Scantily clad women took to the streets of German cities on Saturday as part of a so-called “Slut Walk” aimed at challenging opinions about sexual assault.
About 1,000 participants took part in a rally in Berlin, with some 200 taking part in a parallel demonstration in Frankfurt and 350 in Munich. Walks also took place in Dortmund, Cologne and Hamburg.
The marches have become a way for women and male supporters of the cause to confront the idea that women could avoid rape and other forms of sexual violence by wearing less revealing clothing.
Mottos written on banners held aloft by participants included “The dignity of the slut is sacrosanct,” and “beautiful, sensuous and sexy — but I don’t want sex.”
The reason for the protest was underlined by co-organizer of the Hamburg walks, Anna Rinne, in comments to the German news agency dpa.
“Even when people walk half-naked through the streets, it is not their fault if violence is committed against them,” said Rinne.
Wrong. There is no dignity in slutiness. It’s sad and revealing in more ways than one, perhaps, that one could ever think it brave, but that’s faux courage at best. Dignity has gone missing, and deservedly so.
If the act of strutting your stuff results in an equal reaction, a girl must take at least half the responsibility for whatever transpires as a result. And if she can’t comprehend that basic contract with life, then she needs a keeper because she’s not a mature adult.
Yeah, if any man is dumb enough to respond to this tawdry, witless provocation by actually attempting to grab the merchandise on parade, at the very least he needs an IQ test before they throw the book at him.
And before that book flies across the room in his general direction, would the grown-up in charge open the volume and show these sad sackettes — the ones propped up in their prostitute poses — the place in the book where it says “as you sow, so shall you reap”? Karma is a you-know-what, girls.
Afterwards, they can charge the offended strutter as an accessory before the fact — i.e., if some dolt grabs her, then at the very least she is his partner in crime. And the offense in which they both participate is a serious transgression against civil order. Sadistic provocation is a breach of the peace.
Call it for what it is. Strutting your stuff and daring anyone to stop you isn’t real freedom. It’s a sneaking, sadistic bully-girl game. Since no adult would behave in such a manner, we have to presume they are, indeed, merely girls. Girls without any moral gravitas, girls who just wanna have fun at others’ expense, girls who haven’t learned to play fair or to see themselves as anything other than the objects they complain endlessly that men make of them.
This is essentially decadent, and a self-indulgent waste of time. There is so much real suffering in the world — in their very own cities — that spending this much energy on slutting to prove a self-righteous point shows more than we want to see about the character of these triflin’ people. That includes the schmucks who showed up in “solidarity”, too. God bless ’em, those “men” are so desperate for women’s attention they’ll even stoop to denigrate their own honor in hopes of a pat on the head and a dog biscuit.
Today’s City Journal essay has an excellent solution to the increasing degradation: let’s clean up the culture by restigmatizing corrupted and corrupting behavior. Riffing off the old theme of New York City’s broken-windows community policing, Myron Magnet writes:
When is a flawless, gleaming, plate-glass shopwindow a broken window? Boston mayor Thomas Menino had no trouble answering the question after one look at the Nike sneaker shop’s display on his city’s upscale Newbury Street. There, above the company’s just do it slogan, were eight T-shirts bearing, in boldly graphic lettering, such messages as GET HIGH, F*** GRAVITY, and DOPE, this one accompanied by an open pill bottle with skateboards spilling out. The mayor clearly understood George Kelling and James Q. Wilson’s theory that one broken window left unrepaired in an empty building suggests that nobody is watching and nobody cares, sparking more vandalism and disorder, which in turn emboldens the violent and lawless to commit hard-core crimes. Here, the mayor saw, was cultural vandalism: Nike’s fashion statement, so to speak, was that it is trendy to take drugs. And the company was happy to turn its teen and preteen customers into walking billboards for drug use.
And so where are the parents who shell out the credit card for sleaze clothing? And why are the salespeople not complaining to their managers about having to make a living selling this vile trash? And why isn’t the whole block complaining about the “cultural vandals” who are parked like vultures in the midst of their businesses?
As City Journal points out, you have to play this carefully. The author doesn’t say you have to do that in order to avoid having vulture biz play the victim card, but that’s essentially what is required:
Menino fired off a sharp letter to the store manager, with copies to her CEO and the press, reprimanding her for her display’s assault on the young and on common sense. He urged her to remove the shirts and remarked that if Nike decided “to take more seriously the issue of drug abuse,” he could point out several successful Boston antidrug programs. With the sulky peevishness of its adolescent clientele, the company refused the mayor’s request, but a week later, at the end of June, a new display replaced the offending garb, though the DOPE shirt defiantly remained.
