‘Slut’ ‘cunt’ ‘bitch’ ‘slag’ ‘whore’ ‘slapper’…..these are words that have been spat at women by misogynists, rapists, harassers and abusers since time immemorial. They are loaded words straight out of the lexicon of hate speech; sexist epithets, hurled by those who would seek to  intimidate, humiliate and degrade us.

Because of their history, and because I’m a feminist, they are words I would never use to describe any other woman, just as they are words I would never ever use to describe myself.

And that’s why I have a problem with Slutwalk, an initiative that started in Toronto in April following the heinous comment by a law enforcement officer there that “in order to avoid being raped “women should avoid dressing like sluts,” and that’s now set to take place in London on June 4th this year.

Now obviously I don’t have any problem with the motivation behind the event. I hope it would go without saying that I’m fully in support of the notion that no matter what women wear, no matter where we go, no matter how we behave, none of us are responsible for the rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against us. Rape and others forms of sexual assault are the sole responsibility of those men who choose to rape and assault. They are not the fault of short skirts, high heels or lipstick, and neither are they the fault of those who wear them.

What I do have a problem with however is this move towards ‘reclaiming’ a language that has never been a part of ‘our’ language in the first place. This move towards adopting what has been a key tool of our oppressors – hateful misogynist invective – and using it to label ourselves.

When we start legitimising the hate speech that’s been used against us for so long in this way we’re capitulating to the sexists and the misogynists. We’re giving the message that this abusive language is okay, that it’s so okay in fact that we’re even prepared to use it ourselves.

And feminism is about liberation, not capitulation.

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