Slut Walk: Would women be in some ways empowered if they saw no shame in what they could risk being called?

Media continues to be sympathetic to the rapist.

This writer seems to think women in conservative clothing face no sexual harassment on the streets, and when women dress in certain ways they face more harassment. An honest rethink shows that to be untrue. I have blogged about traveling at night, in a non AC train compartment to a small town in India, in jeans.  It clearly reaffirms that the only thing that stops such men from harassing women is fear of unequivocal condemnation (which could lead to punishment). If we continue to blame women for asking for it, they would never have the confidence so needed for fighting back or for firmly refusing to tolerate harassment.
The media probably means well and is genuinely convinced that if all the women started dressing conservatively sexual crimes would come down, and if all the women started wearing jeans, short skirts and high heels, we’d see an increase in crimes against women. This ignorance mindset is the reason why we need discussions. awareness, rethinking, reconditioning and debates (etc) created by Slut Walk and such protests.

The writer says,

Even the basic argument of SlutWalkers that men should not ogle women who are dressed revealingly is ultimately unrealistic. Yes, a woman can control how she projects herself in the world but she needs to be aware that the way she dresses can trigger certain reactions around her which she cannot control.” [Link]

Such eagerness to defend sexual criminals is not unusual – it’s called Rape Culture – meaning a culture that justifies instead of condemning rape. Sex offenders are encouraged by this ignorance and excuses. Most rapists are aware that their crime might not be reported because the victims might fear  criticism just like this one for ‘triggering reactions they can’t control’.  Such mindset makes the victim the culprit, little realizing that sexual crimes are not a result of sudden uncontrolled impulses, the rapists (or molester) is generally aware that he would find direct or indirect sympathy, and the victim would either not report or be blamed for the rape.

My non Indian friends dress more conservatively in India. Then  why can’t Indian women Please Adjust?

My non-Indian friends in Delhi dress more conservatively than they would do in London or New York because they are aware of the cultural differences and wish to protect themselves against possible misinterpretation.

And that makes it okay for Indian media and police (etc) to not be taught that women’s clothing is not responsible sex crimes against women?

SlutWalkers inhabit a fantasy world if they think they can be invulnerable to the force of culture, history and social conditioning — and the fact that most of us take three seconds to form an opinion of someone based on their appearance or accent.

They know they are vulnerable because of a culture that excuses crimes against women and that is why they are trying to create awareness, debates and discussions – it’s okay to hear what an average street sexual offender feels to be able to stop such crimes.

And about history  🙄  read this, https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/slut-walk-and-how-womens-bodies-are-different-so-they-need-to-be-covered-for-their-own-safety/

For those who prefer ‘decent‘ protests, did you even notice this or many other such protests?

If calling it Slut Walk gets people to notice the protest, and if it starts discussion, the protest is already a success. (Even if some people can’t adjust to women refusing to die of shame at being called behaya/sluts/besharam/other names that should have sent them scurrying for their dupattas)

Would women be in some ways empowered if they saw no shame in what they could risk being called?

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62 thoughts on “Slut Walk: Would women be in some ways empowered if they saw no shame in what they could risk being called?

  1. Yes. They would be.

    I wonder why the power of changing mindsets, and the value of discussion and awareness is dismissed? Every change that has come about for women (and men) as a result of feminism did not come easy. It took decades and centuries, with walks, protests, violence too, publicity, imprisonment, and numerous other chaotic and sometimes traumatic events. Change doesn’t come instantly…it needs some moving about, shaking up of dust and cleaning out of cobwebby thoughts and attitudes. Change comes about faster through chaos.

    It’s precisely because we’re challenging centuries of culture, history and social conditioning, that we have to persist. Luckily, we could achieve the undoing of the shackles in a matter of decades. Only if we try.

    And you are so right. I have experienced more harrassment when I was in ‘appropriate clothing’…wearing ‘modern clothes’ and walking, sitting and talking confidently makes the harrassers and attackers a little bit warier of trying their nasty tricks.

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  2. Oh please, as a non Indian living in Delhi I dressed very conservatively (salwar kameez, dark colors, hijab or dupatta) for sun protection as well as to avoid harassment. Yet I was still touched inappropriately, propostioned for sex, called humiliating names, & generally leered at on a regular basis. Men do this because they know they can get away with it.

