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Sunday, July 3, 2011

INDIAN SLUT WALK: The Walk & the talk - Jayanthi Natarajan!

www.greentekindika.com
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I was not particularly astonished to find that the word “slut” does not have a male equivalent. In many languages other than English, there is no male word for “prostitute” or “widow”. Thus the entire debate over the “slut walk” is obviously centred on the rights and current disempowerment of women. As we are all now aware, a particularly stupid Canadian policeman Michael Sanguinetti told an outraged student audience in Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, that women in order to avoid being victimised should “avoid dressing like sluts”. And the outrage spread all over the world with women organising “slut walks” in order to “reclaim” the word.
The caveats I begin with are very simple. The first is that it passes my comprehension why anybody would even want to “reclaim” the word slut, with its unmistakably pejorative implication? Being called a slut is quite simply an insult and has little to do with the way you dress. It’s not quite the same as the universal pejorative “bastard” which is meant to abuse a particular person, but actually questions his parentage, but the import is similar. In my experience men (and some women) call a woman a slut for a variety of reasons motivated by jealousy, frustration, chauvinism, stupidity, or rather simply, a lack of imagination. Thus the stated objective of organising a “slut walk” to reclaim the word seems extremely counterproductive to me. However, other issues that arise out of this protest are far more basic and very important.
My second and less important rather trivial astonishment has to do with the fact that a stray comment made by chauvinistic Michael Sanguinetti should have reverberated around the world as if it were a precious pearl of wisdom, or on the other hand, the worst thing anybody has ever said about women. Millions of nasty remarks about women are made every second of the day, and it is amazing to me why this one has generated so much debate.

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