Malawian women protest after attacks for wearing pants, miniskirts

by HUB Newsfeed

Today, Malawian women protested after several women were brutally beaten and stripped naked by male street vendors for the offense of not-wearing-dresses in public.

Street vendors accused women of defying cultural norms and attacked them this week in Lilongwe and Blantyre, two of the nation’s largest cosmopolitan centers.

“They beat them up and stripped them naked, claiming they did not follow the tradition,” said Seodi White, a rights activist and protest organizer. “Attacking women in trousers is an outrage. We are a democracy, they’re taking us back to the dark ages.”

Protesters wore pants, miniskirts and leggings in a show of solidarity as they gathered to condemn the attacks.

While this protest may (or may not) evoke familiar imagery from last summer’s “SlutWalk” protests, unlike SlutWalk, this protest sticks to the issues, and makes it clear what they are getting at.  Importantly, these women actually name the agent of harm: men, attacking women, out of contempt for women.

The Malawian protesters make a coherent political point, and managed to attract high-level political attention for their cause, where SlutWalk pretty decidedly failed at both.  Perhaps we can learn something from their example.

To begin with, here, the issue was women being attacked by men for not-wearing-dresses in public, and the protesters didn’t-wear-dresses in solidarity with those women.  In other words, what the Malawian protesters wore was actually relevant to the issue.  These women make a coherent political point: women have the legal right to not-wear-dresses, and male civilian vigilantes policing their behavior are wrong and demonstrate their contempt for women where Malawian women are human beings and have legal status that says so.

Whereas the SlutWalkers’ point, apparently, was that they *should be* able to wear whatever they want and not be blamed by the cops for their own rapes, when men inevitably rape them.  Huh?

Next, the Malawian protesters managed to include men in their protest without titillating them, and without the men’s interests or voices overwhelming the women’s interests and voices.  How’d they do that?

And supporters chanted “We are strong!” during the protests, and definitely did not chant “We are sluts!” or anything self-deprecating or ironic (or incoherent or misguided) that might be misconstrued or obfuscate the issues.

Interestingly, Malawian citizens appear to have had gender-equality formally written into their constitution, and Americans, to date, have not.  So the Malawian protesters actually appear to be legally supported in their assertions that they are full human beings with full legal status, and are 1) calling attention to men who fail to respect that and 2) demanding tougher laws to protect women against men, because men continue to devalue women and ignore their legal status, and value misogyny and misogynistic cultural and religious “tradition” instead:

Malawi guarantees gender equality in its constitution, but disparities remain in almost all aspects including education, employment and political power, according to human rights groups.

“Like a lot of Africa, there is a culture of instilling fear in women because people know they are voiceless even though they are guaranteed equality on paper,” said Faustace Chirwa, executive director of Malawi-based National Women’s Lobby Group.

Chirwa blamed the attacks on young men frustrated with the system who were venting their anger on women because they were easy targets.

“A lot of men in Africa believe they can dictate what women can do,” she said. “We need tougher laws to protect women.”

Chirwa said the Friday initiative is a step for women in Malawi to regain their constitutional rights.

Whereas the SlutWalkers didn’t even ask whether rape laws were tough enough, whether gender-equality should be a constitutional right (in countries where it’s not), or what could be done to give voices to women when they are routinely silenced by men who demonstrate their utter contempt for women, particularly through the use of sexualized violence.

–HUB Newsfeed

37 Comments to “Malawian women protest after attacks for wearing pants, miniskirts”

  1. I also like this story of Egyptian women who fought back when vigilante men invaded their beauty shop:

    http://bikyamasr.com/53028/egyptian-women-cane-morality-police/

  2. Really interesting. I would encourage Slutwalkers to consider this example. Indeed, it is timely, as the Baltimore Slutwalkers are meeting January 23 – see http://www.facebook.com/events/103933329727576/

    Meeting description: “The original head organizers of 2011’s SlutWalk Baltimore want to continue the conversation with their fellow feminists.

    Our purpose is to learn how we can be of better assistance in furthering the common egalitarian goals we all share.

