Kassian’s Five Problems with the SlutWalk

This week CBMW‘s Gender Blog reprinted an article Mary Kassian wrote last year about the Toronto SlutWalk, protesting a “Toronto police officer’s statement that young women could help safeguard themselves against rape by dressing more modestly.” As the SlutWalk group of Toronto is preparing for another march next month, Kassian’s words remind us of “why SlutWalk ideology is bad for women.”

1. It absolves girls of risk-management responsibility. Telling a girl to be careful about the way she dresses, where she goes, and how she behaves is about risk management, not victim blaming…

2. It equates sex with power. SlutWalk buys into Third Wave feminist ideology that sex is power. It preaches that sex is ultimately the way a girl exerts and expresses her freedom and equality. It intimates that slutty women are powerful women…

3. It teaches girls it’s cool to be crass. I gotta admit I had a hard time writing this post. Though the post called for it, I don’t like using the word “slut.” I think it’s crass, crude, and inappropriate. Since when is being ill-mannered and potty-mouthed a mark of personal empowerment? SlutWalk would have us believe it is…

4. It casts men as oppressors. SlutWalk blames the problem of sexual abuse on patriarchy … Yes, due to the mechanics of male-female plumbing, women are raped more than men. Rape is a horrible wrong. But at its core, the problem isn’t maleness or men. It’s sin…

5. It encourages sexual permissiveness. … Okay, let me get this straight. SlutWalk thinks that we live in a culture that’s too permissive with regards to men forcing women to have sex. But it also thinks that it’s healthy for women to be sexually permissive. Whoa. Now there’s some fancy mental gymnastics! How-pray tell-does the idea that it’s healthy for women to sleep around outside of marrige detract guys from pressuring, coercing, or forcing them to do so?

Kassian closes her blog with the statement: “Sexual violence is a horrific sin. But SlutWalk isn’t helping matters any. Sadly, I think it’s just shooting women in the foot. It’s creating a mindset and culture that exacerbates the very problem it says it wants to solve.”

A couple years ago as I was shopping in a local dollar store, I overheard two girls (ages maybe 10 or 12) discussing what they were going to “be” for Halloween. I don’t remember what one of the girls wanted to be, but I distinctively remember her friend enthusiastically declaring that she wanted to be a slut for Halloween. The girls giggled excitedly at the idea, and I went to check out with my bags of candy corn.

The mentality behind the SlutWalks is pervading our culture and influencing the worldview of even very young children. While the outrage over the police officer’s remark may be understandable, encouraging women to dress and behave in a provocative manner certainly isn’t the answer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s