The Slut Walk is an transnational movement that started after a Canadian police officer suggested that a way to prevent crime was that womxn should avoid dressing like sluts. The walk was then started by two womxn, Sonya Barnett and Heather Jarvis, in order to redefine the word “slut” as “someone who is in control of their own sexuality”. The walk is a protest against the blaming and slut shaming of victims who have endured sexual assault and serves the purpose of eradicating the rape culture and gender discrimination that resonates within society.
The march is called a Slut Walk for various reasons depending on what branch of feminism one identifies with. Here are some branches of thought explained:
(1) For irony purposes: Slut Walks have been an international initiative to push back against rape culture, in particular, the type of thinking that seeks to invalidate a survivor by asking (typically a womxn) what they were wearing. The point here is no matter what someone is wearing or how they are/were acting, this does not mean they lose the right to their bodily and sexual agency - even if you think they were dressed like a "slut". Hence, the irony in calling the protest/march a Slut Walk.
(2) Reclaiming the term "slut": Some womxn have reclaimed the term that is meant to be degrading and used it to empower themselves. This is similar to how the LGBTQIA+ has reclaimed the term "queer" and in a similar manner, how black Americans have reclaimed the "N"- word. So, some feminists have reclaimed the term "slut" to express their sexual and bodily agency (this is also not a reason to shame and blame womxn for another person's criminal acts). Hence, the name "slut walk".
This is a call for all of us to come together in solidarity for the respect of womxn!
S.L.U.T. - Start Letting Us Talk