    We will answer questions from the audience regarding our planning process, intentions and conclusions from the event, both as a group and as individuals.

    This event is open to everyone, including those who do not self-identify as feminist, those just interested in event planning, or merely curious about getting involved in local activism.”

    FEMINISM AS EGALITARIANISM. FASCINATING.

    Slutwalk Baltimore also lives here, so you can get a sense of their egalitarianism: http://www.facebook.com/SlutWalkBaltimore

  3. yes, timely! thanks for the link. i suppose slutwalk b’more *isnt* interested in rehashing the past, since they went to the trouble of saying they want to CONTINUE the conversation (gee why does that sound so familiar? oh yeah, hugo keeps saying it) BUT it might be prudent for them to “discuss” how they let a misogynist asshole and lolita fanboy organize it the first time around. and to “discuss” how to not make the same mistake again.

    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/steering-the-sluts-moar-18-year-old-male-organizes-baltimore-slutwalk/
    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/steering-the-sluts/
    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/steering-the-sluts-update/
    https://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/more-slutwalk-asshattery/

  4. the slutwalkers seem to have missed a critical point and thats that men are attacking women because they are women, and men have contempt for women. this includes law enforcement as well as rapists. but god forbid they ever name the agent, or call attention to what men do to women, and why they do it. they didnt call out the cops for having contempt for women, and they didnt call out rapists for having contempt for women. the malawian women didnt miss that point: the point of the utter contempt in which women are held by men.

    and clothing *was* an appropriate point of solidarity in their case bc the malawian women were attacked for not conforming to traditional dress codes that required dresses, even though legally the women didnt have to wear them anymore. it was a coherent point.

    honestly, getting at the root of the problems with slutwalk is not easy, bc it was so incoherent. but i think we should try, esp if people are still talking about it, and trying to move the conversation forward.

    i think there are outstanding issues wrt making legal vs ideological points (we DO HAVE the right to xyz, or we “should have” the right to xyz is not the same thing). calling out one cop for saying what everyone already knows (that women are responsible for rape) doesnt address the underlying legal truth that rape laws are intended and do benefit men, and women will never be credible witnesses bc we arent intended to be, and that all men benefit from this. taking whatever point they *intended* to make about rape, and turning it into an overarching message of sex-positivism instead was really weird and creepy, and ineffective.

    and looking back at the MEN who were involved, now that we know that brennan lester was an anarchist lolita fanboy, and knowing now that hugo tried to murder a woman after having intercourse with her under circumstances that raised issues of consent should also raise some red flags. i mean really. what a fucking clusterfuck.

    how *should* slutwalk have been organized and executed, so that it wouldve actually been coherent and effective instead of dissonant and creepy? we should back up even further and ask, before even naming it “slutwalk” or falling into any allegiance at all in keeping any of it, how shouldve that now-infamous toronto cop have been dealt with? thats the thing that started it all. maybe we should go back to the beginning, isolate the issues, and come up with a coherent point, a clear strategy with actual goals, and execute it? you know, just for funsies.

  5. Contempt!!! Yes, thank you! It’s not a difficult concept. Men hate us and they express their hatred via violence, along with systematic oppression in every sector of society and in the home. But the Slutwalk twits are sooo convinced that by parading themselves around like scantily clad pageant girls or cattle at a fair– sexual politics of meat, anyone?– they’ll get da boyz to have some “feminist” epiphany. All they’re giving them is a show and they’re playing right into their hands. After all, every oppressor needs a useful idiot and a court jester. The bros at these marches aren’t cheering for you, girls…they’re cheering because you’re doing their work for them, and once again you’re not holding the class of people culpable for all the misogynistic injustices in this world. *Men*…as aforementioned by FCM above. Again, these aren’t difficult concepts to grasp but leave it to the lib/fun-feminists– and the dudes who cheer them on– to obfuscate, deny, and ignore the glare of reality. This is why I have more optimism in radical women’s movements in the “Third World” and Global South.

