Why do you call it SLUT-Walk?

This post addresses a lot of questions being raised by the slutwalk. Mostly in conversations on Twitter (because questions raised are similar, and I can embed tweets as questions more easily.

But first things first. If the below is similar to your response, you may first want to read an earlier post on women and rape and then the one explaining what a slutwalk is, before proceeding, because otherwise, the rest of the post may only be unnecessary confusion.

Response to the post on Slutwalk on Facebook

Please dont get me wrong but its Triveni Sangam….Exhibitionism in Name of Feminism to the Delight of Voyuerism……..jokes apart a shallow superficial attempt entertaining though……common sense says yes we have a right to carry a wallet ir purse but if you flash it be prepared to face what may follow…….

To understand the idea of a slutwalk, it is important to first see women as people deserving of dignity in their own right, not allocated dignity on the basis of judgments by others.

As the idea matures, many questions are raised, concerns voiced, discomforts addressed. Here are some of the main ones I noticed.

There is a lot of discomfort at the word “slut” being used. Some triviliaze the protest.

And it is not necessarily people who would judge women thus. Its an ugly word. It is entrenched as one kind of woman very deeply into our psyche. And that is not a “good” kind of woman.

Let me begin with saying that Madhavan Narayanan is a man I respect tremendously and I can say with a lot of confidence that he wouldn’t be demeaning women for sure. He has been one of my earliest follows on Twitter, and I have found his words to be an inspiring mix of insight and humor. Without taking himself or the world too seriously to get rigid, he is able to question the crux of many matters in a humorous way that bypasses resistance and invites conversation.

It is a measure of how much power the word “slut” has, when it has a person usually never at a loss for words admitting discomfort at its use. It is an embarassing word. It is a word not uttered in decent company. Certainly not with a woman. Even on Twitter. Not even when you have no such attitude.

But there are people for whom this word is a tool. It is a tool to engage in what is essentially a hate crime, or bullying and excuse themselves by deeming a certain quality of the target as legitimate for degradation. It is an attitude of excusing crime, of disempowering women and of creating an unsafe society.

It is also not only about women. This attitude is used for everything from eve teasing to child abuse and gay bashing to rape. It is about a way of thinking that excuses crimes by calling a person a legitimate target. Also practiced by families, parents, guardians to punish the victim for being the target of a criminal. From honor killings to husbands accusing wives of “provoking” lechers. It is an acceptance that allows jokes about rape victims as normal conversation, or makes lewd comments about someone funny. It is one that allows public figures to make hideous comments like rapes curing lesbianism. And it is not only men who do it. Women judge too. It is a social reality. One that makes many people unsafe.

Read an old old post on women’s clothing and social judgements

It is not just the word slut. It is an attitude. An attitude that no one feels able to own in the light of attention, but holds as reality in assessing the world. In judging someone as worthy of being abused because of what they wear, how they act or other circumstances or qualities.

In the words of THE original women who slutwalked:

Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.

We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.

And I agree. “SLUT” stays. The only way I would support changing the word was if it could be changed to be understood by more Indians – take your pick:

randi-chaal or chinnar-morcha?

Get it? Having bad names for women is the problem. Get rid of them, and you don’t need to be embarrassed.

So, join us in de-shaming them. Find a slutwalk in your city, or better still, organize one.

Respect is an attitude. Dignity is a right. #slutwalk Don’t judge us for your thoughts.

Delhi is slutwalking on 25th June 2011

Mumbai has one planned.

Details of both will be added soon.

Join the Intellectual Anarchy!

About the Author

Vidyut
Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

13 Comments on "Why do you call it SLUT-Walk?"

  1. I completely agree with Peter. You see, the problem with modern feminism is that it has disrupted a gender equilibrium that has existed for millenia. And yes, that equilibrium had men exerting their control and superiority over women, but it was an equilibrium nonetheless that has helped the human species perpetuate and colonize the Earth. Feminism’s successful foray on mainstream culture has destroyed that balance and made it increasingly hopeless for today’s man to land a decent woman who cherishes him, let alone one who can be a suitable mother to his children.

