I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s an interesting movement afoot. It stems from a Toronto police officer who, when asked at a York University safety forum what women can do to avoid being victimized, said they “should avoid dressing like sluts.”
Wow. So eloquently put.
Not so surprisingly, that statement caused quite an outrage, spurring a group of women to stand up against the whole ’you asked for it’ mentality when it comes to sexual violence. Pretty noble cause. Like many women and men, I’m a firm believer in ‘no means no.’ It kills me when they blame the victim. Given all of this, I prepared to stand firm behind these female idealists. Then they announced their mission:
They want to take the word ‘slut’ back.
Here’s a quote from their website (www.slutwalktoronto.com):
Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.
We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work. No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.
This groups course of action? SlutWalks! On scheduled days in a North American city near you, women everywhere are invited to dress up in their Saturday worst and strut their stuff for empowerment. Sluts of the world unite!
I’m going to say something incredibly shocking: a lot of moms like sex. They consider themselves ‘in charge of their sexual life.’ So does that authorize them to walk around in tight fitting mini dresses with their butts hanging out the bottom? Gross.
Granted, I can't say the whole promiscuity/sex for (ahem) ‘work’ thing applies to many of us. In truth, I doubt we're considered part of SlutWalk's target audience. If we are, though, allow me to say this:
I don’t want to take the word ‘slut’ back. I never had it in the first place. And if you are a woman who dresses like a tramp, has sex with a lot of men, and does both of these in such flagrant fashion that it’s obvious to all….well, all I’ll say is if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck....
Now don’t get me wrong. Rape is a violent act and rapists are downright sick. Some victims dress like hoochie mamas, others dress like nuns. Regardless, it is common knowledge that wearing provocative clothing invites sexual attention. You can't tell me you're shocked by this revelation.
Women have the right to dress any way they want. They also have the right to leave their car unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Is it wrong if someone steals their car? Absolutely. Could they have done anything to prevent it? Yes.
If you want to avoid being a victim, be smart. Dress smart. If you do decide to dress a little risqué one night and someone accosts you, I will strongly be in your corner. But, all in all, I’d rather you try and avoid the whole situation in the first place.
If you don’t want to be treated like a slut, the best course of action is not to dress like one. They're harsh words but they're also the truth.
So to you SlutWalk folks, please stick to your original message. That one I can get behind. But don't equate the word 'slut' with sexual empowerment. That just doesn't sit well with me.
Hey, girls, need a confidence boost? Then I have a great solution:
You heard me. “‘When you know what sex really feels like….it makes you confident in any situation.’” At least that’s what it says in this month's issue of Seventeen magazine. Just read ‘Love & Sex Secrets.’ I did.
Man, what joy I felt seeing that little nugget of truth displayed on the printed page.
First question's first, though: What was I doing reading Seventeen? Trust me, it had everything to do with my thirst for all things teenagery and nothing to do with a high school fundraiser my daughter participated in last semester. Honest.
But back to the sex/confidence thing....
Are you frickin' kidding me? I should have heard the warning bells when I read ‘The Rules of College Dating’ first. In it, Noelia of Wesleyan University offered Rule #6: Introduce your guy and roomie ASAP. Not bad advice. Then she goes on to say:
“If you like someone, introduce him to your roommate as soon as possible. If she’s friends with him too, she won’t care as much when he drops by your tiny dorm room all the time or sleeps over a few nights a week.”
Seriously? I say if you’re roommate’s boyfriend is constantly spending the night shave both of their heads while they’re sleeping. Or you could just report them. That’s been known to work.
Anyway, back to the sex/confidence thing again…
WTF, Seventeen? Please tell me you didn't mean the way it sounded.
And for all you girls out there, if you need a confidence boost go get a mani/pedi or add a few highlights to your hair. No money? Then just watch the latest Pink video or something. Trust me, having sex might not boost your confidence. In fact, it just might shatter it. So don't let anyone -- your boyfriend, your girlfriends, your psychotic pet hamster -- and especially not some stupid magazine convince you to do anything you're not 100% ready to do. Got it?