  6. I’m glad to see the critique of slutwalk, here and elsewhere lately. It came to my hometown, and I didn’t paricipate. I kind of felt like I should support it…of course I agree that only rapists should be blamed for rape and womyn should wear whatever they damn please and remain safe. But I just couldn’t get behind it. A ‘slutwalk’ did not feel right–I didn’t bother analyzing it, just decided against participating based on my lack of enthusiasm. This piece clarifies my ennui for slutwalk–thanks especially for the news about the Malawian womyn’s protest, for a very illuminating comparison. Now that is an action I would have attended gladly, with bells on.

  7. hehehe…with bells on my *pants* of course 🙂

  8. *slow clap* brilliant effort and strategy these women implemented, I’m amazed they got men on their side but on their terms. How did they do it? Let’s hope they never see the slutwalk lest they be disappointed, I mean the feminist is made of western (often white and relatively privileged) women we are in prime position for action and the message to be spread and we squander it on gimmicky, misogynist, directionless ‘irony’, that is the best we can do.

    “We are sluts hear us roar especially if it gives
    you a boner” we are not sluts or saints, we are woman now let’s really start roaring.

  9. Michiru as: “I mean the feminist is made of western (often white and relatively privileged) women we are in prime position for action”

    As FCM said, “Malawian women are human beings and have legal status that says so” while American women to date, do not. Canada passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972. The U.S. has yet to pass it, even tho it was introduced by Alice Paul in 1923 – almost 90 freaking years ago. In fact, a year ago, in a highly publicized interview, Supreme Court Justice Scalia smugly said the U.S. Constitution does not protect women or prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. So it’s perfectly constitutional and legal for congress to pass laws which discriminate against women. Furthermore, Scalia said he will uphold it.

    The U.S. is also the only developed country on the planet which refuses to ratify CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women), which was introduced by the U.N. in 1979.

    With 311 million people, the U.S. is the 3rd most populous country in the world (following China and India). That’s quite a chunk of women in the Western world who are not privileged, are not recognized as human – much less equal, and who aren’t legally protected from discrimination.

    If we measure women’s progress by the number of rapes, batterings and murders as Andrea Dworkin did, then no group of women can be said to be privileged. And that’s what it really boils down to, no? I find it disturbing that folks only want to measure women’s progress in terms of dollars and cents, ignoring autonomy, sovereignty over one’s own body and reproductive organs, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to be secure in their person and personal effects and to be free from the harm of others – especially in their own homes, in their own beds. Which is about basic human rights. The very thing all women are denied.

    It should also be noted that 70% of women of color identify as feminists in the U.S., while only 40% of white women do. So I find it a bit offensive to label the feminist movement in the Western world as “white and privileged,” which invisibilizes and insults women of color and all their work. How many guesses do I get who started this rumor? Well it sure reeks of testosterone to me. Take a bow, boys.

  10. On an unrelated note is anyone else disgusted
    not only with the Costa Concordia but the antifeminist response?

  11. Yes, the women in the South seem to do actual feminism, the West is empowerfulized and Eastern Europe seemsto be in between. Did you read about the Femen? They are against prostitution (among other things) and many victims of human trafficking are from Ukraine but they protest topless in order to get attention. Still, I hope it’ll work although I wonder whether it CAN work at all even though they have precise legal and political goals etc.

    In case Malaisian women are reading this: You are great! And good luck!

  12. I apologise for my earlier post. I Meant the slut walk psuedo feminists who had the numbers but not analysis. But despite that I should have been more thoughtful, I did not mean to erase black women’s although I did. I’m still learning thank you for the correction.

  13. Omg, brilliant LUckynkl!!
    Exactly!
    It’s men who usually go on about how white middle class women “run” feminism. THere is one particular so-called “feminist” male blogger who is obsessed with this trope. And I’Ve always thought that was such an insult to all the other women in the world who are clearly feminists, and have always done so much for women!!! Take any country! India, for example. Was Buto not a feminist? THese men think that America and the West is the entire world.
    HOw insulting!
    What about the working class women of Britain, such as my grandmother, who in the mid twentieth century,out-earned their unemployed husbands, and who fought for maternity pay and equal pay. Were they not feminists?

    “Take a bow boys” Indeed.

