Monday, 20 June 2011

Manchester Slutwalk

The political health of Britain has deteriorated very sharply. The Conservative Party must do something about it. I am the man to do it.
Kenneth Clarke

Tory MP / chauvinist bigot / moron Ken Clarke recently commented that some women were “asking to get raped” by dressing provocatively. The remarks sparked anger, and culminated in the organisation of a series of “Slutwalks”- demonstration marches- demanding Clarke stands down.

I went to Manchester on Friday 10th June to take part in the Manchester Slutwalk. To make the point, the majority of attending women were in short skirts and fishnet stockings. I decided against this attire.

The march started at the Town Hall, bringing together a plethora of women in low-cut tops, knee-high boots and purposefully heavy make-up. There was the odd cross-dressing young guy, including one complaining- at the top of his voice- about his eczema and how uncomfortable it made him to expose so much of his body. Attention-seeking much?

Ken Clarke's comments reflect that of another deranged individual- a Canadian policeman- who told students that the best way to avoid rape was “not to dress like a slut.” Well. These Slutwalks took place on the same day in Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Glasgow and Leeds. It appears that out of thousands of women all dressed like sluts, across the whole of the UK, a grand total of zero women were raped at the marches.

Around 200 people congregated for the Manchester march, including a ten-year-old boy holding a sign carrying the slogan “Feminist with a penis”, a woman determined to press her tits on as many bus windows as possible, various YMCA-inspired outfits, and a woman with a less-than-comprehensible placard saying “Police rapists not my fucking wardrobe.” Hmm. There will be chauvinists out there who would suggest that this sign's message backfired. It took me three days to realise that “Police” in this sense was a verb.

One woman's sign did not backfire: “I was raped by my boyfriend. When the police interviewed me, I was asked if I was adventurous in bed.”

Holding placards proclaiming “No Means No”, the (mostly female) gathering crusaded down Deansgate and Peter Street, chanting

2 4 6 8
Stop the violence
Stop the rape
2 4 6 8
Love sex
Hate rape

How profound.

Of course, there's a large number of internet users commenting on press coverage of the event. A good percentage of them aren't impressed by the march's ethos. Metro reader “Livingintherealworld” comments: “As far as some retards are concerned you are asking for it and there is no way round it. When you march along a street in skimpy clothing you are just reinforcing in their minds that all women are sluts begging for it. They don't read broadsheet newspapers or listen to Radio 4 or 3. It's unfair but that's how the human race works. Therefore if you want to reduce the chance of sexual assault you don't dress like a sl@g because a low life will think you are up for it. Sorry but that's how he sees it and no number of marches or discussions on Newsnight is going to change his mind.”

The problem I have with Ken Clarke's comments is not necessarily the offense towards women that he has caused. It's the phrase “Asking to get raped”. A woman might be asking for sexual attention by dressing provocatively. But describes rape as “Any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.” A woman might be asking for sex by dressing provocatively, but rape is forced. It's not technically possible to “ask to get raped”. Ken Clarke's lack of understanding of the English language is perhaps the most worrying thing out of the whole debate. And this clown is Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom. What does this say for the tories, or indeed British politics on the world stage?

Whether Ken Clarke will actually stand down- and whether the tories will ever grasp what decade we are living in- and whether the Slutwalks will actually challenge or re-enforce some men's perception of women- still remains to be seen. One thing's for sure- Manchester will not tolerate Tory idiocy.

No comments: