SlutWalk march and rally are on for Aug. 6

A woman holds up a sign in front of police headquarters in Toronto during the first Slutwalk, on April 3, 2011. On Aug. 6, Philadelphia will hold one in Center City.
A woman holds up a sign in front of police headquarters in Toronto during the first Slutwalk, on April 3, 2011. On Aug. 6, Philadelphia will hold one in Center City. (Richard Lautens / Associated Press)
Posted: July 13, 2011

On Aug. 6, Philadelphia will become the latest major city to host a SlutWalk - a protest against attitudes that sexual assault can be connected to a woman's clothing, hair and makeup.

Starting about 11 a.m. at Kahn Park, at 11th and Pine, marchers - wearing whatever they want - will head for City Hall, where speakers will voice their explanations and indigation, according to lead organizer Hannah Altman.

"SlutWalk opens the door to conversation about a lot of things," said the 20-year-old sociology and women's studies major, who attends Cornell College in Iowa. "Why is it derogatory for women to have a sex life? . . . What you wear and how much you drink are not to blame for sexual assault."

She expects 1,000 or more women - and men - to take part, since that's how many said yes via Facebook to attending in June. That date, though, was postponed for lack of the proper permits, which just came through.

More than 1,700 people have "liked" the SlutWalk Philadelphia's Facebook page so far.

Thousands took part in the first Slutwalk, held in Toronto in April, after a police officer there said, "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

Organizers deliberately used the word slut, declaring, in a manifesto, "We are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result."

That remark apparently tapped a reservoir of outrage, because similar marches were being held across the United States and Canada, and even overseas.

"It's a dress, not a yes," read a sign in London. "This is not my 'I want you' face!" was a message in Chicago. "It's my hot body, I do what I want" was printed out in Boston. "Rape is never OK," said a sign in Seattle.

"In just a few months, SlutWalks have become the most successful feminist action of the past 20 years," blogger Jessica Valenti wrote for the Washington Post.

Local outrage also erupted, Altman said, when editor Dan Rottenberg wrote at his Broad Street Review website how women "need to take sensible precautions before they're victimized" and questioned the wisdom of cleavage-revealing publicity photos for CBS correspondent Lara Logan, who was brutally gang-raped in Egypt.

Rottenberg, who wrote an apology or two, said this morning he was trying to provoke discussion, and apparently got too provocative.

But airing views is healthy, "so I think it's all to the good," he said.

"We must share our perceptions with each other openly and honestly, instead of shouting each other down."

For more on SlutWalk, go to www.philadelphiaslutwalk.com, or search for "SlutWalk Philadelphia" on Facebook.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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