This gallery contains 4 photos.
Here’s some new flyers for the walk! Feel free to copy them and share them!
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Here’s some new flyers for the walk! Feel free to copy them and share them!
“I go out, and I wanna look cute, and I wanna look hot… You see guys without their shirts on all of the time, it’s really not that big of an issue… They’re finding all these loopholes and all these leeways for the RAPISTS. Like we’re the bad ones.”
After I posted my video My Dress Is NOT A Yes! (below) – my friend Madison Kosloski sent me a personal message saying,
“I love you.Teagan,Your bravery in all of this is so touching. You are so special, and the way you are handling this extremely tragic situation is both refreshing and eye opening to me. I know how hard it is for you to have the bravery you do.I know because I was raped. I was raped in January, and you are honestly one of the first people I’ve talked to about it. I never thought it was a big deal, because he was with me at the time.
I was in denial, for a while. Because I took ecstasy that night, I just blocked it out. But now I know. I know I said no, I know he was completely sober, I know I have never felt so helpless.
But now that’s all in the past, I’ve grown from it, as sad as growing from rape is. I just want you to know how much I love you
And that you aren’t alone in this.”
I thought when I was posting the video I made on Youtube that not many people would watch it, for one. But after only a few short days the video has received almost four hundred hits. I had one intention: the spread the word to people who believe along with Mr. Loophole. I wanted them to hear my side. I never expected that my video would inspire other rape victims/rape survivors to be brave and share their story. But it did just that. I inspired people to speak out, without even realizing it. I had SIX people tell me that they were rape survivors/victims of sexual assault after I posted that video. SIX young girls who had never told anyone that before.
The bravery Madison exhibits is amazing. The more survivors speak out, the more the word of Slutwalk is spread.
We are truly seeing a revolution before our eyes. And we’re apart of it.
– Teagan Laurel Alexander
Here’s the original video:
Before I offered to organize the Tampa SlutWalk, I thought long and hard about what my personal beliefs were regarding the Walk. I know that Tampa is a slightly conservative area, and that we might come up against a lot of criticism. What I also know, is this is a cause I believe in and personally know many women and men who’ve been affected by sexual assault. That alone, was enough for me to offer to take on such a huge project.
When I first heard about SlutWalk I wasn’t sure exactly how I felt about it. I tend to be someone who watches and listens to put the pieces together before I jump in. And before I jumped in with my thought’s on the SlutWalks I wanted to make absolutely sure I had a good grasp on the idea of the movement as well as my own feelings and thoughts about it. I wanted to have the knowledge to articulate exactly why I’m supporting the SlutWalk movement. After tons of reading and lots of discussions with many people, here’s what I now know.
What’s in a Name
I have a background in and a love for marketing and creative design. And I know, better than most, the best way to make your product stand out is to be different. In todays world, of intense, non-stop advertising, sometimes the only way to stand out is to shock people. I believe one of the reasons SlutWalk has been such an amazing, world-wide movement is because of it’s name. If it take’s a slightly confrontational, shocking word, to get people to listen to the message – then so be it. I’d be willing to bet this movement wouldn’t have gained half the momentum it has, had it been called, “women stand united” or something similarly passive. (Plus, “slut” is exactly the word that the police officer used and it was just as shocking when it came out of his mouth.) Our generation is rooted in extreme ideas. We enjoy making waves and we like to feel that we helped create change. We tend to have a cult-like mentality and we feel good about belonging to a community that we can identify with. I would expect nothing less from our generation, than this shocking, powerful, global movement that SlutWalk has become.
The Definition of ‘slut’
Slut – noun
1. a dirty, slovenly (untidy or unclean) woman.
2. an immoral (not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted) or dissolute(indifferent to moral restraints) woman
When I read this I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment. If ‘slut’ is partly described as being immoral and not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted – and part of the SlutWalk movement is to change the way we think about women and sexuality, then if we were successful in changing that mentality, ‘slut’ would have a completely different meaning. When did ‘slut’ become synonymous with women who have a fulfulling and abundant sex life. Oh, right, when society deemed it conduct that wasn’t acceptable. Go figure . . .
The term slut is so deeply rooted in the patriarchal “madonna/whore” view of women’s sexuality that it is beyond redemption. The word is so saturated with the ideology that female sexual energy deserves punishment that trying to change its meaning is a waste of precious feminist resources.
Wait, what? Isn’t that exactly what our feminist resources should be used for? What if they had said that about women fighting for their right to vote? Or about women being in the military. Or about Title IX. Those are all so rooted in patriarchal views and yet women fought for and overcame them too. Our fight for sexual autonomy deserves every bit of strength our feminist resources have to offer.
Gail Dines believes that encouraging women to be more “sluttish” will not change the reality that there are people that are still “blaming [women] for their own victimisation no matter what they do.”
