Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

From left: Isa Stearns of Somerville, Mass., Nadia Friedler of Cambridge, Mass., Louisa Carpenter-Winch, of Cambridge, Mass., and Emma Munson-Blatt, of Cambridge, Mass, march in the "SlutWalk" in Boston on Saturday, May 7, 2011. (JOSH REYNOLDS/AP/JOSH REYNOLDS/AP)
From left: Isa Stearns of Somerville, Mass., Nadia Friedler of Cambridge, Mass., Louisa Carpenter-Winch, of Cambridge, Mass., and Emma Munson-Blatt, of Cambridge, Mass, march in the "SlutWalk" in Boston on Saturday, May 7, 2011. (JOSH REYNOLDS/AP/JOSH REYNOLDS/AP)

Earlier discussion

'SlutWalk': Is the loaded protest title effective or offensive? Add to ...

SlutWalk, the in-your-face response to violence against women that began with a march in Toronto, has gone viral, inspiring plans for similar protests in more than 60 cities around the world, Elizabeth Church writes in Wednesday's Globe and Mail.

But it is also setting off a debate among feminists about using loaded language even if it brings huge attention to their cause.

More related to this story

Sonya Barnett co-founded the movement earlier this year with friend Heather Jarvis. They were both outraged by a report in a campus paper that a police officer advised York University law students to "not dress like a slut" to reduce chances of assault.

Ms. Barnett defends the effectiveness of 'SlutWalk', saying, “Without such an audacious attitude, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

The Toronto group has faced criticism – most notably in the opinion pages of the British newspaper The Guardian – for using a misogynist putdown that some argue feminists can never reclaim. Others who support the group’s bravado say any movement that challenges widespread attitudes that blame women for sexual attacks should be applauded.

What do you think? Is using the word “slut” the right way to draw attention to the cause? Do you think it’s effective? Do you think the police officer's comments reflect a broader attitude within society?

Join co-founders Ms. Barnett and Ms. Jarvis for a discussion Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.

Find a mobile-friendly version here.



<iframe src="http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=1aac5a90ee/height=650/width=460" scrolling="no" height="650px" width="460px" frameBorder ="0" allowTransparency="true" ><a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=1aac5a90ee" >'SlutWalk': Is the loaded protest title effective or offensive?</a></iframe>


Sonya JF Barnett

Though having little experience in demonstrations or political campaigning, Sonya Barnett has always been vocal when coming to women’s sexual rights and freedoms. Already working with assertive people and expressing their sexuality through art, Ms. Barnett feels her experience in social media and community events can help spread the word that archaic attitudes toward sexuality need to be changed.

Heather Jarvis

Heather Jarvis is a queer, sex- and body-positive feminist. With experience in women and gender studies, social work and community activism. As a survivor and advocate for empowerment, Jarvis constantly aims to shed shame around sex and sexuality. She feels we deserve safe streets and a supportive justice system.

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories