Nadine Strossen said it best, I think, nearly twenty years ago in Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights:
“Women should not have to choose between freedom and safety, between speech and equality, between dignity and sexuality. Women can be sexual beings without forsaking other aspects of our identities. We are entitled to enjoy the thrills of sex and sexual expression without giving up our personal security. We can exercise our free speech and our equal rights to denounce any sexist expressions of any sort – including sexist expressions that are also sexual – rather than seek to suppress anyone else’s rights.”
It’s taken nearly a generation for that idea to gather enough momentum to finally propel itself forward, stridently claiming its place in the feminist dialogue. Openly erotic women, women who avail themselves of the right to sexual self-determination by making unpopular or rebellious choices with their bodies, are no longer willing to be feminism’s poor relations, begging morsels at the table of socio-political equality. We will no longer bear the brutal brunt of gender-conflict while being denied full access to the ground our sacrifices have helped to gain.
SlutWalkers march in the face of passionate opposition from many directions. Those who wish to keep us silent have much to fear: sexuality is the last frontier, the final battleground in the quest for full, unfettered cultural citizenship. If we wake up – truly arise and reclaim the source of our power - then all is lost, and the doddering, shuffling patriarchy will finally crumble. Pay attention: there is a reason why pornophobic feminists, in their misguided, fearful quest to suppress sexual expression, have found their greatest, most powerful ally in the patriarchal monolith of the Religious Right. Read The Handmaid’s Tale, and be very wary of that poisonous partnership.
There is no single path to gender-equality, no one party line, and that’s alright: compelling the patriarchy to cope with the validity of our conflicting agendas helps enlighten dominant culture to the breadth and truth of our possibility, the fullness of our humanity. Ladies: march proudly (and carefully; don’t want to turn an ankle in those shoes), speak out in solidarity, and continue to offer support where you receive no thanks. Our day is coming.
SlutWalk Colorado Springs