I don’t believe the goal of SlutWalk is to encourage women to be more “sluttish.” The goal, at least from my perspective, is to encourage our society to embrace and accept women’s healthy sexuality, to not shame them or make them feel guilty about the fact that they are sexual beings, and to do all of this free of negative judgement. Then, stemming from that mentality, if a woman IS sexually assaulted, her sexual history and sexual choices she makes for herself are never to blame for why she was assaulted.
If you are a woman, you have definitely been called a slut at least once in your life. (actually, I’d be shocked if it was only once) Maybe you were called this as an insult, as a joke, or maybe you don’t even know it was said about you. Whatever the reason, I guarantee every woman has been called a slut before, and the majority of the time it’s meant to hurt. Every step we take toward women having accepting, shameless, healthy sexuality (even if it’s just a baby step), forces the word ‘slut’ to lose a little bit of it’s power. Then what’s expected and accepted of women will change, in turn, leaving ‘slut’ with a completely different meaning.
I can’t think of another effort, from my generation, that has had as much force as the SlutWalk movement, to take those steps in the right direction for women. For that reason, I am supporting SlutWalk.
We’re Not Promoting ‘Bad’ Fashion
I’ve really wanted to address this part of the SlutWalk movement for a while now, but until now, I’ve struggled with how to write it effectively. When I first blogged about the remarks that the Toronto Police officer said, someone responded by asking me if I would encourage my daughter (if I ever have one) to dress ‘slutty’. Here lies another problem with our definition of the word ‘slut’ and telling women not to dress like one.
What is considered ‘slutty’ and who gets to decide what clothes are too ‘slutty’? A mini-skirt and a halter top? Jeans and a t-shirt? Tight yoga pants and a tank-top? It’s all culturally constructed and so very much tied to personal opinion and taste, that trying to define what ‘slutty’ looks like is absolutely absurd.
When I was younger, my mom took me to a Britney Spears concert. It was right about the time Britney had made her debut and ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was a huge hit. This was the time in my adolescence, that all young girls go through – the “I want to be sexy” stage (no thanks to girls like Britney Spears) where you sneak clothes to school and put make-up on in the school bathroom so your parents won’t know (we thought we were so rebellious). I remember two girls walking up the stairs to their seats and my mom said to me, “Can you see the difference in their outfits?” Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what they were wearing, but the idea was that one girl was in a really skimpy,”slutty” little outfit and the other was in a really pretty, “sexy” outfit. The point she was trying to make, is that there is a way to look hot and attractive without looking trashy. BUT – if you choose to look trashy that’s up to you and you don’t have to look trashy/slutty to look sexy. (On the other hand, even trashy has a sexual connotation and is open to judgment just like slutty.)
I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that we see fashion disasters every day. We see sexy gone terribly trashy, and weird and unique go totally sexy and even trashy has gone sexy (look at Lady GaGa, she shocks us every time she puts something new on). Part of the beauty about living in 2011 is that we get to experiment and express ourselves in a variety of different ways. If you choose to go with what’s considered “slutty”, you should still be able to expect the same level of personal safety as someone who went with a burka (which I guess in some cultures may even be considered sexy).
My mom commented on an awesome vlog about this topic. (I highly recommend watching it.) This is what she said,
“If I AM dressing to look hot and possibly attract a man, the choice of man is MINE, and limited to the men who have a MUTUAL (meaning reciprocal or shared) attraction to me. It doesn’t mean that all men think I’m hot or vice versa.”
So, in response to the original question, if my daughter wanted to go somewhere looking ‘slutty’, I would do my best to show her the difference between dressing ‘classy’ and dressing ‘trashy’. But only because it’s good fashion sense and not because she should fear for her safety if she chooses to dress ‘trashy’/’slutty’.
Because I Believe that Crimes of Fashion are not Punishable by Rape
I’m supporting SlutWalk because I believe in healthy, positive sexual autonomy for all people. Because I believe in freedom of fashion without the fear of sexual assault. I believe in a world where the only people we blame for sexual assault, are the people committing the assault. Because I believe that men are much better than the standard that victim-blaming and rape apologists set for them. Because I believe in the power our feminist resources have to change the world. I know that too many men and women are being sexually assaulted on a daily basis and that makes me sick, sad and angry. Because I believe that as a culture we can do better. I believe that we can come together, despite our differences, to create a movement that will improve the way we think and forever change the victim-blaming, slut-shaming mentality of the culture we live in. Because I believe that crimes of fashion are not punishable by rape. And because I believe the SlutWalk movement has the potential to create a better world for ourselves, our sisters, our daughters and even our daughter’s daughters. ♥
This is my response to the article Mr Loophole provokes outrage after claiming women who dress provocatively ‘victimise men’, by Lucy Collins.
Celebrity Lawyer, Nick Freeman said girls who wear ‘racy’ underwear and skimpy tops made it clear they had one thing on their minds: sex.
“The 54-year-old, whose clients have included David Beckham, said women who insisted they dressed this way for themselves and not the opposite sex were liars and urged them to ‘take more responsibility’.
