Proud to be a Slut

What is the Big Idea?


SlutWalk, a tradition that started a year ago in Canada, is making its way to Israel this month, according to Haaretz.com. The event was inspired by a Canadian policeman who said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Women who reject this attitude protested in Toronto last year and since then SlutWalks have been held all over the world.

SlutWalks (Mitzad Sharmutot in Hebrew) will be held in Tel Aviv on March 16, in Haifa a week later and in Jerusalem in April.

What is the Signifance?

Reclaiming the word "slut" is the aim of SlutWalks. And thanks to Rush Limbaugh's flagrant use of the word in reference to Sandra Fluke last week, the global protest couldn't be more timely.

DePaul University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer examines the SlutWalk phenomenon in a new thesis and she argues that the “rise of sex-positivity,” as she calls it, is “the most significant feminist initiative in decades.”

"What’s distinctive about this reclamation is that women are insisting both on sex without rape, and on sexuality without judgment," said Emily Baselon in a Slate.com op-ed. "And that insistence, Tuerkheimer points out, directly challenges traditional rape law."

Baselon adds that protest movements like SlutWalk have the power to change legislation, how rape is defined and how rape statistics are gathered.

Tuerkheimer sees the wider feminist rebellion against slut shaming as crucial to forcing more changes along these lines from courts and legislators. Feminist consciousness, she says, could “enable a legal shift that would not otherwise be possible.” I’m not in the habit of imagining that feminists have such power, but in this season of uproar over Limbaugh, why not? Tuerkheimer urges the SlutWalkers to start talking to the law professors and lawyers, and vice versa. It takes a law professor to say that, of course, but maybe Tuerkheimer has pointed out a virtue of the muscular feminism that proudly rejects slut shaming that feminists themselves have so far missed.

Read the Slate.com article here.

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