And when you are finally ready? Still wait.
...Oh, come on. What did you expect me to say? I'm a mom after all, remember?
cat and lion photo credit
Coming up with ideas for blog posts can be a difficult task, so I’m taking a break to address a few pretend letters from three non-existent girls who’ve asked for advice. Like my Why Does She DO That? page, this post comes with the following:
WARNING: CONTAINS PREACHY CONTENT
May be unsuitable for viewers who aren’t in the mood
With that being said, allow me to present…
DEAR MAKE-BELIEVE MOM
It’s hard to explain. I mean, I don’t go out a ton, but I do have friends. Still, sometimes I just feel so alone, like I don’t fit in. What should I do? - The Only Lonely
Rejoice! Yes, you heard me. Why? Because it means you’re normal. If you didn’t feel that way you’d be a freak. Seriously. No one feels 100% comfortable with themselves 100% of the time unless they’re on heavy medication -- and that’s a whole other issue entirely. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: What about that girl in math class, the one with the coolest clothes, coolest friends, etc.? She never feels that way, right? Wrong. Just don’t ask her to admit it unless you want her to give you the stink eye. Even still, what if she did think she was all that and a bag of Cheetos 24/7? Talk about a major head case. Nope, I’d rather be you. People who know what it’s like to feel awkward are usually nicer and make better friends. My bet is you’re one cool, compassionate chick. So don’t be sad, be GLAD (insert something snarky about garbage bags here.) You’re a better person for it.
I’ve been dating this guy for a while now, and he’s been pressuring me to play Monopoly. Thing is, I’m not sure I’m ready. What should I do? - Not Quite Ready to Play
Dear Not Quite Ready,
Wow, Monopoly. I can see why you’re scared. The game takes so long to set up, yet you have no guarantee your boyfriend will keep playing after just a few turns. If he does keep going, it can be hard to tell if the only reason he’s doing it is so he can hit ‘GO’ and collect $200 all the time. Then, by the time you figure that out you’ve got so much invested in the game you feel you have to keep playing even when you want to stop. ARGH! The social repercussions can be devastating, too. All it takes is for one person to find out and, before you know it, the whole world is snickering about your ‘Community Chest.’ Tragic. Plus, there’s always ‘Chance.’ Pick the wrong card and the game’s over, just like that. Talk about a messy clean up –- there are so many pieces! -- and, more than likely, you’re boyfriend won’t lift a finger to help.
My advice? Don’t roll the dice. Stick to simpler games until you want, and can afford, to buy Boardwalk and put a house on it. Trust me, your life will be happier and much more care-free.
I’m sixteen years old and wear a size 11 shoe. I feel like a circus clown. Any suggestions on how I can blend? - Bigfoot in Smallsville
Now I’ve been pretty straight forward with advice so far, so I know you’re expecting something like, “Size 11 shoe? No big deal. I bet no one really notices,” or “Accentuate the positive! I bet you can clog dance louder and squash bugs better than anyone else around!” Truth is, I’m sure you look like a total freak and, as a teenager, the last thing you want to do is stand out. Conformity is king. So the solution is simple: remove your toes with a hacksaw. I know it sounds painful, but not as painful as the total humiliation you must be going through. I mean, I still remember the day I had to break off my friendship with a good buddy once I noticed her knees looked a little too much like russet potatoes. Sure, you’ll have trouble walking and wearing flip flops will be a thing of the past, but now you’ll be able to really rock a pair of Uggs. Totally worth it. Just ask your parents first. Doctor bills and physical therapy will play heavily in your future.
Well, that’s it for now. If you have any questions of your own, just send me an e via the handy dandy ‘Contact Me’ tab and I might just answer it. Yep, that’s right. I’m cool that way.