Monday, June 13, 2011

Tonight's show - SlutWalk: Criticism and Controversy

SlutWalk began earlier this year in Toronto after a police officer told a York University law class that "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." The comment prompted the creation of SlutWalk Toronto, and after that events sprouted up in cities across North America.

Since the very beginning, SlutWalk has been controversial among both feminists and non-feminists alike. One of the most controversial aspects of SlutWalk Calgary was the organizers decision to partner with CJAY92 and the Forbes and Friends Morning Show. CJAY92 has a long history of misogynistic advertisments and the DJ's regularly make sexist comments on-air. Some Calgarians who previously supported SlutWalk Calgary were so upset they started a protest group on Facebook - Individuals Against CJAY92's Participation in SlutWalk Calgary.

Incidentally, SlutWalk Calgary has been postponed due to a myriad of logistical difficulties, inability to secure insurance and liability concerns. FFWD Calgary recently published a good overview of the problems that plagued SlutWalk Calgary organizers - check out The rise, fall and rise of SlutWalk Calgary for details.

But there are other issues with SlutWalk. Many people are uncomfortable with the term "slut" - including most feminists I've spoke to. Some people feel the message or purpose of SlutWalk has become muddled and murky. Others say there has been no real discussion or analysis around the root cause of sexual violence; the only point being raised is "slutty outfits are not an invitation to rape," which is obviously an important message, but the majority of sexual assaults do not occur because of slutty outfits.

On tonight's show we have two special guests who are both feminists that have been watching and analyzing SlutWalk with a critical eye:
  • Joanne Costello has a Masters degree in social work and identifies as a socialist feminist. Her work has focused on the oppression of women with particular attention to the role of capitalism and imperialism. You can check out her blog at
  • Meghan Murphy is an MA candidate at Simon Fraser University in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies. She is the co-host and producer of the F Word radio show in Vancouver, and her writing and radio work can be found at
Please join us from 8:00 - 8:30 p.m. on CJSW, 90.9 fm in Calgary, or you can listen online at

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