SlutWalk: Why They Walk, Why I Walk

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About Jeff Perera

Jeff is a facilitator for the White Ribbon Campaign, the world’s largest effort to engage men in ending violence against women, and founded a chapter at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada to further a gender-inclusive environment. Jeff is also co-director and curator of the annual discussion-focused ‘What Makes a Man’ White Ribbon Conference having organized, facilitated and spoken at numerous events from Toronto to Taiwan. In 2010 he delivered the TEDx talk ‘Words Speak Louder Than Actions’ discussing gender roles, the power of words and the impact we all can make.


  1. PursuitAce says:

    So if words are violence and violence is generally criminalized in our society how far do we go with that concept? Felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor…? I always try to figure out where things will end up.

    • John Anderson says:

      The laws vary by state, but in general it seems to cross the line when it’s sufficient to provoke a physical response, fighting words. It usually falls under disorderly conduct or violating the peace type laws.

  2. Thank you, Jeff, for posting this!

  3. Wirbelwind says:

    Society teaches people : “don’t get killed”, “don’t get mugged”, “don’t let them steal your car”. Don’t get raped is part of the package: you know why ? Because it’s hard to make a criminal stop doing these things. It’ s much easier to prevent, lower chances of said criminal’s success : lock your car, don’t fall asleep when you’re alone in the train, avoid returning to home when you’re drunk- take a cab etc.
    It’s not victim blaming, it’s common sense.
    You don’t tell your kids not to take sweets from strangers or follow them to avoid them being told by society (in case these kids are raped/killed) “serves them right”. You do so to lower the chances of their untimely death.
    And, if I remember correctly, that policeman warned about “dressing like a slut” because that rapist was targeting specifically women dressed like that : people have a right to know that, it’s a piece of relevant information. Just like police should warn citizens if the criminal is targeting elderly, people wearing blue, nuns or whatever. If there is some pattern in criminal’s behavior people must be warned in order to have higher chances of evading the criminal.

    • A Sex Worker says:

      Wrong. If you’re mugged, your statement is taken and the police will investigate. Nobody questions whether or not your window was open, whether or not you were wearing expensive looking clothing.

      In what world do we teach “don’t get killed”? Are you living in a bizzaro world? People who are murdered don’t have to deal with questions about, “What were you wearing? Did you invite the murderer to murder you? You were showing too much cleavage, that is why you were murdered.”

      “Don’t let them steal your car”? WTF? What bizarro world do you live in?

      • Wirbelwind says:

        A world where people lock their cars, don’t leave windows open, have high fences around their houses, don’t walk through dark alleys, look around before using ATM machine ?
        Hell, I had my shoes stolen when I fell asleep in a train (stealing my watch was a bonus, I truly admire how they did that without waking me up).
        And yes, people question why somebody was so stupid as to leave the doors unlocked, balcony door open, keys in the car etc.
        Many things we do can lower the chances of us ending up dead, beaten or mugged.
        And people who were murdered don’t have to deal with any kind of questions because, well, they are dead.
        Some policemen question or complain because they are too lazy to do their work. Threaten them with legal action or calling their superiors, it usually helps.

      • A Sex Worker,

        You are 100% incorrect. I will never forget the time I witnessed a mugging on State Street in Chicago. It was supposed to be a “safe” tourist area, but someone didn’t tell the mugger. I immediately called 911, and the police arrived within minutes.

        They then proceeded to lecture the victim for 5 minutes about how he wouldn’t have been mugged if he was “paying attention” and not on his cell phone.

        So, no, this does not have anything to do with the type of crime, and everything to do with the type of crime in general. We literally live in a “Don’t get mugged” world.

        PS, I now live in San Francisco where the SFPD has begun a new ad campaign about how to not get your smart phone stolen when on transit. Please open your eyes and take a look at the world before jumping to bizarre and woefully incorrect assumptions.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ A Sex Worker

        I think the reasoning goes like this. Normally, you need to prove criminal intent to establish a crime. So in theory, the case is not dependent on the accuser’s perception of events, but on the accused’s. Unless you can prove willful or purposeful criminal intent with physical injuries or something else, the standard becomes negligent criminal intent that means that the accused had to be reasonable aware that their actions were not wanted.

        They would also need to establish that the act was actually committed, the sex took place and the accuser didn’t want it. If the accused asserts that the sexual activity was consensual, it satisfies the first criterion. The complaint and victim testimony usually satisfies the second criterion. If the accused denies criminal intent, how do you convict? The credibility of witnesses usually comes into play. If a person says I believed that she was open to a sexual encounter because she wore XYZ, that is actually valid (due to his interpretation)and exculpatory.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “Wrong. If you’re mugged, your statement is taken and the police will investigate. Nobody questions whether or not your window was open, whether or not you were wearing expensive looking clothing.”

        Actually they’ll question all of those things and probably give you some (genuinely helpful) advice on how to avoid it happening again, like not leaving expensive objects on display, not leaving your house unsecured and intalling an alarm.

        “In what world do we teach “don’t get killed”? Are you living in a bizzaro world? People who are murdered don’t have to deal with questions about, “What were you wearing? Did you invite the murderer to murder you? You were showing too much cleavage, that is why you were murdered.””

        Murder victims don’t get told anything, they’re dead (is this different in the world you live in, as opposed to this “Bizarro” one?). And yes, the circumstances surrounding their death are and should be investigated.

        ““Don’t let them steal your car”? WTF? What bizarro world do you live in?”

        This one:

        What bizarro world do *you* live in?

      • J.G. te Molder says:

        Bullshit, if you were walking around drunk and alone at night, with money piling out of your pockets you get shamed, and made out for an idiot all over the place, and get outright laughed at.

        if you kept open your window, your insurance company won’t pay you a dime, and the police will tell you you are an idiot.

        Women being idiots and getting raped… nyah, not so much. The police officer pointing it out, in a very polite, non-shaming, non-joking, non-laughing manner even, is a massive exception. The last time one heard that shit was 25 years ago.

        “Maybe women should be responsible, think before they do”, and women blew up over it.

  4. “Rape that bitch” – In gaming, probably has nothing to do with sexual assault but more the usage of rape means take by force, kill, crush, dominate.

    Slut shaming for women, virgin shaming for men, Society has so fucked up polarized views.

    Why is only misogyny on the list of policing bodies though? Males recieve misandrist attacks policing them in regards to sexual abuse. Or is this simply a gendered movement to end the violence against women whilst not caring about the violence against men? Why ask men to help out if you don’t help them out as well, especially in light of recent CDC stats showing near parity in a 12 month period for rape/forced to penetrate between the genders, and 40% of those perpetrators being female. Would it not be more powerful to extend this wing of support to all genders, races, etc, and teach both men AND WOMEN to adjust their behaviour for the better?

    “Men need to realize, that everyday situations and random moments are not always the time to try and meet a woman. Your desire to connect and talk to a woman at the coffee shop, on the train, walking to work, does not override her right to just sit in a coffee shop, sit on the train or walk to work. She isn’t here as an opportunity for you, she is a human being doing her thing. Respect that.”

    Women need to realize that in public spaces humans may attempt social interaction, it’s the very basics of society and absolutely neccessary. Both genders need to be able to talk freely to one another, but also be allowed to say not interested and have THAT respected. One person sittign alone may want to be left alone, but others may not, how are we to know? Of course if they have headphones on it’s pretty safe to assume they’re chilling out, but if they’re reading a book is it always safe to assume? For myself I don’t mind people talking to me as long as they remain respectful (which is what needs to be taught, respectful communication). There is no fundamental right to “just sit on a train”, there is no right to just open up and talk to strangers, it’s something that has to be balanced out between the 2 parties communicating.

    What you speak of is actually an entitlement of this woman to be left alone and never communicated with when she doesn’t want to be, but sorry life doesn’t work that way. Unless she holds a sign explicitely saying “Don’t talk to me” then how are others to know? Do you expect them to be mindreaders? And what right do you have of telling people to stop a normal human interaction because some women want to be left alone? What gives you the right to speak for all women TO all men? What you’re describing is Schrodingers “Leave me the hell alone woman”, she may want you to leave her alone, or she might later get annoyed asking “Why does no man approach me, why does no man want to talk to me”. Why? Because quite a few men are now afraid to approach women out of fear that the girl will fear them.

    Now in saying that if she does display body language of wanting to be left alone, yes, respect that, but I wanted to make sure you aren’t trying to tell men basically not to approach a woman and chat which to me is a mega mega bad thing to do. Socialization is neccessary for the majority of humans, I myself am so nervous about talking to strange women just from what I hear of all this schrodingers rapist shit that I’ve shut down n given up talking to most strange women. I know plenty of guys who are the same. So are we even ALLOWED to try our luck talking to women, or should we never attempt it when a woman is alone? I’ve heard conflicting messages ranging from never approach women alone to saying yes approach if the signals are fine, and bail out if the body language changes to “getawayfromme”.

