Breaking! Slutwalk is about spectacle, individual empowerment, wearing sexy lingerie, says everyone with eyes and brains

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, cheer, or drink a bottle of wine and have a very long nap, but this recent post on Ms. Magazine’s blog about Slutwalk LA almost left me speechless.

I can’t tell if the author is just being honest, at long last, about the apolitical, selfish, pointlessness of Slutwalk or if she’s just completely clueless.*

After all the talk about Slutwalk supposedly being ‘a parody’ or ‘ironic’ (NO, NO YOU GUYS. YOU JUST DON’T GET IT. WE’RE SLUTS! …get it?), this post actually threw me for a loop. So, this is the parody thing y’all were going on about, yeah?

Dressed in bras and underwear, fishnets and the occasional lace-up platform boot, we all had, according to comedian Luce Tomlin-Brenner, an air of slutitude. Add in the fact that most everyone raised their hand to liking sex—whether stoned, for pleasure or with more than one person—and it could not be disputed: We were completely, totally, 100 percent sluts.

‘We love sex and we’re sluts! Take that, patriarchy! We wear lingerie to challenge, um…We’re not sure! SLUTS YOU GUYS!’


The author admits to everything. I almost feel relieved. “Politics were largely left out of this year’s Los Angeles event,” she says. So…Just like every other Slutwalk event? Good then.

“It’s that third wave-y feel—that individualistic empowerment—that has made SlutWalk popular among young women,” she goes on to say, adding “Less emotionally intense than anti-rape rallies such as Take Back the Night, SlutWalk is more for spectacle.”

Are we all getting this? Slutwalk is an apolitical, individualistic spectacle about wearing lingerie and having something called ‘slutitude.’

Ok no. I think I want to cry. I am simultaneously too amused and horrified for napping.

The photos of young women in their underwear reinforces the message. Apparently some young men were overheard talking about how they wanted to go “check out the sluts.”

On one hand I’m relieved that Slutwalk is being upfront about how very lost they are, on the other, I feel like stabbing myself in the eye.

If y’all need me I’ll be at the bar.


*Update! I’ve had a conversation with the author of the post referenced here and she is, in fact, not clueless, but rather was trying to point out some of the problematic aspects of Slutwalk in her post. She is planning on writing on post outlining her criticisms more thoroughly in the near future. Stay tuned!
Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • womononajourney

    Is there a way to reach these women?

    Feminism today has totally become fuck-me feminism. So, where do women who are looking for a women’s liberation move turn? I heard a professor say one of her students did not ID as a feminist because “then I would have to fuck every guy I meet.”

  • Do they not see that the surrounding men are just stoked to see young women in porno-gear and don’t actually give a shit about the message, which has long been lost? It is really quite sad, if this is the “face” of this new “feminism”

    sigh, indeed.

  • martin dufresne

    The Slutwalk franchise encroaches more onto Girls Gone Wild territory every year.

    • Chris

      Yes, next year there will be a pay-per-view X-rated version. All in support of the cause!

  • Chris

    I never got the idea of slutwalk. We all know that many rapists try to justify their acts by referring to the manner of dress of their victims. I believe the correct response would be to accuse any male, calling a woman a slut, of being an accessory to rape, and to report them as such. Because the reality is, any time a man calls a woman a slut, they are supporting a culture of rape. Their words are endangering all women in general, but especially those they have targetted.

    Racist speech is wrong, and it is sometimes illegal in some countries, because it justifies, permits, or otherwise normalizes racist acts (i.e. discrimination, violence, mass-murder, genocide, etc.) Sexist speech should be viewed the same.

    Or, women could just adopt the stereotype and give the men a floorshow. Maybe that will work.

  • I think the thing that saddened me the most telling thing is the slogan “Less Violence – More Orgasms” – it kind of sum up the ignorant of the dynamics of the power and control that is male violence, and is the typical selfish philosophy of putting individual sexual needs above everything.

    • Chris

      What, didn’t you know? The more orgasms you have, the fewer women are raped, the fewer brown people are killed, the less polar bears die, and the less drastic is climate change. Stop shirking your duty!

      On a less sarcastic note, I think there is a growing realization that any sort of positive change is not going to be driven by us in the west, and especially not by those who consider themselves “progressives” or “liberals”. We are part of the problem. I can already see the next major “feminist” battle. We need more female CEOs of oil companies, and we demand equal pay! Women can exploit the environment and destroy Indigenous peoples as well as men! Hell, we can run sweatshops too, just give us a chance!

