Tomorrow Slutwalk will be taking place in Johannesburg at Zoo lake, and I will be participating.
In a Rape culture we are told how to dress, where we may walk, who we must walk with, how we must act around men, how we should not be dick-teasers, how to prevent someone from raping us. I have addressed Victim blaming in a previous post, so this post that you’re reading right now is dedicated to linkage, pics and quotes where others have said it better than I ever could!
In South Africa the problem is pervasive. We are told on one hand how to dress to impress and make men’s jaws drop, on the other hand if we dare to show some cleavage and god forbid wear mini-skirts we are considered sluts and are “Asking for it” By definition, one cannot ask to be raped. These types of messages are spewed at us from Women’s magazines, television, talks about sex and sexuality within schools and sometimes even parents. It is everywhere.
Not being assaulted is not a privilege to be earned through the judicious application of personal safety strategies. A woman should be able to walk down the street at 4 in the morning in nothing but her socks, blind drunk, without being assaulted, and I, for one, am not going to do anything to imply that she is in any way responsible for her own assault if she fails to Adequately Protect Herself. Men aren’t helpless dick-driven maniacs who can’t help raping a vulnerable woman. It disrespects EVERYONE.- Quote via Lostgrrrls.com (which seems to no longer be active, what a pity)- Emily Nagoski
There have been many times in my life were I’ve been slut-shamed, specifically for wearing a particular type of clothing- the mini-skirt. Despite my size 14 frame, I still wear short skirts, and I refuse to be told that because of this, I am a “slut”, a “skank”, a “ho”, that I’m “asking for it”. In my first year of varsity an examination question focusing on the mini skirt and particular cultural views of a girl/woman wearing one, and I spoke about our right as women to wear what the F we like, without some asshole, thinking we are free meat. Just like I don’t wear “gothic” clothing in order to have people stare at me and call me a freak. I’m expressing myself through my clothing, I’m taking control of my body and dressing it how *I* want to dress it not how society says I must necessarily dress it in order for me to be a “normal” person.
Cover up and you’re a prude, show skin and you’re a slut, wear jeans and a t-shirt and you’ve fallen off the wagon, wear more flamboyant clothes and you’re an attention seeker. We cannot win one way or the other how we dress, we are constantly being judged, by ourselves, each other, and society, so I say Fuck That and I’ll wear what I like, if that includes fishnets and mini skirts and the occasional cleavage that’s my business, it’s my body, it’s not public property, YOU have no right to tell me how to dress.
This is quoted in one of the linked articles below, but expresses how I feel as a fat woman who wears tight and sometimes revealing, clothes:
And this is also why, when someone tells me that my clothes are “too tight” and that “you don’t have to wear tight clothes to be sexy,” I feel rage. I wonder if they know how hard I had to work just to feel like I was even allowed to wear those clothes, much less feel confident and beautiful in them. I wonder if they’ve ever been slut bashed, and wonder if they’re policing my fashion because they’ve been slut bashed. But I especially don’t understand it when those criticisms come from other supposedly fat-positive people, because in my world, letting the outline of your belly show in a dress, or wearing something sleeveless that doesn’t hide your arm fat isn’t just ok, it’s appreciated. Tight clothes on fat bodies are inherently political, and I would even say moreso when those tight clothes look damn good and are worn with pride.
I don’t need everyone to like the clothes that I wear, but I am also attuned to the undercurrent of slut shaming that is so often levied against people who wear revealing clothes. I would ask those people who feel discomfort and/or disgust to think about what it is that’s behind those feelings.
I’d also like to point out that I am someone who enjoys “play” and dress up, I like to pop in and out of identities, smashing and bashing boundaries of what it means to be “ME”. So I have a smorgasboard of styles that I like to try from vampy femme fatale, to hippy, to gothed to the nines, to “conservative”. Regardless of how I dress, I have a right to express myself without being victimised, and without someone slut-bashing me!
Here is an important and fantastic article describing the situation in South Africa.
August is Women’s Month so here is a great article of rage and rant expressing many of my own sentiments.
An article on wearing mini skirts by Drop Dead Gina of Mooky Chick.
Want to know exactly what slut-shaming is? Here is a fantastic article.
Even more links to articles on slut-shaming