SlutWalk Upsets Morons

I love how mass movements seem to appear from nowhere in the Internet age, and SlutWalk is my latest favourite. It began predictably enough – a Toronto policeman called Michael Sanguinetti expressed his opinion that if women want to avoid sexual assault, they should avoid dressing as sluts. It’s a nasty view, but hardly an original one. The idea that women are responsible for male sexual violence against them goes back to the dawn of history, and is the basis of dress rules for Orthodox Jews, nuns and Muslim women in burqas.

This idea is often self-fulfilling – in Catholic Southern Italy or Islamic Morocco, local women dress conservatively, and when more scantily-dressed tourists appear, local men take this as an invitation to touch without permission – or worse. The more conservative a society, the more women are likely to be branded as “sluts”, and treated as if they have already given consent to whatever may follow. In Bible-belt America, the same branding can be achieved by the use of “chastity rings”, the Southern equivalent of the burqa. If enough young women wear these rings, those who choose to opt out may be assumed to be “up for it” and face sexual harassment, thus “proving” that wearing a ring is the right thing to do.

Thanks to the power of social networking, Sanguinetti’s comments were quickly disseminated, and a new movement was born: the SlutWalk, with the stated aim of standing up against rape culture and slut-shaming. Probably for the first time in history, people took to the streets worldwide to oppose the idea that being a “slut” is somehow wrong.

Promuiscuity by women has been feared and hated since Biblical times, some examples include:

Kill people who commit adultery:

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

Kill a priest’s daughter if she’s promiscuous:

A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9)

Kill a girl who isn’t a virgin when she marries:

…if [on her wedding night] evidence of the girl’s virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)

So it’s hardly surprising that modern-day Christians, Jews and Muslims have a problem with “sluttish” behaviour”. But the religious brigade aren’t the only ones trying to “protect” women from the “pressure” to engage in casual sexual behaviour: a puritanical brand of feminism has emerged that seems to believe exactly the same thing: sex is something men do to women, and therefore the best thing for women to do is resist the pressure of “sexualisation”. Strangely, these so-called “feminist” ideas are the exact opposite of those held by the early feminist movement of the 60s and 70s; this was a movement to liberate women, from male control, including the liberation to enjoy sex whenever and however they wanted.

One of the flag-bearers of puritanical “feminism” is Gail Dines, a campaigner against “sexualisation” and “objectification” (whatever those might be). While SlutWalks aim to reclaim the word Slut, and use it in a positive context, Dines wrote in the Guardian that:

While the organisers of the SlutWalk might think that proudly calling themselves “sluts” is a way to empower women, they are in fact making life harder for girls who are trying to navigate their way through the tricky terrain of adolescence.

In other words: being a Slut is a bad thing. It can never be a good thing, so stop trying to make it a good thing. Given that Slut is a synonym for “promiscuous female” (or sometimes male), Dines is saying (wrapped up in feminist language) that promiscuity is wrong, and women shouldn’t be encouraging men, because they’ll only take advantage… which is pretty much what Officer Sanguinetti said in the first place.

I should note that (despite some popular misconceptions), not all feminists are anti-sex or pro-censorship like Gail Dines. But Dines and others like her have hijacked the feminist mantle, with help from the supposedly liberal media, including The Guardian. It should be noted that Dines makes her living from selling books and lectures about the menace of sexualisation – and she clearly knows that fear sells.

Helped by the mass media, along with Facebook and Twitter, The SlutWalk phenomenon has spread globally, with walks planned in many cities, including London on 4th June (UPDATE – the London SlutWalk is now on 11th June). I’d encourage proud sluts of all genders and sexualities to get out on the streets to show the religious and the feminist moralisers that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a healthy, consensual sex life whenever, wherever and with whomever we like.

16 thoughts on “SlutWalk Upsets Morons”

  1. You cherry pick three passages out of Leviticus and Deuteronomy as evidence of Christian/Jewish puritanical thinking, while completely ignoring similar passages from the Koran and Surah.

    Even the most cynical and slutty female reader knows they can safely travel through ANY Western country, f*** any man they want, as often as they want, and there will be no stoning.

    Yet, try that in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan and see what happens.

    It's not that the slutwalks are anti-feminist, it's that they are stupid.