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  3. I read your post about the harrassment by BSF jawans in the train and realised how much men like this depend on women being too afraid to protest. They met their match because you instinctively confronted them instead of being afraid. You’re right that dress doesn’t make a difference. These kind of men can recognise women whose boundaries are weak and take advantage of that.

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  4. I think EVERYONE would be empowered if they stopped having to worry about what they might be called. Male and Female.

    As for the article, it is quite frankly an epic wall of nonsense.

    Yes, a woman can control how she projects herself in the world but she needs to be aware that the way she dresses can trigger certain reactions around her which she cannot control

    The fact is, almost anything you do will trigger certain reactions that you cannot control. Flipping out a cellular phone will do it. Driving your car into some places will do it. Wearing a ton of gold chains, Bappi Lahiri style, will do it. That proves what, exactly?

    Reactions can certainly be controlled by the person who is actually reacting. Let it not be forgotten that the overwhelming majority of people do NOT snatch gold chains the moment they see them. An overwhelming majority of people do NOT shoplift. And, an overwhelming majority of men do NOT rape women who are dressed ‘provocatively’ by their personal standards. Obviousl, it’s not so hard to control your impulses. Men are not animals. We do have cognitive intelligence and can suppress impulses as and when required.
    It is not the most attractive or provocatively dressed women who get raped. Sexual assault happens when there are little or no ethical and legal inhibitions to the act.

    most of us take three seconds to form an opinion of someone based on their appearance or accent.“

    Indeed! This really says a lot about the writer’s mentality. People who make three-second judgements are usually not the sort of people who are best qualified to make such judgements. Forming an opinion based on dress and accent is naive at best, and at worst, speaks of a massive lack of life experience, not to mention immaturity.

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    • Exactly! The many analogies we have seen – from chain snatching to burglary – to illustrate how we must be “practical” are amazing in their lack of foresight. I would add though that we do have a choice not to be bothered about what we are called. As long as people stay within the law and do not harass me, they can call me what they want.

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  5. Yes, we need to stop feeling degraded at being called something only on the basis of what we wear! When I started going to college (LSR in DU) way back in 2001, I was told that if I was doing the bus rides (from Noida) I should dress in Indian clothes and you know what I actually wore Indian clothes to the first two days to college only to be pinched and rubbed into in all the wrong places – add to that the inconvenience of holding the dupatta in place in crowded DTCs – from then on I wore what I felt best in – I was still teased but what helped was not my dress but that I fought back – hit the men where it hurts the most when they rubbed their body parts on me – screamed, kicked, elbowed – even hit people with umbrellas and compasses and dividers! Infact western wear like jeans and capris is so convenient for bus commuters who are girls – lot of pockets for equipment and hassle free running around!

    Me – I agree. And so glad you could fight back.

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  6. I think Indian media doesn’t like it when women stand up for themselves. Where will we get the dose of sensationalism now? They’d rather have a victim cry, “I want to kill myself. There’s nothing left to my life anymore” than say, “I’m going to make sure the person who did this is punished”. Indian media has forgotten that their job is to report not judge. Indian society is highly disturbed that women are waking up to their rights.

    The fact that we’re rejecting labels shows that we’re starting to think for ourselves and how can men ever feel safe around women who think? (tries dripping sarcasm)

    Anyway, here’s my take on the slut-walk: http://www.simblybored.com/2011/06/slut-walk-delhi/

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    • And oh, I think this whole issue of the slut walk being frivolous is just another way to put women down. Everyone knows that sexual harassment is a very real issue but by saying, “It’s not as serious as these other issues” they would like us to feel guilty. Guilty about what? Well, that’s a million dollar question!

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  7. That was totally irresponsible of media to have come up with such observations. If dressing provocatively entices sex crimes, then who is accountable for heinous sex crimes committed against baby girls, or the kids who haven’t even entered puberty. Are we really living in 21st century?

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  8. I don’t really have much to say except that too many people think that telling women to cover up is the solution, Simply because they are in a position to control women’s dressing, but feel powerless to challenge rapists. So take the easy solution, even if it solves nothing, and feel free in your utopia of victim blaming. Too many people are afraid to challenge the harassers who get away scot free only to be encouraged to try the same another time. Men are only contemptuous of women because we let them. They never harass a confident, aggressive-looking woman simply because they know they can’t. What is wrong in telling them this by a protest march? Never mind what it is called! A rose by any other name smells just as sweet … Or are we going to argue here now that Shakespeare is not “Indian culture”?

