Who is Slut-Shaming Who?

Posted: May 14, 2011 in Feminism
L7, Jennifer Finch, Joan Jett

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/14/slutwalk-female-dress-no-ones-business?commentpage=2#start-of-comments

Suzanne Moore has written the 15th article on the Slutwalks to be printed in the Guardian in one week! Here is the comment I left below the piece:

I don’t hate this article! Hooray.

I love hearing people-women and men talking about their teenage years. I am sure Suzanne as a teenager was a spectacular slut and I bet I would have totally been in awe of her, as I was a much more timid type of creature.

But, I think she is missing the point of the Slutwalks to a degree, which seem to me to be saying: women are the main victims of rape and sexual assault and it is men who are both the main ‘perpetrators’ and the main group of people who ‘slut shame’ and ‘victim blame’. If Suzanne is right and it is women who tend to police each other more, and to judge each other’s sexuality and dress, how will the Slutwalk change how women treat each other? And, if it is women who judge each other, why do we always present rape as a men v women issue?

According to Suzanne, she is a feminist because ‘men do horrible, horrible things’.

But this article suggests that actually it is women who can be pretty horrible to each other. How can feminism address the conflicts and contradictions between women?

Love from
a slut
x

Comments
  1. Lucy says:

    Nice on QRG! yea me too. love me teenage years and nattering about them .. great stuff. y’know snoggin in the bushes, losing me cherry at 14, playing with bazza in his parent’s bed! yea teenage years.

  2. Daniel says:

    Great post, as usual.

    I don’t have much to add but just felt compelled to reply because of the awesomeness of the pic at the top of the page!

  3. billsnshits says:

    Does anyone find it weird how there are two major types of “negative” response slutwalks seems to get?

    one of them “up to date”, that is, didn’t we all resolve this a while ago and the cop was just a big dummy.

    the other, these girls are asking for it because I can’t control myself.

    It’s as if there are two groups of self described anti feminists.
    One finds the movement trite and regressive, not up to the sophistication of modern men and women.

    While the other justifies its anti “man hating feminism” by condemning men. And it’s coming from men!
    what’s THAT about? It’s like saying you won the lottery because you refused to buy a ticket. Or you’re a moral little boy because your parents make sure to beat you every time you steal from the cookie jar. And next time you steal, if you steal, and you probably will, you think it’s a good think your parents will beat you so you can say you’re moral.
    And often from conservatives who condemn themselves as out of control men, who in the same phrase speak of the moral leadership of temperance that only men can provide.
    crazy people.

    • 2020 says:

      “While the other justifies its anti “man hating feminism” by condemning men. And it’s coming from men!”

      Yeah I’ve noticed that as well from the anti slutwalk crowd one minute they’re saying “You shouldn’t condemn men you horrible misandrist feminazis” then later they’re saying “you should be aware that men as a group are a bunch of violent, simple minded, assholes with no higher brain functions and with little to know impulse control”. I mean seriously, shit guys how is that not misandrist? Really you’re not helping.

  4. billsnshits says:

    And the social conservative male response is interesting not because it’s culturally dominant but because so much as peep out of one of them acts like catnip to feminists in the large.

    So this phenomenon will always be with us.

    • typhonblue says:

      I’m going to clarify something for you.

      Conservative men are the biggest fucking misandrists on the planet.

  5. typhonblue says:

    “According to Suzanne, she is a feminist because ‘men do horrible, horrible things’.”

    Feminists insisting on scapegoating men is reason #1 I’m not a feminist.

    • Schala says:

      Same here. Aspies have a strong sense of justice…and a low tolerance for bullshit. We’d make lousy liars, con-artists or politicians, because we’re honest (if socially clueless).

      But hey, people call being aspie (and autist) a “deficit”, because we’re unable to consciously be assholes.

  6. arctic_jay says:

    “Still the argument goes that, unlike ‘queer’ or ‘nigger’, we can’t simply reclaim a word that has been used against women. Using it doesn’t make the hate disappear.”

    Ho.Lee.Shit. One of the most entertaining things in the world is watching a feminist oh-so-gingerly try to make it seem like middle-class white feminist women have it worse than blacks or gays.

    • Tim says:

      That does not make sense.

      Were and are the words queer and nigger not used in a hateful manner ?
      I mean all these words attack someone for (supposedly) being something that is perceived as wrong/abnormal/shameful.

