Tag Archives: Slut Walk

Slut bias at The Drum narrowly averted

28 May

osocio.org

I’ve lost count of how many articles were published on The Drum this week about the latest expression of exuberant youthful feminism, the slut walk. In case anybody’s managed to remain unaware of just what a slut walk is, it’s a reclaim the word march invented by some middle class Toronto women (girls, ladies, molls,chicks, whatever) in reaction to a now world famous policeman who recklessly remarked that women shouldn’t dress like sluts if they don’t want to be raped.

I’m not even going to begin unpacking this statement, or the outrage it has provoked.  You’ll find it all in the hundreds of million articles on the Drum this week, from every possible perspective.

As if in a desperate attempt to portray women in another, holier light, Neer Korn offers an article titled Mothers still stuck in the guilt trap. “Selfishness is an aspiration for Australian mums,” Neer tells us. “They admire those women who speak with pride about having a stash of chocolate that no one in the family knows about, or of getting away for a couple of hours each week to indulge in a sport or meet up with girlfriends.”

“Australian mums display an attitude of martyrdom when it comes to balancing life’s needs,” he continues.

I haven’t worked out if Korn’s is a satirical piece or not. It has to be, right?

The piece triggered a memory of  Virginia Woolf’s protests against what she called “the angel in the house.” This was an aspect of herself  Woolf worked like a drover’s dog to herd into a pen, (sorry) having decided it was an impediment to both writing and being. She describes her thus:

She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught, she sat in it – in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all – I need not say it – she was pure. 

That sounds like Korn’s Australian mum, I thought. Sitting in draughts scoffing chocolate she’s hidden from her family. Her one act of self-care, and she feels guilt-ridden about taking even that. Mind you, it does demonstrate a capacity for rat cunning. I never managed to hide chocolate from my family. I hid it under cushions, wrapped it in Glad Wrap and stuck it in shoes, dug holes in the garden and buried it (the dog got it that time), all to no avail. The only way to be certain I got the chocolate I deserved in my household was to eat it at the check out.

I have to hand it to the Drum for publishing Korn’s piece. In doing so they achieved a whore/madonna balance without which they might have found themselves under serious critical attack for their slut bias.

anti slut walkers

Two voices raised in feminist protest against slut walks are our very own Melinda Tankard Reist, and the woman Ben Pobjie, in a clever satirical piece at New Matilda, calls a “cock-blocker.” Guessed it yet? Yes, that’s right, it’s Gail Dines. Here ‘s a picture of the two of them cozying up at an anti slut walkers conference. Or maybe it was an anti pornography conference. Or maybe it was a how to hide your chocolate from the kids and still be a good mother conference.

I’ve never found the word slut to be offensive. When used as a weapon it says a lot more about the nature and beliefs of the individual using it than it does about its target. Well done, all you slut walkers for sticking it to those who want to put us down through their vicious co-option of language! Well done for reminding us that like the man kicked by a donkey, a wise slut overlooks the insult when she considers its source!

And heed this advice, sister sluts: stay out of draughts, never settle for less than the chicken’s breast, and tell your whining family to get over it, move on, the chocolate’s yours.

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