Women, feminists and others, have been writing about their bodies, about sexual exploitation, about objectification. So, why is the SlutWalk being heralded as something that has finally arrived in India, like some colonial hangover after a rave party? (Thanks for the link Hrishikesh)
1. I think because this protest is not a cautious plea disguised as protest. In Slut Walk women are not careful not to ‘cross their limits’ (limits set by those who seem to have no understanding of what they are protesting against, even when the problem affects them, they would rather stop a daughter from studying/working than understand the problem).
2. For the first time women are questioning the misconceptions about sexual crimes and what the victim was wearing. And demanding that they be respected as being the best judges of what is appropriate for them to wear (and read, eat, drink, talk etc).
3. Protesters are not asked to wear modest saris and salwar kurtas (and wearing saris hasn’t automatically created an understanding so far).
Maybe protesting in saris conveyed that women thought saris were needed for women to be taken seriously?
4. Like the Pink Chaddi Campaign, here too women are refusing to prove their Indian-ness to the molesters, law makers, law enforcers and the society, by protesting in ways that the society permits women to protest. (For example by sending bangles.)
5. Protests that were found satisfactorily modest and appropriately Indianised have not succeeded in creating awareness about how harmful victim blaming is for the society, and how it encourages crimes.
6. Women who disagree should think about what they were wearing when they were harassed on the street. Keep in mind that domestic helpers, construction workers and rural women of all ages face the same harassment.
My 17 year old cook in Pune was slapped by her uncle for carrying a cotton bag I had given her because it attracted attention to her. The small bag to hold her Entry Pass and a tiny FM radio was bought from Janpath, Delhi, and had pictures of Krishna all over it.
The Slutwalk is a minor tic, but today when everyone wants to be a concerned citizen, it could turn into a movement. I won’t be surprised if some media group joins in to sponsor the event. After all, we do have beauty pageants that already flaunt the female body as an example of empowerment.
In a society that uses clothes, to control women and their sexuality, why do some people see western clothes and being able to flaunt their bodies, without fearing being called sluts, (or being able to cock a snook at such attempts at labeling or controlling) as empowerment?
It’s the same as married women in India being ‘allowed to’ wear jeans or not be forced to wear sindoor, tali, mangalsutra are generally considered luckier.
For many women in India not being forced to do something is seen as empowerment.
The ramp is the precursor of the SlutWalk. No one calls it ‘besharmi’ because these girls are trained by ‘experts’ and Mother Teresa protégées in diction and clichés. They speak up for causes ranging from global warming to education.
Not one of them has spoken up for the real slut. The whore. The sex worker. The woman who works by getting fucked. Really.
Sexual harassment concerns everybody, all women (including sex workers). And their families and friends are affected. Why do they need to show solidarity for anybody else before they can expect crimes against them to be taken seriously?