Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reclaming the "S" Word & Everything Inbetween

There are always many sides


There has been a story in the paper since January about a police officer who blatantly said that the only way to prevent becoming the victim of a sexual assault was to "avoid dressing like sluts." This police officer was later reprimanded for this statement as it spread like wild fire from news source to social networking sites. It spurred groups for both protesters of the use of the word as well as those who supported the Officer.

I was reading today that one of the groups which is openly against the Officers statements is hosting a "Slut Walk" in Calgary. A way to "reclaim the word 'slut' and promote sex-positive thinking." There was already one held in Toronto which was met with great success.

Agreed, I am all for sex-positive thinking but does the word "slut" need to be reclaimed?  Was it ever really ours in the first place? Sure, the definition as a "sexually immoral woman" has a little less sting to it then the actual social assassination the word can project but personally I could do without that it. Maybe that's the point? Dissolving the word to the point of little to no emotional reaction or a change in definition- it theoretically can happen. Just look at the word bitch. All it takes is a few songs, some celebrity endorsement and people are all over it like fresh cookies. Or at least that's been my reality. It helps when your best friends mother uses it in her oh-so-posh British accent as a term of endearment "You silly little bitch!"

Like with most things, there is such a grey area to me. As someone who has been sexually assaulted in my past,  I personally am not keen to the simple notion that the way a woman dresses is any indicator of if she should be raped or not. It is obvious that in extreme cases the way you dress is a good indicator of how you might be treated and perceived by anyone around you. A woman person should be able to wear what they want and feel safe doing so, but there is also a level of responsibility that comes with it. There is an apparent sexual response that will happen when skin is shown in abundance and it's ignorant for anyone to expect any less. Women can be just as crude as men, sometimes even worse. However, to create a correlation between sexual response to clothing and rape isn't accurate. Rape is not about sex or sexual drives. It is about dominance. Sex drives are normal. Not controlling them isn't.

The word slut has become somewhat of a loose term for an abundance of something. Cuddle slut, chocolate slut, clothes slut, etc. It's not part of my regular vocabulary and it's not in my nature to call people names anyway (except maybe the odd "jerk" here or occasional "poop"). It is just a word. However, if it makes people feel empowered to try to reclaim it, great. That's the true benefit- people embracing their sexuality with whatever they have in them. A healthy relationship to sex means a healthy relationship in general. If marching in a Slut Walk helps you feel good, then do it. If wearing a shirt as a dress does it for you, then go for it. If sending sexy texts messages helps you grasp onto the root of your sexuality then do that too. Do it with the right intention, do it for your right reasons just as long as the relationship you have to sex is a nourishing one that builds you up rather then tears you down. Sex-positive thinking does not mean promiscuity.

I'm not a feminist but I don't think that women should be cowering in a corner scared of the world. Their confidence should not come at the expense of men- or anyone for that matter. "Slut" is just a word to me. I can see why some people might be offended however I think it's more out of ignorance of the statement then the actual shock of the word. It was a poor choice- however, I have not seen a video showing me what actually happened so I am admittedly unaware of the full context and am going mostly by articles I've read.

I've seen a lot of banter in regards to the subject so I imagine that there might be some pretty powerful opinions out there. I know, I've heard them in the lunch room at work. I'm curious about your opinion on the matter. What fits for you?

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