    I wish you luck in your quest, but I myself do not like gendered programs to end violence towards one group unless there is a brother/sister campaign setup. I find them extremely offensive such as the white ribbon campaign asking the most at risk group of violence to only stand up against violence towards the least at risk group instead of simply both groups standing up against violence to all people. On the facebook pages for slutwalk I’ve seen adult men be belittled and treated like shit by various feminists and slutwalkers yet when women area treated bad the mods swoop in and do something. I know plenty of men that are against sexual, physical and emotional violence but feel these completely ignored by these campaigns and even offended at being asked to stand up against only one genders violence. Is there a brother campaign to the white ribbon and slutwalk? Is there a “Woman can stop rape” campaign?

    Now this is based on the impressions I’ve gotten from reading the slutwalk facebook pages, reading various news articles, haven’t been to a protest as the closest one was far away. But I do hope I am wrong and that slutwalk does speak out against the sexual violence of men, I’ll be especially impressed if they discuss the 12 month stats in the CDC NISVS report 2010. Finally I’d like to ask, is slutwalk solely for women like the white ribbon campaign is? I find the messages conflicting on if it’s gendered, or if it’s all inclusive.


    • I should further add yes there is a lot of misogynist bullshit in gaming, there’s also quite a bit of misandry, homophobia, racism, virgin shaming, pretty much every bit of nasty bullshit you can think of. I’ve heard all kinds of talk from violence against babies, kids, adults, old age, animals, seen talk of sexual, physical and emotional violence. The usage of rape I see most commonly though is to do with the older definition of take by force, and rape that bitch can mean destroy them viciously (not actually using sexual assault), but kill them with high powered attacks etc. I use to use the term myself when describing extremely high “crits/critical hits”, “1 shotting” someone (normally might take 5-10 attacks). I dropped the term though after reading the stuff from slutwalk and try to speak in a neutral tone, “fuckem up” is generally better to use I think.

      • Specifically with regards to gaming…yeah I totally get that it’s not meant in a sexual way. However, it’s the same problem when words like “faggot” and “that’s so gay” get thrown around and people justify it by saying “oh I didn’t mean it like that.” Using a word like that, particularly in a situation where you’re surrounded by strangers (potentially) totally ignores the fact that someone hearing you might be gay…or in the case of the word ‘rape,’ might have been sexually assaulted or know someone who’s been sexually assaulted. Even worse though, specifically with the word ‘rape,’ is that use of the word downplays the real meaning of the word. In that sense it’s like all the “war on…” crap we get in our culture. Use it enough and it downplays the seriousness of actual war. Use ‘rape’ in casual conversation enough and it downplays the real meaning of the word ‘rape.’

        • Yeah that’s partially why I avoid using it. Although the word beating, and anything referring to physical assault is thrown around a lot, would it cause similar effects? A violence culture? It’s pretty interesting though that these games are usually extremely violent but those playing are worried about the talk, instead of the swords cutting people open, etc:P

          • I think it’s because it’s generally accepted (among gamers anyway) that interacting with a violent story is still very much in the realm of fantasy, or at least ‘not real.’ If I start bringing in real world violence (with what I say or do) then suddenly it stops being fantastical. Frankly, though, I don’t ever use violent language toward other players anyway, or even toward NPCs or mobs in a game. I’ll curse up a storm when something doesn’t go to plan, but not ever directed at anyone.

            • I like to get into character a bit n kill kill kill, but I usually won’t say it.

            • Please forgive me for not eully understanding this thread,as I’m too old to fully understand ‘Gaming’, but to expect someone to use sensitive and polite language as they’re virtually disemboweling someone or decapatating them, well, that sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit!(So sorry about that, old chap)

            • To be honest, most multi-player video games really aren’t as graphically violent as you might think. Really it’s only the hyper-realistic first-person shooters (think Call of Duty) and the fighting games (think Mortal Kombat) that are all that violent. Something like World of Warcraft, for example, is all fantasy violence, and pretty dang mild at that…in the U.S. it’s rated T (13 and up) and in the UK it’s 12+. And yet you get people using extremely offensive language even in World of Warcraft. Personally, I think it’s because the internet offers a sense of anonymity, so you can say offensive things without consequence.

              Plus, even when playing really violent games I’m still always aware of how what I’m saying may be interpreted by those around me. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that people are sensitive to how their words affect people, regardless of the situation.

            • John Anderson says:

              @ HeatherN

              Part of that is trash talking. I speak differently when I’m with friends. Some people may mistake that just because they’re with people with common interests that doesn’t mean there with friends. A female vice president once complained to me about the conduct of another employee toward her at work. I had wondered what the issue was because I’ve been even less appropriate with her on occasions. She told me that the other person didn’t have the history we had. Sometimes people assume friendship because they’re in a common place with common goals.

            • “Sometimes people assume friendship because they’re in a common place with common goals.”

              Not just friendship…rather I think that people often assume that because they share one thing (in this case gaming) they must share other things (in this case have no problem with specific types of language). And that’s a problem.

        • Peter Houlihan says:

          Couldn’t the same be true of other violent phrases like “I’m going to murder you”?

          Faggot and gay are a little different in the sense that they shouldn’t have negative associations to begin with. Same with slut. Rape is, and should be, negative. It’s an expression of violence, so using it in a violent context isn’t entirely inappropriate.

          • Yeah, that’s what I was pretty much trying to say. The similarity is that using all those phrases doesn’t consider whether the person hearing them might interpret those phrases personally – i.e. the person may be gay, might have been sexually assaulted, etc.

            But yeah, the bit about how with rape, using it casually can take away from the seriousness of the actual meaning of the word…yeah that’s specific to a term like rape, or murder. It’s using a term that is meant to explain something serious and negative inaccurately and making light of it. Whereas I suppose with a term like “faggot” it’s the other way around. It’s using a term that shouldn’t be negative (because being gay isn’t a bad thing), but making it negative.

    • As for the, don’t talk to strange women, thing. I think it’s a bit like…alright…would you talk to them in that situation if they were a man? Like, hypothetically. Are you striking up a conversation with someone because, as you say, we’re social animals (and we are)? Or, do you see some hot chick and you’re hoping to nab her number? And, if a woman (or a man) does sort of brush you off when you approach them in such public spaces, do you get pissed off about it? (These are all rhetorical questions. I’m not like, asking you personally, Archy).

      Often, as a woman, when you’re approached by a guy in a public space, it doesn’t feel like it’s an individual striking up a conversation with another individual. It feels like you’ve been spotted and targeted as a pair of breasts and a fanny. That’s crude, but really it can feel that crude. I’ve said this elsewhere, but public spaces like this aren’t the place to go specifically to pick-up a woman.

      It’s also especially problematic when you try to shut down the conversation and the person you’re talking to won’t leave you alone. I have literally walked away from someone after a short little greeting/exchange at a train station and had him follow me and start up a conversation again. I wasn’t rude about it, either, or at least I was trying not to be rude about it. I just wasn’t interested in having a chat. So after a “hello,” “hi,” and then a pause for a bit and then I walked away, this guy follows me to the other end of the platform and says “hello” again. That is a problem.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        Yeah… I wouldn’t ague it’s unreasonable not to want to talk to a total stranger.

      • Yeah hence the be respectful, if they aren’t open to communicate then you’ll hopefully know that quick and be on your way. Thing is even if you are talking to her, because she is a woman you’d like to get to know, is that actually bad? In my town I think up the options of where to meet women. They are usually friend of friend, nightclub (hard to talk), activities/hobbies/sports, social gatherings (fairly rare), or at the various daytime venues like coffee clubs, shopping centers etc. What I’m curious from this articles message is where exactly do we approach women? Women generally do not approach guys an ask them out here, so do we just stick to pubs n bars (that I dislike, as I can’t actually have a conversation there), stick to online dating, friends of friends, and avoid strangers? It seems like this could be quite bad if it’s a common way that people meet and now the men are taking the message and just avoiding female strangers in public.

        It’s not unreasonable to not want to talk to strangers, but it is unreasonable to be in a public place and EXPECT no one to talk to you, it’s a public place, not your private house and sometimes people will say hello. It’s up to you to inform them you are not willing to chat, and up to them to respect that. I’ve had days where I didn’t want to speak to people, just buy something and go home, but if someone tried to talk to me what right do I have to be pissed? It’s not like I have a neon sign around me saying don’t talk to me. The problem is when you tell someone you don’t want to talk and then they get annoyed, part of fixing that would be educating people to accept rejection, hell you could have it in primary n secondary school to have mockup rejection lessons teaching people to realize it doesn’t mean they are ugly, etc.

        I have no problem if it’s teaching people to read the signs, leave without being offended, but it’s starting to sound like we need to mind-read them before even showing ourselves and saying a word before we can talk, sounds extreme to me. Hopefully I’ve just misunderstood something.

