Between “Slut Walking” and “Slut Shaming” – May the Real Feminist Stand

By Batsheva Haber

On Friday hundreds of young women and men took to the streets of Jerusalem, undressed to impress with a clear message – rape is to be blamed on the rapists in 100% of the cases, not the victim. Clad in their underwear (or not even that) they yelled out messages of feminism, and of human rights.

IMG_1036-635x357I can’t argue with the cause of the protest. No one in their right mind would blame a store owner for a robbery because he left his goods on display in the front window, so why would that be true in rape cases. That being said, I must question – when did nakedness become an expression of feminism or self worth?!

One of the foundations of the feminist movement was that a woman should not be assessed, judged or defined by her body or sexuality. That a woman is just as fit to wear a suit as she is to wear a bikini, because she is more than just a piece of meat and therefore she should be treated with respect and dignity and valued by her talents and skills. Let us remember that feminism was originally about equal rights and redefining what it means to be a woman.

So are those who define themselves as feminists today serving these causes. Woman who are on crusades to prove that they are “just as valuable as men” do that by stripping in the streets, arguing about the correct spelling of the word “womyn“, advocating against traditional family life and going on angry rants about how the world is out to get them.

And I am left to ask, what has this accomplished? Women are still limited by a glass ceiling, they are still underpaid and still seen and used as sex objects in almost all our industries. Is this really the way to fight this? When Miley Cyrus and her self-proclaimed feminist friends strip and twerk on stage – are they promoting feminist ideals of independence and self-worth in the minds of young fans, or are they lowering these girls’ self confidence and body image, while sending a message that they should value themselves by how good they look in underwear. Is this really the voice of modern feminism?!

I am the last person who will claim that feminism is wrong, or that the feminist movement is over. I also want to live in a society where I have all the same choices and opportunities as my guy friends, one where I am treated equally and fairly, and one where being a woman is not a disadvantage. And I unfortunately, like every other girl, also know what it is like to be instantly shot down, and despite all your confidence and self-worth to feel so small and powerless, all because of one look, one comment, or one touch. The problem is real, however the solution is no more slut walking as it is slut shaming.

A few months ago Always did a commercial where they asked people to act “like a girl“, where the adults saw this as a disadvantage, the young girls, saw “like a girl” as a source of pride. Instead of fighting against those who define us as “women”, let’s redefine what it means to be a “woman”.

Why does someone need to dress like a slut to be a proud woman? Can’t I march in my elbow length sleeves, and skirt that covers my knees and represent the same ideas? Do I need to be a successful CEO to be a feminist? What if I decide to raise a family instead because this is MY CHOICE as a modern woman? Is my choice to disregard and ignore sexist comments any less feminist than screaming and yelling back? I think quite the opposite. I want to live my life the way I choose, and more than anything else I don’t want to do something because I am a “woman” or because “I can”, but rather because I am an independent, thinking human – who is capable of making choices based on what I want from life.

So woman to womyn, or feminist to “feminist”: if you want to dress in little to no clothing or shake your tush all over the place – go ahead, it’s a free world. But don’t claim that that is “how you fight for feminism”. You are only hurting the chances of those of us who are actually trying to make the world a better place to be a woman.