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  9. a 13 yr old girl was groped while boarding a city bus one morning when she missed her school bus. She was wearing her school uniform. The guys were still there at the door, when the bus stopped near her school. Can you imagine the plight of that little girl stuck there, shuddering at the thought of being violated again when she has to go past them again? Can you relate to how she must have felt while standing helpless inside the bus, while those guys were leering at her, making lewd remarks and positioning themselves to have maximum fun at every bus stop while the passengers board or alight from the bus?

    I was that girl many years back, and I still remember wondering if anything was wrong with what I was wearing? there must have been something wrong with me that I attracted their attention.. what could I change in myself so that I wouldn’t have to face this again? Should I wear tent like clothes? looong skirts? what should I do to avoid this happening again?

    It is sad that girls are held responsible for atrocities against them. Girls don’t choose to even raise their voice in protest because if they do, they are the ones who will be put under the scanner and not the perpetrators . They are also encouraged to make ammends to the way they project themselves (or should we make it ‘hide themselves’?) so as to put the onus on her for having invited the buri nazar.

    ps: I got out of the bus w/o getting groped that day. While I was getting out, the moment I saw those evil hands outstretched, I swirled my very heavy schoolbag around like how they fought the chkravyooham in the mahabharat tv serial.
    Yeah right, heavy schoolbags are good (on that note, most women in Kerala consider carrying an umbrella with them (in their hands, not in their bags) as the best tool for self defense)
    and so was the Mahabharat tv serial, as I discovered that day.

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    • //I was that girl many years back, and I still remember wondering if anything was wrong with what I was wearing? there must have been something wrong with me that I attracted their attention.. what could I change in myself so that I wouldn’t have to face this again?//
      Exactly my sentiments as a kid..although my focus was not my clothes in particular . It took me years to convince myself that it was not my fault.
      @A BIG YESS to your question IHM.

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      • same here, Sharmila. It took me some growing up to realise that I am not the one who needs fixing. infact, it is those perverts who need fixing!
        It was a while before I decided I am not going to wear hideous clothes forever, trying to make myself invisible, and hope that the perverts would spare me while I step out. Because pervs will be pervs no matter what you wear or how you look. Most women know this. But still, they try to follow the popular conservative dress code of the land, just so that noone gets a chance to point fingers at her character or her dress sense for having brought the shame on herself.

        I wonder what is considered a bigger shame? Being molested OR Being molested + Being blamed for attracting molestation? The perpetrators know the answer, so they just take advantage of it by placing the blame squarely on the victim, and they manage to get away with it.

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  10. Good post.
    How can Slut Walk mock Indian Women? How can it mask real issues? Is street sexual harassment a real issue or fake issue? Should Indian women complain and protest against harassment on streets only after abolishing female foeticide/rape?
    What absurd arguments!
    Protest against gender in-equality, whether it is against female foeticide or rape or eve teasing or what-ever should be welcomed unequivocally, without any reservation. Cynical voices who seem to run with the hare are actually hunting with the hounds.

    Would women be in some ways empowered if they saw no shame in what they could risk being called?
    YES. Who cares about name-calling? It is a tactic of oppression.

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  11. Would this writer ever write an article saying people of a race X, who have been subjected to racist attacks, must dress or behave in a certain way only, so that they do not “provoke” the racists? Would he write an article saying people of race X should not protest against racial abuse because there are more serious things to worry about like war, starvation etc? Never – not in a million years. Why should he get away for writing such crap against women who want to protest eve teasing???? Isnt this discrimation as bad as being a racist?

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  12. Absolutely! Now this reminded me of the pink chaddi campaign which was also a bold initiative. Having said that, I did not like the PC campaign as I thought it was in really bad taste. They could have used pink chudis instead! I do support the slut walk, and am all for it. Women have a right to dress they way they like, and even if the outfit is revealing, men simply do not have the right to touch/grope or molest them, or even eve-tease for that matter.

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  13. People all over the world seem to have a problem with the way women dress.. If she covers up too much, then it’s ‘Oh she’s so old fashioned, she needs to get with the times’, and if she shows a lot of skin, it’s ‘She’s taking it too far.’
    For heaven’s sake, don’t tell me what to wear!! As an independent human being, I’ll decide for myself..

