September 2, 2011

Pontifications of a Slut

So, yesterday, I went to my first sign waving rally.  Ever.  Yeah, I know, the expectations for such a loudmouth with no fear are quite a bit higher, and I'm sorry it took me so long to deliver.  My cause to pop my protesting cherry?  Raise awareness and attendance for the local Slutwalk that's happening in a couple weeks.  I've been trying to promote the cause to all the ladies I know, from mousey to brazen.  This mentality that it's ok to blame the victim for their own sexual assault because they dressed like a "slut"  (which is a wholly subjective idea in itself), left their drink unattended, or actually *gasp* LIKE sex when it's consensual, is just plain wrong.


I picked up a friend of mine who wanted to go with me right after work.  When we got the the designated place (one of the major intersections in town) we didn't see anyone there.  So, since it's right by a mall, we popped into the Target anchor store and browsed around a bit.  By the time we were done, several people had shown up and were working on getting a banner set up.  Apparently, they'd had it taped to the sign that was owned by, and advertised for the mall, but security came over to flex their muscles and say they couldn't hang it there since it was private property.  Ok, fine.  Flex away Paul Blart.  That's what these poles we brought are for.  We'll just hang it there.  (Well, I imagine that's what was said.  I wasn't there for the exchange.)

Through the course of the evening, the cops were called.  (Apparently, someone who drove by reported us as selling something.  Well, if that was the case, it would have been our bodies.  And if we had been hooking, we'd have to be the dumbest whores in town.  Really?  Main intersection at rush hour?  Save it for the Greyhound station.)  I have a feeling they thought we were hawking something because we were handing out leaflets to people who asked for them through their car windows when they were stopped at the light.  When he realized we were, in fact, not selling anything, or blocking the sidewalk, he told us to carry on.  The guy with the gun was far easier to deal with than the guy with the gut.  Imagine that.

At first, there were 5 of us.  As the night went on, we were joined by more people.  Our signs told people the date of the walk, to find the event on facebook, and brandished slogans to promote the cause.  Some of my favorite were "My clothes aren't louder than my voice."  And "Honk if you hate rape".  And honk they did!

We had been told people might yell slurs or derogatory crap at us.  That was decidedly not the case.  As we stood there waving signs, I saw men honk vigorously and give us a thumbs up.  I saw single women smile huge toothy grins and give us approving nods from traffic.  I watched women in the passenger seat reach over to honk because their boyfriend/friend/husband/driver wouldn't.  We got almost nothing but positive feedback.  However, my favorite had to be the father/son duo that drove by and showed us their support.  Dad honked, and his son, who had to be about 12, yelled out the window something along the lines of "you go girls".  Thank you random father, for raising a son who knows rape is wrong. 

The bolder among us ventured out into traffic to hand out fliers to curious motorists.  The louder of us yelled across 4 lanes to answer questions about what we were protesting.  The bolder of us wrote on our bodies that No Means No.

I didn't know what to expect when I decided I wasn't happy with clicktivism for this cause.  I wasn't sure how many would show, how our protesting would be received, or how late we'd be there.  As 7:30 at night rolled around, I started to think it might be time to pack it in.  I was tired, sore, and a little sunburned.  Plus, my head was starting to hurt.  (This is why I don't spend much time outdoors.  I forgot to hydrate properly and got a headache because of it.  Silly Ephemily.)

All in all, I'm really glad I stuck with the idea that I should do something every day that scares me.  I'd never done something like this before, and it was a little intimidating.  But, I met some neat new people, furthered an idea I support, and generally felt good to actually *do* something for once.  Get to know the Slutwalk cause.  Stop blaming the victim.  Get up and do something.  Feels good man.

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