The thoughts below arose from a lecture I sat in today. The topic was Gender and Feminism and the essential difference between the two. V.Geetha had me scrawling thoughts down all through her forty minute talk. The content of her talk is too serious and vague for me to recreate without some reading, hopefully I will soon, but the lecture had me thinking a lot. Particularly about the recent phenomena of Slutwalks and its impact.
The stress of the lecture was how both gender and feminism depended heavily on movement. The movement of resources and ideas. The movement in a broader context that encapsulates what serves the most in the best way possible. And the Slutwalk tries to provide that platform for women and their safety.
I’ve read some completely sexist pieces on the same and I hated them, not because they said it was a fail concept and idea but because of the way they said it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. You can say exactly what you please, but say it with respect to the people you speak against. For they value their opinions and that is why they endorse them.
Equally, I’ve read overwhelmingly optimistic pieces about how Slutwalks are attended by more men than women and it is the end of the objectification of women. I disagree. You’ve begun a movement, let it sustain, spread awareness, provide a liberation to thousands of women who are oppressed every day and then you may.
I have issues with the Slutwalk for very different reasons. I believe that the idea comes across as slightly elitist. I think urban women walking the streets will not help the victim of rape in a village far away. The reality is that the women who are raped in this country are not dressed differently nor do they act differently. Their clothing is not the criteria. It is all those women who exist below margins the media elevates that need to be championed and fought for. Be it with regard to their safety or with regard to their rights.
Also, like today’s lecture stressed, the implication inherent in the name is that women want to be slutty. Freedom of expression is fine, enforcing your sexual identity or choices on a society is not. The point must be stressed, as a gender and a whole, women need safety and security. They need to be able to believe that their daughters and sisters are safe in their lives.
The movement should not be a platform for self-indulgence but a stepping stone to awareness and liberation. And if Slutwalks do that, then so be it.
Picture courtesy: Huffington Post