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    • Charu I have problem with these bits,

      //After all, there is something like ‘sluttish’ or promiscuous behaviour, which is hardly commendable. The male equivalent ‘womaniser’ is equally pejorative, and after recent high-profile cases like that of the IMF’s disgraced chief, no one — man or woman — looks upon womanising with an indulgent eye.//

      1. Men’s womanising is not taken as seriously as women’s. (Do we really need to state this?)
      2. Promiscuous behaviour is no excuse for sexual harassment. A woman has a right to choose who she wants to be ‘promiscuous’ with.

      //There is also something called ‘provocative’ behaviour, or to use a less loaded word, ‘inappropriate’ behaviour. You don’t dress in beach wear in the main market square; you don’t don party wear to the workplace; casual and minimal clothing acceptable amongst your circle of friends may not be right for a locality where the dress code is conservative. These rules, which most of us accept, apply to both men and women. //

      1.The standards of appropriate behaviour and dressing are not something that can be relied upon (even if a woman decided to try to this) because even two people in a family may not have the same standards. Some people think jeans are provocative, some think shorts are fine in summer, some others have different rules for different ages, occasions, hour, location and women.
      2. This sounds like threatening women with sexual harassment if they do not dress, work, walk, laugh, socialize, drive, travel, live, marry, divorce, have relationships, talk etc.

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  14. I think a major re-education of both the sexes is required. Women should be taught to be bold and fight back, and men should be taught manners. Yes, they seriously lack and social skills if they think that groping a small school kid, or making lewd remarks at a young woman who pretends not to hear is cool! If they are taught that these things are not on, then rape itself becomes a distant probability

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  15. @ Charu Babbar,
    And this was Shail’s reaction,

    I couldn’t help but laugh at the author’s suggestion that the walks be called “Sanguinetti Walks” Hello! Women were told they “should avoid dressing like sluts” not “avoid dressing like Sangunetti! So what’s the point of naming the walks Sanguinetti Walks?? How will that serve the purpose??!

    //After all, there is something like ‘sluttish’ or promiscuous behaviour, which is hardly commendable.// says the author.
    But forgets that when women dares do something different from the traditionally and culturally accepted, which is not necessarily “sluttish” as the definition of the word goes, then too, she is branded as a slut. Wny?? That point is conveniently overlooked in the article.
    Whatever the author says, women being referred to as sluts is NOT viewed in the mild and indulgent manner as men as womanizers are. If the author thinks so, its wishful thinking. Anyways, a slut also has rights.

    //There is also something called ‘provocative’ behaviour, or to use a less loaded word, ‘inappropriate’ behaviour. You don’t dress in beach wear in the main market square; you don’t don party wear to the workplace; casual and minimal clothing acceptable amongst your circle of friends may not be right for a locality where the dress code is conservative. These rules, which most of us accept, apply to both men and women// says the author.

    Makes me sick when I hear people mention about ‘inappropriate’ clothes and being ‘practical’ and such stuff. HOW MANY of us ordinary people, the majority of us women, walk around in the so-called inappropriately dressed form?? Who actually wears beach wear in market square or party wear to work place?? So why cloud the issue with such unnecessary talk?? Like I said in an earlier comment, 99.99% of women move around ‘appropriately’ dressed. So I don’t understand why such examples should be brought up. The inappropriateness in dressing that we see in India is actually of, being over dressed and piling up of jewelry!
    As for rules applying to both men and women… Well, I think the author is talking through the proverbial hat.
    I am sure in most traditional homes a man can walk around in a bermudas and sleeveless tee. If he feels hot, he takes off his tees as well and goes bare chested. But however warm she feels in this tropical climate, will a woman be allowed to take off the yards of cloth foisted upon her and sit around in minimal clothes?? Ha, rules apply to both men and women indeed! What a b***** joke. And one that will not even make you laugh.

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  16. @IHM – Since I read it from a neutral viewpoint I interpreted it in different way.

