Wente, Wente Go Away

I feel like it’s my feminist duty to respond to Margaret Wente again. In a recent column for The Globe and Mail, she threw her usual conservative two cents into the SlutWalk debate. In case you’ve been living under a rock without access to the Internet these past few weeks, the SlutWalk movement, which was born in Toronto and has spread like wildfire across the globe, aims to take the victim blaming out of rape, and reclaim the word “slut” for all those of us out there who are not willing to buy into the slut-shaming agenda pushed forth   by the patriarchal hierarchy of our society.

Or, as Wente spun it:

“SlutWalks are what you get when graduate students in feminist studies run out of things to do. In fact, they’re flogging a dead mare.”

Margaret Wente, it saddens me that you would belittle this cause in such a harsh, overly violent manner. If it weren’t for feminists, you wouldn’t have your cushy job in the first place. It is because of the attitudes of people like you that this march is more relevant now than ever.

She also points out that the only reason mainstream media is interested in the walks is for an avenue to display “nubile young women in thigh-high cutoffs and tube tops.” Wow, from the footage and pictures I’ve seen of the walks around the world, the crowds represent people of all shapes and sizes, and are diversely dressed in everything from baggy jeans to colourful dresses.

She goes on to say, “The attitude that rape victims bring it on themselves has largely disappeared from mainstream society,” but then brings up the quote by the police officer that spurred the movement in the first place, and a recent incident with a Manitoba judge where a rape victim was blamed. Hmm, doesn’t really sound like it’s vanished from mainstream society. Last time I checked, a cop and judge were pretty damn mainstream to me.

Time and time again, I hear stories of women who were sexually assaulted, and when they took their story to the authorities, were belittled for their choices in behaviour and clothing. At a local clinic, a close friend of mine was asked “why did you go over to the guy’s apartment?” as if it were an invitation for assault. Because once you step over the threshold of a man’s apartment I suppose, he’s just allowed to have his way with you?

But oh, it gets so much better. Wente continues:

“The highly educated young women who join SlutWalks are among the safest and most secure in the world. But you’d never know it from the fevered rhetoric. According to one widely cited scare statistic cooked up by the American Association of University Women, no fewer than 62 per cent of female students say they’ve been sexually harassed at university a figure that is credible only if you include every incident of being groped by some 20-year-old drunk.”

If being groped by someone, drunk or not, isn’t considered sexual harassment anymore, then I don’t know what is.

Her final stab in the heart comes at the end of the column, when she points out that there are other causes more relevant to modern day feminists – like ultra hardcore online porn or the sickening slut-ification of preadolescent girls – implying that we are wasting our time here.

“Anything would be a big improvement over the narcissistic self-indulgence of the SlutWalkers. I guess they mean well. But really, they’re so … privileged.”

It takes a lot of balls to call us privileged from up there on your pedestal, Ms. Wente. Did she even bother contacting any of the organizers of the SlutWalk Toronto before painting them all with the same vitriolic brush, further demonstrating her own ignorance and self-indulgence?   Of course not.

Margaret, I think it’s time to surrender your tits and twat, because we don’t want you on our team anymore.

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