The Sluts Shall Lead Us: Before, During and After the Deluge on the Brooklyn Bridge
New York -- I took the subway down to Zuccotti Park on Saturday morning to go on the Slut Walk. Since it was on the official schedule of Occupy Wall Street, and since I had heard it promoted by various members of the Ad Hoc Caucus of Non-Male Identified Individuals, I figured that the Slut Walk was an official Occupy Wall Street event. I envisioned a few dozen Non-Male Identified Individuals raising a ruckus and making a spectacle and wreaking havoc in and around Zuccotti Park.
Instead I found the park to be stuffed with an unusually large proportion of Male Bodied Individuals of unknown identification who were preoccupied with revolutionary pursuits other than the Slut Walk, which was nowhere in evidence. I asked several Male Bodied Individuals where I might find the Slut Walk, and none of them knew.
This presented an unanticipated problem. It was almost noon, and I was in danger of missing the Slut Walk entirely, wherever it was. Yet my mother raised me in such a way that I would never ask a Non-Male Identified Individual, “Hey, where’s the Slut Walk?”
So I perambulated the park a couple times searching for a Non-Male Identified Individual who would not think I was making untoward assumptions with my ever more urgent query. “I will know her when I see her,” I thought. And I did. I knew her because she was wearing blue jeans and a negligee and she had “SLUT” written in foot-high black letters from shoulder blade to shoulder blade.
“Excuse me,” I said. “You wouldn’t happen to know where the Slut Walk is, would you?”
“Union Square,” she said. “You wouldn’t happen to know how to get there, would you?”
Thus it transpired that I accompanied Mariah Bracken and her recently acquired friends Dana and Brianna to the No. 4 Train. All of them were 22 years old. Mariah and Dana were dressed like...um, ya know...and Brianna was dressed normally. Nobody on the subway seemed to notice.
“Because there’s a serial rapist loose in Brooklyn right now and the police are saying, ‘If girls stopped dressing like sluts, then they wouldn’t be raped’—that’s why I’m going to the Slut Walk,” said Mariah, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “We are trying to reclaim the word ‘slut.’”
“It’s a word that has been used as a justification for sexual assault,” said Dana. “They say that because someone was dressed in a certain way, that means she was asking for it. Well, we’re saying we can dress however we want, and it is never an excuse for rape. Rape is always 100% the fault of the rapist.”