Ask Me What I’m Asking For
Have you heard of the Slut Walk? What do you think of it?
The Slut Walk is a movement that was started in Toronto this year in response to a sexist cop who said that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”. Because of this, a walk was organized to protest “slut shaming,” and it spread to Dallas TX, London, Orlando FL, New Zealand and Amsterdam. It’s still spreading.
When I initially heard about it, I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t really think that a march to advocate sexual promiscuity was worth my time, mostly because I don’t like the idea of advocating one form of sexual practice. I think people should do whatever they want, be a virgin, have tons of of sex, without being shamed for it. But after I read this speech, I started to understand what the Slut Walk was and is really about, and I could definitely get on board with it. In it, Jaclyn Friedman talks about the word “slut” in relation to rape culture, and how slut shaming is only a way of excusing and ignoring the larger problem, and blaming sexual violence on women.
I found this piece very powerful, so I’m sharing it with you. I have picked out some of my favorite parts of the transcript, and avideo of Jaclyn delivering the speech at the Boston Slut Walk. Enjoy!
You can call us that name, but you can never again use it to excuse the violence that is done to us under that name every single fucking day.
Today we all march under the banner of sluthood. Today we come together to say: you can call us that name, but we will not shut up. You can call us that name but we will not cede our bodies or our lives. You can call us that name, but you can never again use it to excuse the violence that is done to us under that name every single fucking day.
Our sexual desire is part of our life force. And as long as you’re ensuring your partner’s enthusiastic consent, and acting on your own sexual desires, not just acting out what you think someone else expects of you? There’s not a damn thing wrong with it.
Our lives are way too often full of struggle and pain. If you can do something with someone else that brings both of you pleasure and joy? You’re increasing the pleasure and joy in the world. No one should ever make you feel bad about that. They should really be sending you a thank you note.
Speaking of which, I want to send a thank you note of my own, to those of you standing here today under the banner of sluthood who don’t identify with that word at all, but understand why we must come together to reject its power. There has been a lot of misunderstanding about the meaning of the SlutWalk, and none more egregious than those who claim our agenda is to encourage all women to be sluts. Whatever that means, our mission could not be further from that. Our mission here today is to create a world in which all of us are free to make whatever sexual and sartorial choices we want to without shame, blame or fear. If you dress and experience your sexuality in decidedly unslutty ways, and you know that there’s nothing we can do to make someone rape us, the SlutWalk is your walk, too, and I thank you for ignoring the hype and standing with us today.
If you’ve ever been called a slut, stand up now and say together – I am a slut. If you love someone who’s been called a slut – stand up now and say, I am a slut. If you’ve ever been afraid of being called a slut, stand up now and say, I am a slut. If you’ve been blamed for violence that someone else did to you, stand up now and say, I am a slut. If you’re here to demand a world in which what we do with our bodies is nobody’s business, and we can all live our lives and pursue our pleasures free of shame, blame and free, stand up and say it with me: I am a slut. I am a slut. I am a slut.