    I will concede that some aspects of feminism are just and proper. Women should have some say of how many children they want, if they want to work, and if they want to get married (and with whom). They should not be held as sex slaves against their will. They should be rewarded based on their skills and accomplishments just like a man should, and equal pay for equal work is reasonable. However, today we have women overreaching and demanding more than their fair share. They want high positions not based on their skills but simply because they are female, continually shoving false “glass-ceiling” and unequal pay myths down our throats. They want courts to subjugate men they divorce for the most trivial of reasons, and they want to put-down and play any man who attempts to form a connection with them using a provider (beta) game that has worked for his most recent ancestors.

    Unfortunately there will be no setting back of the clock. As long as women retain suffrage, our politicians will continue to appease them for votes by refusing to scale back anti-man laws. Unfit mothers will continue to keep custody rights while fathers pay support for a child who is brainwashed against him. Single motherhoodwill increasingly be glorified. And as long as American-style capitalism provides decreasing job opportunities for men, women will continue to excel in mundane office jobs that better suit their social, emotional brains instead of the factory and engineering jobs of the past that provided men with a fair income for his entire family.

    I believe that today’s man can still restore his dominion in a world that is skewing against his favor by doing one thing: becoming a sexist. He must possess sexist beliefs for three reasons:

    1. To have sexual relationships with women who are at least as pretty as he is handsome.

    2. To assert his superiority over his female competitors in the workplace by playing the office game as well as they do (e.g. constantly bringing up accomplishments to managers, being outspoken, being two-faced, ass-kissing, and backstabbing).

    3. To get laid at all.

    In the past you didn’t have to believe that you were superior to women. The system was set up so that all you had to do was go to school, get a good-paying local job, and ask your mom to put in a good word with the neighbor’s cute daughter. The first girl you fucked would probably be your wife, you’d have your two kids, and you’d live the so-called American dream. Today this is not possible. Your father’s father would be unsuccessful at mating in today’s climate of feminism which has allowed a tiny percentage of alpha men to monopolize the best women. As American women become more obese and gross, there are fewer desirable women left outside of the alpha males’ harems. The nice guy is left with nothing but scraps—and those scraps have attitude.

    While it doesn’t look good for you in terms of marriage, at the minimum any educated, employed man in a first-world nation should be able to sleep with a handful of decent women a year. But without having sexist beliefs, he will wholeheartedly struggle in that front. Here’s what it means to be a sexist:

    Having a low level of respect for women.

    Having the belief that the genders are not equal (you should nod or smile at the following quote: “A woman can do anything a man can do, as long as a man first shows her how”).

    Not listening to them about anything.

    Studying flavors of game based on the alpha-male model, an effective countermeasure to feminism.

    Preferring the company of compliant, feminine women of different nationalities where feminism has not made strong inroads (Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America).

    You don’t have to hate women and you don’t have to abuse them. You don’t have to commit any crimes against them. But you must believe that you are superior and deserve more than them. With the addition of game practice, you will then be sexually rewarded for those beliefs.

    It’s a sad fact that the modern feminist withholds sex from the nice guy, disgusted with his subservience, while servicing the sexist alpha man, increasing his power and rewarding him with more sexual delights than he could have experienced since the days of Itzcoatl. The nice guy is weak and starved, left sexless and alone, a pathetic specimen resigned to the brunt of jokes in beer commercials and crappy sitcoms. If he wants to be procreate, he has no choice but to rise from the ashes a sexist. The more of those beliefs he accepts, the more he’ll get what he wants in the fucked-up world we currently live in.

  2. Women complain about how unfair it is that men are called studs when they sleep around, yet women get called sluts for the exact same behavior. It’s actually not a double standard though, because both scenarios are pretty different in terms of circumstances and consequences. I can think of at least four crucial differences:

    First, sleeping around is easier for women. Regardless of how you feel about promiscuity, we can all agree that a guy who manages to rack up a lot of sexual partners has to have some skills. It’s challenging for men to rack up partners, even for men with low standards. A man needs social intelligence, interpersonal skills, persistence, thick skin, and plain old dumb luck. For women, though, a vagina and a pulse is often enough. Whenever an accomplishment requires absolutely no challenge, no one respects it. It’s just viewed as a lack of self-discipline. People respect those who accomplish challenging feats, while they consider those who overindulge in easily obtained feats as weak, untrustworthy or flawed.

    Second, women have potential to do more harm by sleeping around than men do. Say a man sleeps around with a bunch of different women. He’s definitely doing harm to these women if he pretends to be monogamous while sleeping around. He may cause them emotional pain by his promiscuity. He may cause unwanted pregnancy. He may spread VD. When women sleep around, however, they can cause not only all these same ill effects but one additional crucial ill effect: the risk of unknown parentage.

