Flaunting Our Way to Freedom? SlutWalks, Gendered Protest and Feminist Futures.
O'Keefe, Theresa (2011) Flaunting Our Way to Freedom? SlutWalks, Gendered Protest and Feminist Futures. In: New Agendas in Social Movement Studies, November 2011, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
This article questions the emancipatory potential of the SlutWalk movement and asks whether there is transformative potential in using the gendered body as an explicit form of protest. When the SlutWalk movement spontaneously erupted in February 2011 it struck a chord with many women in Canada and beyond. Many seasoned feminists have also championed the SlutWalk cause. The movement is not without controversy, however, and has sparked fierce debates about the power of language and the usefulness of reclamation as a feminist strategy. Despite the accolades, the SlutWalk movement, I argue, is riddled with problems related to inclusivity, a tendency to universalise women’s experiences, and lacks a structural account of violence against women. A comparative contextualisation of SlutWalk to other forms of body protest reveals that, while it is possible to rely on gender tropes when using the body a site of resistance, the subversive capabilities of the SlutWalk movement are limited. SlutWalk also illustrates how Third-Wave slippages into postfeminist politics are dangerous as they hide the structural and intersectional nature of women’s oppression. Taken in combination, I argue, such problems make the transformative potential of SlutWalk highly questionable.
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