        • Well, except there *are* neon signs-it’s called body language, and the vast majority of us humans use it, consciously or unconsciously. Heck, the Schrodinger’s Rapist piece talks about that, complete with examples of what someone who’s not interested in talking to you, and someone who is. Do they have their arms crossed, and are looking down or away from you? Probably not interested. Are they making direct eye contact, and staying focused on you, and are animated in the conversation? Probably interested in you.

          And I do find it odd that you have so few places to meet women, especially in terms of hobbies/clubs/sports. *Very* few sports or hobbies these days are completely male dominated, and I’d be willing to bet that you could at least meet one woman who shares a similar interest or two. Despite being a pretty stereotypical geek, I’ve still managed to meet women (both in terms of friends and dating prospects) who run in the same orbits I do.

          • Are you in a city? I am in a small town, makes it a bit harder I find. In regards to neon lights, people have to LEARN to read this body language first, there are plenty of people who find confusion with this, I myself found it quite confusing during high-school and into early adulthood. There are also individuals who can’t read body language, but that’s a whole different story. Maybe it’d help to give training to kids on reading body language? I know for a while I was expecting people to voice their concerns.

        • I have to disagree on this. Talking to strangers is not a “right.” That implies that the stranger you are approaching has an obligation to respect your “right” to talk to them. They don’t. On the contrary, they have a right to be annoyed that you have bothered them. Just like they have a right to be annoyed if you step on their toes or cut in front of them in line. It’s an intrusion. Maybe those are the kind of daily annoyances that we all have to tolerate at times in a complex urban society, but it’s still annoying and most people prefer that it doesn’t happen.

          • Are there really any rights? We have the rights based on laws, but are there rights that if you don’t want to talk to someone, that you can walk around in public without someone talking to you? We all have the right to be annoyed yes, but we don’t have the right to expect people to not talk to us in public, if that makes sense. We have the right to be left alone, but that needs to be clearly indicated to a person and relying on body language isn’t a foolproof method as quite a few people have trouble reading body language. There’s a reason people say “mixed signals”, and I think many times it’s because a persons body language, actions, and speech can be quite conflicting to some people. Maybe they’ve misread, or didn’t see 1 body language gesture that has large importance so they might mess up and approach someone who wanted to be left alone. Crossing arms on a warm day for instance is far more clear of intention than crossing arms on a cold day.

            • I live in a city now, but I grew up in a small town, and I know how suffocating it can feel. However, that’s why we have the internet. Seriously, it is a really great way to reach out and meet folks in the area who have similar interests to you. is particularly useful in this regard, check it out.

              And yes, learning body language is difficult, I know, I went through that in my teens. It was painful, but after some trial and error, I figured it out. A lot of it was just observing other people, being as friendly and non-threatening as possible, and having the nerve to actually talk to folks. I still slip up occasionally, but I carry enough confidence to not freak out, which allows me to recover quickly and not freak out other people

            • Yeah I’m in my late 20′s now and find it much easier to spot body language. I’ve both been the person that’s fumbled, even said wildly innappropriate stuff (trying to fit in and mimicing other peoples behaviour in a group, doesn’t work:P), and seen plenty of guys and a few girls do it too. I think most of us don’t mean to make people uncomfortable, but unless the other person realizes you’re shy then they could feel threatened, I know I use to feel threatened until I started learning more about peoples behaviour and why they do certain things.

            • Someone might have very “open” body langusge and still not want to talk to a stranger. Maybe they are feeling happy and relaxed because they are on their way to meet s good friend. Still doesn’t mean they want to be approached by strangers. T

            • Well should we assume people don’t want to talk and just never talk to strangers, or try our luck and if they say no then be on our way? Btw I’m not assuming anyone actually wants to or doesn’t want to talk to strangers, I’m advocating that people still be allowed to at least try talk to strangers and if the stranger isn’t ok with it then they tell the initiator.
              With my own body language there are times where I look like I don’t want anyone near me, but I’m actually very open to talking to people. I wouldn’t want to live in a world though where people couldn’t talk to other people in public because some may not want to talk, who wants to rely solely on the internet? How do we meet new people if we’re so worried about them not wanting to talk to the point we just don’t even bother talking to strangers, sounds like a lonely way to go and I already do this so I should know. I’m breaking out of that shy shell and finding it actually is quite good to talk to strangers randomly, even just to talk about a product in the supermarket.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Sarah

            “I have to disagree on this. Talking to strangers is not a “right.”

            I’ve been on both ends of this from both men and women. I’ve had women who I had no intention or desire to speak to talk to me because they’re scared at night (of me and of others). I’ve had men talk to me also. I’m on the smaller side for men so I don’t think it was fear.

            On an absolute level, I agree with you. From a practical level I agree with Archy. People don’t have the right to talk to someone (stranger or intimate), but from a standpoint of utility in society, social interactions should be allowed until the right to be left alone is asserted. Body language probably is sufficient to assert the right. Although there is no fundamental difference in the case if an intimate, I think that the assumption of approachability changes and you move to a more forceful standard.

            I think when a woman feels trapped she may use conversation as a toll to gauge risk or to show that she’s a person thinking it’s harder to hurt a person than an object. I suppose I could be a dick and tell her to STFU, but like Julie said should we treat others with kindness? Not that it’s an obligation, but is it something to be desired and encouraged? One message of slutwalk might be you don’t have to accommodate women’s fears, but it would be nice and considerate.

            • You are right about body language. I’ve found that many guys are terrible at reading negative signals from body language and tone of voice (Some women are bad at it too, but as a rule, women seem better at reading non verbal cues). On the other hand, if a strange guy approaches me, and he’s not getting my signals from my crossed arms, lack of eye contact and irritated/bored tone of voice, should I really tell him, “go away, I don’t want to talk to you?”. How do I know he won’t react badly, call me a bitch or something? Unfortunately, what I usually do is simply leave.

              @Archy, I’m not saying don’t talk to strangers, just pointing out that many women don’t like being approached by strange men, and your chances of successfully meeting women this way seems low. I’ve just read so many comments from men complaining that women they approach are picky and cold and unfriendly and bitchy all that, and I think it stems from having been rejected over and over again by women who are probably nice people but don’t lIke being hit on by strange guys, period. It seems to be something that creates a lot of resentment and anger on both sides. Men think “I should be able to talk to that pretty girl at the coffee shop without her getting all bitchy and bent out of shape about it” and women are saying “I should be able to go to a coffee shop and get my goddamn coffee without having to walk a gauntlet of horny guys” and then everyone is pissed off and angry.

              I think a better way to meet people is through activities where you know that everyone has come there to meet new people. Classes, meetup events, singles events, book groups, etc.

            • Alexandra says:

              Hi Sarah,

              I think you do have the right to say, go away, I don’t want to talk to you, depending on how uncomfortable the person is making you feel. I’ve said it myself a few times. I’ve also used, “sorry, I don’t talk to strangers,” especially if the opening line is “Hey Baby,” rather than a simple Hello or Excuse me. (Which personally, I think is the best opening line, as it acknowledges that you are interrupting the individual’s personal time.)

    • Eagle34 says:

      Do you have a point or are you just trolling, A Sex Worker?

  5. Peter Houlihan says:

    “Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do. Some will fabricate or exaggerate experiences to gain notoriety among peers, at the cost of a woman usually. They even get status nicknames like ’Smooth Operator’ or ‘Don Juan’. In a certain period of my life where I was very sexually active with numerous partners, there was a quiet pride in being called ‘Shaft’ and seen as a ‘player’ or a ‘stud’ by co-workers both male and female.”

    Permitted? How about “forced”?

    • Yeah it’s pretty much expected at times, who wants to be known as a virgin, especially in their 20′s? Hell even some women will call them a loser let alone other men. One of the most common insults in video games by the way is calling them a virgin, calling them fat, and treating them as if they are so ugly that they can’t get laid, a stereotypical fat virgin geek insult. Then you see the replies of how they have gf’s, etc to prove they aren’t this terrible fat virgin geek.

  6. I am 100% anti slutwalk. The message is almost entire man-hating, equating a whole gender to predators, and insisting that only men can be perpetrators and not victims.

    • Not true. There were men at my local Slutwalk, and they were there in solidarity with their wives, daughters, sisters, etc. Men can also be victims of rape and they are welcome to participate in SlutWalk.

      • Jess, just curious..did they talk about rapists being male, or male AND female? I’ve only seen the anti-rape campaigns mainly none I’ve seen have shown a female rapist, one showed a gender-neutral image though.

      • John Anderson says:

        I read about a slutwalk where they had an all female section and a mixed section. The rationale was that women who were raped would be uncomfortable walking with men. When they considered having a men’s section they rejected it because one of the marchers may in fact be a rapist (assumed to be male) and elected to march in the men’s section. It wouldn’t be good to have a man encounter his rapist. They never explained why a man raped by a woman should have no problem marching with his rapist.

