Walking like a slut

Yesterday I participated in the London SlutWalk. To concisely summarise my experience of the day, it was fucking awesome.

I arrived at the assembly point at the top of Piccadilly in a foul mood, having been rained on and repeatedly betrayed by London Transport. As soon as I found the SlutWalkers, with hundreds of heart-shaped red balloons, my mood lifted and, in solipsistic pathetic fallacy, the sun emerged.

The turnout was large. The Torygraph estimated ‘hundreds’, the organisers 5000, and the Socialist Worker will likely declare a hundred thousand glorious comrades. I was right at the back, and would easily agree with the organisers that a reasonable number of thousands of people turned up.

It was a ragtag bunch. Old and young, people of all genders and races. We were all there for the same reason: we rejected the notion that a person is in any way to blame for their rape.

As we marched down Piccadilly, heartland of the capitalist plutocracy which feeds patriarchy and commodification of sex, we shouted a chant which summarised the purpose of the day:

‘Wherever we go, however we dress, no means no and yes means yes’.

It really is that simple to me. It really was that simple to my fellow SlutWalkers.

The mood was bright, jubilant, fun; positive and accepting. Here was a band of folk who did not judge and saw no reason to be afraid of their own clothes and sexual behaviour. Every banner reinforced the message: ‘RAPISTS! STOP RAPING!'; ‘A DRESS IS NOT CONSENT'; my personal favourite, the Flight Of The Conchords-inspired ‘A KISS IS NOT A CONTRACT’. This was not a day for reclaiming the word ‘slut’. Even the mainstream media seemed to get the message. We were marching against rape. We were marching against victim-blaming.

My mother called me today to express how proud she was of all of us.

Later, as we headed to the pub, feet sore from high heels, I was reminded of why we needed to have such a march. Being in the company of thousands who agreed that clothes were not an invitation, I had temporarily forgotten that the world was not yet on our side.

A leery, beery man took my friend’s SlutWalk outfit as an invitation to harass.

I shouted at him, loudly, copiously, swearily.

I sometimes wonder if all street harassment should be greeted with an angry assertion that this is not acceptable.

In all, though, it was a wonderful day, and clearly still needed. We must remain visible and vocal. We are chipping away at rape culture. Sluts and allies are everywhere, and we will be unstoppable.

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3 responses to “Walking like a slut

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