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On The Reasons Why I’m Giving Up On SlutWalk

March 21, 2013

SlutWalk is one of those things that was amazing in concept and a hell of an experience the first year the walks took place. We were loud, we were proud and we took the streets of the city we were in by storm. We were profound and we made a difference.

Unfortunately, a trend began that has been swiftly been killing the SlutWalk events. The challenge to rape culture became a forum for a whole bunch of “other related causes” that rapidly drove away current and potential supporters. I saw it start with Planned Parenthood walking around with petitions to support their organization and related legislation, at one event. I’ve seen it discussed in multiple forums about how the name itself is alienating to many people, specifically women of color. At another event I attended, there was an interesting performance by some sort of “feminist” band that played songs about having abortions and other such ilk, before any of the speakers began sharing their stories. If I hadn’t been one of those speakers, I would have walked away from the event and never looked back once the band started playing.

There are a lot of issues related to being a woman that this country and the world needs to address. Some, like victim blaming and rape culture, are universal. However, the basic concept of SlutWalk: countering victim-blaming, isn’t one that applies only to women! We need to get away from making this a “woman’s issues” event. Stop trying to lump abortion and feminism and all these other issues that are driving people away.

SlutWalk has a lot to overcome with just its name, many people cringe at the idea of claiming “slut”, because of how it has been used against them or people they care about. I am one of those people who will never use the word lightly, nor do I ever want it applied to me ever again. But I choose to participate in this walk because I care very deeply about what it represents. I’ve chosen to speak at this event because my story is one that is shared by too many who are afraid to speak out. I’ve given blood, sweat and tears to support the movement, but I don’t know that I can do it anymore.

After last year’s event in DC, I was left with a very sour taste in my mouth. I met some amazing people, we shared some powerful moments, but I never want to do an event like that again. If I hadn’t been speaking, I most likely would have left when the band started screaming about having had an abortion. One – that’s a crazily polarizing issue that shouldn’t be attached to SlutWalk. Two – for some people, the topic is actually traumatizing. It didn’t belong in what should have been a powerful event for survivors and their supporters to reach out and challenge the fucked up culture that affects this country. It also didn’t help that the event ended in a corner with minimal traffic and essentially turned what should have been public outreach into an insular group meeting.

I love the idea behind SlutWalk. I love the opportunities it has given me to share my story and to confront a disgusting concept. I love the people I’ve met because of it.

I hate what it has become.

Until Next Time,
~Rose

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