  7. Eric M. says:

    Nobody thinks it’s acceptable to steal cars (save car theives) and, last I heard, it’s a felony, but police STILL tell you to lock your car, take your keys, and leave valuables out of sight to lower your chances of having your car stolen. Should we organize march’s to object to that admonition, or insist that they should go after the thieves instead of telling us to lock our cars, etc?


    “In some odd cases, the courts have ruled that a person who leaves their keys in their car is financially responsible. The rationale here is that the owner should foresee that leaving the keys in the car will materially increase the risk of harm to others.”

  8. Both the white ribbon campaign and the slut walk frame DV and rape in a binary that is at odds with reality.

    While I think its important to change the thinking of people that victim blame, its also irresponsible and hateful to present domestic abuse and rape in the feminists binary, that in itself is a rape and abuse culture – because it erases half of the story.

  9. Jeff – hear, hear. Great article. I’ve heard about this in the States moreso – is it going to spread across Canada?

    • Hi Marla,

      Did you mean is SlutWalk spreading across Canada? From its birthspot here in Toronto, Canada there have been numerous SlutWalks planned across the country as well as in the US. Visit for more info about the original group and the ‘SlutWalk Satellites’ !

  10. John Anderson says:

    I noticed that misandry wasn’t on the list of things they wanted stopped. It would be interesting to get this omission clarified, but how do you forget about hatred directed at half the population. I can only assume that they’re for misandry.

  11. “… In a certain period of my life where I was very sexually active with numerous partners, there was a quiet pride in being called ‘Shaft’ and seen as a ‘player’ or a ‘stud’ by co-workers both male and female.”

    Why is it that guys that were able to have as many girlfriends as they pleased and often treated them badly become born again feminists and lecture shy and socially challenged guys about how not to approach women? Jeff was was … like … such a stud … but now he totally respects women … awesome … what a guy!

    If there was a guy who was shy and was teased at school by girls and … never had the courage or social skills to approach girls and … every time a girl gave him those signals he was never sure if he was entitled to contact her… maybe he would have some cred.

    Got to love the irony of Schrodinger’s rapist … you can tell from her behavior and context that she doesn’t want to talk to you … juxtapose that with Slut Walk.

    • Ok, I’ll shoot. I was that guy, the shy, socially awkward one, for a long time. I got teased, never had the nerve to talk to girls, etc etc. Still awkward, still a bit shy, but also still a feminist, and more importantly I still respect women. Furthermore, instead of dwelling my failures, I learned how to *successfully* approach women. Ironically, it seems my awkward shyness actually works in my favor-I come across as friendly and non-threatening. However, I also know when to walk away, or when my presence isn’t desired. I watch body language, and I *listen*. Listening alone, instead of just waiting to talk, will get you many, many places. I also make a point of being engaged, even if the subject doesn’t interest me, as well as figuring out what the other person would find interesting about me. That’s probably the other thing I’d suggest:: Don’t worry about being attractive, just strive to Be Interesting.

      I’d also recommend the talented Doctor NerdLove, one of the best advice columnists out there catering to shy, awkward guys (and girls!). His columns can be found at They’ve helped me personally quite a bit

      • PursuitAce says:

        Why as a male must I strive to be interesting? Are women already interesting, or are we already interested in them so being interesting doesn’t apply?

        • Umm? Because people (both men and women) don’t particularly like conversing with boring people? Being boring or uninteresting is definitely a non-gendered thing, and if I talked to a woman who I found wasn’t interesting, I’d rapidly lose my interest in her. Wouldn’t you? Seriously, I’m not talking about going out and becoming a stunt driver or a navy seal or anything, but if all you do is go to work, come home, and zone out in front of the TV, you’re not going to have much to say to people, and they’re not going to have much to say to you. And I feel this is valid advice for folks of all genders.

  12. All my life I’ve sought to protect the Women in my life. Starting with 2 younger sisters and all my Female cousins. That grew to my girlfriend(later , my Wife) , 3 Daughters, Mom, and basically any Females that came into my ‘circle’. Protect and Provide, my purpose for existance. So I can’t express my thrill at seeing a ‘Movement’ that declares me a ‘Potential Rapist’ due to my gender!

    • John Anderson says:

      That’s why a lot of the laws get skewed. How many guys would take a bullet for someone they loved? How many men would rather take on pain than see it in someone they cared about? I’ve had the misfortune of fighting eight guys once and having the piss knocked out of me. I’ve also had experiences where the emotional scars ran deep. I got over the beating in three days. Some of the emotional stuff has been over 30 years ago and I’m just now coming to terms with it. If it came down to men designing laws to protect themselves or protect their loved ones when they were not around, they would almost always pick protect my loved ones (usually the women and girls). I’ll take my chances.

    • Jasmine says:

      bobbt, the movement does not view all men as a potential rapist. In fact, I think we’d agree that most men are decent, non-raping human beings. Rather, what happens is that girls and women are taught very early on to be wary, that it is their job to avoid getting raped. This places the onus on women, and not on those who rape to not rape. There are far too many men that I know and have spoken with who don’t even know simple things that can negate consent – like intoxication. Does that mean all men are rapists? Again, no. But it DOES mean that we need to do a better job at educating both males and females about boundaries and about respecting boundaries. I did Dating Violence Prevention workshops in high schools; these adolescents were very receptive to messages about consent, boundaries, coercion. Not once did we use gender essentialist assumptions like “all men are potential rapists”. Instead, we talked about how consent works and focused on how everyone can respect each other and their boundaries, how the absence of the word ‘no’ does not imply a ‘yes’, and how important consent.

      I’m not sure at what point SlutWalk labeled all males potential rapists. It’s about ending victim blaming, and putting the onus on rapists, not on victims. I’m tired of seeing girls taught that they need to avoid rape by not drinking too much, by not dressing too slutty (with this also comes the implication that it’s only attractive women who are at risk of being sexually assaulted). The ‘avoid getting raped’ messages often imply that strangers pose the greatest danger, which is unfortunate since acquaintance rape is far more common. So I love that SlutWalk is shifting the attention from the victim, because it doesn’t matter what a woman wears, how much she drank, or who she goes home with – we all, men and women, have the right to expect not to be raped.

  13. Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do.
    Some excerpts from the article and my responses:

    What do these two excerpts:
    “We want to reimagine ideas of masculinity and provide examples of healthy role models in behaviour” &
    “My focus as a male ally is to stop men and boys from using words as violence”

    Have to do with this excerpt:
    “Rachel Ehmke, a 13-year-old seventh grader in Mantorville, Minn., died April 29 after hanging herself at her home. The months leading up to the tragedy were a whirlwind of peer abuse instances, her parents say… the word “slut” was scrawled across her gym locker… the same group of girls reportedly threatened Rachel and kept calling her a “prostitute” though she had never kissed a boy…two days before Rachel’s death, an anonymous text was sent to other students at the school…”

    Oh, they have nothing to do with a girl committing suicide due to relational aggression from other *girls*.
    This is one of the problems I have with slutwalk. It’s more gender essentialism of the same type that comes from almost all radical feminists.

    Masculinity needs fixing, but femininity is just fine. The fact is, neither is broken. What you have is dysfunctional people from both genders doing dysfunctional things in different ways.

    While it is a proven fact that dysfunctional men are much more prone to using physical violence over dysfunctional women (key word–dysfunctional. Slutwalk won’t stop rapes because only dysfunctional men rape. All the masculine shaming in the world won’t stop rape) dysfunctional (and even some very functional) women use relational aggression. Keep in mind, when men do use violence their victims is men over women at a 4 to 1 ratio.

    I see nothing in slutwalk that would address what happened to this poor girl. Removing the stigma of the word slut, simply means her *female* assailants would have used something else to smear her reputation.

    Studies show that girls (and women) are far more prone to relational aggression than men (gossipping, clique-building, ostracization etc..). Studies also show that it is most often the most well-behaved, popular and centralized girls who do this (A students, prom queens etc..). I would hypothesize that this goes on well into adulthood as it is much less visible and hard to patrol and punish (thus establishing consequences and reducing the behavior).

    This hypothesis seems to be correct as in the CDC’s report on IPV, 50% more men (over women) report that their female counterparts exhibit controlling or shaming behavior.
    Mothers commit 70% of all parental child abuse and parental child slayings.

    Can we please stop with the gender essentialism that says men are bad/oppressors and women are good/victims? PLEASE?

    “There is a viral and infectious desecration of women worldwide” “We deny women and girls the right to happiness, equality and even to life itself.”

    In point of fact, this is done to everybody. Men are 80% the victims of all violence. Were the CDC report to include “forced to penetrate” in its rape definition, then 40% of all rapes are women raping men.

    Another excerpt:
    “Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do.”

