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Reclaiming the Slut

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women, wonders whether the SlutWalk movement is a step forward or backward for women.

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Rebecca Traister
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Comments [78]

Beryl from New York, NY

Nudity is a power issue. In ancient cave drawings, the person with the least clothes on - often naked - is the slave. Being an ancient association rooted in our limbic/reptilian brain, this is still true today.

Men generally know this and steadfastly resist uncovering in most public places. They understand that exposing oneself in public is an invitation to be overpowered, a statement saying "I am willing to be the slave."

The power women feel when they strut tight revealing clothes is the power of the powerless, of inviting someone to overpower you. A sort of power, to be sure, but one that true power brokers rarely employ.

Many women instinctively know this but are hard pressed to hold the line in the face of the entertainment and fashion industries which, being creative, do not understand this principle.

What women "walk" with their judgments but don't "talk" with their statements is the message power of clothes. To paraphrase the caller's friend: when someone is dressed like a police officer, we assume it is a police officer; when someone is dressed like a street person, we don't think "corporation executive;" when someone is dressed provocatively, we assume ...

This does not mean that one deserves to be assaulted - ever, whatever one wears. But I am saying that clothes send messages and it behooves us as women to know what those are and to decide if they are the messages we want to send.

Aug. 14 2011 08:06 AM
Bill from posting for GoTopless

Gotopless supports Slut Walk

Are women "sluts" because they stand for their Topless rights ???
The affiliates of Gotopless.org have been closely following the developments of the Slutwalk Movement since its inception and we embrace it 100%! This is how the worldwide Slut Protest began: a Canadian police officer advised women "to avoid dressing as sluts" if they did not want to be harassed.

Our plight for Constitutional equality in topless rights, we are encountering "moral" opposition on the basis that women's breasts in public may arouse sexual desire and therefore must be duly outlawed at all cost! (Of course, what part of the woman's body is not likely to arouse sexual desire, suggesting that a burqa would be the best alternative to barrage all sexual provocation!) This legal battle to go topless in public is "naturally" associated with the plight of "sluts" by repressed minds who have a pathologically distorted view of sexuality, of the human body in general.

And so Gotopless is truly looking forward to joining the Slutwalk Protest where people made peace with the fact that women come with an inherent sensuality ((as men do) that may indeed arouse sexual desire no matter their body shape or type of dress. It is high time to come to terms with the fact that the puritanically branded "slut" is simply a woman, a dignified human being whose sensual human attributes deserve the same praise and respect as her intellectual ones.

We look forward to your presence at a Slutwalk protest near you, and of course at National Gotopless day on August 21 2011.

Breast wishes,
Nadine Gary

NYC TOPFREE MARCH:
New York City Legal to go topless
SUNDAY, Aug 21, '11
noon to 4 pm
Central Park- Columbus Circle
(59th Street / 8th Avenue)

Aug. 11 2011 05:53 PM
Mr. Bad from IL

@ thatgirl from manhattan

The point isn't how "society" views you, don't you get it? Some men are violent criminals (rapists/murderers) and you DON'T want to catch their eye - dressing provocatively will catch every man's eye, so roll the dice if you want to but the rest of us (men included) prefer to keep a low profile these days. Roll with bodyguards if you want to be such hot stuff - it's not about sexism, don't you see that?!?

Aug. 08 2011 09:16 PM
anonyme

Nelly McKay wryly sings, "Feminists don't have a sense of humor..." - I do not understand why women are trying so hard, ruining their feet and backs (heels), putting questionable stuff on their faces (nano-makeup, etc.) having plastic surgery - dignity and worth are so much more attractive than all the efforts directed at what I consider negative attention. Speaking very broadly, I think the generation just after me (HS class of 1970) was really impacted by Madonna's or Jane Fonda's perfectionist obsessions because they seem even more self-critical than we did. I also wonder if the slutwalk generations have absorbed all the porn surrounding us now and are just expressing that.

Aug. 03 2011 11:37 AM
RXN from Queens

Mothers and the media (Disney, NickTeen, etc.) teach their daughters, at very young ages, how to dress like sluts. These mothers live vicariously through their children. Yet, they complain when construction workers and others leer at them.

