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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Sweet Spot: SlutWalk Goes Tits Out to End Sexual Violence

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 6:28 PM

sweetspotheader.jpg

I was the emcee for SlutWalk last year. As I stood there in my torn fishnets and red lipstick looking out over a large crowd, I didn't see any familiar faces. Oh sure, my business partner was there as, of course, were the people whom I had met in the organizing process, but of all the thousands of people I thought I'd recognize -- there was not a trace.

MOI. PHOTO BY ALISA MARIE OROZCO
  • Moi. Photo by Alisa Marie Orozco

As I go gallivanting about my life, people have said to me, with a charmed but condescending pat on the arm, "Oh Ginger, you and your support of the sexual revolution." It's true, I have worked on feminist erotic films, I have raised funds for St. James Infirmary, and I have been the ear that has heard many revelations of a secret fetish. I want, well and truly, the free expression of orgasmic and soulfully sensual desire -- without shame -- for everyone.

As people traveled on trains to Alabama to fight for civil rights, I am dedicated to traveling this particular train. So you can slap that "radical" label on me, in the full light of day, anytime you wish. But SlutWalk is not inherently radical. It isn't even political (though as San Franciscans, we know you can't get folks together without politics crashing the party).

SlutWalk is, purely and simply, people protesting against sexual assault. The movement started last year in Toronto when a police constable stated publicly that women shouldn't dress provocatively if they didn't want to be harassed. Since then, SlutWalk has spread all around the world. Like Occupy, that other spontaneous movement that seems to have all kinds of support from many of the folks I know, SlutWalk is characterized by having no leaders, no official organization, and no funding. Each march, in each city (including cities like Sarajevo and Tehran) is organized by self-motivated volunteers.

SLUTWALK ORGANIZER MARI GARCIA IN THE SACRAMENTO MARCH
  • SlutWalk organizer Mari Garcia in the Sacramento march

Mari Garcia, one of the organizers of this year's march in San Francisco, says, "Slutwalk is important to me because victim blaming and rape needs to stop. These are goals that may seem impossible to many people but what we hope to do is to build unity in the community to help tackle the issue of sexual violence by opening up a deep discussion on this taboo topic. It is a discussion that needs to happen if we really want to see some positive changes."

And we need change. I am a huge fan of Carol Queen and the Center for Sex and Culture where the art of those wild and brave sex positive pioneers is stored but that is not the main reason I support SlutWalk. Local poetic legend Diane Di Prima, writes in her book Memoirs of a Beatnik that when she was a teenager, she fantasized about cutting off her breasts, "breasts that got me battered, just by growing." Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks as I did, I may have had more exposure to trauma than others. But by 12 years old, I did not know a single girl who hadn't experienced some kind of molestation (myself included). I won't leave the gents out, I know quite a few who also have that awful story to tell.

MY ASS. IT'S FLESHY ANNOUNCEMENT OF ME USED TO HAVE ME WEARING SKIRTS ONLY OVER PANTS. I DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE. PHOTO BY GUILLAUME BECHAUX
  • My ass. It's fleshy announcement of me used to have me wearing skirts only over pants. I don't do that anymore. Photo by Guillaume Bechaux

But what is known by those who tell me about their difficult past and indeed, often their present, is that cleavage display and tight skirts are not at all needed to inspire an attack. Any old ragged pair of jeans, sweat pants, faded boxers, or potato sack will do. Violence is not style conscious. This fact is so obvious to many of the people who have experienced sexual assault that it can inspire a shouted, "Duh!" and well, a movement. For many but not all. Feeling responsible, that deep sensation that, "it was my fault" is so prevalent amongst victims of sexual crime that being able to boldly, sometimes nakedly assert our right to be beautiful, glorious bodies celebrated and free from harm is our greatest act of healing. If, while we were getting drunk on rye whiskey listening to our friend's band, I were to ask you whether or not you believed this kind of violence should stop, I know you would say yes. And you would mean it too. So get with it now, come on out next saturday and get your tits (or balls) out!

SlutWalk will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 8 at Dolores Park.

The Sweet Spot is a blog column by Ginger Murray who is also the editor of Whore! magazine. Check back next week for more.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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Ginger Murray

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