Sunday, 23 September 2012

Slutwalk 2012

Last year, I really wanted to attend Slutwalk London, but unfortunely  due to them changing the inital date, I couldn't go as it clashed with my Ladyfest Essex event which I had been planning for months on end, I did however help them get a band to perform at the event.

I was happy when I heard they would be doing another march this year and this time there was nothing to stop me!
Slutwalk was all started because of a comment from a Canadian policeman saying "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
This, quite rightly, sparked off the first 'Slutwalk' in Toronto, which then spread like wildfire as women globally got angry, and Slutwalk events started happening all over the world.

The main reason I choose to support Slutwalks, is because I agree with why it was started in the first place- the victim should never be to blame for the rape, no matter what she might have been wearing at the time. Some women have also decided to embrace the Slutwalk as they want to reclaim the word 'slut' and turn it into something positive. I have no problem with any woman that wants to embrace this word, but I am not personally interested in doing that myself. I think it's a real shame though that some feminists have decided not to support Slutwalk, mainly for this reason. I got into a discussion with someone who was adamant that Slutwalk only panders to what men want- for women to be disposable sexual objects. Yes, some women at the march choose to write 'slut' on themselves (quite similar to Kathleen Hanna back in her Bikini Kill days) or decide to march in short skirts, or even in their underwear- but it's because they're making a point- they're saying "this body is mine, I can wear what I want, without the fear of being raped".

Yesterday the march gathered nearby Hyde Park Corner, before setting off from the top of Picadilly before finishing with a rally at Trafalgar Square. The march was probably the most diverse crowd I've seen at a feminist minded protest, they were many women, but also men, as well as transgender people, queer groups, men's groups, political groups, mothers with children, people with bikes, people with dogs (one with a sign saying "I'm here for the bitches") people dressed in their underwear, people dressed in their everyday clothes, people with masks, people with handmade banners and so much more. My favourite of the banners had 'Buffy wouldn't stand for this shit' but other great ones had 'Sluts and plebs of the world unite', 'I love my cunt', 'Todd Akin is a legitimate asshole' and 'How to prevent rape 1.don't rape, 2.see #1'
The crowd was lively with drumming, dancing and lots of chanting- "It's a dress, not a yes" "Wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no" and more.

I didn't stay for the whole rally but I saw Anastasia Richardson, the founder of Slutwalk London, who is very inspiring - she's only about 19 years old, but has done an amazing job organising the events. I also saw Subi from Cambridge based group 'Those Pesky Dames' who I recently discovered thanks to the Cherry Healey 'How to get a life' programme- they make loads of great feminist videos so go check them out here.
Subi spoke of her experience as a rape survivor, it was disappointing but not surprising to hear about how she had been treated by the police who told her "it could have been worse you could have been gang rape..."

Slutwalk London currently have a petition to get more protection for rape survivors and for more prosecutions for rapists- if you haven't already you should really sign it.

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