Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Slutwalk By Any Other Name (Part 2)

Much has been made about this movement's chosen name. While the choice of Slutwalk has offended some, it's also created a LOT of debate and discussion and controversy and buzz. That's publicity.

Patrick Williams of YOU ROCK! Communications puts it this way:
About 15 years ago, Taco Bell got a lot of attention by claiming they had bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell.

A few years later, Burger King advertised a left-handed hamburger that generated a lot of curiosity and interest.

Both of those 'news' items turned out to be promotional stunts and they both generated lots of publicity.

Any time you can do something outrageous, you have a chance to attract the kind of media coverage that money just can't buy.
I think there's been too much discussion on the name and less on the focus, but hey that seems to be what it takes to get attention and to spread the word to people who wouldn't give "Rally 'Round Against Rape" a second yawn.

And the focus of Slutwalk, from my reading, is that women are not asking to be raped, regardless of what they are wearing. Some criticize the movement as encouraging women to dress "like sluts," and yes there will be some who advocate that look. Every mass movement is made up of lots of people with their own agendas and foci. You can go through all the blogs and Facebook pages and postings and find plenty of examples of "public sluttiness." If that's what you're going to zoom in on, you've missed the point.

As a self-defense instructor, I don't tell people how to dress. Besides my lack of fashion sense, I feel that can too readily be construed as victim-blaming. I do suggest how my students may be seen by others, and how some attire (or other aspects of appearance) can be used as a handy excuse for somebody else's bad behavior. Or how it could attract someone looking for a target. And then recommend safety strategies they can use to compensate for possible increased risk.

Women do not ask to be raped. Ever. Period.

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