      The difference between shaming a person for promiscuity and shaming a person for their respective skin color is only the characteristic on which the attack is based. If you look at some situations one of these words is used, then you can see that there are similar kinds of arguments at work.

      Also, feminism spends a lot of time fighting about who has it worse and is constantly trying to establish a hierarchy of who has it worse than who, because the worse your situation is, the heavier your arguments weight in. Just look at the ‘White Female Privilege’ stuff that came up a couple of weeks ago.

      • yes a-jay Tim there is a lot of competition for who has it worse. It seems to be mainly feminist women and gay men who have that competition though.

        • Tim says:

          There is also quite some controversion between different groups of feminist womens. Like feminists with disabilities or feminists who are black or obese or so.

          Anyway, I have been thinking of putting together some kind of calculator, in which you can enter what you are (gender, orientation, cis/het, …) and then you get some kind of score telling you how bad you have it. But I can’t come up with a good way to calculate it.

  7. Sarah AB says:

    I *do* consider myself a feminist but (as I thought QRG’s own comment seemed fair enough and also react against the ‘men do horrible horrible things’ line) that’s probably because I set the bar for feminism lower than people here seem to.

  8. Lucy says:

    I read your comment on the baxter blog.. very funny especially the bit about your horizontal parts.

  9. redpesto says:

    In passing, I note that the Observer (owned by the Guardian) has a ‘panel’ on SlutWalks. I’m not sure how much enlightenment there bee considering it’s got Brix Smith-Start (a former member of a band I love, buit still…) and Julie Bindel on it (nuff said). Maybe they could have had Immodesty Blaize, Ann Widdecombe, Polly Toynbee, Kelly Holmes and an ex-Big Brother housemate instead, plus Hugo Schwyzer as the token male.

  10. elissa says:

    All these “slut” reclamation walks are giving real sluts a bad name.

    And I don’t think pretend sluts should be allowed to call themselves sluts, just because they write “slut” on their white bellies. It’s akin to thinking you’re Asian just because you use chop sticks to twirl noodles at a fake Chinese restaurant. This white middle class slut appropriation really needs to stop. I’m waiting for a real slut walk in protestation of all these fake slut walks…

    The shaming should be more like: you’re not a real slut. You listen to Justin Bieber !!

  11. redpesto says:

    One from the archive? Erin Pizzey – founder of the women’s refuge movement (and, a bit like QRG, someone who fell out with feminism) – from the intro to The Slut’s Cookbookfrom the 1970s (link):

    A slut is a much maligned human being. It is usually quite wrong to assume that a slut is promiscuous – nothing is further from the truth. A slut is always in control of every situation she is in. Within every woman is a slut dying to get out. But our bondage is such – thanks to television, advertising and our need to compete with each other – that few women are prepared to take a stand. Sluts of the world unite! You have nothing to lose except your valium. The tin opener is the sluts best friend. Sluts love people. They don’t make friends with a view to business,or “social” friends, since they are far too busy having a good time to waste it on idle chatter. All sluts love the idea of machines: the concept of anything that will do arduous tasks on their behalf is irresistible.

    Okay, she might mean ‘slut’ as in messy, lazy and untidy, but maybe the SlutWalk could have an impromptu picnic at the end of it.

  12. Lucy says:

    Yea I noticed they have eliminated the comment. Like you said you would think that they would have a proper system to check the identity of the comments.

  13. Mucius Scaevola says:

    good post. never been here before. glad i found it. and nice L7 photo. not enough people know about them or the nirvana connection

  14. H says:

    I think (Moore) is missing the point of the Slutwalks to a degree, which seem to me to be saying: women are the main victims of rape and sexual assault and it is men who are both the main ‘perpetrators’ and the main group of people who ‘slut shame’ and ‘victim blame’. If Suzanne is right and it is women who tend to police each other more, and to judge each other’s sexuality and dress, how will the Slutwalk change how women treat each other? And, if it is women who judge each other, why do we always present rape as a men v women issue?

    It seems to me that the main point of Slutwalks is to make a stand against attitudes like those of the police officer who gave a rape prevention talk that included advice for women to avoid “dressing like sluts.” That attitude is pretty widespread, regardless of gender, so I’d say the issue of women policing each other is more than covered in the intentions behind the march.

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