A few less trigger-y notes:
I do think it’s a bit presumptuous for James Bowman to tell me what nice girls are and aren’t. But then I arrived at this line, and I had to laugh and keep reading:
“What set the self-proclaimed but (one supposes) ironic sluts off in their perambulations was the hideous gaffe of a Toronto policeman […]”
I mean, perambulating sluts. It’s funny.
“The struggle to turn “slut” from dysphemism to euphemism thus seems doomed to the same realms of unreality inhabited by a right to act like a slut without being perceived as a slut. After all, women can hardly hope to “reclaim” the word for good rather than evil so long as they themselves continue to find it so deeply offensive […]
On the one hand, the protestors wanted to celebrate the behavior, and, on the other, to damn the language traditionally used to describe it. […]”
I think this is a bit of a misunderstanding. The slutwalkers weren’t trying to “damn” the word, they were trying to turn it into a neutral: “Yes, I’m a slut. I’m also blonde. Chicagoan. Female. Being a slut is neither positive nor negative, and thus should not be an invitation to molestation.”
It seems that the marchers and their sympathizers thought that the best way to relieve the term of its historically negative connotation was to run it all the way to the other end of the field — from “sluts are awful!” to “sluts are awesome!” They assumed, I suppose, that the two would eventually cancel out and the term would fall into the middle — “sluts are…eh.”
Good thought, but I’m not sure that’s how meaning works.
“Either way, the feminist line appears to be that any woman’s sexual behavior, so long as it is self-chosen, is OK as a corollary to the right to privacy, but also that it should be immune from negative comment from those holding a different point of view, even when she herself makes it public. Freedom of speech, like freedom of religion (as noted in this space last month), must take a back seat to the putative freedom of women from any judgment that might be passed by others, particularly on their sexual behavior.
Doesn’t such an expectation belong to just as much of a fantasy world as the slutwalkers’ belief that acting as sluts will either discourage others from thinking of them as sluts or encourage them to start believing that sluttishness is a good thing—or perhaps both?”
Even if someone is acting as sluttishly as the lowest scullery maid, they should have the “freedom” not to be raped. Resolved.
But where is the line prior to that? Am I allowed to hold negative views of someone else’s behavior or presentation, or is that too much of a slippery slope? Is it that I can have my own standards but just shouldn’t do or say anything with them? If so, what’s the point?
Presumably, the idea behind the “right to privacy” is that what I do is none of your business since it has no effect on you; thus, you should leave me alone and let me do what I want without poking your nose in and looking down it at me.
None of us live in a vacuum, though, and we never have. (Although some would say that we’re closer or further apart then we ever have been, which is a topic for some later post…) So in some way this right to privacy is unfounded. Or is it? In what areas is it valid?
This isn’t a new question, but I’m always interested in new answers.