If women treat themselves in this denigrating fashion, many men will, also. Then, women will complain about not being taken seriously and about how men treat them.

If women want to reclaim the word "slut," they deserve to be treated like one. The most unfortunate part is that that is exactly what (some) women want, in the name of a false equality.

Aug. 03 2011 10:58 AM
Darren in NJ

You couldn't post any pictures along with item???

Aug. 03 2011 09:37 AM
Karen from Westchester

The slut walk starts in middle school...

Aug. 03 2011 07:22 AM
wingeddancer from Astoria NY

I believe women dress the way they do for themselves. Sorry guys...it is not for you:) We are narcissistic.

Jul. 30 2011 01:57 PM
alamanda from queens

It's amazing how when you hit 45, even when something is not your field you can be a guest host and actually lend some perspective to things.
I, too, have heard a lot about feminism being dead. And feminist mothers stressing over their daughters choices to have 'friends with privileges', wondering what happened to Women's Rights?!

But me, I don't have girls; but young men will still make up the 2nd half to this future. This is what I can say:
Watch an episode of MASH alongside an episode of LAW & ORDER and ask yourself which one paints the world you would like to see
for yourself and your sisters??

Not sure the Slut Walk is helping matters.

Jul. 30 2011 09:48 AM
wingeddancer from Astoria NY

This is a very interesting chapter in our feminism history by the Bratz Dolls generation. I don't have a strong opinion and understand the multiple sides. However, what I do like is the dialogue it has opened up!

Jul. 30 2011 08:41 AM
Emily

I feel like there are so many things to be said on this issue, but what I am most interested in is this idea of reclaiming words like "slut". You see this a lot in third wave feminism, especially with the word "bitch" (i.e. Bitch Magazine). I saw a few people comment on language (thanks George from NYC and thatgirl from manhattan).

Any other thoughts on this? I am actually working on a research project surrounding this idea (language, reclaiming words, and attitudes towards women) as a thesis project. Any thoughts would be helpful.

Thanks!

Jul. 29 2011 04:10 PM
Emily

I feel like there are so many things to be said on this issue, but what I am most interested in is this idea of reclaiming words like "slut". You see this a lot in third wave feminism, especially with the word "bitch" (i.e. Bitch Magazine). I saw a few people comment on language (thanks George from NYC and thatgirl from manhattan).

Any other thoughts on this? I am actually working on my Masters in counseling psych and have been working on this idea (language, reclaiming words, and attitudes towards women) as a thesis project. Any thoughts would be helpful.

Thanks!

Jul. 29 2011 04:05 PM
Emily

I feel like there is so many things to be said on this issue, but what I am most interested in is this idea of reclaiming words like "slut". You see this a lot in third wave feminism, especially with the word "bitch" (i.e. Bitch Magazine). I saw a few people comment on language (thanks George from NYC and thatgirl from manhattan).

Any other thoughts on this? I am actually working on my Masters in counseling psych and have been working on this idea (language, reclaiming words, and attitudes towards women) as a thesis project. Any thoughts would be helpful.

Thanks!

Jul. 29 2011 04:00 PM
Udo Dirkenschneider

this has nothing to do with society and "its"attitudes.

How many think that its ok to rape a woman under any circumstances?

The perverts who do, are not going to be persuaded by this demonstration.

Jul. 29 2011 02:16 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Vestis non virim redit?

Jul. 29 2011 12:32 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

kimmarie - very well expressed! this is the perfect argument, and again, underlines the idea that somehow turning a polarizing (and probably forever negative) word is both far too heavy lifting, and beside the point those walking want to make.

bill from new rochelle - you know i'm always there, waving my placard!;-)

Jul. 29 2011 12:31 PM
Bill from New Rochelle

thatgirl from manhattan, THANKS for staying on point, and helping us understand from your youthful but experienced perspective.

Karen from Brooklyn, you should get to know some men. They are not monsters stalking you, waiting for you to make a mistake; they are your other half...

