"Do I Look Like a Slut?" asked Miami natives Debbie and Daphne of Avenue D about ten years ago in their infectious song (video posted jump). It's a question we've all asked. If there's something Miami girls know a thing about, it's about looking a little less than "proper." We've all worn coochie cutters and crop tops. All of us. It's hot out here, really, it is. Our skin needs to breathe!
An unfortunate consequence to our ubiquitous use of coochie cutters is that many of us 305 gals have been called sluts -- whether to our faces or behind our backs. The term is not only an insult, but it implies that women ask for mistreatment ranging from harassment, abuse, and even rape. Enter SlutWalk, a march that shouts out that violence against women has nothing to do with the length of one's skirt or the tightness of one's dress. Both women and men have congregated in the streets of Toronto and Chicago for SlutWalk, and we'd like to see one on Miami's Flagler Street or Ocean Drive.
SlutWalk organizers began in Toronto this past January after a representative of the Toronto Police stated, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Um? Really? Going to the police after being sexually assaulted is hard enough for victims, having police officers blaming the victim is truly something that will keep perpetrators from justice instead of protecting women and men. Rape is not about sex, by the way, it's about violence.
SlutWalk Chicago organizer Jessica Skolnik told the Huffington Post:
The dominant narrative suggests that the legal system is something that works for survivors and against rapists. The reality is so much more complex and difficult, and when survivors' experiences don't match up to the narrative we tend to blame ourselves and absorb a lot of blame from the outside world for the violence perpetrated against us, which is an incredible injustice. We're hoping to get the facts out about sexual assault and what survivors experience in a public way and get people talking about realities instead of myths.
The people of SlutWalks are taking their frustrations to the streets, fighting not only the idea that we can be sexual beings without being sexual victims, but also the stereotypes and misunderstandings that sometimes inherent to our cultural concept of sexuality.
The SlutWalk folks want to increase dialogue on and challenge "victim-blaming, slut-shaming, misogynist and oppressive ideas." They believe, "these damaging ideas affect all of us and play into racist, ableist, homophobic discussions about status, class, sex work, indigenous rights." SlutWalk Chicago took place just last week on June 4, and was a great success, including people of all genders and races.
In Miami, we aren't ashamed to show off our bodies, but maybe we could do with some real empowerment. Perhaps a few strong ladies will get together and SlutWalk all over town and let authorities, random cat-calling assholes, and sexual predators know that rape doesn't exist in some sort of logic equation with a miniskirt. Ever.
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