Slutwalks: Fighting for the right to be a "slut" demeans us all

Slutwalks: Fighting for the right to be a "slut" demeans us all

Fighting for the right to be a “slut” demeans us all

11:28 AM on 16th May 2011

Sluts or nuts Will marching through a city in your bra help women to get treated fairly when they are attacked

This controversial campaign started with an unfortunate remark — a policeman in Canada told students that women should avoid ‘dressing like sluts’ if they didn’t want to be victimised.

The outrage that followed this politically incorrect advice led to the officer being disciplined and ordered to apologise. Soon, thousands of women — many just wearing their underwear — marched in Toronto and Slutwalks were born.

Controversial: The Slutwalk in Boston, which attracted 3,000 demonstrators

Controversial: The Slutwalk in Boston, which attracted 3,000 demonstrators

The movement has grown rapidly through Facebook — a week ago 3,000 demonstrated in Boston, for the right to ‘dress as they please’.

They argue that many police officers and law enforcement agencies believe women are partly to blame if they choose to dress provocatively and then get sexually assaulted.

Slutwalks are going global — several are planned in Australia and in London on June 11.

Why are women so keen to appropriate the word slut It’s a mystery to me. Slut, as Germaine Greer pointed out the other day, historically means ‘a woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance, a foul slattern’ — nothing to do with sex and everything to do with cleanliness.

Yes, these days we are brainwashed into over-cleaning everything in sight, and we spend a considerable amount of our wages on cleaning gadgets and cleansing products. Housework takes up too much of our time, and the minute we can afford it, we pay someone else to do it.

We regard a dirty home as a shameful one, a sign we have failed. Only posh eccentrics and well-educated middle-class intelligentsia are proud to say they live in squalor. The rest of us spend far too long tidying up and trying to restore order to our surroundings.

More from Janet Street Porter…

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JANET STREET PORTER: Great knees-up but, as I know, marriage is no fairytale …
02/05/11

JANET STREET-PORTER: Who gave this lot the Royal seal of approval
24/04/11

JANET STREET-PORTER: Girls up North are great, so why DO they dress like Lily Savage
10/04/11

JANET STREET-PORTER: Forget pupil power. Let teachers take charge again!
04/04/11

JANET STREET-PORTER: Tweeting It”s just a tidal wave of drivel
29/03/11

JANET STREET-PORTER: Is peaceful protest now dead
27/03/11

JANET STREET PORTER: Don”t just leave these kids to rot
20/03/11

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Of course, men rarely get involved in all this — it is perfectly acceptable for them to be messy — we often dismiss it as one of their little ‘foibles’. But why should women want to be called sluts What’s so wrong about liking my house being neat and tidy Does it mean I’ve let the sisterhood down if I like stacking the pots in the dishwasher

The word slut has become associated with dirty sex as well as a dirty home. Sluts are women who sleep with whoever they choose, often getting paid for doing so.

When junior tennis star Laura Robson described some of her fellow players as sluts in an interview in Vogue last year, she quickly apologised profusely.

She’d implied that some young players seemed more interested in their sex lives than the game of tennis — a valid point. But the S word is regarded as such an insult, this nave teenager quickly had to pretend she hadn’t really meant to use it.

The slutwalkers, in their bras and pants, say that women should have true equality — the freedom to wear what they like without fear of censure. I agree — up to a point. It’s true the police have a long way to go in dealing with rape — just 6.5 per cent of cases end in a conviction, a cause for concern.

Blaming women for wearing shorts and low-cut frocks doesn’t disguise the fact that there are serious failures in the system. Women have an unpleasant time from the minute they accuse a man of rape, and a courtroom appearance can be an ordeal.

But there’s a fine line between expressing your individuality through your clothing and starting a chain of events you may not be able to control.

We dress to be noticed and admired — but do we think through the consequences There’s a huge amount of peer pressure among young girls to dress older than their years, to wear sexually charged clothing before they’ve even had a period.

Of course men are 100 per cent responsible for their actions — but why some women dress so provocatively in situations where a lot of drink is being consumed and both sexes might feel more uninhibited is difficult to understand.

Women should be able to go out at night and have fun without worrying about being attacked. I’m not saying they should be fearful, but they should be mindful, that what they are wearing, where they are walking and whether they are alone should all be considered.

Pop icons like Lady Gaga swan around in pants and a bra — so it’s not surprising that impressionable small girls can’t see why they can’t do the same. But they’re going to school, not a nightclub.

Fighting for the right to be a slut demeans smart women — I’ll fight any day for equality at work, in the boardroom, and in parliament. Not the right to prance about in public in my pants.

Come on Celia, Best deserves better
Celia Walden: Piers Morgan

Celia Walden: Piers Morgan”s wife has written an unnecessary memoir

George Best drank himself to death in 2005. A couple of years earlier, Celia Walden was sent by her newspaper to ‘babysit’ the errant footballer, to make sure he delivered his column and didn’t blab to any of their rivals.

These days glamorous Celia is married to Piers Morgan and writes a newspaper column of her own.

Why wait all this time to turn her limited experience with a sporting icon in sad decline into a pretentious memoir costing a whopping 16.99

One reviewer described it as ‘muck-racking tabloid journalism dressed up as something more’ and I agree.

We all know the story — a once attractive and supremely talented man becomes an alcoholic only interested in his relationship with booze. What’s new to say about that

Celia seems judgmental, but do we care It might be more interesting to speculate why she seems to determined to parade her credentials as a serious writer.

Could she be trying to emulate her husband’s obsession with fame and celebrity, now he’s hosting a chat show in the U.S.

George Best wasn’t a saint, but his son Calum deserves better than this pious twaddle.

It”s enough to make me gag!

Stung by his former wife’s allegation that someone else said they were driving his car when he was stopped for speeding, millionaire Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has employed an expensive media lawyer to defend his reputation.

In another newspaper yesterday, Jeremy Clarkson (with a multi-million pound BBC deal and a property empire) and Jemima Khan (who inherited millions) both squeal about the need for privacy.

Hugh Grant moans on Newsnight about the need for gagging orders. Funny how it’s mostly wealthy people who can afford to have an opinion about whether or not we need a privacy law.

The more money you have, the more influence and power is available to deal with unwelcome stories about yourself.

Privacy is only an option for the very rich.

Let them eat bread

Call me chubby, but I don’t care. I won’t be one of the suckers queuing up for the latest slimming ‘aid’ from Waitrose — the bread-free sandwich. Can you believe it

They are flogging a new range of wraps which feature lettuce instead of carb-laden bread to hold the fillings. You can choose from feta cheese, spiced chicken and mango or king prawns and rice noodles — all weighing in at a paltry 125 calories.

You might feel virtuous with your low-cal wrap at lunchtime, but when four o’clock comes around, I bet you’ll be dying for a low-calorie slab of chocolate.

Can we stop demonising carbs There’s nothing wrong with good bread — and it contains fibre.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ensured that carefully staged photos regularly reinforce his action man image — probably the most embarrassing have been the topless riding and fishing shots — a bitOTT for a man in his late 50s, even if he’s pretty fit. Putin has inspired a cult following in Russia, the most devoted of which are a bizarre all-female sect who believe he is on a mission from God. They wear nuns’ clothing, sing patriotic songs and pray to a portraitof the former President and KGB agent, surviving on a diet of turnips, carrots and buckwheat. Hard to imagine the same thing happening here — in spite of all Alastair Campbell’s clever stage-managing of Blair’s public appearances during his years in power, I can’t imagine a single person praying to his image, these days.