Let’s talk about something interesting: Slutwalks. What is a Slutwalk? Wiki answers:
The SlutWalk protest marches began on April 3, 2011 in Toronto, Canada and have since become an international movement sparking rallies across the world. The SlutWalk rallies protest the belief that female rape victims are “asking for it”. The original march walked from Queen’s Park to the Toronto Police Headquarters located on College Street. All sexes, races, and sexual orientations were represented, and the attire of the marchers ranged from conservative to revealing to zany. The protesters marched in response to remarks made by a Toronto Police officer that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”, and also in response to comments made by a Manitoba judge when giving a convicted rapist a sentence of house arrest.
The motive is reclamation of the word ‘slut’ from being derogatory to being liberating. ‘Slut’ is a word used very often by guys to refer to any woman they hold a grudge against: A woman — or even just a person with long hair whose face you cannot see — cut you in traffic? Slut. A woman at work is way out of your league? Slut.
You get the idea. A similar movement began in the 70s called Take Back The Night. The difference here is the prominent use of ‘slut’.
At it’s core, the idea brings an uncomfortable idea in the open to spark a debate. A similar recent example was PETA’s ad showing babies being cooked in a microwave to drive home their point of veganism.
Today, news is that Delhi is organizing a Slutwalk. I have mixed feelings about it. That is to say while I think the women (and men) participating have a right to slutwalk and should do whatever they think contributes to a solution — much like my thoughts about Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev — it is not the most brilliant idea ever conceptualized.
[But I’m just an armchair talker. If you are a participant, you should ignore this post and continue with your work.]
Reason one is the title. I don’t have any problems with the word slut or its connotation (In fact, I respect sluts — as defined by misogynists — more than I respect normal women. Oh, I’m serious!). I reckon a middle ground between naari mukti andolan and slutwalk would’ve been amazing. The Pink Chaddi Campaign was ingenious. Even a rickshaw driver could easily understand it. With slut, I’d reckon that almost none of the molesters in Delhi except for the educated chauvinists would have heard the word. But I’m not sure if the walk will indeed be called a Slutwalk.
Second, I fear this movement is turning into an echo chamber. This I feel after reading blogs and tweets from supporters of the issue. The Pink Chaddi campaign attracted a similar demographic but I won’t be surprised if that pwns Slutwalk in getting the message across. Across is the key word here: The message needs to go from the victim to the perpetrator.
All said, women who show up will feel liberated — as echo chambers often function — and might be reason alone to slutwalk if you are a woman.
With its flaws, the participants are not frivolous activists though. Much like those who fasted for a day with Anna Hazare weren’t frivolous or wannabe-activists but did whatever they could to get the message across.
Humans, I believe, haven’t evolved much from being animals. Given a chance and the necessary power, we will still oppress or rape or kill other humans or animals. Being civilized has made us more efficient animals, if anything. Just look at the number of rapes in cars in the capital for evidence. Or how efficiently we produce meat.