Today, the Washington Post features a piece on a new, grassroots feminist movement, SlutWalks. These walks have women taking to the streets, wearing as little or as much clothing as they choose to protest sexual assault. Their message: A woman’s clothing is her choice. It does not entice rapists, nor should it be blamed for such.
The movement so far has been successful in terms of garnering attention and gathering followers. In a world where the debate is on whether or not to make school uniforms baggier in order to deter pedophiles, rather than what measures to take to keep such predators away from schools, well, that’s indicative of a serious problem. And that is what SlutWalks is all about. “She’s asking for it” is antiquated and preposterous. Fashion should be fun, not frightening.
The other debate surrounding SlutWalks is the use of the term ‘slut’. Opponents of the movement – or at least how the movement is categorized – claim that by trying to reclaim the world slut, these women are injuring themselves and their cause. Slut does have a negative stigma, one that is culturally common. But I don’t think they’re actually trying to reclaim slut and turn it into something positive. Rather, I think by using the word slut, SlutWalks is cleverly turning the word on its head. First, it’s a great way to get attention – who would willingly call herself a slut? That incites curiosity. Second, it seems that SlutWalks is using the term as a sort of threat to anyone who would dare to call them such, or to go so far as to attempt some sort of assault. Singling out one woman as a slut is degrading, and renders her powerless. But it’s damn near impossible to call thousands of women sluts and expect the same effect. There is strength in numbers, and when women rally around each other, it is much harder for any of them to feel victimized.
Slut is not going to be the new ‘homegirl’ or ‘wifey’ or any other odd nickname. But used in the context SlutWalks, it shows that sexuality can also be strength. That a woman can wear whatever she wants, just because she wants to. And to those that oppose this – well, they’re just stupid. And they’ll have a hell of a time getting a date.
This should bring the ladies running.
No, this is not a meme or thing like the awkward moose. Though that is funny.
Today, I read a story about Lonesome George, the last known survivor of a giant tortoise species native to Pinta Island, near Ecuador. Though no one knows for sure if Lonesome George is, indeed, as lonely as his name suggests, a global search is underway to find him a mate – or even just a date. The problem lies in finding a female tortoise of the same species. The bigger problem is that Lonesome George seems exceedingly picky. So far, only one of the females (not the same species) picked to fraternize with him has elicited the desired response, but none of the eggs hatched.
So the search continues. Hopefully a female of the same species is found, and hopefully that female will arouse Lonesome George’s interest. And hopefully those eggs will hatch. Lonesome George can’t afford to be picky with his species on the line. Anyone know of a good turtle whisperer? This tortoise needs to understand what’s at stake here.
Osama bin Laden, Taliban leader and fixture of the FBI’s most wanted list since 1999, is dead. He was killed this weekend by US special forces – a mission that had been in the works since August, when US operatives discovered bin Laden hiding out at a mansion turned fortress in Pakistan.
It’s surreal, in a way, to hear this. Bin Laden has been the world’s super villain for almost 10 years. Many people, including myself, have grown up in fear of the Taliban and what they are capable of post-9/11. To have it end so abruptly is both galvanizing and almost hard to believe, since the search has been ceaseless for so long. Hopefully, bin Laden’s death is as much of a downer for the Taliban as it has been a morale boost for the U.S. Thousands of people flooded Ground Zero last night to celebrate, a show of unity and strength that will, hopefully, be echoed around the country.
Hear Obama’s announcement here.
In more paranoid moments, I’m reminded of George Orwell’s book 1984. Pat downs, profiling, metal detectors – Big Brother is indeed watching, especially at the airport.
But apparently the airport is not the only place with extra surveillance. Today, the Washington Post released another section of its “Top Secret America” series. This time, the focus is on us – how the government is watching us, even when we’re doing something as innocuous as taking a picture of a pretty view. Creepy. Check it out here: Monitoring America.
I have drooled over Yves St. Laurent’s classic Le Smoking for years. What seems so simple – one tuxedo jacket and pair of pants – has the power to transform any woman into someone sexy, powerful and confident. The combination of menswear styling and tailoring meant for a woman’s body both rejects traditional gender norms and embraces female sensuality. So much in one garment – of course I want one.
The tuxedo, however, is a garment unfortunately more fraught with complications than just a little gender-bending. What can be seen as powerful can also be perceived as threatening – that playing with gender norms endangers the status quo. Robin Givhan has an excellent article in the Washington Post about the message a woman wearing a tuxedo conveys. Check it out here: A tuxedo on a woman: What is says and what it means.
Ultra-conservative Fox News pundit and all around annoying guy Glenn Beck seems to be training for a new job as a stand-up comedian. I can’t see any other reason why he would claim “divine providence” linked him with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Washington Post reports that because of scheduling problems, Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally is scheduled to take place on August 28 at the Lincoln Memorial, exactly 47 years after King made his famous “I have a dream” speech there. Though Beck has faced criticism from all sides, including the NAACP, for this scheduling decision, he believes the link will help hammer his message home.
Beck plans to unveil his “100 year plan” for America at the rally, honor military families and, he says, restore the values America has been lacking for way too long. Apparently, Americans are lacking in honor and integrity. Oh, and “truth.” Just vague enough to avoid a need for clarification, and grandiose enough to entertain Beck’s thought that the rally will be a “historic” event.
The rally will also feature Sarah Palin, the hand-reading, word-coining mama grizzly who inspires some and terrifies many. This combination of Palin and Beck, who has accused President Obama of racism against whites and who has dismissed ‘African-American’ as a “bogus” term, seems destined more for infamy than historic significance. The Washington Post piece quotes Beck comparing King’s desire for people to be judged by their character with his own aims. But anyone who is quick to accuse others of racism (Sonya Sotomayor, for example) and compare Al Gore’s work against global warming to Hitler’s Final Solution has very little character of his or her own. What Beck claims is divinely ordained is destined (ooh, providence is getting its revenge!) to become nothing but a farce.
Beck, do us a favor, and drown these ludicrous ideas of yours into a cup of that tea your supporters seem to enjoy so much. I think King was a coffee drinker, anyway.
Yesterday, a California Judge ruled that proposition 8, which declared gay marriage illegal, is unconstitutional. This decision puts gay couples one step closer to enjoying the same rights of heterosexual married couples, rights they fully deserve.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s decision states that prop 8 only serves to bolster the notion that opposite-sex couples are somehow superior to gay couples, and that there is no evidence to support this notion. The decision joins California with five other states and the District of Columbia who allow same-sex marriage.
The fight is far from over, however. Though prop 8 has been overturned, gay couples in California can’t marry quite yet. And opponents of gay marriage are gearing up to take the case to the Court of Appeals. It is expected to make it up to the Supreme Court, which would be the first time gay marriage is addressed there.
Excerpts from Judge Walker’s 100+ page decision.
An argument for full equality.
A comprehensive roundup of the decision and subsequent events.