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Scene: SlutWalk 2014

People take to the streets to speak out against slut-shaming, victim-blaming, and sexual violence.

PHOTOS BY: Elsie Nisonen, from the Torontoist Flickr pool

WHERE: Nathan Phillips Square

WHEN: Saturday, July 12, 3 p.m.

WHAT: SlutWalk Toronto 2014, the third instalment of what is now an annual event—one that came into being after a Toronto police representative commented, in 2011, that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” That statement and the local response to it triggered a worldwide movement that promotes “collective action against victim-blaming in support of survivors of sexual violence.”

Hundreds of people gathered in Nathan Phillips Square to demand change—from the police, politicians (a number of signs made reference to the Harper government’s controversial new prostitution laws), the media, and those who promote, support, or enable slut-shaming and victim-blaming.


  • mlr81

    This NYT article, reporting on a McMaster study

    would seem to put the locus for the source of these pressures on women and “intrasexual competition.”

    • OgtheDim

      (You keep a file on this stuff?!?!?!)

      Uh…no. Ur messing up two different issues.

      The article you quoted is discussing female aggression. The slut shaming they are discussing is about woman shaming other woman about what they wear.

      That`s not what the slut walks are about.

      The slut walk is telling guys that just because a woman wears something doesn’t mean she is responsible for being raped, or wanting a sexual advance.

      • mlr81

        So you’re saying the rallies do not, in fact, address the source of the issue, or indeed attempt to address it in an honest way, but rather are about in-group signalling one’s liturgical fervor in a war against wrongtiousness and impurity among out-group members (e.g. bros with tribal calf tattoos, because ewwww).

        Oh, I see. Well, as long as your feels are assuaged. That makes it so much clearer, thank you.

        • OgtheDim

          Ur idea of the source of the issue is wrong.

          Nice try at twist of my words there sottie, but I’m not a 15 year old.

          • mlr81

            You raise an important point: what message did you and other 15 year-olds get when issues like this came up, implicitly or explicitly?

            You seem to have come away with the message that appearances are important; that the only ones with power are those in authority and those who are evil; that when you see a woman being sexually assaulted, it’s a) a problem for those authorities (“I’m going to tell the teacher on you!”) or b) something you and your friends will gossip about and NOT c) that you should pick up the nearest heavy object (a lamp, for example) and crack the perp over the head with it.

            Which would explain why these cases happen:


            and not one of the girls on the scene comes to the victim’s aid, not with a heavy object, not even with a camera phone and 911. “Women’s style is more collaborative.” Yes, I see how they collaborate to keep their mouths shut. This is women’s empowerment?

            So what do we teach our hypothetical daughters: brand, or act? So busy indoctrinating with messages of what to wear: what about what to DO if another girl is being attacked? Drilling THAT message (to yell, to fight, to call 911 – anything!) until it’s a reflex.

            What do we teach them instead: to want the trappings of power, instead of real power.

          • OgtheDim

            Again…ur attempts to put words in my mouth only serve to undercut your trolling.

            Stop wasting your time sottie.

          • mixandserve

            SlottyBoiBlue, is that yooooou??

            Well bless your heart! And here I thought we sent your backwards ass packing after Hudak and the rest off his neo-con braintrust shot it’s brains out in the election.

            Hey–been meaning to ask…have you been having fun finding your teeth in the dirt after that buh-ROO-tal asswhup??

            Anyhoo…enjoy the next 2-3 elections under Liberal rule, waterboi.

          • nevilleross

            To be fair, I don’t think this is is the same guy.

          • mlr81

            @mixandserve:disqus, @nevilleross:disqus

            I don’t vote (dyed-in-the-wool reactionary), but there are plenty of other things about me if detecting imperfection to discredit the speaker – rather than addressing the issue – is preferable to you. It’s easy with me, let me help: I’m lazy, I’m selfish, I am rude to those people who stand on street corners asking you to sign up for charities. I might not even be a resident of Toronto. There. Do you win?

          • Randy McDonald

            Different problem, different treatment.

        • Randy McDonald

          How is addressing concepts lying at the root of sexual assault–to wit, the belief that a woman’s choice of clothing, or her posture,l or her mere presence is an invitation to assault–not addressing te root of the problem?

          • mlr81

            Show me the honest conversations between family members about how to think and act about treating women like human beings, where there’s real listening, and no defensive shit, and getting angry about stuff people reveal that we pre-determine shouldn’t be there. That would be an illuminating conversation. But it doesn’t occur to you to do this. Instead, you’re all here voicing your opinions to strangers instead of people in your life who matter. We get a parade: look at me!

            That’s what you’ve been trained to do, that’s where your priorities have been taught to be. That’s the Matrix. You’re not thinking about your child’s development, you’re being tricked into thinking about your identity while the system uses you as a battery. No Red Pill for you. And no Red Pill for your kids, either.

            It’s not completely your fault. The system is much bigger than you; you think you stand defensively because you were taught to think that the deep insight is that it’s selling to you, telling you what to love or what to hate, when it is actually telling you how to love and how to hate; not what to be, but how to be. It nudges you towards the binary extremes so it is easier to control you.

            Nevermind talking to the people in your life, looking them in the eye – why do that when there are ISSUES to Tweet about, goddammit! The system wants you to have opinions, it wants you to “pick sides”, “get involved”, “take a stand.” It doesn’t want you to be indifferent, it wants you to love or to hate, rage or lust, so you feel alive– but always your strongest passions focused on the irrelevant. “I can wear what I want!” And then you’ll go shopping, and after, you’ll go vote for some candidate that make you feel good and the system has won, because it wants to minimize your political involvement to voting (or shopping “ethical brands only”, or parade gimmicks). That shows you care; for the really active among you, why not donate your time to the campaigns? Grass roots! But the only thing that comes from grass roots is grass, and it doesn’t really need your help. It just needs you not to have the time to consider planting something else.

