“Do you think I’d be sitting here if they were called Empowerment Walks?”

Love it. Morning Joe on MSNBC had our own Jessica Valenti on the show this AM to talk after her WaPo article this weekend that Maya mentioned in the WFR about SlutWalks and the future of feminism.

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Get the transcript on MSNBC. Also, Jessica will be on WaPo at 2pm EST today to have an online chat about the SlutWalk movement — check it.

Join the Conversation

  • http://cabaretic.blogspot.com nazza

    I suppose you have to grab the attention of one’s audience by use of an offensive word from time to time. Here’s the thing for me. It makes me uncomfortable to hear it even in a reclaimed epithet context. I totally support the cause and the idea behind it, but it’s just…

  • http://feministing.com/members/splendiffermetacarpliscious/ Derivative

    Who really blames someone for getting attacked? Where does this happen outside of the court & the media?
    Seriously, who actually personally knows ‘people’ – real people – people they see every day who has this victim blaming attitude and then tells a woman it’s her fault?

    • http://feministing.com/members/meiernicki/ Nicki Meier

      I’ve heard it in my daily life by people I thought were intelligent and respected. Also, news reporters and people on juries are real people. Real people victim blame all the time.

      I’m glad you don’t know anyone who would do such an ignorant thing, but it happens and it’s real.

      I don’t think these marches would be such a big hit all over the world if it wasn’t a serious problem, a very real problem.

    • http://feministing.com/members/tashabunny/ natasha

      I’ve had relatives tell me to make sure to never wear a dress that shows my legs from the knees down, especially if i’m in a city, so i’ll be safer. Also, i have been told by some of these relatives to never wear shorts in public, no matter how hot it is, because i’ll be safer. I don’t think they would say i was “asking for it” if i was actually raped, i don’t think they would ever be that insensitive or cruel. But it is a deep seeded belief among a lot of people i know that women can take steps like this to prevent being raped, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    • http://feministing.com/members/alynn/ aLynn

      You must lead a very charmed existence if people in your daily life don’t throw around victim blaming. I read it on Facebook/hear it from random ppl whenever some media case of rape is discussed. Or even in the context of telling me that I better be careful not to get raped if I go walking by myself in my neighborhood at night.

    • http://feministing.com/members/caitik/ Caiti Kenney

      Why, just last week a man at work said to me, “Rape is a two-way street. You know, because women entice men.”

      • http://feministing.com/members/shadowen/ Mike

        Did you consider stabbing him with the nearest letter-opener? And then saying, “My assault of you was a two-way street, because you pissed me off with your misogynist crap”?

    • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      I’ve heard things from some relatives thinking along those lines. From some classmates back when I was in college. Not from anyone I chose to allow to remain in my life after I got done saying my piece though.

    • http://feministing.com/members/motionsuggests/ Ashley

      “Who really blames someone for getting attacked? Where does this happen outside of the court & the media?”

      Well, It happened to me when I was 15, which is why I couldn’t tell anyone for over a year because I was made to believe that it was my fault the second I took a sip of alcohol that night. Furthermore, with conviction rates for rape so low I don’t know how can you really ask this question.

  • http://feministing.com/members/meiernicki/ Nicki Meier

    The guy says something along the lines of, “I’m all for Irony but why not call them empowerment walks and avoid the controversy?” And her response was “Do you think I’d be sitting her if they were called empowerment walks?” And then he states, “that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.” And she rebuts with, “it is if you want to start a national conversation about rape and victim blaming.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but “Slutwalks” are so much more than that. It’s not as simple as just starting a conversation. The point that’s being made, that needs to be understood is just because someone chooses to wear revealing clothing or actually does sleep around freely, doesn’t justify someone raping that person. It’s not okay. You don’t decide, against someone’s will that you will have sex with them, EVER. And these walks are making that point.

    These “Slutwalks” aren’t just supposed to make people uncomfortable or raise awareness about rape. It’s bigger than that. It’s only controversial for people who would fit into the victim blaming category- they’re the ones who would be uncomfortable with women protesting in their undies or sexy clothes, making the demand that people be held accountable for their behaviors.

    • davenj

      Yep. I thing the goal is to expand the way victimhood is viewed, because currently the position is that women can either be virginal or sexually available, and virginal women can be raped, but sexually available women can’t, because they make themselves available for everyone.

      The idea is that women who say yes can also say no, and until society takes that in an “empowerment walk” doesn’t quite cut it.

