We took some amazing photos, met some wonderful people and heard some inspiring stories this weekend at Slutwalk DC.
I was lucky enough to have the volunteered help of both my boyfriend and my father at the Fem2.0 booth. Just the fact that two of the most important men in my life spent their Saturday afternoon talking to Slutwalk-ers and, through their volunteering, fighting victim-blaming and rape culture was enough to make this day incredibly special. But it wasn’t just about the people who were there supporting me. It wasn’t about me at all.
It was about all of the people there supporting each other — friends and strangers. What struck me the most about this weekend’s event was seeing the sheer diversity of people supporting the walk, from all backgrounds and genders. You can see it in our photos: everybody was out supporting this powerful message- loudly. Everybody was open towards each other, was applauding survivors’ stories, was shouting along with speakers. Nobody was shy. Even tourists visiting monuments and museums on the Mall were drawn in by the music and noise, and told me that they had wished they had known Slutwalk was taking place that day so they could have marched, too. It sounds cliche, but it’s true that the energy was contagious.
We invited attendees to interact with our booth and express themselves however they pleased. If they wanted to draw graffiti on our signs and make their mark on our tables (or their bodies), they did it. If they wanted to show off their signs and their outfits and their friends, we asked them to pose for our camera. If they just wanted to stop by for refreshments, that was okay, too. And other booths encouraged just the same thing, from body painting to self-defense lessons to sharing stories and networking.
To the critics of Slutwalk: this is why I support this cause, and why I was so happy that Fem2.0 was able to be there. You can say what you want to me about the name, and about how the word “slut” may make you uncomfortable or nervous. But it’s not about the word “slut” and it’s not about your discomfort. It’s about being able to walk down the street in a big, busy city, wearing whatever you please, and not having to accept harassment or assault. It’s about declaring that you are a survivor, and knowing you’re not alone. It’s about conquering fear and embracing power. When that concept means that much to so many, to their lives, how can you focus on one word? How could you not, instead, learn something?
Big shout-outs to Defend Yourself, YWTF-DC and The Women’s Collective, who stopped by our booth with offers of support and collaboration, and a special thank you to the Slutwalk DC organizers, who put on an amazing event. Finally, a round of applause for the marchers and survivors who came together this weekend, stayed through the thunderstorm, talked to the media and gave us their time and their stories.
If you stopped by the Fem2.0 booth, like us on Facebook to find your picture and tag it!
Further reading and coverage:
NBC Washington, Hundreds Participate in D.C. Slutwalk
Washington Post, SlutWalk DC marchers protest sexual assault and a culture of victim-blaming (some wonderful photos here!)`
Your Jewish News, Slutwalk protest breaks out in Washington, DC
iAfrica, ‘My mommy is a slut‘
Grazu, Why I Marched in Slutwalk DC
Forever the Queerest Kids, Slutwalk DC