Love, it is all about Love. How we've forgotten that.
With love, comes respect, and all else follows.

Jul. 29 2011 12:19 PM
Monica from Brooklyn

I am and continue to be baffled by the fact that no one has called men out to "PRACTICE SELF CONTROL." I will never be convinced that a woman should be considered "prey" due to her so-called provocative attire. This perpetuates the belief that men are utterly exempt from accountability and responsibility for their thoughts and actions.

Jul. 29 2011 12:12 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

allison - no--you can't win with that strategy. why bother with embracing/owning the word "slut", when it's simply a titillating distraction from the real issue of respect and protection?

you might have "learned" how to dress from bratz or barbies, but as an adult, one hopes you have reason and conscious choice to guide what you wear. no one forced you to look like that (did your mother look like a barbie or bratz doll?), so given your powers of reason, how is manner of dress or "embracing" a provocative word going to get you what you want? what message or action would get your point across without having to embrace this "look" you felt forced to espouse?

Jul. 29 2011 12:08 PM
kimmarie from Manhattan

When a group is overpowered by a majority and organizes a protest against their own subjugation, using a derogatory term designed to undermine them is not reclaiming the word, it is maintaining the insult and therefore undermining the strength of the protest.
Imagine the Million Man March using such an approach.

Jul. 29 2011 12:07 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Bob in Brooklyn from Brooklyn NY

Is Ms. Traister familiar with Ariel Levy's 2005 "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture?"

Really good catch, Bob. I read both Ms.Traister's piece, as well as Ms. Levy's book, and am aligned with both of their viewpoints. I honestly don't understand the impulse of some women to use the most stereotypical, heterosexual male-generated fantasy clothing to make a point about women's rights.

I can't get with reclaiming the word "slut" or wearing "slut wear" to make a point about rape because I don't think my personal choices - in terms of my clothing, or who and how many people I sleep with - has anything to do with the rights that women are entitled to in our society.

The situation with the Toronto cop was worthy of discourse, because his job is to arrest people who committ crimes, and rape is a crime - there should be no excuse for violating someone else's body, period.

Jul. 29 2011 12:06 PM
Barbara from Williamsburg from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

When I came of age in the feminist movement of the 80s–our mantra was "yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go". Less edgy than the Slut Movement but effective nonetheless.

Jul. 29 2011 12:03 PM
Erica from Los Angeles

I support the idea of the marches but I don't think they'll be very effective. I would like to see women write down the license plates of cars that honk and catcall at them, and create an online database of male creeps. I think once their public reputation is put at risk, behavior might change. I would also like to feel like I have some power when men yell at me on the street, regardless of what I'm wearing.

Jul. 29 2011 12:02 PM
Mary Catherine from Poughkeepsie

This is a very interesting conversation. First, I would like to say that there seems to be some idea that a normal, healthy man will rape a woman if he is overpowered by lust. This is implied in the idea that if a woman is dressed in a way that accentuates her secondary sex characteristics then she will incite such lust that a man can't help himself. Let's make this clear. Men who rape or assault women are not normal or healthy. They are very ill, and would assault a woman without regard to what clothes she wears.

Jul. 29 2011 12:01 PM
Melissa from New Jersey

Your guest's comment that some of the clothing worn by Slutwalk marchers would make women of certain religious and ethnic backgrounds "uncomfortable" is ludicrous and offensive. I hope women of all religious and ethnic backgrounds come to Slutwalk NYC, and I hope they wear clothing that reflects their cultures and beliefs. The whole point of Slutwalk is to wear whatever YOU feel comfortable in-- be it high heels, a hijab, or a banana suit. Just because someone wears clothes that make you uncomfortable does not mean it's okay to rape them!

Jul. 29 2011 12:01 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

mr. bad - you're contradicting yourself. if "rapists will rape you no matter what you're wearing", then how would titillating dress tip the scales?

Jul. 29 2011 11:57 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

Ok, a little off the wall but I love relating everything to Lost:

Remember how Jin used to yell at Sun or leaving her top button open? And he totally flipped out on her when she wore a bikini!

