Back in October I spoke with SlutWalk founder Heather Jarvis about what it was like to get ready to speak at TEDx. Now that that process is over, you can catch her talk with co-founder Sonya JF Barnett. As you’ll see in their talk, Jarvis and Barnett liken language to a virus and apply this metaphor to slut-shaming, calling “slut” one of many “infected words” that have become contagious and are used to dehumanize.
I have to say my favourite part starts around the 4 minute mark where Barnett talks about how much it sucks to be called a “slut” at age 15. That really resonated with me – I share that knowing that all those times I was slut-shamed still stick with me over a decade later.
“Separating my sexual identity from my self-worth has become very difficult over time,” says Barnett and I think a lot of women will know what that feels like and likewise hear their own experiences when Jarvis talks about coping with assault.
I’d encourage you to watch the video even if you have issues with SlutWalk or some of the ways it’s played out in different communities. I think it really grounds the discussion in the very real, lived experiences of women and girls who are slut-shamed and blamed for “asking for it” when sexually harassed or assaulted.
I’m interested to know what other GF readers think – feel free to comment below!