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Debate: Slut Walks

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Background and context

In the month of August (2011), people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the "slut walk." The crowds gathered in protest of "slut shaming." What is "slut shaming"? "Slut shaming" is the act of blaming a female's provative clothing or behavior for a sexual assault or sexual harassment. The rally originated in April (2011) by a police officer who advised unviersity students in Toronto against dressing like a "slut" in order to prevent rape. The response was students dressing like "sluts" to protest this ideology. This has been widespread ever since its originating rally. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/feminists-should-promote-the-right-to-be-openly-sexy-20110822-1j6l5.html
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Does the "Slut Walk" help the movement?

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Pro

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The Slut Walk helps the movement because it draws media attention in a society that is captivated by sexual provocation. In a society that is rampant with sexual images, women want to be part of this open sexuality. The "slut-walk" is a way to both attract attention to the negative ideology of rape and to attract members to this specific feminist cause. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/feminists-should-promote-the-right-to-be-openly-sexy-20110822-1j6l5.html



For the first time in modern feminism, the "Slut Walk" places the movement on the offense instead of the defense. Instead of feminist organization directly attacking problems, the language is very defense. Take, for instance, Planned Parenthood's fight for funding. Instead of asserting the legality of abortion and the right to funding, Planned Parenthood takes a very defensive stance in reverting to less controversial services: breast exams and cancer screenings. While these two services are obviously important, the defensive framing is far from the aggressive messaging of the 1970s feminist movement of the demands for abortion as a necessity for females' rights.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/slutwalks-and-the-future-of-feminism/2011/06/01/AGjB9LIH_story_1.html

Slut Walks represent another wave of feminism that can connect to the new generation. The first wave of feminism in the 70s has since transformed to somewhat conventional tactics with older feminists. This new in your face method has connected on a new level and aroused the anger in a new generation. This emotionally charged take on feminism can leave important cultural marks on decades to come. Unlike the 2004 March for Women's Lives, where the feminist movement gained widespread momentum-- the momentum didn't stick after the campaign. However, because the Slut Walks are organized by different young women in different cities, this forshadows a good flow of momentum in the future-- unlike the unified top-down organization of the the March for Women's Lives. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/slutwalks-and-the-future-of-feminism/2011/06/01/AGjB9LIH_story_2.html

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Con

The short skirts and high heels trivialize the issue. While it may be one heckuva show, it detracts the attention away from the real issue: men (not all). The real issue is the name-calling, and the men who rape because "she looked so hot." Furthermore, the "slut walk" messaging can go askew. The message sets the focus on the individualistic right to dress as one pleases-- freedom of expression. In actuality, the messaging should tie back more clearly: the problem of men pushing their bounds. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/feminists-should-promote-the-right-to-be-openly-sexy-20110822-1j6l5.html





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Is the term slut helpful or hurtful?

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Pro

Those who do not participate in the "Slut walk" because of the name send a controversial message. Those who appear as "sluts" should not be entitled to control and privacy of their own body. According to this message, the only women who should receive the right to reject rape are the honorable, non-promiscuous, conservative dressing women. The women who are more promiscuous should not get the right to protest for their right. http://mg.co.za/article/2011-08-22-a-slut-by-any-other-name





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Con

The term slut reinforces discriminatory female roles. Women should reject the pejorative term, rise up against the phallic machine and claim equality. By lingering within this societal construct, women reinforce the acceptance of the term. http://mg.co.za/article/2011-08-22-a-slut-by-any-other-name



The term "slut" cannot be reclaimed. Although the intent is there to exonerate the word of its patriarchal context, African-Americans and gay people have tried the same with no success ("niggers" and "queer"). When an outsider uses the term, the prejudice past emanates from the words. Plainly put, "reclaiming" the pejorative word has no solvency. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/slut_walk_feminist_folly_6wtwkoKdY0RgRtGfWTe47H


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