Share this video with everyone you know, let’s make this go viral and spread the word!
Words are powerful. Words evoke emotion. They take you to a time or place, they jog your memory, they bring back sights, smells, tastes. What if a word that brought back a bad memory, a traumatic experience, was tossed around casually? What if nearly everywhere you went, you heard this word? And you just couldn’t escape it. The word I am referring to is rape. The word “rape” is misused in our society, de-sensitized. The effects of this word being casually thrown around has an effect on rape victims and survivors, and I hope that by the time you look up from your computer screen, you will never say the word rape casually again.
Words have a weight that extends far beyond a single conversation.
Maybe you think that the word and the action of rape aren’t so closely related. What difference does it make if we say one thing and mean another? You aren’t actually trying to offend or hurt someone, it’s just a figure of speech, right? Actually, wrong. Intent is important, but what you say is important too, even if — especially if — you don’t say exactly what you mean…
No one rapes your internet connection, or rapes you in a debate. No one rapes your email inbox with spam, or your Facebook with notifications. A guy or girl at a club doesn’t rape you with their eyes. You are not raped when someone gives you a hug. No one rapes you when you lose a basketball game, and you are certainly not raped by the competition when you lose the school talent show. Despite this, the word is said everyday. “Bro that final totally ass-raped me!” “Do you see them dancing? He is totally raping her.” “Someone buy me a drink, I just raped that job interview!” You are probably in denial that people really talk like this, but take a minute to think about how often you hear stuff like this in your day to day life. Think about how often you say sentences just like that.
And maybe you use the word like that, in a casual sense, and don’t understand why that’s bad. You could say rape, nigger, faggot, retard — you don’t mean anything bad by it, you’re not trying to personally attack an individual. Art, music, law, language – they all evolve. You think that saying rape casually does not legitimize, condone, or trivialize the word. The word has simply changed to become a synonym of the gamer term “own.” And if someone told you they were a rape survivor, you wouldn’t say it around them anymore.
But all of that only hinders and harms the situation. If rape is used as a positive term, such as “I just raped that test!” it will become natural for you to think of rape in a positive way. Think this is silly? Refer to cognitive dissonance, something discovered by psychologist Leon Festinger. According to Festinger, cognitive dissonance is where your words and your actions contradict what you are thinking, and so your attitudes and thinking change to match your actions. Even if you originally think rape is bad, because you are using it to mean a good thing, your attitudes will change, if only slightly. Using the word casually also contributes to the culture of oppression, causing rape victims to be marginalized even more than they already are.
Obviously, no one would make rape jokes to an individual who they knew was raped on purpose: but so many rape victims do not talk about what happened to them publicly, and people tend to underestimate the likelihood that they know someone who has been raped. The truth is however – according to the United States Department of Justice – that one in four college women are rape survivors, and only five percent of rapes are ever reported, making rape the most underreported crime in the United States. Victims of rape are your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors.
A victim of rape is talking to you, now.
This past fall, I was the victim of sexual assault. Before this incident, hearing the word rape used out of context never phased me. No, I never said it myself, but hearing it said by others didn’t impact me emotionally. However since my experience, hearing the word said casually evokes sadness, anxiety and brings back memories I’d rather forget. I can be with friends, and one of them will slip and say the word – I know they aren’t be purposeful or trying to hurt me – but that doesn’t change what is said. I suppressed the memory and pushed it aside, figuring that it would be done and over with. When I would hear the word relatively soon after it happened, I just brushed it off and went on with my day. Now however, months after the assault, the issue has resurfaced for me. I’ve yet to speak with a psychiatrist face to face, but it is believed that I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and a mild form of depression which leads me to self-inflict pain and and self-induce vomiting. I am on the road to recovery, no need to worry – or else I wouldn’t be standing here discussing this with you today, however I can honestly say that there are still nights where the urge to cut myself or stick a toothbrush down my throat is very strong. Hearing the word out of context, and so often triggers anxiety and these urges. Each time I hear it said, flashbacks spin through my brain. Images of waking up in my clothes from the night before, spending all day bouncing between hospitals and clinics getting tests, having to repeat everything I remembered a dozen times to a dozen different professionals, having to call my parents and tell them what happened, throwing up for three days afterwards I was such a mess. All of this and more… it all rushes to me when I hear you say “I just raped that test.”
The word rape itself originates from the Latin verb rapere: to seize or take away. When you say the word, you are taking away a victims ability to put the past behind them, to move on. There are 787,000 people raped annually in America, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey – 787,000 people fighting to move on. Don’t be the reason that even a single person out of all the victims out there is being tormented by the ghosts of their past. Be the voice instead that tells a passerby to not say rape in a casual manner, and watch a rape survivor breathe a sigh of relief and smile.
— Teagan Laurel Alexander
This was a sample of street interviews done at Take Back The Night in Tampa. How would you answer these questions? And what did you think of their responses?