  14. *Women of colour activism and role in the patriarchy. I’m typing on my phone please excuse my grammar mess ups. It seems I bought into the ‘white women act like they own feminism’ meme, you live you learn. It’s seems that way when the most heard feminists are white. As I’m from Australia where we have the sex discrimination (1984) act in place I’m surpimrised America does not have it in place, they are not even going to pretend to care are they.

  15. Slutwalk was’nt feminist, that’s why it wasn’t feminist, and comparing it to a feminist demo makes the slutwalks seem very un-feminist. I see the s-walks as the very manifestation of stockholm syndrome, slaves demonstrating for their “right” to be kept as slaves. It shows the extent to which women are spiritually, mentally possessed by men, how effective the pornographic propaganda has been on women. It’s the hallmark of these women’s capitulation. These women have given up even trying to heal themselves from men’s war on them, let alone being able to name the oppressor to whom they identify or try to stop their violence.

    It’s no coincidence slutwalks emerged in North America and triclked down to europe: North America is the pornographic powermachine, where industrialised pornography is most developed, where pornography has most infiltrated every aspect of people’s lives and every aspect of capitalist consumption (which is all-encompassing). Slutwalks are a direct result of this porno-prostitution propaganda and mass-destruction machine disguised with words of liberation, freedom and feminism which has definitely been very effective in completely mind-binding western women and making sure they’re all sluts to men, at all time. Which I believe is why these women most affected by it are actually far less able to identify the oppressor than women in less-pornified countries are.

    We should be no more angry against women who join slutwalks than against right wing women or women who run “the good housewife club” (in Malaysia), etc. They are not acting out of their own volition. They are physically and mentally colonised, possessed, acting according to decades of conditioning to be men’s sexual slaves.

    And I agree with everything you said Lucky, it’s such a relief to see that written.

  16. And FEMEN… It’s simply awful. They’re fighting porno-prostitution with the very weapons men use against women in porno-prostitution. The reduction of women to sex objects. It’s like fighting misogyny with misogyny. You can’t tell men to stop treating us like fuck-toilets while proving him in the same time you’re a fuck-toilet. The degree of public humiliation they go through in their “demos” is really painful to watch, it’s plain pornography – and it’s doing incredible harm to feminism and women, bacause now everywhere in Europe the male media brands them as “THE feminists”.

  17. Going back to what luckynkl said, re: feminist women-of-color, if I had to pick *who* would for a lack of a better word “save” and reinvigorate radical feminism in the West/”First-World”, it would be Black women. Black women have clearly had enough with racist- misogyny, white- and black patriarchy, the systematic dehumanization of their womanhood, having their sexualities pornofied, and having their narratives and personhood in “the scheme of things” erased and willfully ignored. And feminist women-of-color weren’t exactly thrilled with the idea of “reclaiming” slanders like “slut” and “ho”, given the fact that Black women’s sexuality has- and continues to be pathologized and commodified. That was another thing that really irritated me about the Slutwalks; the ignorance of these women with regards to how women-of-color’s sexuality has been (mis)treated throughout the centuries. White women were the madonnas while women-of-color were the whores, so how the fuck could women-of-color *not* be offended by a bunch a white “feminists” cheerfully demanding them to call themselves “sluts” and parade around half-naked in public, given that society already has a racially-misogynistic view of women-of-color’s sexuality.

  18. Yeah, witchwind, I agree that this kind of thing is “doing incredible harm to feminism and women”….and yet things like slutwalk and FEMEN seem no different to me than what is represented by feministing and feminste, the presumed intellectual/academic branch of feminism today. It’s a mainstream ultra modern feminism: a softer, gentler, more MAN pleasing form of psuedo feminism. One that men might fairly comfortably join–the funfems love it when they do. A feminism so completely beside-the-point of actual feminism that I can’t recognize it at all. A feminism which has not grown/evolved from a foundation of such works as Millet’s, Daly’s, the other radfem next-wavers, but has grown apart from, and totally devolved instead. All the while it says that we are SO feminist at this point we should regard Millet, Daly, etc, as passe to the point of ridiculousness. “Oh those narrow minded, unenlightened, biological-essentialist (not to mention often, *older* feminists, the least man-attractive of all) why won’t they expand their minds fer chrissakes!”