    1. I thot he said the same thing ? That such behavior is not tolerant these days for men also ? IMF chief is an example?
    2. I totally agree that no is given the right of sexual harassment. But according to my interpretation the author is trying to make a point to those women also who behave irresponsibly in name of ‘feminism’.
    3. He very rightly put the word ‘inappropriate’ behavior there. These especially go for people who in disguise of being ‘modern’ or ‘feminist’ dress inappropriately. The examples include people who do not carry their dresses well whether its their falling pallus or revealing underwears in jeans. Please note I said people not women here! I’d rather be called old fashioned than wearing a dress which I cant carry well. He very rightly said it applied to both men and women!
    As for Shail’s comments –
    1. I would also like the bolder name for such walks! That’s a writer opinion and perspective on what he would like to call it. Same goes with the so called ‘sluts’ who are called coz they think differently. The whole objective of calling them such names is to demean them and by promoting that name (which society gave sacastically) I think you saying I will take the name you give but not do what you want, rather than saying I don’t care what you say about it!
    2. Well the examples given may be not true in our context but I highlighted the things which happen daily. So I actually suggest ladies to wear jeans coz they can handle the pallu or wear suits if you cant handle low waist jeans.
    I m not a great fan of cynical thinking. So women have been oppressed for ages and that continues to happen coz we are not allowed to walk bare breasted! If people like you and me don’t propagate the equal clothing rule no one ever will… Some people think ‘slut walk’ is the way so be it!

    Sexual or any kind of harassment is not accepted on a child, woman or man. But we should also take balanced view so that the cause is not misused.

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    • Charu how can women behave irresponsibly in the name of feminism… what do you think is the writer concerned about? What does he think might women do that could affect or harm other people?

      You have pointed out that “He very rightly put the word ‘inappropriate’ behavior there. These especially go for people who in disguise of being ‘modern’ or ‘feminist’ dress inappropriately. The examples include people who do not carry their dresses well whether its their falling pallus or revealing underwears in jeans. Please note I said people not women here! I’d rather be called old fashioned than wearing a dress which I cant carry well. He very rightly said it applied to both men and women!”

      But men are generally not checked no matter what they wear (or don’t wear) – men can pee by the road side and nobody condemns them, even though that is one behaviour that needs checking.

      But people wearing their clothes with underwear or skin showing I feel is their personal matter.
      Why is it okay for a man to wear a lungi and let his torso be exposed but not expose an article of clothing (boxers) while wearing his jeans? Clothing rules are different for different people, some people think cleavage is vulgar, some people think it’s only vulgar if the woman is wearing a Western outfit. Some people think western outfits and jeans are vulgar, some think sari is too revealing, some families restrict married women from wearing salwar kameez, some think capris expose women’s calves, some people think women alone have a right to grow their hair long or pierce their ears, some see it as a part of their culture – so it is better to leave these very personal decisions upto the wearer.

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      • You got me all wrong. I agree what I wear is my personal business and no one else’s but when I say appropriate I do not mean what society defines. I said a dress which you are able to carry. What is the point of wearing high heels if you are not comfortable and keep falling? Somebody wants to show off their skin please do by wearing a stylish blouse or by draping the pallu stylishly not by dropping it here and there! At least the person should be able to ‘Carry’ what he/she is wearing if not please practice!

        When I say Feminism being misused I m talking about freedom without responsibility . Its like Kanimozhi saying I m a woman, law should be lenient with me. When she was committing the crime was that the case? This false feminism is what I m talking about. In everything we are equal to men but when required based on our convenience we will say ‘I am woman show me some leniency’ .

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      • Charu, anyone saying “I m a woman, law should be lenient with me” is not a feminist, that person is just an opportunist. Since feminism never advocated the law be lenient with women, I don’t see how this is a misuse of feminism. It is rather a misuse of the patriarchal idea that women should be protected, are the fairer sex etc.

        I thought Anil Dharker’s example of the IMF chief was shocking. The man has been accused of rape, not promiscuity or womanising. Apart from the fact, that Dharker knows very well that society has different standards for promiscuity in men and women. There is no real focus on men being virgins before marriage, for example.

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  17. Here’s an important essay about how a woman’s dress makes no difference to how she is treated:

    http://www.filmimpressions.com/home/2011/06/essay-the-sluts-of-hindi-cinema.html

    “since the provocation of this movement was the constable’s claim that women leave themselves open to rape because of the way they dress (a view that is rampant in our society), it may be pertinent to examine how our cinema handles the sexual violation of women in order to understand to what extent the objectification and chastisement of women is central to the narrative of rape and how little the way they dress or behave has to do with their abuse”

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  18. For some reason [people around me of course blame it on my ‘dressing style’] I faced such abuses while travelling, walking on the road or riding my bike, on a weekly basis in India. I moved to London last year for work and have never faced this problem here. I wear the same clothes here too. There are horny, narrow minded men here too. But how is that nobody gropes you or stares at your boobs in this country? Are the Indian men more sexually starved/ deprived than others?

