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SlutWalks Are the ‘Future of Feminism’

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AP Photo/Josh Reynolds
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AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

Over forty years ago, feminists chucked their bras and high heels into a trash can during the 1968 Miss America pageant, igniting the bra-burning feminist myth that will never die. According to Jessica Valenti of the Washington Post, select groups of young women are flooding to the streets in protest of sexual assault, not wearing much more than what their foremothers once unofficially named “objects of female oppression” in marches known as SlutWalks.

It is a scandalous name, which is a major reason why the organizers chose it. It is also why many of the SlutWalk protesters are wearing little to nothing, though some lobbyist are donning sweatpants and t-shirts.

Thousands of people are lobbying to dispute the idea that what women wear wear, what they drink or how they behave attribute to factors that make them a target for rape.

SlutWalks originally began with a local march put together by five women in Toronto. The walks have gone viral as there are events planned in over seventy-five cities in countries ranging from the United States and Canada to Sweden and South Africa. In a few short months, SlutWalks have now become the most efficacious feminist act within the last twenty years.

There does not seem to be an end to SlutWalks, and they are beginning to seem like the “future of feminism,” according to Jessica Valenti in the Washington Post. It started as one demonstration in Toronto over a single police officer’s advice: to escape rape, do not dress like a “slut.” The SlutWalkers are organizing themselves and not with any established women’s group.

SlutWalks are different from other national marches, they are fueled by young, enraged, passionate women. They “have cropped up organically, in city after city, fueled by the raw emotional and political energy of young women.”

According to Valenti, we are witnessing a “new day in feminist organizing. One when women’s anger begins online but takes to the street, when a local step makes global waves and when one feminist action can spark debate, controversy and activism that will have lasting effects on the movement.”

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