    I try not to think about it too much! Or, at times like this when reminded of it, to allow a little hope that by the very acts of extreme self-oppression such as the empowerful sluts and FEMENs engage in, by the very fact of reaping male-media approval as THE feminists, they will finally come to see things as they are…and move on from that shit.

    At least, I know that by my own acts over time of ’empowering myself to be more oppressed’ via efforts to embrace/enjoy/accrue rewards from male-defined sexuality, appearance, work/career ethic, intellect, comm skills, etc and so fucking painful so on, have I been able to see it all more clearly. Actually, on feministe blog just recently, I was accused of radfem ‘stuckness’–still reiterating the same tired old radfem/patriarchy-focussed rhetoric as ever. Au contraire–tho I didn’t bother to say it to that lot–it was by virtue of trying to “move on”, to embrace various other philosophies and approaches to life, that I ultimately dis-covered my own roots as a womyn, and re-membered myself more fully than ever before, as a radical feminist! Which for me is a) a womyn-being in my own right and b) a womyn understanding that patriarchy has indeed been at the root of all my own, and all womyn’s dis-ease and desperate struggles in this culture.

  19. men only approve of things that benefit THEM. whatever they dont like, we should be doing MORE, and the MORE and more violently they disapprove of X, the more fundamental to womens liberation X probably is. its really basic. this male-pleasing bullshit has got to GO.

  20. I have to take some exception to this statement, Hari B: “feministing and feminste, the presumed intellectual/academic branch of feminism.” First I have to stop laughing though. No offense to you, but we wouldn’t be able to find even a hair’s breadth level of analysis at either place. Far from being intellectual or academic, they have dumbed down what they call “feminism” to the point where it’s just the ladies’ auxiliary of bland dudebro liberalism, with all the individualism you could possibly want without having to be a Ron Paul supporter. The only reason they branded their empowerfulment version of liberalism “feminism” was because they were riding the coattails of the “sexual revolution” which got linked with it in some people’s minds. That’s an indication of how much they understood about actual feminism, women’s liberation history, and our great writers. They took that misunderstood notion on a ride so far from actual feminism, it isn’t even recognizable to actual feminists. Along the way, a few of them took a “gender studies” or other bland liberal social studies class here and there so they could mindlessly throw in some academic phrases to sound smart. In short, they are not a branch of feminism, they are a branch of liberalism that gives lip service to issues related to women’s lives while never having to really confront the actual basis for feminism (the patriarchy) or the agent of women’s misery (men).

    Academic feminism gets a bad name because of recent developments, but there were many academic feminists who were very radical in the 60s and 70s. Schools were some of the only places women could actually do research and writing and speak out about the truth of women’s lives and make a living at that. I went to see them speak and took classes from some of them and many of us read their papers and books in subsequent decades and learned radicalism with their guidance. They were not post-modernists as most current academics are. That we don’t hear about them is because they were erased by male academics, pomos, queers, and the patriarchy. And let’s never forget that Mary Daly was and Catherine MacKinnon is an academic. There’s nothing wrong with the whole range of women working together for our own liberation, including women who choose academia/education as the platform for their activism.

  21. they have dumbed down what they call “feminism” to the point where it’s just the ladies’ auxiliary of bland dudebro liberalism, with all the individualism you could possibly want without having to be a Ron Paul supporter. The only reason they branded their empowerfulment version of liberalism “feminism” was because they were riding the coattails of the “sexual revolution” which got linked with it in some people’s minds. That’s an indication of how much they understood about actual feminism, women’s liberation history, and our great writers. They took that misunderstood notion on a ride so far from actual feminism, it isn’t even recognizable to actual feminists. Along the way, a few of them took a “gender studies” or other bland liberal social studies class here and there so they could mindlessly throw in some academic phrases to sound smart. In short, they are not a branch of feminism, they are a branch of liberalism that gives lip service to issues related to women’s lives while never having to really confront the actual basis for feminism (the patriarchy) or the agent of women’s misery (men).

