The word “slut” has gotten so diluted over the years, used for so many different meanings, it’s hard to know what it means anymore. Most people hear “slut” and go straight for the negative, a trampy girl who has slept around. UrbanDictionary’s top definition defines slut as “a woman with the morals of a man.” Women everywhere are taking back the word “slut” for themselves, and as a fellow slut, I’ve joined the fight.
On January 24th, 2011, a representative of the Toronto Police stated: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Come again? NOTHING, no matter what she was wearing, where she was, or what she was doing, justifies victimization. Slutwalk Toronto is a group put together of people who have had enough, “moving away from intolerance, and toward education.”
Slutwalk is a movement of people taking back their sexualities, and taking back the word “slut.” People should be able to wear what they want, when they want, without having to worry about violence or being taken advantage of. The walk was organized in 2011 to fight back against the shocking remarks made by a Toronto law official, but has grown to so much more. When I attended in 2012, the amount of support and love around you was incredible.
Personally, I attended the walk as a victim. I am finished with shame and I am finished with victim blaming, and the walk was my first step toward fighting back. I was raped when I was fourteen and it was not my fault. I did not ask for it, I said no, and it still happened. People always apologize, can’t believe something like this could happen… but it still happens, every day, and doesn’t get reported, acknowledged, or often taken seriously at all. It’s all attitude, and that’s why I’m writing.
Take a movie like Silver Linings Playbook (no spoilers, I promise!). One of the main characters is constantly referred to as a “slut,” as she had an admittedly promiscuous past. Rather than apologizing or letting herself be shamed, she takes hold of her sexuality, saying “There’s always going to be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty, but I like that, with all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself?” Having control and free will is nothing to be ashamed of (Yet another reason to LOVE Jennifer Lawrence – proud slut).
Allegations have been made that men cannot control themselves, and should simply be blindfolded around women as a solution. Sound ridiculous? It’s just a ridiculous as blaming a girl’s outfit for getting her raped, and that’s not as uncommon as it should be. Limiting the freedom of men is just as useless as limiting the freedom of women, and claims like this are obscene. Women should be able to act and dress as they please without fear of assault, and men should be able to accept “no” under any circumstances. Men are not clamorous savages, they understand and function as humans do, and they cannot be blameless because “she was asking for it.” Sit in on a single guest speaker at the Slutwalk post-walk, and you’ll understand. People have been through absolute hell, and people can’t keep letting it happen.
My story is one of request. A request to attend this year’s Slutwalk, to give it a chance. A request to men, to think before you act. A request to women, to remember that you do have control. And a request to the general public – rape jokes aren’t funny. Next time you make one, look around. There’s at least one pair of eyes on the floor, probably the eyes that need the most light.