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We lingered in front of gleaming white hotels and walked the Las Vegas Strip passing out fliers about sex workers’ rights, but once a small cadre ventured into Caesar’s Palace, they were ejected.
But today’s feminist wave, in its denunciation of slut shaming, can appear contradictory.
Like its cousin “whore,” a slut is never about what you did there and with whom you did it but rather what is said about you.
“Whore” is an older term, but the conceit is the same: A woman’s sexual value is thought to be interchangeable with her social value, power and influence. That is, there’s no sense in insisting you aren’t a slut; you’re supposed to do so.
Perhaps today’s most visible examples of engagement with (and pushback against) slut shaming are the dozens of Slut Walks that have hit the pavement in cities from Toronto to Sydney to New York.
These events, which decry both sexual assault and slut shaming, were launched by college women who wished to resist a Toronto police officer’s dismissive remark that they could better avoid rape by not “dressing like sluts.” Slut Walk wanted to challenge law enforcement’s demands that, in order to deserve protection, women should conform to their standards of sexual modesty.