The Need for and the Danger of Slutwalk
|The Slutwalkers of Canada|
|The Sex Workers of Kolkata|
Then, what is the point in dressing ‘like’ a slut? Let’s just look at India? Who is a slut? How many of us have actually seen sluts? I have interacted with a couple of them from the devadasi community (the community of women segregated by the bloody brahminical caste system to do just sex work for upper caste men), and they were not different from any of the other women. Only that they did sex work for a living, while the rest of us did office work for a living; there was no other difference except for the difference in brutality that the class-conscious patriarchy had dealt with us and ‘them.’ And, today, the women organizing slutwalk, without taking into cognizance the brutality of patriarchy and its oppression on women who were termed sluts, seem to embrace the very word and even want to flaunt it! And, these are women who don’t do sex work for a living, but somehow want to embrace the identity; how convenient is that?
|A Sold Cow|
It’s not without reason that one begins to think that a hypocritical society can only produce hypocritical and selfish struggles! The slutwalk India doesn’t come into existence because women in Kashmir were raped by the armed forces or strong women like Thangjam Manorama were brutally assaulted by the Assam Rifles, or not even when women on city roads are habitually sexually assaulted, irrespective of the clothes one wears, but when a Canadian policeman shoots off his mouth! What about the policemen closer home, who constantly taunt, harass, and even murder women? How is that there’s no such outrage? Do these women (the slutwalkers) feel more in solidarity with the western (read white-skinned) women than our own women, who do cringe, cry, and even commit suicide when harassed and termed a slut? Perhaps, there’s a simple solution: women come out and accept the term slut and in fact look at it as a liberating experience to be called a slut and do sex work in a market where the consumers are predominantly men. Is this the limits of one’s imagination or understanding of women liberation? This is perhaps the death of imagination, or a more sinister, neo-liberal-market-economy-dictated imagination!
|A 'taken' woman|
We need to also identify how the market keeps bringing back these as fashion statements and women actually take to these as if these really make them look good! And, again look good for whom? For men! Perhaps, more than slutwalk, what we need are perhaps some lessons from history about how the sindoor came into existence; how sold out cows were marked on their foreheads with the vermilion and today the taken women (married) women have a vermilion marker on their foreheads!
I believe more than a slutwalk, what we need is for women to create a shared space that unites all women who are pummeled every day by patriarchy in a myriad of ways and break the roots of patriarchy and identify its ever changing colors and deal with it. But, can all women across classes and castes be united, without giving up the privileges of class and caste?
If the answer is no, and that the slutwalk is being organized only to represent the aspirations of a certain class of women, then don’t claim to represent ‘all’ women or even the women who do sex work for a living, especially if you do not share their world view even by a decimal point. So much, yes so much work needs to be done before we could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, especially for the Indian woman, and the slutwalk will only lead them into an even more darker tunnel that is conceived by the holy matrimony of patriarchy and the market.
Ps: Image courtesy: 1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbcworldservice/3512785840/in/set-72157617862244116/