"Slut" and "provocative" are adjectives and different people give different definitions to the words. Ultimately it's a woman's right to dress how she wants and not be subject to violence or harassment.

Jul. 29 2011 11:57 AM
Udo Dirkenschneider from Fort Greene

Reba is strawmanning people:

The point is that things you do, such as dressing in a certain way, as a matter of fact can have certain consequences. Like if you dress like a real gangster you will be more likely to be stopped by the police.

Of course, that is not to say that it is right or justified.

Rape is quite low in the US, and there are more uncomfortable numbers to discuss, like why are black on white rape more than 5 times as common as white on black. Is there a hidden racism? That could be a provocative show.
In any case, slut walk may be good if it teaches people that there is no justification for rape.

Jul. 29 2011 11:56 AM
Allison from Brooklyn, NY

We're taking the word "slut" back. So what if a woman is a slut or a whore, that is never an excuse for sexual assault, violence, or rape or an excuse to be accosted or objectified on the streets. We are a generation of angry women who have been promoted to dress like sluts from the moment we received our first Barbie or Brat and when we try to throw that back and fight it we also get grilled. We can't win can we?

Jul. 29 2011 11:56 AM
Sera from Hoboken

All that Slutwalk does is give more men who want to ogle women a chance to do so. We know by now that rape isn't about sex but power, and it has nothing to do with what a female is wearing. It has to do with the fact that she is female, biologically receptive, and physically vulnerable.

Jul. 29 2011 11:54 AM
Gregory from The Bronx

Would your guest insist on her right to enter a crosswalk when she has the green light even though she can see a Mack truck come forom the other way is simultaneously going to take the light and speed through it?

Jul. 29 2011 11:53 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I think this discussion is ridiculous. Women dress the way they do for a reason. You don't find women who are looking to be picked up in bars wearing business suits, nor do you find women CEOs wearing bathing suits at shareholder meetings. Whatever women wear, they know what they're doing.

And while men should NEVER rape or touch a woman without the woman's consent, you have to admit that certain forms of dress are much more, shall we say "accessible" than others, and men will take advantage. The more or sturdier the clothing appears, the less likely it is to be breached, because a man intent on sexual assault of any kind doesn't want to have to tangle with a lot of clothing first.

As far as the term "slut" is concerned, it is meant to refer to women who are indiscriminate in their sexual activities and the number of partners, but what a woman wears is not necessarily indicative of that, although we would like to make that social/cultural association. Some women just like to flaunt what they've got. However, there is a time and place to flaunt and women who don't know the difference will always have problems.

Jul. 29 2011 11:53 AM
Paul from Ridgewood NJ/NYC

Appearance counts. The "dressed like a police officer/dressed like ???" analogy does have significance.

But Ms. Traister DOES make the appropriate point. Assaulting a hooker (or anyone that they think "looks" like one) is just as immoral, and illegal, as assaulting anyone who, for example, looks like a doctor.

Jul. 29 2011 11:52 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

elissa - context, for one. burning one's bra during the 60s-70s was done while: a)not wearing a bra was considered unconscionable; and b) at point in history where women's rights needed to catch up with their desire to take on a more significant, respected role in society--whether that be in the workforce or otherwise.

message, for another. burning a bra was about breaking down the patriarchy. wearing a garter belt, fishnets, stilettos and little else while marching seems to some not to be about freedom of clothing choice. it plays more in embracing objectification, rather than rejecting it. i've heard some people say it's "irony", but it's a poor demonstration of that, and the goal of wanting better protection from sexual predators.

Jul. 29 2011 11:52 AM
Scott from Lower Manhattan

Nothing justifies anyone ever mugging someone else. That does not mean someone should avoid using judgement when wearing ostentatious jewelery in a high-crime neighborhood.

Should the same logic not apply with women flouting their sexuality?