    What is hard for most who engage in radfem-style gender essentialism to understand is that men face a lot of shaming too. But, since men’s gender role revolves around action instead of inaction, a lot of gender warriors seem to have a hard time seeing it.

    The flip side to the excerpt is that when a man lacks the skills to successfully secure female companionship and masturbates to porn or engages in transactions with prostitutes he is shamed.

    When a man walks away from a fight he is shamed. When a man fails to support his family (for no fault of his own) he is shamed. When a man fails to stick up for himself (whether against a wife or a stranger) he is shamed (hen-pecked, pussy-whipped ring any bells?)

    When a man face severe emotional problems he is shamed. I heard an NPR story about a soldier who suffered from ptsd/depression who’s military psychiatrist refused to diagnose him as such, and said if he didn’t get back to his unit he would be jailed for insubordination and be somebody’s bitch. His suicide note said: I don’t want to be somebody’s bitch. The father was lied to about the psychiatrist’s hand in the suicide and lied to about the existence of the note. Surprise: men are committing suicide for being shamed too!

    The idea that men have no gender tightrope to walk is a broken concept I see repeated in a lot of radical feminist ideas, and I see this article walking right in line with this.

    The women who engage in slutwalk are free to do whatever they want. If they believe they are really changing the world for the better, then I hope they really do some good.
    All I see is more gender essentialism woman=good, man=bad bs.

    • I agree with everything that you’re saying. However, why can’t the Slutwalk be focused on the particular subject of slutshaming? Why is that a bad thing? Why is it wrong to point out that many female victims of sexual abuse/assault are the ones being blamed for what happened? It’s not. You have made very valid points. And I think that some of the points you’ve made are even part of the problem that the Slutwalk attempts to bring out into the open. But many of your points about the shaming of certain behaviour by males is a separate problem altogether and I dare you to find a feminist that would not want to be an ally in your cause. I, for one, would be a huge ally. It’s not a simple problem or a simple fix. Masculinity is hugely flawed. And femininity is widely hated and feared. I say we eradicate both words completely and we start to define ourselves on our own terms and not base them on what genitals with which we happened to have been born and the arbitrary traits associated with them. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. These social rules were put in place long before either of us were born. And the Slutwalk is about challenging those rules and it’s about changing how we think about each other. You may happen to be male, and you may never have raped anyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are guilt-free. I don’t know you. And I don’t know how you have treated women, but there are a lot of behaviours that we’ve all been taught are okay when they’re not. It’s why women are mean to women sometimes. The idea that women are sub-human is indoctrinated in all of us from birth. It’s self-awareness and the ability to question things that allows us to see how arbitrary a lot of those rules are. I think the White Ribbon campaign is there to include men in the conversation, to show that women aren’t alone and that not all men are predators. Don’t be so defensive. YOU, specifically, are not being targeted. But you really have no idea what it’s like for it to be second nature to look at all strange men as potential violators. Believe me, it’s not something women really want to be doing or have to be thinking about every time we walk out the door. We really wish that all men looked at all women as human beings worthy of respect. Because then we could do the same.

      • J.T
        You said “I think the White Ribbon campaign is there to include men in the conversation, to show that women aren’t alone and that not all men are predators.” [my emphasis]

        Surely that implies that most men are predators?

        “You may happen to be male, and you may never have raped anyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are guilt-free.” Is this guilt by association? Guilt by class?

        • I’m not implying that most men are predators. I know that isn’t true. But you can’t tell just by looking at someone either. In order for women to protect themselves, they kind of have to look at strange men who approach them on the street (or wherever) as a potential predator. I do. For example, the other day I was walking home from work. I walked through a park and a man with a dog says to me, “You look like a dog lover.” I smiled and politely said, “I am.” I thought that was the end of it. And then he proceeds to follow me and ask me all sorts of questions about what I do, where I live, etc. Almost all the way home. I didn’t want to be rude. I didn’t want to assume that he could hurt me. But in all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what this man is capable of doing. And I felt very uncomfortable. I could have been up front and said, “Don’t talk to me,” but I can’t predict how he would have reacted to that. It’s a fine line. And imagine I’m a woman who had already been assaulted. The fear is doubled. Maybe the man was just nice and wanting to strike up a conversation. But I didn’t want to. And he was not picking up on my cues. Sure, he didn’t hurt me. But I don’t know what could’ve happened next and I have to be somewhat prepared for the worst. I’m sorry that you don’t like being painted with that brush. But that’s not my fault. Your reaction to how I protect myself is not my problem. That’s yours. I understand how you don’t like it. Women have been unfairly judged for centuries and continue to be, just because they’re women. But this is about personal safety. And that means more to me than your (or any man’s) back getting up about it.

      • You may happen to be male, and you may never have raped anyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are guilt-free.

        Yes, it does. That’s how guilt works. If you don’t do it, abet it, or condone it, you’re not guilty.

        • PursuitAce says:

          I prefer to be guilt free until proven otherwise.

        • Sorry… I should have elaborated…. when I said you may not be guilt-free, I meant, guilt-free of crossing a line. Sometimes, the thought is, “I haven’t raped a woman, so I’m a good guy.” I’m not saying that you are thinking this, but a lot of guys don’t understand when they’ve crossed a line with even just their words. This is sort of what is meant when people refer to “rape culture.” It’s not that all these men are out raping women, it’s all the thoughts and assumptions that are included in it, like jokes and judgements about clothing or sexual behaviour. That’s what I meant by not being guilt-free.

          • So for guys, Slut Walk and White Ribbon, are like going to confession? Repent and you will be saved! Now I know what’s meant by ‘all men are sinners’.

          • The thought is, “I haven’t raped anyone, so I’m not a rapist.”

            Other thoughts include:
            * Words can be hurtful and abusive, but words can’t rape.
            * You can’t cross a line from talking to raping, just from talking.
            * Louis C.K. is one example of someone who can be hilarious about rape.
            * Rape jokes aren’t all pro-rape. (See above.)
            * Rape is terrible.
            * Rapists should be punished.
            * No one deserves to be raped – not hot women, not ugly women, not men in prison, not altar boys, not people people who are sober and modestly dressed, not people who are intoxicated and dressed provocatively.
            * Some behaviors, though not deserving of rape, increase the chances of being raped. Pointing out such behaviors is not blaming the victim, it’s risk management.

            If I’m supposed to feel any guilt about that, I assume you’re tormented by your role in perpetuating Murder Culture, since even though you’ve never killed anyone (I’m assuming), you’ve probably made glib references of a murderous nature (“I would kill for some ___ right now”, “This workout is murder!”) and perhaps even enjoyed a whodunnit from time to time. Only murder enablers would ever sink so low, right? Tell me, please, that at least you’ve never played Clue, making a game out of such a heinous crime. You’re not one of those murderer apologists, are you?

            • Eric M. says:

              Nail. On. Head.

              GREAT comment. What I have, far less clearly and articulately, been trying to say for months now.

            • My vote for comment of the day.

            • Eric M. says:

              I second, third, and fourth that.

              We need something to counter-balance the deleting of non-feminist comments over at NWATHM.

            • wellokaythen says:

              “You’re not one of those murderer apologists, are you?”

              You know, if you had ever been murdered, you wouldn’t be writing such hurtful things…. ; – )

          • John Anderson says:

            @ J. T.

            “It’s not that all these men are out raping women, it’s all the thoughts and assumptions that are included in it, like jokes and judgements about clothing or sexual behaviour. That’s what I meant by not being guilt-free.”

            So men are guilty of supporting rape culture because of their thoughts and assumptions, but women who assume things about men are somehow not guilty. When people joke about rape (I’ve heard many women joke about it also), it usually concerns the rape of men (mostly be other men, but sometimes by women) and when it comes to assumptions, ask any male survivor of a female perpetrator what assumptions were made about him. I assure you that he was assumed to be a “slut” and it didn’t even matter what he wore.

        • Jameseq says:

          +1 Marcus

      • “You may happen to be male, and you may never have raped anyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are guilt-free.”

        You may happen to be female, and you may have never raped anyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are guilt-free. How does that make you feel?

      • John Anderson says:

        What do you do when strange women strike up a conversation with you because they’re scared of you? One time I was running to catch an elevator that had opened up to let a woman on. I glanced at her and proceeded to the opposite corner. She said hi, so I said hi. She asked me if I worked there, etc. I don’t think she was hitting on me. I’m pretty sure she was scared and wanted to determine if I was a threat. I answered her questions and got off on my stop. I didn’t feel like talking, but how would she have felt had I exhibited a more aggressive response to her question?

        Once I was waiting for a bus in a more dangerous part of town. A woman I knew from high school was also there. I knew her, but we didn’t like each other. She was waiting a good distance away. A group of young men arrived and she immediately moved to my side and started talking to me. That was one of the more irritating, awkward, monosyllabic conversations I ever had. I told a friend a wanted to tell her to STFU and leave me alone. The reason I didn’t was because I could sense the unease in her voice. He told me I was mean and should have actually spoken to her.

