Yep, I’m writing about SlutWalk again because yet another male writer has missed the point. Jim Schembri has this nonsense in the National Times today: Straining to make sense of SlutWalk:
So, let’s see if we’ve got this straight: if the global wave of “SlutWalks” — as they are affectionately known — have made anything clear, it is this: it’s now perfectly OK to call a woman a “slut”. Or should be. Sort of. As long as it’s meant in a friendly way. Or not. I think.
Firstly, SlutWalk is the name of the march. It’s not an affectionate nickname. Secondly, Schembri demonstrates that like Nigel Bowen, we have another male writer who didn’t bother to even find out what SlutWalk was about before writing about it.
What he clearly meant to say was that the freedom to wear what you like should be tempered with common sense. In certain circumstances, a certain type of outfit will attract a certain type of attention you don’t want. So while the suggestive outfit you wore at the speed dating function went down a treat, it might be less so while taking the last train home alone in a carriage full of drunken bums. That’s all the cop meant. What sensible person would take issue?
I am a sensible person and I take issue with that. As we have to keep saying over and over and over again for the slow learners like Schembri who don’t think too deeply about what they’re saying, if someone decides to break the law, how is that my skirt’s fault? Sure, if you wear a “certain type of outfit”, people will look at your boobs or legs. I look at boobs and legs. But there’s a big difference between looking and leering. A douchebag might even believe he has the right to make a lewd comment to a complete stranger about her body. But it’s a massive leap from that to raping someone. Also, the suggestion that a “suggestive outfit” can cause men to turn into rabid raping animals is just ridiculous and incredibly offensive to men.
But it was form not content that has galvanised a global movement; the word “slut” ignited a Butterfly Effect that, thanks to the unparalleled power of social media to magnify misunderstandings and fuel falsehoods, has women dressing up in garish, provocative garb to protest against . . . to protest against . . . something or other.
Ha ha ha, Schembri reckons others have a problem with misunderstandings and falsehoods. He’s not much of a thinker, is he? As for the “garish, provocative garb”, you’ll find that it’s the mainstream media – such as Schembri’s own newspaper, The Age – that focusses on the tits and arses of a few marchers. And you can bet that when The Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph run photos of Monday’s SlutWalk in Sydney, they’ll do the same. It isn’t social media that “magnify misunderstandings and fuel falsehoods”.
All right-thinking people agree there is no excuse for any degree of sexual assault, that victim blaming is wrong, that no means no. We get that.
Um, no you don’t Schembri. You said earlier that a man can be excused for sexually assaulting a woman if she’s wearing a “suggestive outfit”. Again, he’s not one for thinking through his opinion, is he?
These people really should be watching a lot more Mad Men.
Women are “these people”? Oh, and what?
Rather than disowning such an offensive, emotionally charged term, the movement has effectively derailed itself by championing it, thus hard-wiring a bad cause into a good one.
Oh, some mansplaining. These women don’t know how to do their own protest the right way, so I’ll tell them.
And, as the media coverage has made painfully clear, the result has been a mess. Instead of offering clarity and unity over an important issue, all the Slutwalks have generated is confusion and division over a stupid one — especially among women.
Uh no. Just confusion among people like Schembri.
He then uses two films from 1933 as evidence that having sex doesn’t make a woman a slut. Yep, two films that are almost eight decades old. And then there’s some “oh, won’t someone think of the children” about how SlutWalk encourages girls to “flaunt their sexuality before they fully understand it”. Take a look around you, Schembri. The advertising and popular culture that saturates our days is what tells girls that their only value is sexual. Oh, the stupid, it burns.
And we want women to march, to protest, to make a fuss. They don’t do it enough. It’s a man’s world. That’s why it’s such a mess. All right-thinking men can’t wait for women to take over. It could use a good cleaning.
Oh, fuck you.