Jul. 29 2011 11:52 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

As a feminist of the Third Wave, I have to say that this slut walk is a horrible idea. If women want to be taken seriously, then we need to drop this desperate need to be desired by men for how we look. High heels cripple women's bodies in the same way that Chinese foot binding did. The fact that Western "feminists" have taken on the very images that cripple them, both physically and psychologically, shows that the patriarchy continues to dominate our ideas about ourselves. Fashion is not a political statement, it is a sad bone that is tossed out to groups in lieu of something more substantial like equal rights for equal pay. But who would take us seriously on a serious issue if we walk into the negotiating room in bondage wear? The slut walk is not proactive, it is reactive, and until we learn the difference, we will continue to be treated like second class citizens.

Jul. 29 2011 11:51 AM
jm

I just roll my eyes when men critique how women dress, given the fact I've received nasty catcalls while wearing non-revealing and baggy clothing.

Jul. 29 2011 11:50 AM
Kerry from New York City

I prefer the "Take Back the Night" marches to Slut Walks.

Jul. 29 2011 11:50 AM

I've lived in New York for 15 years now.

The only street walker who ever approached me in this NYC Times Square Disney era was a woman in corporate dress on 6th Avenue.

Who says anyone is a hooker or a slut? A hooker charges, a slut doesn't.

Jul. 29 2011 11:50 AM
John from uptown

This slut-walk concept seems pretty ridiculous. It should be pretty obvious that men that would rape a woman based on how she looks certainly aren't going to be swayed by a parade of any sort. The people thoughtfully debating both sides of the issue aren't the ones you need to watch out for. It's the rapists that don't care about political niceties you need to worry about.

Jul. 29 2011 11:49 AM
Rachael from Brooklyn

Is it not a sexist society that makes us as women want to dress sexy? Because we are raised in a culture that sexualizes our value as women, we are socialized to desire sexual attention and so dress sexy - isn' t this the deeper issue?!?

Jul. 29 2011 11:49 AM
Ellie from Bedfod Stuyvesant

Obviously the way a woman dresses should not warrent any attack, however defending as "feminism" a highly sexualized dress is similar to me as definding men's right to wear there pants below the cheeks of their buttocks. Defending that dress does not support society's attitude towards young black men.

Jul. 29 2011 11:49 AM
Phoebe from Bushwick

I used to dress far more provocatively living in a small town (santa fe). I viewed my clothing theatrically, just as the previous caller said. When I moved to NYC, however, I found myself feeling unsafe when dressing as I wanted. I dress far more conservatively now to maintain a feeling of safety when riding the trains at night, etc.

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM
Elissa Bernstein from New York

compare slut walks with the burn your bra movement of the 1960's-70's

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM
IC from NY/Montrea/Hawai'i

I'm all for freedom of expression and feminism, but isn't how we dress a form of self-respect & appropriatenessalso?

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM
Dave from Washington Heights from Washington heights

No woman ever deserves to be assaulted - ever. But I do sympathize with this Toronto cop in that while he was very untactful in his wording, he was saying something that we all understand, and I would argue, many agree with. We do need to be cautious - in the way we carry our expensive belongings in public, the way we lock our doors, and yes, unfortunately, the way we dress in certain situations.

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM
David from West Hempstead

If it walks like a hooker...

...it's a feminist?

Equality is one thing, and no one should expect to be attacked. But it's absurd to claim that one is dressed "provocatively," and then be upset when a response is provoked.

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM
walter10021

It's not "society" that turns women into sex objects, it's women themselves!

Their "fashion" choices are all about attracting men's attention!

It's men's FORBEARANCE that is constantly at issue. It is MEN who are constantly being asked to repress their behavior.

Jul. 29 2011 11:48 AM

"Who is to say what a hooker dresses like?"

The guest herself described this issue as the right to dress "provocatively." Safe to say that word would be the place to start.

Jul. 29 2011 11:47 AM
Mr. Bad from IL

Everyone is an idiot here: Men who aren't rapists won't rape you no matter how you're dressed, rapists will rape you no matter what you're wearing. But the cop was making a point, if you flash your $, your skin, or just have an attitude you're going to draw the attention of the criminal element - denying that is stupid.

