The City of Cape Town’s ‘SLUTS’ deserve the ‘epic jumping high five‘ of the weekend.
If you were in the Greenpoint area on Saturday midday you would have thought it was some kind of gay-pride march – there were men in skirts, women in skirts, men with no tops on and WOMEN with no tops on (but itty bitty pieces of black tape stuck over the naughtiest bits, officer). And whilst the atmosphere was indeed ‘gay’ and jovial, and whilst there were Lesbians with banners and gay men with stilettoes – the topic was bigger than that. Sexual orientation aside. It was protesting the label of ‘Slut’ on women who dressed in a manner not becoming a 1950’s housewife.
It all stems from some Toronto, Canada Policeman (Who probably starts each day with a nice resounding *face palm* at the flippant remark he made that has now sparked, what some are calling, the biggest feminist movement in 20 years.) This Policeman, one Mr Michael Sanguinetti was giving a speech in January 2011. In this speech he suggested that one way University Students might prevent rape was to “avoid dressing like sluts.” *cue gasps of outrage*
Well, how flinging flanging DARE he!? Now – before you go and think he might have a point… what about women in jeans and sweaters who get raped – Are they just unlucky? and Muslim ladies in Burkas? Are they ‘asking for it’ too?
And quite frankly, why should women have to cover up in order to protect MEN from having to restrain their sexual urges? As one sign defiantly said: “Don’t tell me how to dress, tell him to keep his pants on” Of course, this topic is a little closer to home for South Africans because we all remember our President Jacob Zuma’s rape trial where he stated that the woman wanted sex because she wore a skirt.
Well, we DO declare. And we DID declare. In our slutty droves. “No means No – Yes means Yes”
Wikipedia told me: Co-founders of the movement Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis (High-fives – ladies!) observe that historically, “slut” has had negative connotations, and their goal is to redeem the term. They write that women “are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result.” They continue: “Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work.” Sanguinetti later apologized for the remark. *High Five*
I’d like to give highfives to the 2000ish Cape Tonian people who were there.
I’d also like to offer high-fives to the police and the City of Cape Town, for closing the roads and making sure it all happened without a fuss.
And these guys: Nathan and Zach, who were 16 and came on their own accord. *high five*
In my opinion, The march was a success. Aside from some slightly repetitive chants, “Real men don’t Rape” and “It’s a Dress not a Yes” seeming to be the crowd favourites – I think we should brainstorm some Beyonce ‘girl-power’ songs or Aretha ‘RESPECT’ in time for next year’s one. Yes, It’s going to be an annual thing and Johannesburg has one coming up next month too. The first one was in Toronto in April 2011 (yes, only 4 months ago – and it’s already reached the southern tip of Africa – I did say it’s been branded the biggest feminist movement in 20 years. remember?)
After all of this, all of the press attention – the giant blisters I earned by doing the whole march in ‘slutty’ heels – carrying posters, making all the right moves… the BIGGEST high five of the slutwalk has to go to the photographer James Hu, who captured this moment:
Women’s liberation movement. Telling the world we aren’t sluts. Being so angry we made a sign…. and then, STILL being objectified by a 4yr old male… PRICELESS!
I’m not a slut.