Why the SlutWalk movement matters to me
June 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
Given the mainstream media’s coverage of the SlutWalk phenomenon and their interpretation of the movement’s mission, what reason could be given for the inclusion and support of trans masculine people, apart from simple solidarity? I’ve been asked a fair few times just *why* this particular protest movement has struck such a chord with me. Obviously, begins the enquiry, obviously women shouldn’t be blamed for being raped. Obviously short skirts and high heels are no inducement to assault. But, um – what would you wear? It’s not like it personally effects you…you’re not fighting for the right to reclaim the image or label of “the slut”.
How pathetic, that the very presence of the word “slut”, the chance to feature pictures of women in various stages of undress, has prevented so many commentators from explaining the core message of the movement. That rape is not a compliment, or an act of passion gone awry. In case after case, throughout different cultures, different nations, rape is used as a way of asserting dominance, “enjoying” power, and of punishing “deviant” behaviours. The “deviant” behaviour could well be a woman treating her own body as her own body – to be adorned, displayed and enjoyed as she sees fit – and to still, shockingly, have it remain her property, subject to her own decisions, her own desires.
Or this “deviance” could be the continual act of treating my own body as my own body – to be modified to become more “male”, to be adorned and displayed and enjoyed in a “masculine” way – despite being assigned female at birth. I’ve experienced abuse and harassment both as a trans person in high femme drag, and as an out androgynous guy – and I can’t, personally, see much difference. The desire of the abuser to control my sexuality. Their confusion over my identity. Their outrage that I could simultaneously attract and repulse them. Their need to prove their supposed superiority and control over me. I’ve been called a slut wearing a skirt, and a pervert whilst wearing a tie, and the threat in those words mirrored each other – not exactly, but close, very close.
Bringing to the fore the issues of consent, freedom, self-expression – and the knowledge that rape is used as a weapon against those who seek to transcend the misogynistic, transphobic social order – this is why SlutWalk matters to me. And why I would hope it matters to all trans masculine people.