        She never took her eyes off me and I don’t think she realized that I wasn’t the only one to notice that she was nervous. The group of men were looking in our direction too. My eyes locked on each of them to let them know that I knew there were four of them and I knew where they were.

        • You have no obligation to talk to people even in those circumstances. Why not say, “I don’t feel like talking to you”? However, if you don’t do that because you think it would be rude or awkward, or might lead to some unpleasantness, well, that’s the same dilemma women often have when strange guys are talking to them.

      • J.T.
        My issue w/slutwalks is that it is about demonization of men and male libido. Also, when addressing shaming language the idea seems to center around stopping shaming language only or primarily when used by men against women.

        As I pointed out: the several excerpts about changing men and redefining masculinity would have had precisely zero to do with the young girl who committed suicide who’s shamers were female, not male.

        It is much more often that women/girls use shaming language to demonize other women/girls (not men). Women police other women especially women who aren’t afraid to make the first move (as a woman having something in their dating arsenal that she herself doesn’t (the guts to initiate) is very threatening to many women).

        If this were done in a way that didn’t demonize men, paint male libido as threatening, and say that masculinity was broke and needs fixing then I wouldn’t have a problem.

      • J.T. writes:
        “But many of your points about the shaming of certain behaviour by males is a separate problem altogether and I dare you to find a feminist that would not want to be an ally in your cause”

        That’s strange because when I post on feminist boards that many impoverished, depressed, minority men are also victims of society in a big way (and much less noticed, counted or helped by social services) the first thing they typically do is start slinging around insults that particularly pertain to my sexuality stating that I hate women because I can’t get laid.

        As the tragic tale of the girl who committed suicide shows: it is mostly women who use sexuality-flavored shaming language against other women.

        It is also (from my experience) mostly women who shame men for failure to live up to the male gender role (whether feminist or not).

        You make a case that many feminists beliefs might align with mine, it is what feminists *advocate* for or march for that really says what they care about most.

        Again, my problem is with the anti-male flavor of this narrative. It doesn’t help the many women who have their sexuality policed by other women. It also does nothing to help men who are shamed in many different ways by women or men.

        Rape is a tiny part of all violence. Why not try to reduce all violence, rather than just say that violence against women is in a totally different category (i.e. violence against women is worse).

        Men are the targets of 80% of all violence.

      • J.T. writes:
        “The idea that women are sub-human is indoctrinated in all of us from birth.”
        Absolutely false.
        What you’re observing is onely 1 side of gender roles. Have women in the past had their agency reduced/obstructed/stolen? Absolutely.
        But, what you’re failing to realize is that female limitations were male expectations. Before 1940 most jobs (besides working near schools or offices) were dangerous and dirty.

        Before organized labor pushed for worker safety laws and collective bargaining rights most jobs were soul-crushing, body-destroying jobs fraught with peril.

        In order to secure female companionship men were (and still are) pushed into proving that they could self-sacrifice for her and their offspring.
        32,000 men died building the panama canal for something as ephemeral as international trade (saving 7 days to pass around south america).
        Look at any dam, skyscraper, tunnel or suspension bridge and you will see dozens of men who gave their lives to build these things.

        Look at this scene (based on a historical event) in which Patton slaps a soldier who claims to have shell shock. He calls him a coward and threatens to have him shot.

        ht tp://

        When I was in my early 20′s I had a high school friend who volunteered with little brothers little sisters in Minnesota (This was around 1990). This org sends workers to assist seniors with shopping and to keep them company. My friend told me the story of a senior man who talked about his time working during the industrial revolution.

        This guy said a fellow lost several fingers accidentally in a press. After the hand was wrapped, the foreman said he had to be back in 3 days or he would lose his job.

        Was women’s agency reduced in the past and were women objectified? Yes. Was men’s agency reduced in the past and were men objectified? Yes.

        At least women were objectified in a way that underscored their safety. Women were treated as objects that were too precious (like a fabergee egg) to risk in cavalier ways.

        Men, on the other hand were objectified as a crude tool like a hammer. The tool-user was rough and if the hammer broke, f*ck-it there was a million more where that dead/damaged man came from.

        Please stop acting like only women have a gender role and were abused by the elites in the past.

        • Good points John,
          I’d add that until recently men were beaten in the workplace as discipline (still happens somewhere I bet). In the 80′s (Australia) I witnessed violence, threats of violence and sexual harassment against young men in the work place and it was carried out by foremen and tolerated by middle management. At school corporal punishment was regularly used for boys, but was illegal for girls, that is gender based violence.

          • At school corporal punishment was regularly used for boys, but was illegal for girls, that is gender based violence.
            Damn straight. I remember that in elementary school. The principal would beat the boys with a large wooden paddle but would never touch the girls in that way. Like not even have a female teacher do it instead of the (male) principal. And John A you might be talking about Australia, I’m talking about the States.

            But I’m sure that since it “only” happened to boys it doesn’t count. Or better yet such a practice was actually sexist against girls only somehow.

          • John Anderson says:

            In biology class the boys had to prick their fingers twice to provide blood or plasma for the slides because the (female) teacher didn’t think the girls should have to do it. I know it sounds petty now, but it really irritated me back then especially since I have an irrational fear of needles.

    • Jeff Perera says:
  14. One thing I hear occasionally from certain feminists is that if men were being raped it would be treated more seriously.

    ht tp://

    Here is a very great article at genderratic that talks about an article in which the 36 hour sexual assault of a man (by a woman) is consistently downplayed.
    She is not referred to as a rapist. She is referred to as a nymphomaniac.
    She is also sentenced to therapy rather than jail time.

    Despite their desire to help, I see a lot of feminists (either purposefully or) unintentionally undermining men’s humanity by the idea that only women can be victims (at least they don’t believe strongly enough in support of male victims to march for them).

    • I think there is a deep and pervasive cultural shame/issue around sexual assault to begin with, and layer on top of that gender issues and a general desire to deny that I as a woman (or someone as a man) could be capable of that violence all adds up to a great deal of tamping down the reality that men are assaulted by men and women, and women are also assaulted by men and women, and that violence occurs.

      We will not be able to truly change this dynamic if we are all so determined to place blame on one gender or the other (or race, or sexual orientation) and instead see it as a human problem. This is not easy and it will probably take decades and it’s messy messy ugly work.

      Which means we need to do it.

    • “Despite their desire to help, I see a lot of feminists (either purposefully or) unintentionally undermining men’s humanity by the idea that only women can be victims (at least they don’t believe strongly enough in support of male victims to march for them).”

      Just feel the need to point out (again) that this is actually a failure to move beyond traditional gender norms. Yeah it’s a failure by a good number of feminists to move beyond these norms…but my point is that feminism didn’t create this problem. Also, there are more and more feminists who are recognizing the problem with this.

      • Heather, I totally hear where you’re coming from.
        But, look at this article on slutwalk. Slutwalks are predominantly about men/masculinity and declaring masculinity to be broken.

        Redefining masculinity wouldn’t have helped the girl who committed suicide. That is about girls use of relational aggression–not about men or masculinity.

        Slutwalks do nothing to help male victims of shaming (from anybody) and do nothing to help women who are victims of shaming of other women.

        As the author says “My focus as a male ally is to stop men and boys from using words as violence” (against women only or primarily).

        Once again we have the broken dynamic of men=oppressor, women=victims.

        Men’s humanity seems to be in denial from those that are in the pivotal position to affect change.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Excellent point. What to do about supposedly toxic masculinity when the tormentors are female? The girls who pushed another girl to commit suicide are agents of male sexism? How does that work?

      • Just feel the need to point out (again) that this is actually a failure to move beyond traditional gender norms. Yeah it’s a failure by a good number of feminists to move beyond these norms…but my point is that feminism didn’t create this problem. Also, there are more and more feminists who are recognizing the problem with this.
        Sure they didn’t start it but they don’t seem to have a problem with embracing it when it suits them. I wonder even now if they see a real problem with it or do they just want to address it just enough to get men to shut up about it. For a movement that is all about trying to help all people there’s a lot of feminists that sure seem to have no problem with just dropping all the blame on men while at the same time saying they are not blaming men.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ HeatherN

        “Just feel the need to point out (again) that this is actually a failure to move beyond traditional gender norms. Yeah it’s a failure by a good number of feminists to move beyond these norms…”

        Isn’t that supporting the patriarchy?

      • John Anderson says:

        @ HeatherN

        “Just feel the need to point out (again) that this is actually a failure to move beyond traditional gender norms. Yeah it’s a failure by a good number of feminists to move beyond these norms…but my point is that feminism didn’t create this problem. Also, there are more and more feminists who are recognizing the problem with this.”

