Posts tagged toronto.
It has been an interesting day or so here in Toronto. We’ve just finished the longest City Hall meeting on record, with citizens waiting up to 20 hours to speak against proposed service cuts that would affect the most vulnerable members of our city.
At around 4:30am today our Mayor, Rob Ford, listened to a local children’s book author passionately defend our public library system. Upon learning that the author’s recent book is called Words That Start with “B”, Ford said “I can think of another word for her.” This is the Mayor of one of North America’s largest and most diverse cities.
Everywhere we look, garbage nightmares. The corporatist mayor of Canada’s largest (and among the world’s most diverse) city, who thinks it’s alright to call a citizen a bitch in a council meeting. Because she spoke up about the importance of libraries.
In January a member of the Toronto Police force, Const. Michael Sanguinetti, suggested to students at York University that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” (source). In response, SlutWalk was born. The SlutWalk, which strode just yesterday, was a march designed to draw attention to the way in which the term “slut” is used to stigmatize and invalidate women
As Leora Tanenbaum argues in Slut! Growing Up Female with a Bad Reputation, the term is used to control all women, not just women who want to have sex, because it can be applied to girls and women regardless of their sexual activity (as any virgin with a slut reputation can tell you). Young girls grow up using, and fearing, the slut label. And that label continues to be used against them as adults, even when it comes to sexual assault, as the police officer’s comment makes clear.
In an effort to bring attention to word and its use as a mechanism of control girls, women and men of all sexual activity levels came together on Sunday, re-claiming and diffusing the “slut” label. Images from the Vancouver Sun: