Slutwalks and Self-indulgence.

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

6 thoughts on “Slutwalks and Self-indulgence.

  1. People are forgetting the one other agenda of SlutWalk, even the ones who want to bring it to India. The first point is that the way women dress, invitingly provocative or not, cannot be blamed for them getting raped. That’s not even a cause, it doesn’t even need awareness.
    The second point is slightly more important; to give the word ‘slut’ a positive connotation. What is a slut in the literal sense of the word, any way? A slut is a woman who is sexually liberated and is quite open about it. But, the word has such a negative connotation to it …whereas the male equivalent of ‘slut’ is ‘stud’ or ‘ladies man’, both of which have an extremely positive connotation and when used will make the ego of a man swell. What needs awareness is this. A sexually liberated woman who’s open about it should be accepted and embraced by the society the same way a man is done so. This double standards is the issue to tackle.
    That being said, dressing up provocatively and trying to drive this point home is not going to make the slightest of difference. All the men* present will be there for the one reason and we know what it is. I personally don’t believe in SlutWalk, the movement as such …but, I believe in the cause that brought about this movement.

  2. I believe you were the one who asked the same question in the class that are these slut walks elitists. I totally agree with u on tht. I might be repeating ur wrds, bt rapes though becoming an urban phenomena too, are much more widespread and much less reported in the rural areas. This movement has nothing to do with those realities of India. By adopting a campaign started outside India, I feel these walks are just narrowing the perspective of freedom and security for women to wearing ‘slutty’ gear. For tht matter, I believe the ‘pink chaddi’ campaign was much more innovative and meaningful.

    Keep reflecting 🙂

  3. Agree, it doesn’t stop abuse of a woman in the village. But don’t think slutwalk aspires for that. The motive is purely to campaign for a woman’s right to dress as she wishes. (Not a trivial cause in itself) I also don’t see the implication that u see in the name.

    @ Nitish, Agree whole-heartedly with all u say. But trying to reclaim that word is a lost cause.

  4. I don’t think it’s a lost cause.
    Didn’t the homosexual people reclaim the word queer? The word ‘queer’ doesn’t have that negative a connotation it used to have in those days.

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