Jul. 29 2011 11:47 AM
Mandy Goldberg from Carroll Gardens

While I'm flip-flopping on where I stand on the Slut Walk, I can't help but think about the semantics of the word slut... any high schooler will tell you that "slut" implies rampant sexual promiscuity - I remember there were plenty of girls like that in my high school that wore sweats most days. There's a strong underlying issue with the terminology that's less about dress and more about addressing self-esteem and sexual health issues.

Jul. 29 2011 11:47 AM
Jeanne

Aren't men insulted by the insinuation that they cannot control their base instincts???? Assault against women has no correlation to the way they are dressed. Puhlease!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul. 29 2011 11:47 AM
Wendy

My concern, is not w slutwalk, but rather that I suspect that the reason the media is responding so enthusiastically to it is because it is titillating--- the objectification that the organizers wish to resist is reproduced...

Jul. 29 2011 11:47 AM
Blaney

i don't get why it's ok to disrespect women who someone might perceive as looking like whatever notion the viewer has of what a sex worker looks like. not only is there no sex worker uniform, no one should be disrespected based on what they choose to do with their bodies. so what if someone is a sex worker? they are not less.

Jul. 29 2011 11:46 AM
Ruth from Manhattan

When I see burquas, I want to slut walk.

But I find the high heels just as bad as burquas.

Jul. 29 2011 11:46 AM
Karen from Brooklyn

Why is this about how women dress and not about the fact that men cannot control their response?

Jul. 29 2011 11:46 AM
Ann from brooklyn

:( one of the most disappointing segments I've ever heard on Brian Lehrer--giving callers platforms to articulate their anti-feminist attitudes without a strong proponent of the slutwalk 'movement' is cruddy journalism.

Jul. 29 2011 11:46 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

JM - that's kind of like saying there's some kind of hierarchy, like that created in the media: the "high-priced call girl", versus the "hooker at hunts point". is there really a difference, apart from price?

Jul. 29 2011 11:46 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The chant I remember from the old days is, "However we dress, wherever we go, yes means yes, & no means no."

On reclaiming the word "slut" & others, there seems to be an acceptance of epithets for women that doesn't exist for other kinds of epithets. I notice the ad for the campaign against the word "retard" says all kinds of racial epithets are not acceptable, but doesn't include a woman saying, "It's not acceptable to call me a bitch."

Jul. 29 2011 11:45 AM
Sheldon from BROOKLYN

Rape is a crime of violence not sex

Most women who get RAPED, usually are wearing so-called regular clothes.

Jul. 29 2011 11:45 AM
Janine from Manhattan

Why do women dress like sluts if they're not looking for attention? Negative or positive?

Jul. 29 2011 11:45 AM
jm

In response to the last caller: define, "hooker." What about "tastefully" dressed call girls?

Jul. 29 2011 11:45 AM
Karen from Brooklyn

Why is this about how women dress and not about the fact that men cannot control their response?

Jul. 29 2011 11:45 AM
Erika from Brooklyn

Looking like a hooker does not make you a hooker...and being a hooker does not make you deserving of violence.

Jul. 29 2011 11:44 AM
r from MANHATTAN

hey- it's ILLEGAL to rape a hooker!

Jul. 29 2011 11:44 AM
Lauren from bushwick

What's disappointing about it is the idea that clothing, and physical appearance, is still the best avenue for women to engage in public life.

Jul. 29 2011 11:43 AM
Bob in Brooklyn from Brooklyn NY

Is Ms. Traister familiar with Ariel Levy's 2005 "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture?"

Ms. Levy shares Ms. Traister's apparent sense that embracing male-fantasy-based aesthetics of female sexuality (e.g., the "naughty x" Halloween costume, or "slutty" look that favors the young & beautiful) is a dubious claim to the mantle of feminism.

Jul. 29 2011 11:42 AM
carolita from nyc

Women who "don't feel comfortable joining in" with the scantily clad women are not exactly solidarious with women in general, and are obviously part of the problem of people judging a woman as a 'slut'. The idea is that a woman should not be raped no matter how she's dressed. "Slut" is in the eye of the beholder -- men can find almost anything provocative, from just one extra button undone on your oxford shirt, to a certain color of lipstick.

