where they fall on the slut-prude spectrum.

This movement brings attention to an issue at the heart of many current feminist issues. School dress codes prevent girls from wearing things that are “too sexual” or may “distract” their male classmates. Society tells women that they should not get too drunk at parties, so they won’t get raped. Meanwhile, convicted rapists, like Brock Turner and Austin James Wilkerson, walk away with slaps on the wrist and probation, because “boys will be boys,” and the judges don’t want to ruin their lives with a prison sentence. Planned Parenthood is under attack for providing medical care to women, and the “old white men” in government are still trying to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.

No matter how people react to the SlutWalk movement, the important thing is they are reacting. It plays a key role in the modern feminist conversation. As long as the participants  are comfortable with their choices and aren’t causing harm to anyone else, they are embodying the heart of feminism, not insulting the cause.

What do you think about the slut walk? Leave a comment below!

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  • Chrissy @ Snacking in Sneakers

    While the name makes me cringe a little because of it’s negative connotations, I love the concept behind this walk. The recent legal cases you mentioned are horrifying, and rape culture needs to change.

    August. 26. 2016 at 10:17 pm Reply
  • Nena Lega

    I can stand behind empowerment, but I don’t think we need to call ourselves by the very names we don’t want to called to do it. But I agree that it is based on a comfort level.

    August. 27. 2016 at 1:02 am Reply
  • Mrs Fancy-Pants

    I think the most out there, obnoxious protests…..are the ones that will get people talking about these issues. And they need attention. Great article!

    August. 27. 2016 at 3:23 am Reply
  • Jennifer Quisenberry

    I think that if a woman feels empowered by doing so, it’s a powerful movement. Great article! Thank you for tackling a controversial topic. It’s worth discussion.

    August. 30. 2016 at 12:42 am Reply
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