I am not there. Because I am exhausted and sore. Because I have had a back crisis for over a week. Because I directed two choirs today starting at 9 am. Because it was raining earlier.
But in theory I would have loved to be there. I care about the slutwalk. And I believe in it. But I also have reactions and discomfort about it.
The slutwalk basically says that 1. women are allowed to wear whatever they want. 2. A woman being or dressing sexy is never a justification for assault. 3. Men need to learn to look and not touch.
I agree wholeheartedly with all of this.
I have a gorgeous, expressive, make-up wearing, mini skirt lover daughter with very long dark blond hair. She is not yet 15. She is small and she has not taken a self-defense course yet though she has agreed to do so in theory. The other evening she and her equally gorgeous mini skirt wearing friend set off for a party. I said: You look gorgeous and you need to get your attitude on to go out there! Be ready for male attention. Be ready for men to talk to you or even bother you. Get your attitude on. Show them you are in charge of your space.
I was actually afraid for them. I wanted to walk behind them to protect them from what would surely happen–the sorts of scenes which made me feel at risk from the time I was 12 until recently. Men, alone or in groups, feeling entitled to comment, to stare, to unabashedly lust after the girls and women near them. I used to feel so very threatened by moments like this–on a bus or metro, or walking by a group of men on a balcony or front porch or construction site.
A weekend workshop called Action really did teach me how to clearly communicate my boundaries and my displeasure to unwanted male attention. It was great. I needed it because I was bought up to be a nice and polite girl–and this led me to be invaded repeatedly.
So despite my fear for my daughter, I did not want to rain on her parade. I wanted her to enjoy being young, beautiful and in charge of her body and style. I wanted to support her “slutwalk”. So, on that night, I decided to trust that I have brought her up to know that she can say no and that never has to be polite to someone who makes her feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
I am still not ready to talk with her about the reclaiming of the word “slut”. I will wait a few years for that. She still hides her eyes during sexy scenes on Grey’s Anatomy…