I found myself again wishing that the young women doing the difficult work of reappropriation were more nuanced in how they made their grabs at authority, that they were better at anticipating and deflecting the resulting pile-on. But I also wondered if, perhaps, this worry makes me the Toronto cop who thought women should protect themselves by not dressing like sluts.
The trouble with Wilentz’s assessment and my own anxieties about self-preservation is that two decades after sitting through Hill’s excruciatingly careful narrative, there is still no way for women to tell stories of sexual injustice that allows them to bypass character assassination.
...The most sophisticated attempts elicit just as much derision and, frankly, receive a fraction of the attention. All of which suggests that while clumsy stabs at righting sexual-power imbalances may be frustrating, they remain necessary.
Social progress is imperfect, full of half-truths and sloppy misrepresentations. After all, we celebrate the victories of a civil rights movement that was shot through with misogyny, and of a women’s movement riddled with racial, class and sexual resentments. Fighting for power is a complicated, messy process, especially for complicated, messy human beings. Often, the best we can hope for is that our efforts draw a spotlight.
tomswift: Somewhere in my antiquated, out of date, old fashioned, way of thinking, I do NOT want my daughter participating in a "slut walk", I think better of her than that.
The rest of you can be cool about this, I'll just be old fashioned
There's no being out too late in Whileaway, or up too early, or in the wrong part of town, or unescorted. You cannot fall out of the kinship web and become sexual prey for strangers, for there is no prey and there are no strangers—the web is world-wide. In all of Whileaway there is no one who can keep you from going where you please (though you may risk your life, if that sort of thing appeals to you), no one who will follow you and try to embarrass you by whispering obscenities in your ear, no one who will attempt to rape you, no one who will warn you of the dangers of the street, no one who will stand on street corners, hot-eyed and vicious, jingling loose change in his pants pocket, bitterly bitterly sure that you're a cheap floozy, hot and wild, who likes it, who can't say no, who's making a mint off it, who inspires him with nothing but disgust, and who wants to drive him crazy.
On Whileaway eleven-year-old children strip and live naked in the wilderness above the forty-seventh parallel, where they meditate, stark naked or covered with leaves, sans pubic hair, subsisting on the roots and berries so kindly planted by their elders. You can walk around the Whileawayan equator twenty times (if the feat takes your fancy and you live that long) with one hand on your sex and in the other an emerald the size of a grapefruit. All you'll get is a tired wrist.
While here, where we live―!
'“What’s SlutWalk?” A note on rallying right next to a sandbox: . . . I said there were many developmentally appropriate things one could say to a child who asked “What’s slutwalk?”
With small kids, the easiest thing to tell them is that SlutWalk is a group of people getting together to remind everyone that no matter what you wear, you deserve to be safe. I’d say, off the top of my head, something like:
“No one ever gets to touch you if you don’t want them to. Some people think that if a girl or a woman wears certain clothes, she deserves to be hurt. The grown-ups at this rally don’t believe that. That’s why you see so many people who look like they aren’t wearing very much. It’s kind of unusual, isn’t it? It’s okay to look and it’s even okay to laugh! It’s just not okay to think that any of these men and women deserve to be hurt because of what they’re wearing.”'
Even virginity is not a defense against alleged sluttiness. Virgins can be sluts if they dress the wrong way, walk the wrong way, or even instill the wrong thoughts in other people. Some people will convict you of sluttitude because your body is the wrong shape, or the right shape.
What determines sluttiness? Is it number of partners, or the number of sex acts, or the kind of sex, or whether you enjoy it, or what other people infer about your self-esteem based on what they assume about your sex life? It's all of the above, or none of the above. Either way, you lose.
Maybe it has nothing to do with you at all. Maybe it's because your accuser is racist or classist and your "sluttiness" is built into some stereotype that was clanking around in their head before they ever met you.
If you try to argue that you're not a slut, you're implicitly buying into the idea that there are sluts out there. If there's some criterion that will set you free, that standard will indict someone else--someone with a higher "number," or shorter skirt, or a later curfew. So we get bogged down in slut/non-slut border skirmishes over a line nobody should have tried to draw in the first place, and we all lose.
the sad truth is that no matter how you dress, no matter what you wear, you will be perceived by some men as a target for their unwanted advances.
You may have heard people say things like “girls who wear short skirts are asking for ‘it’”. By “it” they may mean anything from rape to crude comments and penetrating stares. But as you may already have noticed, girls aren’t immune from harassment when they’re wearing simple or “modest” garb either. . . . The bottom line is that there’s nothing you can wear that will guarantee respect from others. And the reason is that the root of this problem isn’t skin or clothing, it’s our cultural contempt for women and girls.
. . . It is not inconsistent to want to be seen and not be stared at. You know the difference, I suspect, between an “appreciative look” (which can feel very validating) and the “penetrating stare” that leaves you feeling like crawling into a hole. While people are not required to give you the former, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to avoid giving you the latter.
There are many different choices I could have made the night I was raped. But there is no choice I could have made that would have made my rapist not a rapist. . . .
I was alone with a man. This is sort of the kicker, the one people think I should regret, where they think I should have known better. In reality, I’ve been alone with many men — friends, family, colleagues, strangers — and the general trend is that they don’t assault me. I suppose, yes, I could never again have a personal relationship that places me alone with another person . . .
When we are raped, everyone and their mother has an opinion on what we could have or should have done to keep from getting raped - we should have been more careful! What did we think, going out there at night? Meanwhile, we're taught from day one that we can never have the simple expectation of being safe - we're told to not go out at night, to not dress a certain way, to not drink too much, to carry weapons like pepper spray, etc. And when we do these things we're accused of "living in fear"; when we don't do them, we're accused of not being careful enough.
Does anyone here know anyone who's opinions have shifted after hearing/seeing a Slutwalk?
Factors increasing men's risk of committing rape include alcohol and other drug consumption, being more likely to consider victims responsible for their rape, being less knowledgeable about the impact of rape on victims, being impulsive and having antisocial tendencies, having an exaggerated sense of masculinity, having a low opinion on women, being a member of a criminal gang, having sexually aggressive friends, having been abused as a child and having been raised in a strongly patriarchal family.
« Older Jason Scroggin and Akari Takebeyashi teach in the ... | Did a case of 15th C. royal ad... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt