“How To Lose Your Virginity” filmmaker Therese Shechter captured some amazing footage and interviews from SlutWalk NYC, which I attended on Saturday. Check out a gal dressed as Hester Prynne (!!) at 00:23, Jenn Levya of Fat And The Ivy at 00:30, Jennifer Pozner of Women In Media and News at 00:50, Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown at 01:28, and feminist writer Nona Willis Aronowitz at 2:06.
I missed the sign-making portion of the event, so I hijacked someone else’s “I ask for it when I’m asking for it” poster (see if you can spot it in the video!) I think the award for geekiest/cleverest sign has got to go to Jenn for the following creation:
This post comes after many, MANY reader requests on SlutWalk coverage. I’ve been following the event quite closely, but for a host of reasons, haven’t felt qualified to comment on the it. Salamishah Tillet, a classmate from my Progressive Women’s Voices media training, wrote a piece for The Nation last week about participating as a woman of color. I share many of her mixed feelings toward SlutWalk. (I encourage you to read her essay.)
I didn’t “dress up” for the event, by which I mean that I didn’t dress down. That surprised at least a couple of my friends, since I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity to scandalize. I didn’t see that as the point of SlutWalk, though. While I’m sure the scantily clad crowds are part of the reason why the event has attracted (often inaccurate) media coverage, the organizers encouraged marchers to wear what makes them comfortable. Had the weather not been on the chillier end, would I have gone topless? Maybe, but ultimately, what I or any other marcher wore was irrelevant, because the event itself was about why no one’s outfit — or sexual history, background, job, etc. — should ever be used as a justification for sexual harassment and assault. As Nona said in the above video, she’s even been harassed while wearing sweatpants and PJ’s. So why in the world do we still have cops telling women to “protect” themselves by not dressing like sluts? If sexual violence prevention were really that simple, rape wouldn’t exist in the Northeast during the parka-happy months of December-March.
Have you attended a SlutWalk event? I’d be interested to hear about your experience! Here are some thoughts from Therese, the filmmaker of the above clip:
This past Saturday, October 1st, Slutwalk came to New York City, and I was there with my camera to record scene at the march. Please feel free to share it far and wide!*
For me, one of the truly frustrating things about coverage of SlutWalks all over the world has been the media’s focus on the most elaborately undressed and risque marchers, leading people to believe the events are solely about demanding the right to dress like a slut. I hope this video gives people a sense of the range of participants (gender, orientation, background, race, age) that were there marching, chanting and generally raising some hell. You’ll want to hit pause over and over again to read all the signs!!
Some other coverage of the event from The Nation, RH Reality Check, NY Post (but not loving the ‘hundreds of scantily clad ladies’ line). Please send us more links to stories!
A BRIEF PRIMER:
If you’re not familiar with SlutWalk, the SlutwalkNYC organizers have lots of info on their website, but here’s quick intro:
SlutWalk has become a worldwide grassroots movement challenging rape culture, victim-blaming and slut-shaming, and working to end sexual and domestic violence. The name has been controversial, but the mission is a powerful one: to shed the stereotypes and myths of sexual assault, support a better understanding of why sexual assault happens, and put the blame where it belongs–on those who perpetrate it.
SlutWalk started in my fabulous home town of Toronto, where in January 2011 a group of York University college students asked a representative of the Toronto Police Department how keep themselves safe from sexual assault. His response of “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” galvanized the women into creating SlutWalk in Toronto.
At the time, I’m sure they didn’t realize they were about to unleash a powerful political movement that would spread like wildfire. Marches have been held all over the world, from Delhi to Capetown, Seoul to Mexico City, and in cities all across the US.
SLUTWALK NYC’s MISSION:
No matter who you are
No matter where you work
No matter how you identify
No matter how you flirt
No matter what you wear
No matter who you choose to love
No matter what you said before:
NO ONE has the right to touch you without your consent.
*We’d love you to share and embed this video, and if you can, please link back to this blog at virginitymovie.com or to Trixie Films at trixiefilms.com. If you want to do more than embed it, like use it in your own project, please contact us and we’ll figure it out. Thanks for supporting independent feminist media!
(via SlutWalkNYC: A Video Diary | How to Lose Your Virginity)