Sunday’s SlutWalk – What to wear, and why it’s not (just) about being sexy

SlutWalk Portland Organizers!

If you’ve been reading qPDX or any other local news website lately, you’ve been hearing a lot about the Portland SlutWalk. You may have read my article in which I bashed back against Jack Donovan’s critique of SlutWalk as a “lesbian parade” for “fat” “whores” and “feminists who are embarrassing themselves”. You may have been handed a flyer for slutwalk, the pre-party, or the decompression/after party, along with a smile by one of SlutWalk’s principal organizers: Ryan Basille, Sterling Clark, Sophia St. James. You may have heard some of the backstory – namely that SlutWalk was founded in response to a police officer in Canada doling out nuanced and socially aware advice to trainees, such as: “If women want to avoid being raped, they shouldn’t dress like sluts”. You may have heard that SlutWalk itself as gone through permit, funding, and personnel difficulties, only to triumph, like we knew it would. It’s coming. It’s almost here. And what are you going to wear? This Sunday, July 31st, SW 4th and Jefferson (Terry Shrunk Plaza), 1pm.

But despite all of the confusing messages the word “slut” may kick off in your head, the Portland SlutWalk really isn’t that much about being a slut. And believe it or not, what you’re going to wear is an important question to ask.

What do you think about when you hear the term “slut”? Does you think of certain behaviours, (sex on the first date? An orgy with strangers in the woods? A monogamous marriage?) certain body types, certain dispositions, certain clothing? How revealing does clothing need to be, before we call someone a slut? Is it OK to rape a slut? Is it OK to disrespect a slut? Is OK to beat a slut? And what about porn – don’t heterosexual men supposedly get off on the idea that any woman, any time, is constantly willing to let herself be fucked by pretty much any man who crosses her path? How are women (especially straight women) supposed to negotiate these totally conflicting expectations of sexual identity/ies?

The truth is – if you take control of your sexuality, if you think that sex is fun and pleasure is good for you, if you know that nobody should ever have to face violence and abuse because of the city they live in, the work they do, the sex they have, and the way they are in their body, then you already believe in the ideas behind SlutWalk. SlutWalk is not about “sluts taking to the streets”. It’s about saying: Here we are, our bodies, our identities, still struggling with oppression, censorship, violence, control. And we are moving out of the shadows, the private, the domestic sphere, the home. We are moving out of silence.

Rape predates miniskirts

Rape predates miniskirts

It’s the being declaratory-in-public about the importance of healthy sexuality that’s the important thing, not whether we all share the same feelings about¬† sex, about being sexual, about freedom. We, and by that I am referring to human beings, have the right to set healthy boundaries regarding sexual activity, we have the right to feel attractive, loved and worthy regardless of our appearance, and we have the right to use our bodies and our libido any way we want.

Rape will not stop until rapists stop raping.
Rape predates miniskirts.
Rape predates “morals” too.

SlutWalk isn’t about being a self-identified “slut”. SlutWalk is about saying no to sexual violence that blames the victim, about saying no to shame-based policing of certain bodies and behaviours, and about saying yes to communication about sex, yes to empowerment of women, men, trans* people and queers of all shapes, colours and sizes, and about yes to our right to choose how to be sexual. Monogamous. Married. Single. Dating. Swinger. Masochist. Fetishist. Asexual. Conservative. Liberal.

So now back to the original question: What to wear for SlutWalk?

Stop Slut Shaming!

Stop Slut Shaming!

Whatever you damn well please.You get to choose what’s slutty, you get to choose what’s sexy.¬† It’s about what’s in your head, not on your ass.


The pre-party: @ Rotture/Branx, Saturday, July 3oth at party o’clock, $5-$7 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds, 21+

Portland SlutWalk, Terry Shrunk Plaza (SW 4th and Jefferson). July 31st. 1pm. LETS GET LOUD!

Decompression party – a chance to get together and see a TON of local burlesque artists perform. Saratoga bar (6910 N. Interstate Ave). $3 to $5 sliding scale. 6 to ten pm. No one turned away for lack of funds, also.

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