    If one guy sleeps around with five women, each of whom is monogamous to him, and they all get pregnant, it’s a safe bet as to who the father is. If you reverse genders and have one woman who sleeps around with five men who are monogamous to her, and she gets pregnant, the father could be any of the five men. And if one of those men is tricked into raising a baby that isn’t his, he’s investing time, money, estate and property to provide for a child that isn’t carrying his DNA into the next generations, a costly mistake from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Our two basic primal drives are to survive and to reproduce, and promiscuous women traditionally make it hard for a man to know for sure whether he is truly reproducing or is secretly raising another man’s child. Men stand a lot more to lose from promiscuous women than the other way around. And it’s no picnic for the child to not know who his real father is either. And it’s a mess for the women carrying on the deception as well. Or just look at any random episode of the Maury show if you don’t believe me.

    Since the DNA test and the birth control pill didn’t exist until recently, there were no reliable ways to prevent pregnancy or prove parentage for most of human history. For this reason society developed a vested interest in preventing promiscuity among women, and society accomplished this by creating the slut stigma. And even though the creation of birth control and DNA tests have made this less of a risk than the past, longstanding traditions and customs are not easy for society to break so the slut stigma remains.

    Third, men have evolutionary reasons to be programmed to sleep around more. A lot of women roll their eyes when they hear that men are “hard-wired” to sleep around. But from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes total sense. If the two primal drives of humans are to survive and to reproduce, nothing leads to maximum reproduction like one man sleeping with multiple women. If one women sleeps with many men in a nine month period, she can only get pregnant just once. Nine months of rampant promiscuity would give the same result as nine months of highly sexed monogamy: one pregnancy. Now if one man sleeps with many women during a nine month period, you can get many pregnancies during that period. The more women he sleeps with, the more possible pregnancies.
    So from an evolutionary standpoint, there are concrete advantages to men being promiscuous compared to women being promiscuous. This doesn’t mean that women have evolved to be strictly monogamous. Women have evolved to be somewhat promiscuous too, something men badly underestimate. However they haven’t evolved to be as rampantly promiscuous as men.
    Fourth, promiscuity poses more risk to women than to men. A woman has more to lose from choosing bad sex partners than a man does. She’s the one who gets stuck with going through a pregnancy and taking care of a baby alone if she chooses a deadbeat. For this reason, promiscuous women throughout history have historically been viewed as being a vastly more irresponsible risk takers than promiscuous men, who rightly or wrongly could always run away from the consequences of unwanted pregnancies easier than women could.

    These four reasons explain why the longstanding tradition came about of men being rewarded for multiple partners while women get socially punished for similar promiscuity. Of course all this is gradually changing, but we’re up against millenia of evolutionary and cultural conditioning here, so don’t expect any dramatic overnight reversals.

    Understand that I’m just explaining why the double standard came into existence and not condoning or condemning it. This is not an attempt to pass judgment or be self-righteous in any way. It’s just an explanation of why the two conditions are treated differently.

    • “Peter Peter pumpkin eater. Had a wife but could not keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell. There he kept her very well.”

  3. Girls everywhere and all you emasculated “men” who are trying so hard to be politically correct at the expense of your masculinity, listen up. 

    Men and women are equals. This does not mean that they are equal in every single thing they do. For example, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. It is much easier for a semi attractive (even a 6/10) woman to go out and get laid. The same cannot be said about men. Men have to work at it, have some skill (game) and thereby get a woman to sleep with them. It is a LOT harder for an equally attractive man to get women than it is the other way around. This is one of reasons behind why we, as a society, naturally celebrate men who are successful in bedding multiple women; while at the same time shame women who bed multiple men. 

    Let us briefly visit the topic of virginity from both perspectives. Virginity in a man is not a desirable state or label when it comes to an attribute that the opposite sex wants. This is because he has obviously not been preselected by other women. However, female virginity is not looked at negatively in the least by men. If she looks decent, no man cares if the girl is a virgin or not. In fact, a female virgin is often wanted more.

