Slutwalks: What's the Problem?

A lot of people have been talking and arguing about the concept of “slutwalks” in the past two weeks ever since Amber Rose hosted her own at Pershing Square in Los Angeles. However, slutwalks have been held since 2011 and actually started in response to a police officer advising the general female public that they should avoid dressing like “sluts” in order to avoid being victimized by rape. I guess he was just asking for it, huh?

In case you haven’t been involved in the conversation, a slutwalk is an event held to increase awareness of the persistent rape culture in the United States and drive home the message that women should not be subjected to sexual violence no matter what they are wearing. Most commonly, walk participants are dressed scantily and/or in lingerie/topless to further prove the point.

While Amber Rose may be a controversial figure, the fact that her fame brought such a high volume of interest from conservatives (clutching their pearls in horror, no doubt) and the general public (separate from the Puritan-rooted, forever devoted to social constructs population that actually still uses the term “slut”), is a good thing despite the criticism. Women should not be subjected to sexual violence regardless of what they are wearing and the characterizations of victims of rape as promiscuous, slutty, whorish, irresponsible, attention-seeking, etc. have to stop.

An honest discussion about the persistent rape culture in the United States is a rarity, and when it is, there seems to be a lack of women available to talk about it (best leave the decisions to the men and the hysteria to the rest of us).

Some people are very mad though. Apparently, nipples are very offensive and shouldn’t be seen (unless they are on men?). Half-naked women marching is deemed militant and “proper ladies” around the country keep asking themselves why all of these young women insist upon degrading themselves? Wasn’t the night taken back when all of those bras were burned a few decades back? What would Eleanor say?

I would like to pose a question to all of the critics of slutwalks and people who use the term “slut” in general: what are you so afraid of?

Does the idea of a woman sleeping with more than one person offend you? Why? Who says she is limited to one partner?

Why is sex such a dirty thing in the United States? We’re all here, so it certainly isn’t for lack of occurrence.

Are you jealous of a woman’s confidence and ability to showcase her body or upset with your own sense of modesty?

Where do these concepts and ideas of what is right and wrong for a woman come from? Your religion? Well, it’s not hers and it certainly isn’t the ultimate truth for everybody, so you can let that purity ring tarnish.

Who made up these rules?

Slut. Whore. Strumpet. Trollop for the old-fashioned. Who uses these words? People who are scared of what they weren’t taught and what they don’t know, and ultimately, what doesn’t concern them or anybody.

If a woman chooses to wear a low-cut shirt and tight-fitting skirt, it is her choice to do so. If she chooses to wear a short dress and fishnet stockings, it is her choice to do so. If she chooses to wear a turtleneck and high-waisted pants, it is her choice to do so. And if she engages in sexual relations, it is also her choice to do so.

The way a woman dresses is no one else’s concern and doesn’t make her any less of a “good” or “moral” person. Sexual relations and preference, monogamy, relationships, and self-expression are all a person’s choice, and the number of partners and amount of fabric coverage do not a person make.

I certainly won’t be running a tally of my sexual partners or reflecting on my outfit choices when I am knocking on death’s door – I hope I have more to account for than that. And if the fact that you only slept with one person and never bared any skin is your highest accomplishment, I would reflect on the quality of your life and perhaps expand your openness to experience.

Slutwalks have opened the discussion to a lot of issues surrounding rape culture and the female existence and place in society as well as sex and religion, and socially constructed expectations for each. Let’s talk about it all – not just criticize and tear down other women (that’s rather tired, isn’t it?).

The only thing I take issue with is the name. I’m sick of hearing the word “slut” and these women are not sluts nor do they look anything less than powerful to me.

In fact, to the blonde woman in the amazing sheer black lace top in front of the Wall of No Shame headlining most of the photos, please share details of where you bought it. You look excellent.

Much thanks and walk on.

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