Rape. Molestation. Sexual Objectification. Pedophilia. Domestic abuse. Recently, these have moulded into the new normal that we hear about in the news almost every other day.
Moreover, the culprits statistically are mostly men, who take advantage of women, seize them of their right to freedom and instil a fear in these poor women who don’t even gather the guts to walk outside alone without looking around ten times.
However, is it right in saying that all men are misogynistic male chauvinists who seize women of their self-respect and liberty? That is the message that the most famous women empowerment movement of today, the ‘Slutwalk’ has conveyed in the recent past.
Because of the high magnitude of popularity and widespread attention they have received, the young women and feminists participating in the slutwalks have now unjustly driven these movements to a negative direction of generalising all men, even the innocent, as guilty.
Slutwalks are ineffective mainly because it generalises all men as oppressors and, in contrary to its motto, actually heightens the level of sexual objectification.
One of the reasons why slutwalks have posed a threat to the feminist world is because of its branding of all men as oppressors in today’s world. It is a statistically proven and an unfortunate truth at its maximum that women are victims of sexual assault more than men because of the existence of misogynistic attitudes amongst numerous men and patriarchal communities.
However, what feminists of the Slutwalk movement have misunderstood about the concept of feminism is that they believe only men have the intention of oppressing women and women don’t.
This takes a completely anti-male direction and doesn’t do justice to the campaign for true feminism and equality where both men and women are preached to be treated equally; in essence, neither of the sexes is superior to the other.
This point is made more clear in Mary Cassian’s blog where she states, “Rape is a horrible wrong. But at its core, the problem isn’t maleness or men. It’s sin…. It’s high time we stopped swallowing the lie that the male sex is responsible for all the world’s ills” (Cassian, 2012).
She presses on a highly valid fact behind the rise in sexual assaults: It isn’t about misogyny prevailing masculinity; it is about the barbarous sin that’s committed, be it by the hands of a man or a woman, and not the fact that all men are responsible for the sin.
Another main reason behind the controversial criticism behind slutwalks is the explicit negative influence it has spread amongst young women globally. Many former prostitutes and women who were forced into the sex industry stand against the culture that slutwalks preach mainly because they believe that this movement could have a counter effect on the countercultural feminist revolution by hyper sexualising women as an act of liberation.
Many have elucidated on how dressing up in promiscuous fashion does not scream women empowerment to all the people addressed, especially not to the young men who grow up watching women being portrayed in such a sexual manner through various media.
This not only gives an undignified impression towards all the women who were forcibly victims of prostitution but also adds a rather incorrect definition to the very righteous virtue of ‘liberation’.
Some might argue that slutwalks have proven beneficial because of its basic motive to end rape culture that blames the victim of rape and not the rapist, with even some of the most influential leaders and dignitaries commenting on how sexual violence and rapes are a result of a natural and inevitable tendency of masculinity.
Many slutwalk organisers have rallied against this very idea of blaming women for assault, even the sex workers who are thought to be always available and cannot be termed as ‘raped’ because of their job background. However, what’s not taken into context here is the repercussions this movement creates even for men who support feminism as well as those who are innocent in the lines of chauvinism and misogyny.
There are many honourable men who themselves are feminists and join women in the fight against sexual abuse of women, yet they do not get appreciated for their efforts. Moreover, they too are named as culprits and are tinted with a bad light on their reputation. There are various examples of male feminists who have stood up for women in the past and have fought for women rights effortlessly, such as Patrick Stewart, John Stuart Mill, etc.
Slutwalks have successfully inculcated this misconception in women all over the globe that all men are at fault in this world and the primary solution to end rape culture is to fight against all men in general.
This is why even the tireless efforts of those men who continue to stand up for women and respect them are simply boycotted, and no heed is paid to them.
Although the basic motive behind the drive of the slutwalks seems legibly a revolutionary noble cause for women who have been victims of the gruesome acts of rape and other forms of sexual abuse, this result of this movement has turned towards the extremist and irrational side providing negative repercussions overall.
This has proved detrimental to the mentality in feminists today and has changed the definition of feminism where it’s not only about equality of both men and women now that women fight for, but also towards the oppression of men and sole domination of women.