So it seems to me that any reasonable assessment of the SlutWalk phenomenon must begin by acknowledging that that the police officer who made the stupid suggestion that women not dress like sluts to avoid being assaulted was speaking to a group of only ten people, has long since apologized and that the outrage at his remark came long after the apology and is still being ginned up via social media. The response is clearly disproportionate to the tiny threat.
So what gives?
Well, like all social phenomena, it's probably over-determined. It gets media attention and it's funny how protests that get media attention will always trump other possibly more worthy protests. It has also been an opportunity for a largely moribund feminism to try to connect with young women and girls. And there are probably others.
But let me suggest that there is one thing that really drives this: girls and young women in their teens and early twenties really, really, really love dressing like sluts. They love the feeling of sexual power it gives them and they love it a whole lot. And they look around and see nothing but what appear to them to be scolds and busybodies trying to stop them. There is a huge amount of defensive anger out there in girlie-land and that defensive anger has been like a dirigible full of hydrogen looking for a spark for a long time now.
What to do about it? Here are some useful suggestions:
- Keep calm and carry on.
- Repeat after me: no one is forcing these girls and young women to dress the way they do; they are doing this because they really like it.
- Remember that there really are more important things to worry about in life.
- Don't let the scolds and busybodies get you worked up about this.
- Pray for a long, hot summer.