        That’s not to say that people don’t make mistakes, learn or grow. I think it’s great if feminists start to align their movement with what many feminists tell me that it is, a movement for gender equality, but I doubt that will occur without someone bringing awareness to the problem. I don’t think men or MRAs need to or should remain silent on this issue. Just saying.

        • Who said anything about remaining silent? I was just trying to again emphasize that, if we’re going to examine the causes of these problems, we need to be accurate about it, and not blame feminism because it’s easy.

          • Its easy because of the they make themselves a target by contributing to the problem but then claiming they don’t and are actually the solution. You’re right its not fair to blame feminism for creating the problems but when members of the movement seem to embrace the problem to the point where they actually take advantage of it while claiming to be the ones working on solving I can see how they would be blamed.

            Honestly I think that some feminists seem to want to skip to the point where they have already moved beyond those gender norms and pretend that there was never a point where they embraced them or used them to their advantage.

            • So, let’s talk about this. “Honestly I think that some feminists seem to want to skip to the point where they have already moved beyond those gender norms and pretend that there was never a point where they embraced them or used them to their advantage.”

              This is truly interesting stuff. You ever read Jung? All this stuff we are talking about is shadow territory.

              No one likes admitting the shadow stuff yes? Individuals need to do that work on an individual basis-looking in the mirror of self and confronting the things that are not pretty, not nice, not fair or just. Beliefs OR/and Actions. That’s the only way groups wind up changing yes? And then systems.

            • wellokaythen says:

              My favorite neo-Jungian quote about the shadow stuff:

              “It’s hard to get a good look at the giant fish swimming behind you trying to eat you.”

            • On a count of being the slowest reader on the planet (my comprehension is fine I’m just a slow reader AND I’m bad about making reading one of the first sacrifices when I’m pressed for time) I have not.

              But yes I’m sure this shadow territory you mention has merit. Just some people don’t want to admit their privileges it makes sense that people don’t want to face the old mirror and see the darkness in heir own hearts. Or they might even not have any darkness, but are just scared of the possiblity that they might.

              I’m sure vulnerability and shame figure into this as well.

            • “No one likes admitting the shadow stuff yes? Individuals need to do that work on an individual basis-looking in the mirror of self and confronting the things that are not pretty, not nice, not fair or just. Beliefs OR/and Actions. That’s the only way groups wind up changing yes? And then systems.”

              I’m just not sure how I feel about this.

              On the one hand, sure, everyone should turn a critical eye on themselves. That should happen with some regularity.

              But on the other hand, if we’re really thinking critically here, we have to be ready to admit that the not pretty/nice/just/fair bits may not actually exist. When we buy into a theory like “privilege” we also have to acknowledge that it might be the wrong way of looking at the world, and so there is never truly any “privilege” to confront in the first place.

              When we talk about the “need” to confront that which may not exist, I’m just not sure it’s positive work anymore. If we convince ourselves that we have “worked” on something that’s not really even there, have we really advanced at all?

            • Do you think we’d deal better with issues of men and rape if women owned up to the fact that women do and can abuse and rape? Or that more men would report if they knew they’d be believed and not treated like they’d been emasculated?
              Or if the society understood that men could be victims of women?

              I do.

              That’s what I mean about shadow stuff. Women and feminists need to deal with the issues that women don’t get considered as problems, but men do, men may need to deal with issues of internalized shame around not being “strong” enough or issues around homophobia issues (women too need to deal with this).

              Do you believe there are double standards that exist against men and sexual assault? I do. I think we need to look critically at them and deal with the guilt shame and fear around them.

              I didn’t mention the P word at all.

            • Your post directly responded to the statement:
              “Honestly I think that some feminists seem to want to skip to the point where they have already moved beyond those gender norms and pretend that there was never a point where they embraced them or used them to their advantage.”

              This sounds like pretty basic privilege theory, so I used “privilege” as short hand instead of re-writing the whole thing over again.

              As for issues of men and rape, I definitely think that men should work on understanding that it is not emasculating, and that there is no shame in what has been done to them.

              But I’m not sure this endless insistence (which, if we’re honest here goes across MANY topics) that women need to “own up” (for lack of a better phrase) to anything is very productive.

              The double standard may exist, or it may not; and even if there’s more evidence that it exists this this instance, that doesn’t mean all “double standards” are real. But insisting that the “other” (which is women in the case of men and rape) must first acknowledge their “shortcomings” seems unhelpful, even if the suggestion is made with good intentions.

              Probably the only thing Hugo Schwyzer wrote that I whole heartedly agreed with was saying that men might benefit from change taking place in women, or they might not, but men can control the changes that take place within themselves. We can hope that women change, but if we want to improve in the here-and-now, we need to focus on changing ourselves, however unfair that may seem.

            • I’m legitimately confused.

              I agree that men need to control the changes that take place in themselves. And so with women. And so with anyone. But I’ve been hearing around these parts and other men’s rights sites, that women need to take some responsibility for engaging and keeping a standard in place where women are victims and men are predators, rather than acknowledging that women can attack men etc and that things like rape prevention should be more inclusive of “we can stop rape” rather than “men can.” That perhaps sharing honest stats is a good thing, sharing resources so that more people get support etc.

              I”m suggesting that if more women own some of that (or examine it or etc) the more the system will change.

              I’m not sure how that’s unhelpful.

            • It’s not unhelpful, but I’m also not sure it’s helpful either.

              Looking at this comment thread, I’m reminded of the comments following Justin Cascio’s piece on the “Five Things Feminism has Done for Men.”

              There may be problems with contemporary feminism, but it’s hard to argue that it didn’t provide some benefits to society.

              Similarly, it’s hard to argue that Slutwalk doesn’t have some laudable goals. It seems like the entire argument about “failure to be inclusive” is an excuse to gloss over those goals and the real difference that they can make.

              It’s difficult to believe that in the near future the organizers of the various Slutwalks will suddenly wake up and say “You know what, let’s change everything to be inclusive!” It might happen some day, but not in the foreseeable term.

              During the foreseeable term, aren’t be better off acknowledging the good the organizations do, rather than upbraiding them for what they have failed to do? (And I’m not saying that’s what you are doing, it’s just clearly the gist of several comments in this thread)

    • wellokaythen says:

      The proposition: if men were raped, then rape would be taken more seriously.

      Clearly not true, because men are being raped today, and the rape of men is not taken all that seriously, at least not in the mainstream.

      • Especially when male rape victims are not only held to some of the same victim blaming as female victims but there is the extra bit of “men cannot be raped” that is still rather prevalent.

        Yes I know female victims are shamed but that’s usually over the “type” of woman she is (“you can’t rape a wife”, “look at what she was earing”, “look at the way she was acting”). But bear in mind that when men are raped the denial can simply be “that can’t be true because men can’t be raped”.

        • John Anderson says:

          It’s not just that, but also the type of rape. I’m certain that five innocent men would have been convicted in the Hofstra false rape case if one hadn’t video recorded it because no woman would have sex with five guys. There are even limits to slut shaming at least when it comes to women. I’m not sure if it holds true for men. The closest thing happened in Africa, but if I remember correctly, police were skeptical at first and investigated thoroughly after numerous reports started surfacing.

          I did find this article, but I’m not sure if that was the one were the police expressed doubt. It was a few yaers since I saw that.

          “First it was dismissed by police as a township rumour. But yesterday Tembisa police confirmed that it appeared there were women on the rampage in the area who were “raping men”.One of the alleged victims was treated for a bruised penis at a local hospital after three women allegedly forced him to have sex with them ”

  15. William says:

    Each person has a different vision of what Masculinity is.
    Some people’s visions are harmful but that doesn’t mean every person’s vision needs to be fixed.

    Sexual harassment, Being insulted online, pressure on what you wear and how many partner you have…these things happen to men and are commited by woman to.
    We don’t need a SlutWalk, we need a PeopleWalk.

  16. Slut walk? Aimed at all the men? Even the one’s not responsible? because of the actions of a few? We are all branded terrorists? Put things in perspective. If you you put someone in a Lion’s cage, you expect it to not maul? How are you even sure if its trained or not, you still will have fear. Likewise try walking nude and then blame all the men? Its next to impossible to change mentality, people come from all walks of life with different experiences. To blame everyone for the actions of few men is absurd. Half the participants in this slut walk are not even for it, they just want to be part of something to feel validated. Almost everyone knows this age old saying, prevention is the best cure! I dont see the point of this slut walk. Really doesnt solve anything. A person who’s probably had lots of sex wont budge so easily if they saw someone nude, whereas someone who hasn’t will be tempted. So how is it fair to blame both and tell to change the mentality??? Im only in favour of tougher laws for rape.

  17. Young boys are permitted to explore sex in most circles and attain positive status when they do. Some will fabricate or exaggerate experiences to gain notoriety among peers, at the cost of a woman usually.
    I just love how folks that are supposedly about sexual freedom for all people think that this is the start and end of young male sexuality.

