I think by the time prominent local feminist Melinda Tankard Reist had joined others speaking of the folly of reclaiming the word “slut”, it had become clear that SlutWalk wasn’t something to be taken seriously.
No surprise then that of the almost 800 who RSVPed on Facebook for Canberra’s walk, less than 100 actually attended.
Of those, many seemed to be incidental attendees anyway. The organisers interviewed by the Canberra Times made yesterday’s cold weather a scapegoat. Perhaps though other factors were at play:
- First and foremost, this was always a stunt by student politicians and interest groups. Hence Socialist Alternative had a stall set up at the rally rather than the Rape Crisis Centre or other victims and women’s groups.
- The messages at the event were at times amusingly odd including a curious banner saying “Prostitution is not permission” captured and published by CT.
- Some participants messages were downright counterproductive including one that claimed women aren’t responsible for their own safety.
- The march included an inordinate number of grey haired blokes, walking alone without banners but some with cameras. Curiously absent were women in the same age group… kinda strange.
To those participants who did turn up with messages of rape being unacceptable and women deserving respect while avoiding the term “slut”, good work. Congrats for sending a very important and and mature message. A shame though those messages had to compete with those of confused cheerleaders and politics.