Slutwalk and The Third Wave: Let’s Get It Right

The planning for Cleveland Slutwalk #2 has officially kicked off this May! While our 2012 team is half the size it was last year, I think I speak for all of us when I say we feel twice as passionate and productive. We’re not only better prepared, we’ve given ourselves much more time to prepare. We’ve begun to reach out to other organizations, and hold very high hopes for September 15th.

But these hopes don’t have a chance in hell of being realized if we don’t tackle head on the inherent issues that arose not only in Cleveland’s event, but in Slutwalks all around the globe. These issues range from the superficial to the controversial. From simple preparation issues – providing a small list of chants we plan to lead the crowd with is imperative for any rally!; to problems with intersectionality – while the crowd included some ethnic and cultural diversity, white women were overwhelmingly the majority of attendees and the lack of Spanish signs and literature was a glaring oversight on our part.

Sexual assault and slut-shaming touches everyone, after all. Feminism is, in theory, for everyone. Over the past year, numerous critiques and criticisms about the Slutwalk movement have been shared by many in the social justice blogosphere, from feminists to humanists and everyone in between; many, from women of color. These concerns should not go unanswered, they must be addressed and owned, otherwise we are merely paying lip service to the idea of egalitarianism. This generation of feminist activism is generally referred to by participants and ‘enemies’ alike as “The Third Wave“. But have we really come so far from the “First” and “Second” Waves? Sometimes, maybe. But not always.

Our goals, for the next few months of preparation: This blog will not only address the flaws of this modern Feminist movement (that often claims to be ‘intersectional’) and how mainstream participants sometimes leave whole groups behind in their rabid enthusiasm to challenge the patriarchy; we will publicly attempt a dialogue with other members of the Greater-Cleveland community – whether they plan to participate in this year’s event or not – leading to a greater understanding of each other as activists with the same general social justice goals in mind.

We want to hear from you. If you attended last year’s event, we want to know your experience, whether positive, negative or in-between. We want to know if you’re interested in attending this year or not, and why. We want to know what we as organizers can do to make the speak-out after the walk more welcoming for those who may be hesitant to share their stories. We want to know how we can make this event a powerful experience for everyone, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender identity, orientation, religion or class status. We want this blog to serve more as a conversational platform, rather than only a soapbox. While we will engage in the comments, you’re also welcome to send in a short post/question/whatever to be addressed in it’s own blog post, and anonymity is of course respected.

We’ve also started a Facebook Page to encourage more casual dialogue.

Next post will attempt to examine the failings of the Suffragist movement as well as The Second Wave, and how/whether this Third Wave movement is rectifying those failures.

(From L.)


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