Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Walk the walk!

music: Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Songs That We Sing


Just a quick note on the SlutWalk movement. (In which I assume you already know what this is all about. I won't add a list of links because that would take me way too long. Honestly, there are more articles on this topic that I can or want to read. Google it.)

As I've already said a billion times, I'm saddened by the fact that I won't be walking the walk. Where? Bucharest. When? Tomorrow, October 6th.

Yes, the SlutWalk has been the target of some harsh criticism coming from feminists themselves. And it's all valid. I fully agree that the message is confusing - they should've stuck to the anti-rape agenda and not mix it with the sexual liberation. (And if I'm not mistaken, I did see a photo of a sign in the making for the Bucharest SlutWalk that was referring to actual sex workers - even more confusing! Ugh.)

Then, there's the issue of the reappropriation of an offensive term like "slut". I am a fan of Bitch, I am a fan of Jezebel, but I must say I'm not a fan of this practice. I think some offensive words will forever remain offensive and "slut" is definitely one of them. (Okay, I'll admit I use "bitch" every now and then, and I have never had a problem with the word "queer", but then again, I'm not American, I'm not a native speaker and I think that has a lot to do with my level of comfort in using certain words.) Which takes me to the Romanian word for "slut". I find the word "panaramă" to be a very poor translation choice simply because... who uses that word?! I have maybe heard sm use it once, many, many years ago. And it was a woman insulting another woman. And maybe it's used in the Moldovan region, but I'm not sure, I don't remember having ever heard it during my trips there. Anyways, this is besides the point. Feminists can debate the reappropriation of offensive terms for as long as they want, but the real issue is this: ppl don't get it. They just don't. And it's not like "Oh I get it but I don't like it". No. They simply do not understand it. And I'm thinking here both of ignorant anti-feminists and of ppl whom I consider more intelligent than me. I mean, there are ppl out there who have heard about the SlutWalk on the news and think it's a march organized by prostitutes! So, if ppl don't even get to your message because they misunderstand the very name of your movement, maybe that's a sign that you should find another name for it. But to contradict myself: why would you make changes to accommodate a bunch lazy ignorant anti-feminists who are not even capable of following the news?

(Um, yeah, that quick note is obviously turning into a rant.)


Were I in Bucharest tomorrow, I would walk the walk without any hesitation. I might be sitting on a sparkly rainbow that will quickly fade away but I think it's so incredibly amazing that Romanian feminism aligned itself to an international movement. I don't know any of these wonderful girls and women (and guys too, if I'm not mistaken) who organized the Bucharest SlutWalk / Marşul Panaramelor yet I send them a heart-felt "Congratulations!". You are my heroes.

Tomorrow, as I'll be sitting here between my four walls, I will know that I have, once again, failed at feminism. Honestly, though: I have absolutely no idea where I would even begin were I to "get off the Internet". And meet whom in the street? I'll have to admit that I'm extremely uninformed in regards to local feminism. I remember reading once about some academic feminist club at UBB Cluj but I don't even know if it still exists. Besides, I'm not even sure it was open to a general public. Actually, that's what kinda bugs me about feminism in Romania - I feel that it's still very much linked to the academic environment and it's this underground thing where if you want to participate you have to be in that academic environment and you have to know sm who knows sm and so on. And this is exactly why smth like the SlutWalk got me all excited and hopeful about the direction Romanian feminism might take.

I'll just add one more thing and wrap this up.

If tomorrow you're in Bucharest, please, please walk the walk. For yourself, for me, for every girl and woman out there who has ever been harassed in the street, or worse. And yes, I will emotionally blackmail you into walking the walk with this old blog post of mine.

+ the FB page for the Bucharest SlutWalk

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