Week 9 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

In “SlutWalks v. HoStrolls,” Brittney C. Cooper discusses the racial specificity of the SlutWalk movement.  She also expresses ambivalence about white feminists’ re-appropriation of the term, “slut.”  At the end of the piece, Cooper invites comments, and many of these are quite interesting.  How does reading Cooper’s piece and the comment thread that follows it change how you think about the term “slut” as a misogynist epithet that either should or should not be reclaimed by feminist activists?

One thought on “Week 9 Day 1 Discussion Question 2

  • April 11, 2022 at 1:21 pm
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    ​​In her article “SlutWalks v. HoStrolls,” Brittney C. Cooper discusses the SlutWalk movement that took place in Toronto back in 2011, having come about after a Toronto police officer stated that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Feminist activists took to the streets in an effort to reclaim the word “slut,” which Cooper is apprehensive about from the start as she does not know if using the word will effectively serve as reappropriation.
    What the article is really about, however, is the specificity of the word “slut,” which Cooper explains is most commonly used to refer to White women. Cooper says that her ambivalence towards the movement was introduced when she read the SlutWalk mission statement, writing that she “was struck by the righteous indignation these women had over being called slut. While that indignation is absolutely warranted, it also feels on a visceral level as though it comes from women who are in fact not used to being fully defined by negative sexual referents.”
    Because Black women are hyper-sexualized, Cooper reasons that they cannot be shamed by the word “slut” into “chaste moral categories.” Cooper goes on to write how “when [she] thinks of the daily assaults [she] hears in the form of copious incantations of ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ in Hip Hop music directed at Black women, it’s hard to not feel a bit incensed at the ‘how-dare-you-quality’ of the SlutWalk protests, which feel very much like the protests of privileged white girls.”
    While I definitely agree with many of the points that Cooper makes and completely understand why she does not appreciate how white women are simply assuming that being slut shamed is a universal experience, I don’t agree with her statements that Black women should theoretically only be marching in solidarity. This takes away from the experience of Black women who have been shamed for their sexuality and who feel they do fit into this group of SlutWalkers. One Black woman commenting under the name “S. Evans” responded that “it is foolish to think because we have had our sexuality assigned to us a collective (Black women) that there is no need to embrace the fact that, that police officer was not just talking about White women.” Because I cannot identify with Cooper or S. Evans in this regard I cannot say any more on this, but I do think S. Evans’ full comment made a lot of sense.

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