    • http://feministing.com/members/jessica/ Jessica

      Hi Nicki, absolutely agree that SlutWalks are about SO much more than that. My intention was to make a point about why the organizers would name the marches SlutWalks – and getting attention, to raise the level of the conversation, was one of the reasons behind the name. It’s hard to say everything the marches are about when you know you have four minutes on air! :)

      • http://feministing.com/members/meiernicki/ Nicki Meier

        I know, I wasn’t trying to offend you. And It seems it’s relatively difficult to get even a sentence out when being questioned in that specific type of scenario. I just think this type of victim-blaming and the lack of recognition of what it is people are doing all over the world on such a regular basis is so detrimental. And the fact that people are uncomfortable with the “Slutwalks” just seems to prove the point of the walks and why they’re so necessary.

        • http://feministing.com/members/jessica/ Jessica

          Not offended at all! And totally agree on all points. :)

  • http://feministing.com/members/hopita/ Hope Anne Nathan

    Only marginally related, but I saw a one woman show at Upright Citizens Brigade last week and Jessica Valenti got name dropped:


    • http://feministing.com/members/jessica/ Jessica

      Judging from the name of the show, I’m assuming it wasn’t a flattering name drop?

      • unequivocal

        UCB is awesome improv comedy. Worth checking out for anyone who isn’t already familiar. I didn’t see the show in question, but I would expect it probably wasn’t an unflattering name drop.

      • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

        Didn’t see it either, but they’re not like the name suggests. I have a friend who took some comedy classes with them. Hey, quick perusal of their site says Amy Poehler started out with them, I didn’t know that!


      • http://feministing.com/members/hopita/ Hope Anne Nathan

        I suppose it could be construed as negative, but really it struck me as more of a namedrop. In the scene she is on the phone with someone, talking about … well, I won’t give it all away, but let’s say talking about a woman. The initial joke is something like “She thinks she’s Jessica Rabbit but she’s really Jessica Valenti,” which got a few laughs of recognition. But the brilliant part was that the next line was “She’s a feminist blogger” which got a huge laugh because it answered the question she had placed in everyone’s heads (namely “Who is Jessica Valenti?”).

        You shouldn’t let the title (“Everyone’s Dumb And Boring”) worry you. It was seriously just a namedrop and not a giant rant or critique. It was also a very funny piece.

  • http://feministing.com/members/murray/ Guybrush Threepwood

    I just walked in SlutWalk LA, and I totally agree that there is more to these protests than just a controversial name. The one in LA (in West Hollywood specifically) was a rally followed by a protest followed by a crazy dance party followed by hamburgers. And yes people dressed down, but it was only partly about the statement and partly about being in a community of feminists and activists with whom you could feel safe knowing that how much or how little you wore didn’t matter. And the irony is that baring a lot in SlutWalks is hopefully altogether quite safe: how often do you have a posse of anti-sexual-violence activists at your back?

    But as to Jessica’s badass interview, when she slapped down “why don’t we call them empowerment walks” guy, I do think it was in a specific political context of television, of not being able to say “this is about pro-sex feminism” or things that are too theory-based. I think she did well, she held her ground and made her point. Though I do agree that at least at the LA march, the main idea was “So what if I’m a slut, no one deserves to be raped, ever.” Which wasn’t quite reflected in that interview, the idea that part of the march is that it’s ok for women to be sexy and even promiscuous and they have every human right to be… but so goes national media. :-/

  • http://feministing.com/members/litendeavors/ Jenny O.

    I was a little offended by the question asked: As a mother, would you be ok with your daughter dressing in a provocative manner (very roughly paraphrased).

    I’m a mother, and a feminist. I don’t want my daughter wearing revealing clothing. But that has nothing to do with rape. And it doesn’t mean that I think that women who DO wear that kind of clothing are less than, or deserve to be raped. Right on for Joe for saying there’s a difference between guidance from parents and judgment from newspapers and cops and courts.

  • anyadnight

    I was worried when I saw the lady attacking Jessica as a parent (if you support sluts > you support your daughter being a slut! *gasp!*) I loved seeing Joe jump in because men and women both need to hear that males aren’t inherently weak or monsters and dressing in a way meant to (or that simply happens to) attract attention should never be a justification for rape. The difference is between wanting your daughter to do something vs. wanting her to be able to do something without fear of rape.

    JV did wonderfully and it was very funny to hear that one guy, “why not avoid the controversy?” We’re feminists, dammit! You think we’re afraid of controversy!? PLEASE! I’m really not interested in keeping it tame so that we don’t make people who would attempt to police my clothes, body, and mind more comfortable.

    Slutwalk coming to “SL,UT” June 18! (For those of you who don’t know, it’s a common way to write Salt Lake, UT because–get it?– it looks like SLUT!)