Victims of burglary aren’t blamed because they keep jewelry in their homes. A police officer wouldn’t saunter up to some guy who’s had his car broken into and say, “Well sir, if anyone’s at fault here it’s you. Next time, buy a bike.” So why does common sense unravel when clothes get involved?

Why, when you wear a short skirt and a revealing top and slap a bit of makeup on, do some people think that you’re ultimately to blame if you get assaulted?

This is the question at the heart of the whole SlutWalk movement. And if you’ve never seen a SlutWalk in action, what it boils down to is this: girls and guys dressing in the skimpiest clothing imaginable on parade in a city near you – otherwise known as 1:30 a.m. most Sunday mornings in any UK town-center (if you don’t believe me, may I suggest a trip to England and feast your eyes!). The idea behind the SlutWalk movement is to tip the whole disgusting practice of slut-shaming on its head – to make a statement that your body is yours to treat how you wish, to decorate as you wish and to flaunt as you wish, without judgment and without fear of being attacked.

The movement started as recently as 2011, prompted by Toronto police officer Michael Sanguinetti’s now infamous remark at a crime prevention meeting that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Not surprisingly, Sanguinetti received the kind of thorough ass-kicking in the press he deserved. The problem is, Sanguinetti’s IQ-starved club of Victorian-era misogynists has quite the following. SlutWalks are an attempt to trim the subscription list.

What’s so cool about the SlutWalk movement is that it cuts to the quick of the whole puritanical shame that surrounds female sexuality. There’s nothing the matter with enjoying sex. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having lots of sex. So, if being a slut means that you enjoy having lots of sex, and if someone does indeed call you a slut because of it, you should feel proud and empowered, right? “Should” being the operative word here.

There’s a great book called “The Ethical Slut” that does a great job in clearing away all of the negative rubbish surrounding the word. Here’s one of my favorite passages – it broaches the contradictory way in which gender dictates common attitudes towards sex:

“In most of the world, “slut” is a highly offensive term, used to describe a woman whose sexuality is voracious, indiscriminate, and shameful. It’s interesting to note that the analogous word “stud,” used to describe a highly sexual man, is often a term of approval and envy.”

The authors then point out how a man’s morals are defined by his “honesty, loyalty, integrity, and high principles.” But a woman’s morals are primarily associated with whom she has sex with, and under what conditions. “We have a problem with this,” the authors write.“So we are proud to reclaim the word “slut” as a term of approval, even endearment.”

How can you argue with that? But the movement is about more than a leveling of the playing field between men and women – it provides another way of reinforcing sex-positive messages to the wider world. And boy, do we need it. It never ceases to amaze me how prime-time news shows can show all sorts of blood and gore and violence in graphic HD, but flash a nipple up onto the screen and that thing will get pixilated quicker than you can say Super Bowl half-time show.

The good news is, we’re entering SlutWalk season here in LA. Amber Rose (my sister slut in name) is organizing a SlutWalk in LA on October 3. The website for it is great, with stories from people who’ve been victims of slut-shaming, as well as this “confession of a former slut-shamer.”

The good people here at Hustler Hollywood are getting in on the action, too. For Halloween, they’re unleashing their S.L.U.T. Squad, “Sexy Ladies Unite Tonight” – a sort of slutty band of Charlie’s Angels who will rescue women from LA’s criminal underworld of slut-shamers.

Before I sign off, though, I want to share with you another awesome line from “The Ethical Slut.” I think it sums up perfectly the true essence of what being a slut is all about:

Sluts share their sexuality the way philanthropists share their money: because they have a lot of it to share, because it makes them happy to share it, because sharing makes the world a better place.”

 

Image Credit:”Toronto-Slutwalk” by Anton BielousovOwn work: Slutwalk (Toronto, ON). Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

About The Author

Danielle Rose

Danielle Rose emigrated from England to Los Angeles a number of years ago, where she is now based as a freelance writer. Bringing with her a unique perspective on transatlantic attitudes towards sex, Danielle has long believed that our sexuality should be celebrated, not smothered.

 

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