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    • They do it in India because they can. I had also seen a similar change when I was in Europe. It was liberating not to be groped every time you get in the metro. The mindset in Europe is different and women in general know how to demand their rights and mothers bring up their children to respect everyone, not only elders.

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  19. I have my reservations on this slut walk thing. I am posting part of a comment I left on Ritu’s. Not out of laziness, because, that’s all I can think of now:
    i still can’t form an opinion on this slut walk. i remember an interview Oprah did with JayZ and she pulled him up for using the N word. And he said he wanted to use and normalise it and take the sting out of it. But Oprah said it had such a heavy historical context, it is disrespectful to those who fought against it.
    These are just words right? We shouldn’t get so worked up about it, right?
    But slut has a meaning. And I don’t care if it is used loosely against all women trying to break stereotypes, I will still not accept that meaning on myself.
    Here is my yardstick, and why I will not join a slut walk — will I take my 9-year-old on this? NO. But will I ask my her to help me pack pink chaddis to send to the RSS? Yes.

    I am not going to glorify a word in the name of femininism.

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    • What kind of people are called sluts UmmON? Do you think women who are promiscuous should be seen as somehow so shameful that just calling any other woman by that name (promiscuous) should be seen as an insult? Is it really so shameful for uncommitted women to sleep with more than one person, isn’t that their personal life? Should a woman’s relationships be used as an excuse to rape/harass her?

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      • what 2 consenting adults to do is not anyone else’s issues. there will be labels in the world. labels that promote hate, that discriminate, that make women or men feel low about themselves.
        we need to get people to treat others with respect, without labels, without excess baggage.

        i will not go join a walk that says fatsos/fatties walk either! because i don’t care for that label, even if people think it fits me.

        i don’t care for labels. any kind. treat people with respect, whatever their chosen careers might be, or chosen attitudes/behaviour might be (provided it doesn’t mean putting another’s living/life at a risk).

        ihm, i am so SURPRISED that you are twisting what i am saying to this: <>

        is that what you get from my comment?
        seriously?! you don’t know me I agree, but you’ve read enough of what i write or comment, and yet you think that would be my take?!

        i will go with what Ritu said in her blog… words have power. and we need to be careful about how we use it.

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      • IHM – What would you call who use their sexuality for advantage? So they would rather sleep with boss and take a promotion than work? What would you call woman who for money (not as a profession) or just for being with the most famous guy in college lets him do anything humiliating touch anywhere in public?

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      • Charu, even if a woman does all these things (and you may choose to call such a woman a slut, I would not) she is not asking to be raped or sexually assaulted. That is the point of the walk and calling it such.

        By the way, I don’t get what your problem is with women who let their boyfriend touch them in public.

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      • Ummon, your point about reclaiming words is an interesting one and I am still conflicted on where I stand on it. I get Oprah’s point, on the other hand, I feel that there are too many words that one can take offense at and we cannot do away with all labels. Instead, we could stop being offended with these words but rather with the sentiment behind them, if it is mean. The reason Slutwalk was named as such was because it wanted to connect back with the policeman’s statement and to remind society of its own biased attitudes towards women it considers sluts and how who is branded a slut might be on a sliding scale but nevertheless regardless of these subjective judgments or labels, noone deserves to be assaulted. So I think that justifies the name – apart from the fact that it has become a vehicle for discussion. As IHM pointed out, so many protest marches for women’s rights have happened but not even caused a flicker of interest. But this one is creating some debate because the word itself brings out powerful reactions in all of us making us look closely or at least vocalise our own attitudes to promiscuity – and in that it has been successful.

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  20. The HT article you referred to really angers me. For example:

    “In a country where xyz happens, who needs the right to dress like a slut?”

    Excuse me? You can make the same argument for free speech. In a country where there’s so much poverty, exploitation etc, who needs free speech right? In a country where there’s so much poverty etc, who needs to care about the environment right?

    What the hell. I’m seriously pissed off by people claiming that certain issues must be addressed before others. And until those other issues are addressed, the nation must come to a complete standstill. Utter bullshit.

    Next line which pisses me off: ” I doubt if the women who roll beedis all day long for R30 are going to shout ‘hurrah’ when they hear about the SlutWalk.”

