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Category Archives: SlutWalk

Accountability

This won’t be very coherent, it’s been a fucking long week.

Last night, one of the SlutWalk Facebook pages posted this image [Consent is sexy, bro. You should ask first.] on their wall. Several people commented that they find the message “consent is sexy” to be problematic. Comments included:

  • To me, it’s mainly saying, ‘hey you’re sexy when you don’t rape me’. I don’t feel as though ‘not raping’ and ‘sexy’ should be conflated, ever.
  • Consent isn’t sexy, consent is something women should be able to take for granted as a baseline dynamic that goes without saying. […] The only reason it’s being framed as “sexy” is because we live in a rape culture that sexualises dominance and males who are out of control with their “desire”.
  • [S]uggesting ‘consent is sexy’ is like saying ‘hey when you ask for consent it’s sexy’. The opposite of asking for consent is rape. […] it seems to suggest we have to stroke the egos of males and show them how sexy they are when they don’t rape us.

This is the point at which a moderator commented, under the SlutWalk account, “Oh it’s troll Slutwalk night!”

I’m not naming the SlutWalk in question, both because I don’t think it serves any great purpose, and also because they have now deleted the post. I only screencapped up to my first comment, which read:

Uh,I also have significant issues with the “consent is sexy” message. Consent isn’t “sexy”, it’s a basic right and we are all entitled to give or withhold it without repurcussions.

Also, accusing anyone who doesn’t agree with a particular post of “trolling” makes me highly uncomfortable, personally. SlutWalk is no more a monolith than feminism is, and I’d like to think we can have respectful debates and discussions without being shut down — because surely we get enough of that elsewhere?

I want to be really clear here—I’m not trying to be a big meanie tattle-tale about this particular SlutWalk page, or whichever moderator was engaging with us. But I do think it’s really important to be aware of our accountability. Whether it’s as organisers of a large movement, or as feminists, or just as people who don’t want to be assholes, it’s really important to remember that no one is immune to fucking up. And if you really don’t know how you’ve fucked up, it is entirely possible to engage in respectful discussion without automatically defaulting to dismissing the arguments against you.

Because at the end of the day, the fact that you make a concentrated effort not to fuck up, and succeed 99% of the time, that doesn’t actually make it any less offensive that other 1% of the time. And a basic tenet of being a decent human being is holding yourself to the same accountability that you hold others to—recognising when you’ve upset people, intentionally or not, and taking steps to understand and rectify.

It’s not that hard, I promise.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in SlutWalk

 

MJ’s SlutWalk Aotearoa Speech: Civic Square, Wellington, May 20th 2012

SlutWalk Aotearoa was today—and while I need a bit of time to digest before I write up a response, I thought I’d put my speech up now. Following a grand tradition, I wrote this about an hour before the march! Photos and/or video will be added if I get any 🙂

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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Rape/Sexual Assault, SlutWalk

 

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MJ’s SlutWalk Perth Speech: Russell Square, Perth, December 3rd 2011

I went over to Perth to spend some time with my family over there, and I was invited to speak at SlutWalk Perth while I was there. Hopefully there is video to follow, as I did see someone recording all the speeches! Below the jump is my speech in full—minus any cracks I may have made at the start regarding the 37 degree weather!!

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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in Rape/Sexual Assault, SlutWalk

 

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MJ’s SlutWalk Aotearoa Speech: Civic Square, Wellington, June 25th 2011

I should have published this ages ago—I didn’t, and I apologise. Behind the jump is my speech from SlutWalk Aotearoa… as close as I can remember it, as I did a bit of ad-libbing. If anyone took any audio/video recordings on the day, please flick them through to me! ♥

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Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Personal, Rape/Sexual Assault, SlutWalk

 

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SlutWalk Aotearoa: a personal response

In the next day or so, Polly and I will be writing up an ‘official’ recap and response as organisers of SlutWalk Wellington for the SlutWalk Aotearoa website. But before I do that, I wanted to have a little bit of a personal reaction. There is much swearing ahead, and I apologise for that. I’m still buzzing.

SlutWalk was FUCKING AMAZING. Especially considering the drama I went through to get there — I was booked to fly with JetStar, who cancelled their flights due to the ash cloud… so on Thursday night I was booking an emergency flight with Air New Zealand for 11.30am the next morning, and I ended up ferrying from Wellington to Picton at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning and then BUSSING back to Christchurch.

