Thursday, June 2, 2011

Whether It's SlutWalk, FagWalk, or QueerWalk: We All Should Walk

I have debated writing this post regarding Aura Bogado's (@zapallita) blog post: "Slut Walk: A Stroll Through White Supremacy." I don't know where to begin. I want to be respectful but on the other hand I am deeply troubled by the demeanor, use, and overall post. I want to respect other people's opinions but I feel like I am being faced with yet another person who likes to throw around words like "hegemony," "white supremacy," "rape," or "sluts" without knowing the true and long lasting ripple her words have on those on the front lines fighting for equality for all and not just for "white privileged women."

What scares me more is that we, as a equality movement, feminist movement, or if you just want to simply say "women's movement" have not learned anything from the past or more importantly will never learn. Aura's statements, although well intentioned, remind me of the rantings of a girl in my one of my graduate school classes who liked to rant about things and issues she tried to understand but in the end, never truly understood or got.

Let me just begin by examining Aura's final points:

"Whether white supremacist hegemony was SlutWalk’s intent or not is beyond my concern – because it has certainly been so in effect. This event will not stop the criminalization of black women in New Orleans, nor will it stop one woman from being potentially deported after she calls the police subsequent to being raped. SlutWalk completely ignores the way institutional violence is leveled against women of color. The event highlights its origins from a privileged position of relative power, replete with an entitlement of assumed safety that women of color would never even dream of. We do not come from communities in which it feels at all harmless to call ourselves “sluts.” Aside from that, our skin color, not our style of dress, often signifies slut-hood to the white gaze.

If SlutWalk has proven anything, it is that liberal white women are perfectly comfortable parading their privilege, absorbing every speck of airtime celebrating their audacity, and ignoring women of color. Despite decades of work from women of color on the margins to assert an equitable space, SlutWalk has grown into an international movement that has effectively silenced the voices of women of color and re-centered the conversation to consist of a topic by, of, and for white women only. More than 30 years ago, Gloria Anzaldúa wrote, “I write to record what others erase when I speak.” Unfortunately, SlutWalk’s leadership obliterated Anzaldúa’s voice, and the marvelous work she produced theorizing what it means to be a queer woman of color. They might do us all a favor now and stop erasing the rest of us for once."

If I have learned anything from undergrad to graduate school, specifically dealing with feminism in both white and communities of color feminists and activists, is that it all comes down to one thing: power. People get mad if they don't have it, people get mad if the ones that do don't use it the way THEY want them to, and so on. What' more disheartening is that when people are trying to do a brave and courageous thing, like #SlutWalk, and are using their power for good (regardless of how people see it) they get the short end of the stick.

Would we rather have them do nothing? Would we rather have the #Slutwalkers go home, hide in their rooms and not fight back injustice, inequality, and rape!?

If Aura's post proves anything to me it is that she would rather stay home during #SlutWalk and voice her opinion behind the shield of her computer screen than go out and vocally oppose the #SlutWalkers on that day. I have to ask, if you believe that #SlutWalk is such an injustice and symbol of white supremacist hegemonic power, than why don't you fly to L.A. and hold your sign high and proud. I am sure there will be TONS of women and men there not to cruelly "put you in your place" but work together with you to see why they are marching and if at the end of the day if you still don't agree, well then that is your decision.

This leads me to my last and final point: Aura's RUDE and maliciously directed comments at
Hugo Schwyzer's (@hugoschwyzer) ardent and passionate support of not only feminism, gender and social justice, and #SlutWalk.

Instead of talking with him, you like to threaten him with comments that you have "proof of him telling his students to dress like sluts." You like to throw mean, disrespectful, and hurtful comments at him for wanting to march with the #Slutwalkers? What does that say about you and your blog post? More importantly, what does it say about your character and blog when you throw out derogatory statements to an ally who is walking to change the world not JUST for WHITE people but for ALL!?

If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is! Nevertheless, Aura's final statement: "They [Slutwalkers] might do us all a favor now and stop erasing the rest of us for once"
does have a twinge of importance to it.

It reminds us all who fight for gender and social justice to fight even harder and longer to make sure that even people who are suppose to be our allies don't ruin the beautiful and reaffirmed world we are trying to create for ALL COMMUNITITES!

I am reminded of something Hugo told me once that I still think and use today that might apply to this situation. "Step Up and Step Back." This statement is useful for Aura's post, for mine, and for others that will come from her. However, while Aura writes more blog posts and continues to throw out slanderous and hurtful words at those she claims are doing the same thing, maybe what she really should do is "Step up, step back, and sit down."

{For Aura's original post, please see:}