I’m not much of an activist. I’m being honest. I believe deeply in the need for change in this country, and I absolutely support what’s happening on Wall Street here in my very own city. I believe that fat-cat greed has finally gone too far and that we as a democratic nation need to stand up, a la The Whiskey Rebellion, to make our lowly little voices heard to banks, corporations, lobbyists, and politicians. Likewise, I (obviously) support the ballsy men and women who took to the streets of New York this weekend in NYC’s very own Slutwalk. DUH, it’s of vital importance that as we move forward as a species, we actively promote the rights of individuals to dress however they want without fear of assault. I’m absolutely pro-slut. And both of these massively important activism events took place in my city of residence this past Saturday! What’s a strong-opinioned, publicly vocal feminist to do? Which march to choose?
If I’d been a really good activist, I’d have done both. Dressed in lingerie and hit up the Occupy Wall Street march to make my point about my rights to dress how I want an issue across the board, then headed off to Slutwalk if I didn’t get arrested for being too activist-y and flamboyant.
But what did I do? I went to neither. As I said, I’m a bad activist. A crappy one, even. A crap-tivist, if you will. Heh.
No, seriously, I’m ashamed. But I do have my reasons (ahem… boyfriend’s birthday, pre-made plans, cold weather…). But you don’t need to hear the excuses; the point is this:
In the aftermath, I feel like a fool for not having gone down there. Of course, with Occupy Wall Street, there’s still lots of time, and I hope to go down to march later this week or weekend. This stuff is important. But in the days since, I’ve noticed that while the Brooklyn Bridge mass arrest has gotten huge headlines, Slutwalk got virtually none. But if you ask me, they’re integrally linked. Think of it this way: those people who got pepper-sprayed the other day? Mostly women. A lot fo the 700 arrested on Saturday? Women. What do you think would have happened if, as I’d mentioned above, a whole lot of them showed up dressed in fishnets, platform heels, and leather? I’m willing to bet that the “Well, look how she was dressed” feeling that led to Slutwalk in Toronto in the first place would have been brought to bear. I’m willing to bet that the women dressed “all slutty” would have been the first to be photographed, the first to be arrested, and the least likely to garner any sympathy. If you want to get real nitty-gritty, sex workers are a HUGE number of “the 99%” and their numbers are steadily growing as the disaffected workers of America are laid off and need to earn a living somehow. Sex work, sluttiness, and Occupy Wall Street are all part of the same need for change. If a nurse, a waiter, an actor, a secretary, or a retail worker can’t earn enough to survive in this economy because the fat cats on Wall Street and beyond don’t care about them, think of what those pudgy pussies would have to say about the rights of sex workers to earn a decent living and basic respect.
I wonder, if a group of prostitutes, escorts, strippers, or porn stars showed up at Occupy Wall Street to agitate for their right to work and be respected like the rest of America, what would happen? Would the be spurned by the activist community growing in lower Manhattan and told they’re making the whole movement look bad? Or only told by police, as women in Brooklyn have recently been, to put on some damn clothes because they might get raped? Or would they just be arrested for being there and being too sexy? An interesting question, and one that makes me think about just how much work there is to be done. Maybe I’ll give it a shot this weekend, peeps. Garter belt and picket sign? A good combo?