It was so fucking worth it, though. I have never been hugged by so many strangers in all my life — some of them crying, some of them laughing, some of them both. The atmosphere was beyond incredible — I think this video on Stuff captures the feel of the crowd pretty well (trombones, roller skates, nun’s habits and corsets. It’s just another day for me!)

The speakers were so unbelievably fucking brave (and put my speech to shame well quick!), the crowd were supportive and encouraging and just fucking awesome. The media were generally respectful (although I wish they’d stop writing about scantily-clad protesters – goddamn!) and there was little backlash from the public. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect if we’d ordered it. All in all, a fucking incredible day and it was an honour and a privilege to be a part of it.

To Polly and Coley — I couldn’t have fucking done it without you, you are two of the most fantastic people I have ever met and I look forward to getting to know you both better as time goes on. I couldn’t have asked for more love and support from you guys — you two are what made SlutWalk great.

Bring on next year!

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in SlutWalk

 

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Speech Writing

It has been a long, long time since I’ve written a speech. The last one I wrote was about 5 years ago, and it was my speech for Year 12 English (I got an Excellence and won the school speech competition, TYVM.)

I don’t think I’ve ever written a speech to be read in front of 1,000+ people, AND the media, AND (probably) YouTube. And it’s nervewracking. Not the speaking part, strangely. I have no problem getting up in front of a thousand people and speaking.

But what I actually say? That’s the nervewracking part.

There has been so much controversy over SlutWalk. There are going to be a lot of people watching us closely, waiting for us to fuck up. And that’s a scary thought. It’s a lot of pressure – say the right thing, don’t exclude, don’t speak for anyone, don’t fuck up.

And I’m saying a lot in my speech. Mostly, it’s around “Why SlutWalk?” – as an organiser, it’s my job to answer that one. There are so many differing opinions as to “Why SlutWalk”, and the only one I can offer is my own.

But as the speech stands now, I don’t talk about my own assaults. I’m not sure if I can do it. But I don’t know how seriously I’ll be taken as an organiser if I don’t.

I need to finish this damn speech already.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Personal, SlutWalk

 

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SlutWalk Aotearoa

On June 25th from 2pm, people from all walks of life will be banding together in Wellington and Auckland for one simple reason – we have had enough. Enough of being angry. Enough of wanting better education, awareness and treatment around sexual assault and seeing nothing. Enough of being accused of ‘oversensitivity’ and ‘political correctness gone mad’ when we object to rape jokes. Enough of the pervasive and continuing myths and stereotypes about who is sexually assaulted and why.

For those who don’t know the origins of SlutWalk, it started in Toronto, Canada when a police officer stood up at a safety talk at York University and stated, “I’ve been told not to say this… but women should avoid dressing like sluts if they don’t want to be victimised.” SlutWalk Toronto was held on April 3rd and attracted over 4,000 participants after just six weeks of organisation. Women and men of all ages marched together – most carrying placards, ranging from the humorous: “Sluts say yes!” to the heartbreaking: “I was 10 years old and he was my father. Does it really matter what I was wearing?” Some were dressed in stereotypical ‘slutty’ clothing, while others dressed for a, still fairly cold, Canadian spring afternoon.

SlutWalk is about unity. We are fighting the myths around the types of people who are sexually assaulted, who is responsible, and why they occur. We are rallying to place the blame for sexual assault where it belongs: on the perpetrators. We are promoting the idea that women should be able to dress however they like without having to wonder if they will be blamed if they are attacked – and that ‘slut’ should not be seen as an inherently bad thing. We aim to put an end to victims’ sexual history being brought up at trial as a weapon for the defence, and we wish to get the message out there: no means no, yes means yes, and only our words can consent for us – not our bodies or our clothes. We also firmly stand behind the truth that sexual assault is not only something done by men to women, and that not all sexual assault is rape.

Sluts and allies of Aotearoa, please consider joining us on June 25th for the simultaneous marches in our two largest cities. Full details, including event pages for both events, can be found on our website, on our Facebook page, and updates can also be found on Twitter: @SlutWalkNZ. You can also email the organisers at slutwalkaotearoa@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

And of course, we are constantly on the lookout for volunteers in both cities, so if you think you can help out, please send an email our way with your contact details!

Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Auckland Chapter: More info.

Slutwalk Aotearoa protest, Wellington Chapter: More info.

This was originally a guest post at The Stroppery, a short-lived but awesome-while-it-lasted NZ feminist collective blog. As they’re now shutting up shop, I’ll repost this here to make sure the blog is preserved!

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in SlutWalk

 

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