    • Chris

      After posting my response, I decided to check out your blog, and I then realized that my comments may not have been in the best of taste. I stand by what I said, but I might have phrased things differently. I apologize for any offence.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I found your comments to be quite amusing!

        • It is fine – and very funny what you said, Chris, and I agree with your sentiments.

  • Bottom line: slut walk is a huge privileged slap in the face of the real sluts, the ones that johns or tricks buy because they can only think of the women as sluts. If slutwalk was anything other than self indulgence, it would put its energy towards taking the power away from johns or clients to buy sex.

    Really good post Meghan – MS needed a reply

    • Chris

      The solution is easy. Implementing it is not. Put the Johns in jail. Execute the pimps. This is not extreme. The charges for sex slavery (which is what pimping is) should be harsh. We execute people for murder, and many rape victims have said that they would have rather been killed than endure the rape. Slavery is properly considered more than just a crime against a person, but a crime against humanity. If organized humiliation, captivity, battery, exploitation and rape doesn’t deserve the death penalty, then nothing does.

      • Audre

        Chris – THANK YOU so much for this. I could only like it once so I had to say THANK YOU again.

      • I agree with everything you say about this topic except “execute the pimps”. The death penalty reduces the state and the citizens to the level of murderers and pimps. Civilised countries have abolished it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I agree, Kathleen. It takes a certain level of privilege (and ignorance) to march down the street in lingerie, calling ourselves ‘sluts’ and pretending that this is somehow empowering. As you say, if Slutwalk had any interest in ending rape culture and male violence against women, it would challenge the sex industry and challenge male power, not dance for the cameras.

  • BlanchDevereaux

    I still don’t get how liking sex equates with being a slut. Also, ‘everyone who “liked sex” raised their hands’? Wow. Sigh. I hear a broken record saying that those who don’t support slutwalk must hate sex. It’s so funny that such a group of people (third wavers/ exploitation pozzies) would have the sheer absurd audacity to say that those who disagree with their ideology “hate sex.” LOL, it’s such an obvious kindergarten-level smear campaign. It’s so…DUMB. And the laughable thing is that it is actually working on many of today’s younger women. It reminds me of those retro US propaganda posters from after WWII saying “If you do such-and-such then you are doing it with/for Hitler!!” I know, it’s not really funny at all; it’s awful. I guess I feel like you do Meghan, at this point I just don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or what. I feel like nothing could be more exemplary of the misguided third wave and it’s manipulative tactics (because being “right” is more important than the fate of your brethren) than such an event.

    • Meghan Murphy

      “I still don’t get how liking sex equates with being a slut. Also, ‘everyone who “liked sex” raised their hands’?”

      Yeah I have no clue. I’m lost.

  • Audre

    Last year when this horrifying spectacle came to my town I joined the “meeting” afterward. I’m fairly certain my brain exploded then, and has been recovering ever since. You see, the “slut walk” participants ‘just want to reclaim the term “slut,” and like make it not pejorative no more, just like how queer has been reclaimed’. ‘We just want to make sex fun again, feminism is such a drag and violence!’ After my head reattached, and my heart started beating, I argued about the history of this term and the absolute betrayal to women they were. The same little crew of liberal male apologists then later setup the first occupy GA (you can imagine how well that went) and they’ve all been self-congratulatory about their ‘revolutionista-ing’ via Moveon with their post-structuralist libertarian activities ever since. Yay!

    Thank you so much for your blog, it helps alot to know you’re not completely alone and have a safe space to vent in public. Solidarity!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Solidarity, sister!

  • heather

    I can’t agree more that the slutwalk is problematic. My take is, though, that it’s not surprising that a generation or two of little girls that got the hypersexualized ‘bratz’ dolls and other types of female objectifying toys/dolls/movies shoved down their throats then grow up to be young adults that crave the chance to deck their bodies out in fishnets and stalk down the concrete in stilettos. Its the ultimate runway! After a childhood filled with such exploitative propaganda, upon entering the real world they must be just responding via slutwalk to the lack of any other mileu for the saucy little tendencies they’ve been taught since birth is the ideal of femininity

  • I’ve never taken part in Slutwalk. I’ve always said to my boyfriend that yes, I support their case that women are not raped because of they way they are dressed, women are raped because of rapists, but something about the Slutwalk approach didn’t seem right… And I think you’ve just made me realise why.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Reclaiming your sexuality has nothing to do with wearing lingerie and performing male-defined ‘sexuality’ for an audience.