    YES. excellent explanation/description of whats going on at those sites. thanks.

  22. Noanodyne–

    Well, I did say “presumed” intellectuals–they appear to presume it themselves, not me by a long shot! “The sanctimonious womyn’s studies set” indeed–long on sanctimony, pretty short on womyn’s studies, I have found. I only bumped into those sites recently (along with this one, and IBTP, so you see the searching *did* net some good). I like your analysis of all that–very spot on:

    “Far from being intellectual or academic, they have dumbed down what they call “feminism” to the point where it’s just the ladies’ auxiliary of bland dudebro liberalism, with all the individualism you could possibly want…. The only reason they branded their empowerfulment version of liberalism “feminism” was because they were riding the coattails of the “sexual revolution”…. That’s an indication of how much they understood about actual feminism, women’s liberation history, and our great writers…. it isn’t even recognizable to actual feminists.”

    Nor do mean *at all* to put down Real Feminist Academia, a la Daly and others–I agree, “There’s nothing wrong with the whole range of women working together….including women who choose academia/ed as the platform for their activism”. I am somewhat of an academic myself, and have had great tutelage in feminist rhetorical critique from serious feminist scholars at the local uni. I love to write but have chosen not to make academics my focus; however, womyn like Mary Daly, Marylin French I credit hugely for their work (which has helped me save my sanity, and helps us change the world). As far as I’m concerned, there is Everything Right in feminist philosophy/academics.

    In fact that psuedo-fem liberal individualist crowd seems totally anti-academic, anti-intellectual, settling for merely clever and hip. Just had a ton of fun in a discussion about FGM and western-style body alterations…and a couple others more related to pregnancy and birth…in all 3, what I found was deep roots of internalized misogyny in full bloom of riotous ignorance of feminist theory, female physiology and medical practice all 3. And all propped up by each other’s smarmy mutual admiration and tendency to act like a group of bloodthirsty middle-school girls when challenged with either facts, or opinions unlike their own. Got to hear things like “I only had to google for 3 seconds to find REAL SCIENCE to prove you wrong!”. Whereas even the least-motivated high schooler writing a term paper knows you can’t expect to satisfy requirements with “3 seconds of googling”. Or another goodie “Well, we all have opinions, and just like assholes they all stink, so why don’t you shut up instead of acting so self-important”. Oh? So now my opinion is any stinkier than say, YOURS? By sticking to my opinion, I act more self-important than say, YOU DO? WTF….ROFLMAO

    Ah me. Thanks be for this place, and womyn like you and the others who DO have and respect intelligence and deep thinking about this stuff. I’d prolly just shoot myself right now, if I thought feminism really was in their hands henceforward.

  23. Thank you, Noanodyne. For succinctly articulating why I left the Third Wave blogosphere and changed my mind about minoring in Women’s Studies back in college. I found their “feminism” to be diluted, weak, disingenuous, immature, sexualized, and even apologetic for merely existing. Might as well be the academic versions of Cosmopolitan magazine and Oprah’s old show. Bleh!

  24. So you co-opt the struggles of third world women of colour in order to make a point about how much you dislike SlutWalk? Rather than doing ANYTHING to support these women’s struggles – any communication with them, any promotion of their campaign, any research – you use their protest to make a political point about a group which you oppose. Do you have any idea how racist this is? That you are basically taking the voices and concerns of women of colour and simplifying them, diluting them, and bending and twisting them so they agree with your own ideology? What if these women had been protesting in a way you didn’t agree with – wearing short skirts, for example? Would you have given them your support then? Of course not.

    Not to mention that you lie about SlutWalk in this article. We at SlutWalk London used our campaign to highlight sexism, negligence and victim blaming in the police and judiciary, called for an end to prosecutions for ‘false allegations’ of rape and organised a protest outside the Crown Prosecution Service. Does that sound legitimate enough to you? The fact that you think our protest NEEDS to be valid by engaging with the legal system says a lot about how privileged and ignorant you are, when in fact the legal system has failed so many women that the best way for them to heal is by not reporting. And how dare you disparage what we were wearing. Do you know how many rape survivors have contacted us saying that walking on the streets of London in a bra and high heels with a sign saying it wasn’t their fault was the end of their healing or the only time they didn’t feel blamed as a survivor?