    Now don’t get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she’s good in bed, partly because it’s sex. But any decently intelligent, self-respecting man will know that it is a terrible idea to emotionally involve himself (i.e. date) with a slutty girl. That would be a very dumb move. Why would any man want to get emotionally involved with a girl who’s had 15+ sexual partners? We would just be setting ourselves up for failure. There are many nice worthy girls out there who don’t have daddy issues and haven’t slept with an entire fraternity house. But, by all means, fvck the brains out of sluts in the meanwhile.

    Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.

    To put it simply, a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock and of little worth. But a key that can open many locks is a master key and is valuable.

  4. Girls everywhere and all you emasculated “men” who are trying so hard to be politically correct at the expense of your masculinity, listen up. 

    Men and women are equals. This does not mean that they are equal in every single thing they do. For example, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. It is much easier for a semi attractive (even a 6/10) woman to go out and get laid. The same cannot be said about men. Men have to work at it, have some skill (game) and thereby get a woman to sleep with them. It is a LOT harder for an equally attractive man to get women than it is the other way around. This is one of reasons behind why we, as a society, naturally celebrate men who are successful in bedding multiple women; while at the same time shame women who bed multiple men. 

    Let us briefly visit the topic of virginity from both perspectives. Virginity in a man is not a desirable state or label when it comes to an attribute that the opposite sex wants. This is because he has obviously not been preselected by other women. However, female virginity is not looked at negatively in the least by men. If she looks decent, no man cares if the girl is a virgin or not. In fact, a female virgin is often wanted more.

    Now don’t get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she’s good in bed, partly because it’s sex. But any decently intelligent, self-respecting man will know that it is a terrible idea to emotionally involve himself (i.e. date) with a slutty girl. That would be a very dumb move. Why would any man want to get emotionally involved with a girl who’s had 15+ sexual partners? We would just be setting ourselves up for failure. There are many nice worthy girls out there who don’t have daddy issues and haven’t slept with an entire fraternity house. But, by all means, fvck the brains out of sluts in the meanwhile.

    Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.

    To put it simply, a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock and of little worth. But a key that can open many locks is a master key and is valuable.

  5. But didn’t this whole campaign start because women were
    tired of being called slut all the time and met with violence, so they said,
    “hey if we are slut so be it. You still don’t have the right to molest us.”

    Indian women are not called slut, that word don’t exist in our vocabulary, so then?

    It is ironic that this long argument about the word ‘slut’ is on a forum called
    “Aam Junta.” In case you don’t know who the aam junta is, because perhaps
    you are an upper class English speaking urban woman living in a metro city?? Let me tell you, the
    Aam Junta in this nation call a ‘loose’ women
    ‘randi.’ Few of the English speaking aam junta call women whore (refer the
    famous song from DevD) but slut doesn’t exist in Indian vocabulary.

    Words hurt, even when you try to reclaim them as part of your liberal feminism.
    It is very easy to participate in a walk when it is called a ‘slut’ walk
    because it has got that polished American touch to it, true its an abuse but a
    western one, and we love everything the white people do. Call this same
    campaign in the Indian language, Randi Morcha, and then let me see how many
    girls come forward. How many carry a banner saying “Main Randi hun jo
    chahe ukhaar lo” 

    • I would love for it to be called Randi Morcha. In fact, that is the alternative name in Hindi being planned, I think when I spoke with the organizers last. “Slut” is not all that unknown in the urban masses, but I agree with you as a whole, that there is nothing to reclaim about slut in India.

      Randi really is the perfect word for this, because it is recognized by virtually everyone. One misgiving I have is that it is almost exclusively about prostitutes – as in a woman dressed in a certain way is unlikely to be called randi. Which kind of defeats part of the purpose – because its about attitudes toward women in general, but I suppose we can’t have it all.

      More than whore, I think “cheap” signifies a lot of character judgments – particularly for women. So that’s another option.I do live in Mumbai, but I’m not upper class unless you count having a home in Mumbai as being a millionaire by default. I don’t own the home. I live a hand to mouth existence, with endless bills unpaid. My ex-maid earns more than me, whom I discontinued because I couldn’t afford. This blog would have been off air, if not for a reader sponsoring a server. Having good English is a fact of education, not attitude. It is not helpful to classify people like that. Not offended. I suppose its a natural assumption by someone angry about inequity and double standards. Just saying that it doesn’t help to unnecessarily polarize either.Nor was I always a Mumbaiite. http://bit.ly/kqc2kq For some nomadic memories.

