Federal

May 28, 2011

Slutwalk: feminists take to the streets to reclaim ‘slut’ in style

Thousands of feminist-minded individuals took to the streets on Saturday to protest against slut-shaming and victim-blaming in colourful SlutWalks in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Amber Jamieson — Freelance journalist in New York

Amber Jamieson

Freelance journalist in New York

Thousands of feminist-minded individuals took to the streets on Saturday to protest against slut-shaming and victim-blaming in colourful SlutWalks. Melbourne joined Brisbane as the first of the Aussie SlutWalks after a careless line from a Canadian policeman -- telling university students not to “dress like sluts” if they wanted to avoid sexual assault -- turned into a global phenomenon.

From 1pm supporters gathered on the grass and steps of the State Library of Victoria to hear speeches, before marching down Swanston St and finishing at the Fitzroy Gardens, where The Age had set up a lavender coloured fabric backdrop to shoot pictures of the best-dressed protesters for an online gallery.

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15 comments

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15 thoughts on “Slutwalk: feminists take to the streets to reclaim ‘slut’ in style

  1. jDmmmm

    Rad! Congrats to all the sluts and allies!

  2. luna

    Most cultural tribes may have been represented, but were most socio-economic groups, and ages? It seems to have been an event that appealed only to white, middle-class, young people and media pundits. Yet rape, and all sexual violence, does not discriminate. Why was no effort made for a variety of voices to be heard? Or, why did only privileged people want to align themselves with SlutWalk?

    As for the slogans, the whole event is a postmodern farce. “You’re not allowed to rape sluts either!” “My body, my choice!” “What is a slut?” Newsflash, sloganeers – no one is ‘allowed’ to rape sluts, not only sluts get raped, a rapist doesn’t give you a choice, and a slut is STILL a derogatory term for a loose woman. As for the sign that says, “The best way to stop rape is not to rape” – I’m speechless at the stupidity of it.

    Sure, SlutWalk got some media coverage thanks to their sensational name, which meant a reminder that rape is wrong and victims are never to blame. But what did they really achieve for victims of rape? Nothing. Instead they alienated, silenced, and angered a lot of women who do not want to be called sluts because it’s a word beloved by abusers and that isn’t going to change. The only way SlutWalk will fit into the grander social picture is by going away.

  3. Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    All power to them.

  4. jDmmmm

    @LUNA having been there i saw many ‘races’ and ‘socio-economic’ groups, perhaps the media coverage hasn’t shown you the true diversity that was there.

    I do find it disappointing that when a rally/protest/movement doesn’t push the particular barrow that someone wants their first response is to say ‘waste of time’, ‘achieves nothing’, ‘why bother’, ‘go away’.

    I have never been to a feminist event where there were so many men.
    I have never been to a feminist event where there were 3000 people.
    I have never been to a feminist event replicated all over the world.
    I have never seen so much coverage of women’s issues in the press.

    Did sl-t walk achieve much? Hell YES!
    Did it achieve all things for all people? – No but it has sparked a dialogue that will continue.

  5. thomthom

    i was there and there were notthousands of us only a fewhundred fun day

  6. princesspaula

    To be fair, it was a white people event.

    But so what?

    We spoke for everyone even the races who cant speak for themselves because they’re not educated enough.

  7. jDmmmm

    C’mon @Thomthom only hundreds? you were there weren’t you? at least 2 thousand, ask all media outlets and police easy 2-3 thousand. I have been to enough rallies to have a good guess and it was many more than few hundred.

  8. Captain Planet

    @ Luna,

    It seems to have been an event that appealed only to white, middle-class, young people and media pundits. Yet rape, and all sexual violence, does not discriminate. Why was no effort made for a variety of voices to be heard? Or, why did only privileged people want to align themselves with SlutWalk?

    You appear to have an astonishing ability to discern the “class” of a young white person based on a single glance. For me, lacking your astounding powers of observations, it is very difficult to tell whether any of the individuals represented in this story (and other coverage) are poor, middle class, or stupendously rich.

    Nor does it matter.

    You ask, “Why was no effort made for a variety of voices to be heard?”

    So because there were no albino african transgender slum dwelling dwarves on the podium, the voices of everybody else (representing the vast bulk of Melbourne’s population, I might add) should be discounted?

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