          • Randy McDonald

            “Show me the honest conversations between family members about how to think”

            Doesn’t this start these conversations, and others?

            How can people talk about an issue if they’re not aware that it exists?

          • mlr81

            This is where a degree in neuroscience would be helpful, because … where exactly in the brain would the stroke have to occur for you to look at a protest march (and/or this thread) and see an “honest conversation” where people loom each other in the eye, and listen — really listen, without judging or jumping down one another’s throats?

  • Michael H

    A bunch of narcissists accomplishing nothing.

    • dsmithhfx

      How are people protesting sexual violence “A bunch of narcissists accomplishing nothing”? What are you accomplishing?

      • mlr81

        Because a march is branding, and simply the trappings of power. Women need to take actual power, and teach their daughters how to do the same. When another girl is being attacked, you ACT, it doesn’t matter who she is.

        The march isn’t change; it is a defense against change.

        • dsmithhfx


          • vampchick21

            He’s a troll and a moron.

        • Randy McDonald

          Isn’t dealing with the root causes–i.e. male attacks on women–at least as important?

          • mlr81

            @allisonjayne:disqus, @randy_mcdonald:disqus

            Look out your window: all those windows with the soft blue lights are families NOT talking to one another, about this and a thousand other things, staring desperately into those blue screens (for recipes, for Tweets, for trends, for 8 Amazing Things You’ll Never Guess Your Cat Is Thinking, for porn); anything –anything at all — to not have to look another human being in the eyes and let themselves be seen.

            Everyone in separate rooms, Liking Kony 2012, or Thumbs Upping marches, or clicking on ads for Exciting Singles Who Want to Talk NOW. Anything to escape, to take a break from the immediacy of looking into another human being’s eyes.

            Shame over guilt; rage over anger; masturbation over sex; envy over greed; your future over your past, but her past over her future.

            Each person tries to find ways of affirming themselves; but when it is done through identity and not behavior, it always leads to misery.

            Sure, you can convince 5000 people at a march (or here!) that you’re anything. Then what?

            It is self-reinforcing. The type of person who withdraws into online activism is already stunted in their potential for happiness; and if you’re spending all your energy on brand activism, then you’re not spending it in ways that might actually work. The problem isn’t SlutWalk, the problem is you.

          • Randy McDonald

            mlr81, you’re not actually engaging with the question. Isn’t dealing with the root causes of sexual assault against women by men–again, the belief that a style of clothing or even a mere physical presence is an invitation to attack–worthwhile?

      • Michael H

        Because participating in something so freakishly vacuous and telling themselves and everyone else that it is deeply significant indicates a certain narcissism. This seems to be primarily about people rushing to abandon dignity, discretion, individual thought and any hope of being taken seriously in order to be part of a trendy club.

        • dsmithhfx

          Slutwalk exists because of people like you. Wise up or go away, and it will no longer be needed.

          • Michael H

            Definition of intolerant:

            a. Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practices, or beliefs…

            b. Opposed to the inclusion or participation of those different from oneself

            Any argument that the above definitions exactly describe your response to my post?

            I also like the “people like you” comment. There is another term for the tendency to make sweeping generalizations about people who do not conform to a particular group or opinion: bigotry.

            The insistence that only your perspective has any value, as in: “Wise up or go away” – meaning: start thinking the way I do or disappear, is as good an example of narcissistic thinking as you’re likely to find.

            That you appear completely unaware that you are demonstrating these characteristics indicates a complete lack of insight, self-reflection and self-awareness.

            And that your only response to having your opinion challenged is the equivalent of : ‘If you don’t agree with me then you’re a jerk’ – doesn’t reflect particularly well on the quality of your ideas either.

            So… intolerant, bigoted, narcissistic, lacking in insight and responding to critique with insult and deflection rather than a reasoned rebuttal………and yet you are convinced that you and those who think like you are the enlightened ones. Good luck with that..

    • vampchick21

      Oh, look! Someone who doesn’t get it!

      • Michael H

        Yes vampchick21…the idea of a “Slut Walk” is of such staggering intellectual profundity that the only possible explanation for so many people finding it absurd is that we just don’t “get it”.
        Your very response, which is essentially: If you don’t agree with me and friends you must have something wrong with you….is itself an expression of narcissism.

  • Guest

    Dave Chapelle raised a good question. If I walk around in a police uniform would you not assume that I’m a police man?

    • vampchick21

      So that makes it right to say that a woman’s garment is the cause of your forcing her sexually?


      It’s called hands off until the woman gives you direct permission. Why is that so hard to grasp?

      • mlr81

        You’re screaming. There is nothing here for anyone TO grasp.

        Your rage may not score on the decibels but it is triple digits on the wattage. And while this rage makes you miserable there’s also a societal effect: hating black people, hating white people, hating men, hating women, blaming banks, blaming unions, blaming your parents, declaring war.

        And deserving things: shouldn’t you be in a nice car? Nautica/Zegna/Underarmor/Polo shirts? Restaurants? The fact that you can’t get them is someone else’s fault; but if you get them, why aren’t you happier? Meanwhile there are bills to pay.

        And you can’t make the connection between these things at all. Even as I say it, you resist: it’s not that simple, you don’t know him/her, you don’t know them………………………………….. it can’t be all me.

        It is you, it is all you, it is always you. Isn’t it odd how narcissism turns everything inward, except blame?

        • vampchick21

          WTF are you babbling on about now? You don’t make sense. Go back to Reddit.

        • dsmithhfx

          Howse that “cognitive dissonance” thing working? You must be puking popcorn.

  • dsmithhfx

    Haha! Well put.

  • Randy McDonald