      • I agree, even Randi doesn’t fully convey the meaning. I wonder which word does. Basically we don’t have any word that labels a woman as per her choice of clothing. Because by default Indian women are over dressed. Skimpy don’t come naturally to them. But their behaviour, mannerism, make up style etc are of constant criticism, and you are right the most common word is probably ‘cheap’ or ‘despo’

        of course I myself don’t know what are the words used in small towns or villages, as I grew up in a city.

        I should have said upper middle class, because frankly speaking I don’t expect such political thoughts from the really upper class. I am judgmental of their affluence. But both you and I are upper middle class if we compare ourselves to the majority of India.

        so anyway, since the word didn’t have significance it remains to be seen how the campaign will have any impact. I hope it does, because I am all for the cause. I hope I am wrong when I say it is not likely to have an impact.

        • I think there needs to be more noise around this. Public debates of the type we are having, more written in Hindi…. otherwise, the man on the street has no clue that the ogling he is happily engaging in is being protested.

  6. But didn’t this whole campaign start because women were
    tired of being called slut all the time and met with violence, so they said,
    “hey if we are slut so be it. You still don’t have the right to molest us.”

    Indian women are not called slut, that word don’t exist in our vocabulary, so then?

    It is ironic that this long argument about the word ‘slut’ is on a forum called
    “Aam Junta.” In case you don’t know who the aam junta is, because perhaps
    you are an upper class English speaking urban woman living in a metro city?? Let me tell you, the
    Aam Junta in this nation call a ‘loose’ women
    ‘randi.’ Few of the English speaking aam junta call women whore (refer the
    famous song from DevD) but slut doesn’t exist in Indian vocabulary.

    Words hurt, even when you try to reclaim them as part of your liberal feminism.
    It is very easy to participate in a walk when it is called a ‘slut’ walk
    because it has got that polished American touch to it, true its an abuse but a
    western one, and we love everything the white people do. Call this same
    campaign in the Indian language, Randi Morcha, and then let me see how many
    girls come forward. How many carry a banner saying “Main Randi hun jo
    chahe ukhaar lo” 

    • I would love for it to be called Randi Morcha. In fact, that is the alternative name in Hindi being planned, I think when I spoke with the organizers last. “Slut” is not all that unknown in the urban masses, but I agree with you as a whole, that there is nothing to reclaim about slut in India.

      Randi really is the perfect word for this, because it is recognized by virtually everyone. One misgiving I have is that it is almost exclusively about prostitutes – as in a woman dressed in a certain way is unlikely to be called randi. Which kind of defeats part of the purpose – because its about attitudes toward women in general, but I suppose we can’t have it all.

      More than whore, I think “cheap” signifies a lot of character judgments – particularly for women. So that’s another option.I do live in Mumbai, but I’m not upper class unless you count having a home in Mumbai as being a millionaire by default. I don’t own the home. I live a hand to mouth existence, with endless bills unpaid. My ex-maid earns more than me, whom I discontinued because I couldn’t afford. This blog would have been off air, if not for a reader sponsoring a server. Having good English is a fact of education, not attitude. It is not helpful to classify people like that. Not offended. I suppose its a natural assumption by someone angry about inequity and double standards. Just saying that it doesn’t help to unnecessarily polarize either.Nor was I always a Mumbaiite. http://bit.ly/kqc2kq For some nomadic memories.

      • I agree, even Randi doesn’t fully convey the meaning. I wonder which word does. Basically we don’t have any word that labels a woman as per her choice of clothing. Because by default Indian women are over dressed. Skimpy don’t come naturally to them. But their behaviour, mannerism, make up style etc are of constant criticism, and you are right the most common word is probably ‘cheap’ or ‘despo’

        of course I myself don’t know what are the words used in small towns or villages, as I grew up in a city.

        I should have said upper middle class, because frankly speaking I don’t expect such political thoughts from the really upper class. I am judgmental of their affluence. But both you and I are upper middle class if we compare ourselves to the majority of India.

        so anyway, since the word didn’t have significance it remains to be seen how the campaign will have any impact. I hope it does, because I am all for the cause. I hope I am wrong when I say it is not likely to have an impact.

        • I think there needs to be more noise around this. Public debates of the type we are having, more written in Hindi…. otherwise, the man on the street has no clue that the ogling he is happily engaging in is being protested.

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