    Jusy sayin'

    Watching the moronwatcher since 2011

  2. To pile on, when these "sluts" are willing to do their "slutwalks" in Riyadh or Kabul, rather than the safety of London, Toronto, or Catholic Southern Italy, then it will be news.

    Otherwise, it's all hot air, and moronic.

    Watching the moronwatcher since 2011.

  3. No matter how you dress, if you meet a habitual offender, you are in trouble.. Sex maniacs are not fooled by one or two extra layers of clothes..

  4. Jay – What percentage of women being rape victims makes a country "safe" in your opinion?

    1 in 5 US women are raped at least once in our lives. This may be better than in Saudi Arabia – and legal ramifications for rapists may potentially be stricter (when enforced) – but the point of these SlutWalks is that rape and sexual harassment are serious issues for women, even in "safe" western countries. Otherwise, the police wouldn't be blaming assault victims for their dress.

  5. Jay, your trollish obsession with Muslim-bashing is noted, but irrelevant to this post. I picked the Old Testament simply because it’s older than the Quran or the New Testament, to illustrate how old and universal is the fear of unleashed female sexuality.

    My post is about social conservatism, whether Muslim, Hindu, Christian or secular: note that Gail Dines who I targeted in the article describes herself as a “feminist Marxist”. In reality she’s a social conservative who masks her prejudice in progressive language.

    I chose Italy and Morocco because I’m familiar with both places, and their attitudes are remarkably similar. The Mediterranean is one of the world’s oldest trading networks, and Mediterranean cultures are widely shared across Catholic, Islamic and Orthodox societies.

    Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of future places to post your Muslim-hate. It’s just not relevant here.

  6. T.S. Garp – I agreed with some of your article but overall I disagree. It's true that SlutWalk is an apparent overreaction to a comment that's been made many times before. But SlutWalk isn't about the comments of one man in Toronto, it's an attempt to correct an idea that's 1000s of years old. Fact is, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with women choosing to be promiscuous if they want to. SlutWalk is just an idea whose time has come.

  7. Angie – Zero.

    The Muslim world comment was not about rape, it was about what would happen if slutwalks were even attempted in Saudi Arabia, or Iran, a couple of countries who take Sharia compliance pretty seriously.

    If these women wanted to REALLY make a statement about women's rights, they would do it away from the relative safety of Western cities.

    As for you, Mo, I think pointing out the problems with Islam (as a political ideology) is apropos to this issue. I promise not to be a troll, and I commend you for your openness in Christian-bashing. I'll be just as hard on the Islamists, who don't have a history of living in peace in free, secular societies.

    I don't think there's any doubt that the fear of unleashed female sexuality goes back a long way, what is more suprising is that even in modern times, we have religious thought leaders saying things like:

    "the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

    And have their followers use this kind of thinking to continue to repress women. Again, my point is, sure, there are going to be problems in free, Western societies, but there are big, big, big problems in the non-Western world, where women are nothing more than chattel.

    I find it a source of great irony that slutwalks take place in Toronto, London, etc, when this: is going on elsewhere.

  8. Matt, there are clearly "feminists" on both sides of the sex debate – there are feminists who stand for sexual liberty, and those who believe that open sexuality is submission to men and should be discouraged at all costs. Indeed, the term feminist has become so diluted, it's almost impossible to say what it means these days. I know some people involved with the Slutwalk thing who are very much on the side of freedom for men and women. Seeing Gail Dines on the "anti" side wasn't a surprise, and strengthened my belief that SlutWalk is a good thing.

  9. I am new to this site, and I came to read about Gail Dines and apparently the ‘conservative’ branch of anti-sex feminists, and I couldn’t help but note one of the passages quoted from scripture is taken a little out of context. Disclaimer: I am non-religious, but grew up in a religious household.

    Deuteronomy 22:20-21 – In the context of this verse, the girl is not being stoned for having sex before she was married: She is being stoned for LYING about having sex before she was married. Exodus 22:16 is useful for further context: If a man and women are caught having sex outside of wedlock, the man must marry the girl, unless her father prohibits the match. Either way, the man must pay the “bride price” to the father.

    That all said, the punishment surely does not fit the crime, but it is important to note that in the cultural context the punishment wasn’t for having sex, but for lying about previous sexual encounters.

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