Jul. 29 2011 11:41 AM
Em

This whole thing is idiotic. There is no ambivalence about Slutwalk. It is not feminism, it's just a fun day out for girls in fancy dress. This trivialises the real issue: Michael Sanguinetti should have lost his job, pure and simple. If that had happened it would have sent a SERIOUS message to misogynists everywhere. But that would have taken sustained and serious effort, something people here are not willing to take. This movement confirms a lot of stereo-types people have about the feminist movement and it has done it a great disservice. It reminds me of the "burning the bras" and "I've had an abortion" t-shirt nonsense.

Jul. 29 2011 11:41 AM
George from NYC

Language both creates and defines society. drop negative lingo. Thanks, G

Jul. 29 2011 11:40 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

sorry--meant to say, "while wearing lingerie as street garb". no credibility there.

Jul. 29 2011 11:38 AM
Beth from nyc

I'm interested in this topic and kudos for the reaction to the police officers remarks. Thanks to the guests for discussing this. Hopefully, women's sexuality will soon be as accepted, with no less judgement than, that of men's. The double standard is distinct and harsh. However, does the guest see a line between full acceptance of expression and when women's physical appearance is tirelessly 's exploited by 1. women themselves because their whole self esteem is sadly dependent on physical appearance and 2. the media for commerical use thereby reinforcing the degradation of women to the sum of their parts. (ex, the ubiquitous car commercial with a leggy attractive female used to sell a car). I once heard an ironic statement by a "red blooded" American man who had been re-located to a middle eastern country, (oil rich), for work. (We've all heard examples of terrible sexism in the middle east. ) Yet, he noted his impressions of the difference with which women in the middle east were regarded in comparison to how they are in the U.S. (of course there are more aspects that could be discussed, but...) He said that after moving there he came to realize that Americans treat their women terribly by exploiting images of their bodies for commerical purposes. In contrast, he said the women in the middle east were regarded more respectfully for character, mind and accomplishments. At the same time, many middle eastern women become doctors, Ph.D.'s and feminist activists. What does the guest think of this?

Jul. 29 2011 11:38 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

I find the name repulsive. I guess I'm not against the aims, (somewhat fuzzy to me,) but it's hard to get past the slut part.
There is no "reclaiming the word of slut.)

I would prefer that women take their rights actively and directly; like joining politics Parties, carrying petitions for their candidates.
Even joining the TOPFREE demonstration in Central Park on Sunday, August 21, an NOON is real, not "theater."
I juist don't see "theater" getting anything done.

How would the TOPFREE movement interface with SLUTWALK?

Jul. 29 2011 11:37 AM
Ed from NYC

What "movement"? Its completely generated by media stories but there is no movement. Its a blip and deserves to be ignored.

Most people will ignore this "movement".

Jul. 29 2011 11:36 AM
SKV from NYC

Just look at the Strauss-Kahn case. "Slut" is his entire defense. YES, it is relevant. I carried No Means No signs, and I love this protest.

Jul. 29 2011 11:35 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

they may be engaged "in feminist discourse", but for some reason, younger women often don't like the word "feminist". this makes wanting to embrace the word "slut" all the more bewildering.

sorry--it's bad strategy to make "reclaiming" that word a priority over demanding the protections women deserve from law enforcement, society, particularly while wearing something lingerie as street garb.

Jul. 29 2011 11:34 AM
John A.

One can imagine that to counter a possible Slutwalk (I looked it up) in their town, a day might come when men use nothing but construction-worker catcalls towards women. Immaturity might be fun, but it has its consequences; it is not peaceful.

Jul. 29 2011 11:27 AM

It's a step backward. But this is mainly a generational divide. Backlash, the Faludi book, should be required reading for every 11th and 12th grader complete with discussions. Reclaiming slut is not challenging the status quo it's joining the overwhelmingly male dominated status quo. For this 50+ feminist, it's heartbreaking.

Jul. 29 2011 10:34 AM

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