    Young boys aren’t just permitted to explore they are damn near demanded to explore. They are tossed out of the colony into the unforgiving wastes so to speak and are expected to come back with experiences in order to be counted as a “real man” and failure to do so means that he is nothing.

    And does anyone want to take a moment to think about exactly why those fabrications and exaggerations are made? Because as I said above having an active sex life with women is a defining feature of being a man. That is why guys share those experiences with each other and that’s why women/girls hold up those experiences as a bar of entry (“if you don’t know such and such then I don’t want nothing to do with you” type stuff). Or we can just pretend that when it comes to sex boys have all the pleasure and girls have all the pain….

    Look I’m all for making the good types of masculinity out there the norm but how in the world are we going to do that when in one breath people say they want to help men but in the next they basically ignore the forces that are at work against men.

    So yeah while those lies may come at the cost of a women let’s help that woman and that guy out instead of just focusing only on the woman and just hoping some help will trickle down on the guy eventually.

    • John Anderson says:

      “So yeah while those lies may come at the cost of a women”

      I think the sexuality standards of women not being allowed to enjoy sex and men being required to want sex is mutually detrimental. It doesn’t just cost women. That’s why you’re right about both problems needing to be fixed. It’s easy to see how the belief that men should want sex all the time could damage male victims of female perpetrated sexual assault, but could this also impact male perpetrated sexual assault against females. If I have to have sex with women to be a man, would I be less willing to worry about whether she consents?

      • If I have to have sex with women to be a man, would I be less willing to worry about whether she consents?
        That’s a good point. A point that I have tried to mention before.

        Filling guys heads with such desctructive notions of sexuality are damaging all around. If young boys weren’t being fed the idea that they have to be forceful with girls when it comes to sex then maybe there wouldn’t be such a problem with male against female sexual violence.

        What you say here plus this, “It’s easy to see how the belief that men should want sex all the time could damage male victims of female perpetrated sexual assault…”, its no wonder that there are a lot of men that walk around thinking that its okay to violate women when it comes to sex and men thinking that its okay for women to violate them when it comes to sex (mind in either case its not thought up as violation, but rather its “just the way it is”).

    • “Young boys aren’t just permitted to explore they are damn near demanded to explore. They are tossed out of the colony into the unforgiving wastes so to speak and are expected to come back with experiences in order to be counted as a “real man” and failure to do so means that he is nothing.”

      And remember as a man you are born with oceans of confidence, power, and knowledge and should never require help or sympathy in any way.


      • And remember as a man you are born with oceans of confidence, power, and knowledge and should never require help or sympathy in any way.
        Of course.

        And in the event that a man does need help he is delcared to be not a man. And in the event a man points out how unfair this double bind is he is declared to be whining about losing male privilege. Because apparently few things oppress women more than trying to help men out of this double bind.

  18. wellokaythen says:

    Perhaps this is just so obvious as to be an absurd point:

    Shouldn’t the police be more interested in what the alleged rapist was wearing at the time than what the alleged victim was wearing? You know, if you wanted to work up an actual description of the suspect and, you know, do your job as a cop and everything. Save that minute you spend asking what the victim was wearing and spend it on some kind of, I don’t know, actual law enforcement.

  19. hunter01 says:

    Interesting comments here. Marcus Williams, I especially liked one of your posts and I’ll jot that one down :). I didn’t go through all the comments do I dunno if it was mentioned but the whole “society doesn’t teach ‘don’t rape’ doesn’t seem true to me. It’s illegal for starters. Isn’t that a pretty loud message of “Hey! Don’t do this!”?

  20. J.G. te Molder says:

    Yes, society teaches men to only react angrily. That’s why when men act with anger over things, they’re listened to. It’s not like people and society tells them to shut up and man up, and has women especially back away saying, “If only you weren’t so angry.”


    Yes, society indeed teaches not to get raped as opposed to not to rape. The same with mugging, society does not teach not to violently mug, it teaches not to get violently mugged. If you as a man walk into a dark alley, drunk, alone, with money piling out of your pockets, and you get beaten half to death and your money stolen; he gets shamed for being so stupid as to do that. It’s absolutely horrible!

    Seriously, can you find any merely accused mugger that got tortured, beaten or even killed by vigilante’s? Of course not! Because society is okay with mugging! Just like you can find no men falsely accused of rape that got tortured, beaten, burned alive and even kill…

    Wait… hold on:

    I’m sorry, I want to be a good little feminist and pro-woman citizen, but I’m sensing a flaw in the reasoning. Just a little one.

    Or in otherwords; it’s complete ffing bullshit.

    If you want to know the reason why men use and boys use “bitch”, “ho”,”pussy”, or “fag” as shaming terms, why homosexual men in particular are are so reviled, it’s not about society valuing women less, quite the contrary, it’s because society values women mightily more than men. You see, a pussy, and a male homosexual are men that are not good, little, disposable beasts of burdens for women. The result is twofold, 1. attacking them on behalf of women as good little violence dispensors for women, and 2. an unconscious resentment, that the bitch and the fag are free from the shackles that the abusers are still captured in. The result is attacks; it however has nothing to do with rape whatsoever, let alone a rape culture. It’s a classic case of feminists expanding the definition of rape and tying everything to it they can get away with.

    Video games is another load of bullshit. The sad part of Rea is that he isn’t so good would words. It isn’t merely sexual harrassment, it’s mindgames. The opponents attempt to throw each other off with insults and other word trickery, so they can beat the other. Afterwards they’ll shake hands, congratulate each other, and when the tournament is over even share a bear and discuss each other’s failures in the game. On top of that, men have always enjoyed throwing insults at friends faces, without either ever taking it seriously. It’s part of how men operate. Indeed, the fact that the player treated the girl as just another opponent to defeat as rapidly as possible and used all the weapons available to him, showed not sexism and sexual harassment, it showed he treated her like an equal, like a man, like someone capable and with game skills that needed beating to advance in the tournament. It’s entirely anti-sexism.

    Of course, the girl had to get huffy. Instead of showing she was an equal, a gamer, with a spine, she started whining. Classic like a pathetic girl, like there have been so many before! I want to be amongst the men… the men act like men, and aren’t whimpering and simpering to avoid every little wishy washy feeling I as a woman might have? Oh, no! Now I can’t handle it! Daddy state! Big brother judge! Tell them to stop being men and be women instead! Women’s need to control men; much like the men’s center at a university lately; the women’s center reaction; okay, but only if men talk about women’s issues (and their are women overseers making sure this happens.)

    Fact is, video games are the final place where men until a short-while ago, can be amongst men, as men. It’s the final male space; and any invasion will exasperate men’s reaction; even truly vile claims that are not their actual beliefs and opinions but attempt at getting her out of their. It’s the final place where they are safe from women running of crying to the state and judges to force men to act like women. Even if the men and boys don’t even know it consciously, unconsciously they realize they need to defend this last place tooth and nail.

    You know what’s funny about the school example? It’s women that shamed the girl into suicide, not the evil oppressing men, let alone evil patriarchy, AT ALL. It’s GIRLS and WOMEN that do it to EACH OTHER. It’s got nothing to do with rape, let alone rape culture. In fact, the whole slut walk is constantly about rape, and has got nothing to with this at all. Just look at all the signs you posted pictures of. Anything about such cases? Nope, it’s all about the rape. I suppose when a man is violated by the actual state, like having his children taken away, removed his money, accused of inhuman acts and takes his life it’s also “rape culture”, right?

    The simple fact that women get gather together and put up some of these vile signs, and vile signs virtually unopposed shows there’s not such oppression of women going on, making your claim of “oppressor” a load of lies, and oppressive shaming; indeed, the next sign with large letters equating heterosexuality with misogny and oppression shows that vile lie right there. Compare that with men standing up for men and getting reduced in the media to, well, fags, pussies, wimps, women-haters, and children who don’t grow into a real man and don’t man up. Heterosxual Patriarchy, you know, oppressing women to boost men, by shaming and eviscerating men while letting women do whatever they want and getting praised for it.

    Yes, women have the right to sit in a coffee shop, they’re just women doing their thing, and… men don’t have the right to talk to her, and just being a man doing their thing. Truly, addressing a women is vile and evil,

    The fact that the disgusting White Ribbon campaign is part of thise vile bullshit is no surprise. Violence against women must be stopped. Never mind that violence against men happens far more often than against women, never mind that violence against men is normalized and male victims are even laughed and made jokes about, nope, the only violence that needs stopping is the violence against women. If there was a reason to make a stop violence against a single demographic, it would only be if that violence is the large majority. But no, White Ribbon is not stop violence against men or even against people; it’s only women that must be excempt from ever facing violence. To then have the audacity to call men as the problem for vioelnce against women, that a tiny minority of bad apples is somehow a flaw in all men, even if just about all men can’t stand the idea of a hurt woman; both through society and evolutionary conditioning.

    The whole thing is disgusting.


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