    And therefore the women who don’t roll beedis for Rs. 30 a day are to be ignored and are irrelevant. Those who aren’t miserable with their lives must quietly accept every humiliation thrown at them out of the sheer guilt that there are other people who are poorer than they are!

    It’s a very subtle moral policing which says that since there are other people whose lives are miserable and and are suffering, you are somehow evil because you dare to enjoy yourself.

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  21. The next time the author of this article tries to report a crime that happened against him, can the police please blame him for putting himself in that position? Please? After all, he should be allowed to taste what he preaches.

    Did his home get robbed? – He asked for it by painting his house with bright colors
    Did he get pickpocket-ted? – He asked for it by dressing up like a rich guy.
    Did someone steal his car? – Don’t you know you are attracting car thieves by having a car? It’s your own fault.

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  22. Somehow in all this debate, I think many of us have lost sight of one most important fact. Rape (and therefore by extension harassment) is not about sex, it’s about control. Therefore whether or not the woman is dressed in a way as to excite a hetero-sexual male’s fantasy does not matter at all. (and we are not even getting to the question of how different each person’s idea of erotic dressing might be).

    The men that perpetrate these crimes are more intent on showing that they are in a position to control the lives of someone else. If there are men that only harass women dressed in western clothes, these men are threatened by the implied “liberated” woman image that western clothes are associated with and see a need to put her in her place. If at all dress plays a part in these harassment cases, it’s in this indirect way. Men that rape and harass are typically cowards, hence the attack in groups and in places where it is impossible for the woman to immediately identify the perpetrator and the “I didn’t do it” act.

    The only way to control these cowards and their cowardly act is to stand up against them. If we keep withdrawing into smaller and smaller shells, there will be no more place for us to go to.

    As for calling this a slut walk– I imagine that it was intended as a sarcastic response to the policeman’s comment. It is to point out two things:
    1. What is acceptable wear is very subjective and what’s “slut wear” to one is not “slut wear” to another.
    2. Even if the person was a “slut”, whatever your definition of that may be, even if they used sex to get ahead in whatever it is they are trying to get ahead in, even if they are sex workers, they have a right to say no and it has to mean no.

    So to answer IHM’s question in the title of this post. Yes, if being called a slut or being raped or being harassed on the street were not considered such a big shame or insult to the *woman who was victimized* (as opposed to being considered shameful to the perpetrator), it is very likely that these activities will reduce, because now the control that the perpetrators have upon their victims (i.e to shame them) is now not possible through this venue!

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  23. Yes!! to your question IHM…

    Very early in life I realized that there will always be people who will find fault with you, label you, judge you and call you names, no matter what you did, said or didnt say or didnt do. The conclusion I came to is – I cant make them happy but I can definitely make myself Happy. And I can choose not to do what they do….

    On the other hand, why shouldnt I do what they do – the author, needs to get his/her head out of the hole (s)/he dumped it into.

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  24. @Bride – I would certainly called certain with that name. Nowhere I say or endorse that any of this gives the right of abuse to anyone. As far as touching in public goes the one I refer to here was not out of affection, the one I spoke about is the one where a man projects his masculinity by doing things he should not and his woman does not object. Not because she is scared but because she feels it would make her famous or as her man he has a right to do so.

    Please note that these women are not oppressed they choose to be this way for certain reason. And I would say these are the ones who glorify that women can take any sh*t that happens to them for money/fame!

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  25. It’s a preposterous suggestion that clothes are what encourage rapists to perpetrate their crime. Here we go again, blaming the victim for what is done to her. It’s always the woman’s fault according to these people. The people who would silent the voices of the Slut Walk. Go for it gals, lets rock that Slut Walk.

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  26. Sorry, I just saw your comment. I think that as long as we can agree that even if a woman is percieved to be a ‘slut’ she should not be open to assault or harassment, I can hold my peace. I think people make various choices in life, for various reasons – not just women. There are men who ditch their wives of many years for a younger model, maybe because it gives them an ego boost or whatever. We don’t have a word for these men though we do have a word for the women ‘trophy women’. We don’t have a word for men that sleep around, though we have one for women. As I understand it, you define a slut as someone who uses her body for some material reward, although she is not forced to do so by some hardship. Others define it as just a woman who has sex with many men. Others define it as a woman who has sex for money. On one hand, as women, we could be sensitive to these words and demand that everyone stop using them. On the other hand, we could just develop a so-what attitude to these words and get on with our lives; soon the words will lose their force.

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