The Chicago Slutwalk today had a great turnout! Obviously not the 7,000 people who responded “attending” to the event (Anyone who’s sent party invites via facebook knows that the count is incredibly unreliable), but I’ve heard someone say around 1,000, maybe even more.
It’s not only impressive that so many attended this protest, but that there was such a great energy. As we walked around the area there were cheers, honking, chanting, and just general badassery. People who weren’t participating in the walk would shout their approval or just give thumbs up signs. One of the greatest things about walks or protests is seeing people outside of the event respond to the message. It’s inspiring to know that so many people truly care about ending our culture’s habit of blaming the victims of rape and assault.
There were a lot of people on the way to Slutwalk who, upon seeing the posters my friend and I were carrying, asked us what the walk was about. After giving an explanation of the origin of the walk and how it was a protest against victim blaming, slut shaming, and overall rape culture, I heard a few stories from people agreeing with the walk’s message. I talked to one man whose wife volunteers twice weekly at her local YWCA, one who sadly wondered why some people don’t understand that no means no, and a few others on the train who, clad in halter tops and daisy dukes (with boxers peeking out), were going to the walk as well. It was a great start to the day! And it just got better as it went on.
As we got to the Thompson Center my group met up with my college roommate and her friend. They came prepared for the hot, muggy weather, wearing bikini tops with messages written on their stomachs.
As you can see so far, a lot of people dressed to the nines. Here are a few of my favorite outfits:
One of the great things about this walk is how comfortable all of the women and men attending looked, even in skin-baring outfits. So often we demonize anyone wearing a low cut shirt or tight jeans, blaming them and their clothing when they’re victimized. We say that they were “asking for it”. So often we say that they must be wearing skimpy clothing because they have low self esteem or they just want attention. But everyone today seemed so joyful, so comfortable in who they were and how they were dressed. Far more comfortable than the people I know who like to lecture on dressing morally (whatever that is). It’s clear to me that what we wear shouldn’t be so harshly judged, whether we’re wearing a long skirt with a turtle neck or a string bikini. Slut shaming has got to go.
I’ve already written a post about the pros and cons of Slutwalk, so I don’t have much more to say here. The walk was great, the speakers were great, and I didn’t go to the after (or after-after) party due to tired and heat exhausted friends, but I’m sure they were great too. There were so many people there who were passionate about acting against victim blaming, and who understood that something is wrong with our society as a whole. And in addition to that, these people were having fun! A strong sense of community was present. It felt normal to talk to strangers, compliment outfits and signs, and speak to new organizations. While I may have had reservations about Slutwalk, I’ve been won over. Protesting rape culture is always a good thing!
On a final note, my roomie spoke to the cute socialist guy handing out fliers and selling pins!
He was cute. She’s cute. We told her to give him her number, but she didn’t. Oh well though, that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Hope you had fun at Slutwalk or wherever you may have been!
Update: I found this photograph of my friends and I on flickr! It was taken by the user known as misterbuckwheattree, and you can see the rest of his work here. Check it out! His images are amazing!
Update Number Two: Found another one of my friends and I! This one was taken by Laura_1976. You can see the rest of her work and her great Slutwalk photos here.
…And then I found this one of me! I’m going through all of the photographs in the Chicago Slutwalk group in case you’re wondering how this is happening! This one is by Daniel Teafoe, and you can see the rest of his work here.