    ‘The SlutWalkers’ point, apparently, was that they *should be* able to wear whatever they want and not be blamed by the cops for their own rapes, when men inevitably rape them. Huh?’ – excuse me? Back the hell up a little bit here. Are you saying that it is ‘inevitable’ that a woman wearing certain clothes is raped? Then what makes you any different to the policeman who tells a rape survivor she shouldn’t have been wearing a miniskirt? How dare you say this and still claim ti be against rape.

    This is why I, one of the organisers of SlutWalk London, am not a feminist. You don’t care about women. Read this article and it becomes clear that making political points and pushing your own agenda is more important to you than women’s struggles. Feminists want to criminalise sex workers or prevent them from forming unions because their opinion of what empowerment is is more important to them than women’s safety.

  25. would anyone involved in political organizing say that there was something problematic about identifying strategies and using models, or engaging in political analysis after the fact? the problem with slutwalk, and the organizers of slutwalk, among other things, is that it was neither political nor feminist (nor organized, really). i dont think its too much to ask that a movement like this do its own “research” into how to be politically effective, or even what feminism is all about and the history of anti-rape campaigns that have been advanced by feminists for decades. and slutwalk has its own problems with “racism” which has been well documented.

    slutwalk didnt really engage with the legal system, but it didnt really engage with misogyny or social norms either (patriarchy). it did NEITHER. if it had, it mightve had a SLUTS ‘N PRUDES walk instead, bc it literally doenst matter what the woman does or doesnt do. men rape women BECAUSE PATRIARCHY, bc they can, because women arent protected by law OR tradition from men raping them, and bc men have contempt for women. victim-blaming is one way that male power to rape women with impunity is upheld, its not some abberation in the system. slutwalk didnt address the underlying system at all, and as such it was apolitical and anti-feminist.

    according to the above comment, by one of the organizers of slutwalk, london, they were protesting against a whole mess of things, including “sexism, negligence and victim blaming in the police and judiciary, called for an end to prosecutions for ‘false allegations’ of rape.” thats quite a lot of issues for one protest. they also found (quite after the fact undoubtedly) that the experience was “healing” for some rape survivors. okay. some rape survivors have said that “rough sex” and BDSM makes them feel better. interestingly, slutwalk *also* is a protest, eh, FOR, BDSM, sex-positivism, sex-workers rights, and against abstinence education. all from slutwalk, londons website. this does nothing to refute the point that the message of slutwalk was incoherent, and a hot confusing mess.

    we need to talk about this, and i am glad we are still talking about it. if the organizers of slutwalk just want to get together for lattes and pat each other on the backs at this juncture, they shouldnt be claiming to want to discuss it. regardless, feminists *are* going to critique it, and i hope we can get some input here from seasoned political organizers too. bc slutwalk NEEDS input from both. desperately.

    http://slutmeansspeakup.org.uk/

  26. Anastasia: So the objectives of slutwalk where, as you claim to:

    “highlight sexism, negligence and victim blaming in the police and judiciary,”

    Well pardon me but I think that Reclaim the Night, Refuge, Women’s Aid and The Fawcett Society but to name a few have done an excellent promotion of these inequalities but it’s good that slutwalk want to tag along as well – it’s just that I think you are going about it the wrong way and I’m not alone in this.

    “called for an end to prosecutions for ‘false allegations’ of rape and organised a protest outside the Crown Prosecution Service. ”

    Ditto the above organisations have been working on this for years and are making inroads. However perhaps a bunch of women, who are not feminists, dressed ‘as they damn well please’ will make these sudden changes.

    The above organisations are feminists groups. If you’re not a feminist then why are you reading feminist blogs?

    “Feminists want to criminalise sex workers or prevent them from forming unions because their opinion of what empowerment is is more important to them than women’s safety.”

    Most feminists want the Nordic Model i.e. criminalise the Johns, not the prostitutes. I suggest you read RMotts blog.

