Updated: Apr 18
The Slutwalk movement began after a Canadian police officer suggested women should “avoid dressing like sluts” to avoid being raped. This victim-blaming comment – indicative of widespread overt and covert misogyny – has provoked a backlash in a series of slutwalk marches that have since grown into a global movement.
Essentially, the idea behind the movement is that by reclaiming the word 'slut', it nullifies it as an insult. However, it raises some critical questions; should a woman be able to choose to objectify herself on feminist grounds or is objectification of any kind complicit in the acceptance of female stereotypes and the male gaze? Does a woman who proudly defines herself as an object of sexual desire encourage misogyny or empower herself? Critics of the movement have suggested that its message can be manipulated and diluted, thus disempowering women further.
I believe that the movement, although not perfect, is a step in the right direction. The word 'slut' has demoralised and shamed women for generations, and there is no equivalent word for disgracing a sexually active man. By reclaiming the word and destigmatizing it, the impact it has on its victim becomes negligible. In effect, it proposes there be one less word in the female-shaming vocabulary.