  27. Also Anastasia: It behoves you to think about this question:

    Why do ‘sex workers’ need safety? It wouldn’t have anything to do with male violence and misogyny would it? That’s the issue that needs direct action against. Putting in safety measures and unions only seeks to dampen the symptoms it won’t cure the illness.

    And until that issue is address meantime, the Johns are the ones who should be prosecuted.

  28. “The SlutWalkers’ point, apparently, was that they *should be* able to wear whatever they want and not be blamed by the cops for their own rapes, when men inevitably rape them. Huh?’ – excuse me? Back the hell up a little bit here. Are you saying that it is ‘inevitable’ that a woman wearing certain clothes is raped?”

    Yes. Women wearing any type of clothing or nothing at all will be raped by men. That is indeed inevitable, thanks to the patriarchal value systems that you failed to excoriate. Check the statistics for your country of choice for the exact numbers who will be raped this year by men, regardless of what they were wearing. The clothing issue is merely a side-show to distract women from – you guessed it – naming the agent, the direct cause of rape.

    “Feminists want to criminalise sex workers or prevent them from forming unions because their opinion of what empowerment is is more important to them than women’s safety.”

    No. Let’s rephrase this a bit, in the interests of accuracy. Radical feminists want to criminalize johns and reduce the demand for prostitution because women’s safety is more important to them than your opinion of what empowerment is.

  29. Bashing feminists for criticising the internalised misogyny of a demo? Sounds like trolling to me. Anyway, just saying, it took me aback to read this here.

  30. yes, the *only* reason that comment was published was bc it was allegedly from one of the organizers. they need to get their heads on straight, and get some real feedback from people who actually want feminism to succeed, and for rape to end, and they arent going to get that from anywhere else. if they are reading here, we may as well address it here.

  31. *Phew*. I assumed this might be the reason, but thanks for clarifying that, I admit I had this struck of doubt, litterally terror, no kidding.

  32. And another thing. I’ve clicked on the link to the London Slutwalk and quite frankly am appalled at the points Anastasia makes regarding setting up a feminist group at University. This feminist group has to be sex-positive and inclusive – an oxymoran if ever there was one.

    Okay well see here’s the problem with that approach. No one likes the phrase “nothing tastes as good as thin”. Quite rightly people view this as a mandate for anorexia and other food related conditions like bulimia. I see sex-positive and think of the phrase “nothing tastes as good as cock”. It’s to me an exclusive phrase and if you don’t subscribe to cock worship you’re not included in the gang. You are stating heterosexual privilege: “material/social advantages women obtain through coupling with men, ‘a stake in male supremacy,’ ‘a stake in other women’s oppression’ Quote from Dr Dee Graham”s Loving to Survive.

    Oh and Anastasia I like your minimisation technique in that you imply “it’s not so bad other women have it worse” and the “Dear Muslima” approach to women of colour. I want to know how women in Malawi cope with the level of sexism and it seems to me a very level and dignified reaction. Best of all they got listened to. I would never presume white privilege status and arrogantly suggest that I knew the answers and the best approach.

  33. Of radfem hub being infiltrated by hoosewhits!

  34. HAHA! yes admittedly that comment did not follow our comments policy of “moving the discussion forward.” but it opened the door for the radfems to move it forward by responding to it, which we did. i hope others continue to respond too, and that the convo is “continued” esp as the slutwalk b’more folks claim to be holding a post-game tomorrow, and these convos are still being had (like on slutwalk londons website for example).

    but you are right that we dont normally publish those kinds of idiotic comments and that it was inconsistent to publish that one. 🙂

  35. that should be oxymoron. I always speeel that wrong.

  36. So Slutwalk combats sexism by acting out the very stereotype and excuse men use to get clean away with rape and write women off? According to this logic, poc should combat racism by cleaning white people’s houses and picking their cotton and fruit for free. Poor people should combat classism by being beggars and hitting up wealthy people for change on the street. Gay and lesbian folks should combat homophobia by acting morally degenerate. No doubt this will earn them all the respect of dominant groups and do away with rape, sexism, racism, classism and homophobia! Sorry, logic fail.

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