Menino’s letter, along with the publicity he generated by it, was exactly the right approach. He didn’t try to outlaw the offending display; the First Amendment guarantees us free speech, after all, even down to protecting the right of kids to play hyper-violent video games, the Supreme Court has just ruled. But when what is legal is also disgusting and wrong, the proper response is criticism and stigma, especially effective when the prominent-like Boston’s mayor-publicly express it.
Nike is in business to sell things. If we want to encourage a change in the direction of their sales pitch, it’s up to us to make them feel our displeasure. Letters to managers of stores who carry this line of sleaze clothing would work. Try to work up the ire your mother would have poured over your head had you come home wearing one of these items.
It’s worse than sleaze, though. It’s a terminal glorification of sleaze and stupid:
A kid in a DOPE shirt should draw the sneers of passersby, and business executives should tell their Nike counterparts that their supposed edginess pollutes the culture. The top brass of the Diesel clothing chain, now running a BE STUPID ad campaign, should hear the same disapproval. Until recently, their Fifth Avenue store, which has defaced an urbane classical building with a 30-foot-high cast-stone bas-relief of an angry lout in a Mohawk haircut, proclaimed from its window: SMART MAY HAVE THE BRAINS, BUT STUPID HAS THE BALLS. The chain’s website asserts, “Smart may have the authority, but stupid has one hell of a hangover,” and “Stupid is the relentless pursuit of a regret free life.” Outfitting thugs and bar brawlers, while egging them on, is not an honorable way to make a living, nor is selling gangsta rap that glorifies lawbreaking and mistreating women, nor is hawking video games that have kids pretend to kill, maim, and rape. And parents who let their kids buy such junk merit the scorn of their neighbors.
Is this what our forefathers envisioned when they extolled the ideas of “freedom” and “liberty”? Or is this simply brainless licentiousness disguised as ‘edgy’ and palmed off on a moronic TV culture as the new best outrage?
These examples of depraved mindlessness are just a preview of things to come. It can get worse and it will unless we call a halt to it.
The observers who offer us nothing but the profundity of their observations are tiresome by now. Theodore Dalrymple made his living off the underclass, and when he retired he went on to make yet another living by pointing at them in disgust. This man is a psychiatrist. Why doesn’t he take on just a smidgen of responsibility toward those people whose underclass lives funded his education and accumulated wisdom? Perhaps it’s time for the Cassandras to do more than moan about our fate while they move someplace safer.
It doesn’t have to be a big “something” but some of their time and effort would certainly be welcome. The Baron and I were away yesterday visiting a young couple who have taken on the next generation in a profound way: they’ve brought two babies into their home in the hope of salvaging these kids who were born addicted and went through withdrawal during the first weeks of life. They obviously have some developmental delays. But this man and his wife are willing to take them on anyway, and they’re willing to invest some optimism in the babies’ futures, not to mention all the hours they’ll lose in “leisure time”.
Not all of us could or should do what this couple are doing. But surely we can do something where we live. I was talking to a neighbor recently about the problems her son’s ball team has in finding coaches or umpires for their games. Fathers who have children on the team will sometimes volunteer (at least as long as their child is participating) but the idea of volunteering for something just because you value the behavior in others has disappeared. It used to be that you could find veterans in the American Legion to do that kind of local “duty” for youngsters but we’re losing the idea of military service so there are few veterans coming along to replace the old guys. Thus kids who want to play organized ball (and in a rural area any other kind is hard to arrange) have to learn to work around an often sub-standard player because his dad is the coach; he not only gets the choicest slots, he causes the team to flounder.
Volunteerism as a duty, as the idea that one ought to give something back to the community, is behavior we need to resuscitate if our public life is ever to thrive again. There is much in our culture that needs to be rolled up and re-thought. Sleaze, stupidity as the new cool, and a culture-wide cooler-than-thou irony have become impediments to our common cause of a civil society.
If you’re not gonna do it, who will? And what is the “it” you need to do? Well, think back to the last time you complained about something in your locality. I don’t mean the stupid politicians on television. They’re not about you or where you live. I mean the last personal complaint you had, even if you only thought about it, not daring to raise your voice out loud against whatever it was you observed. What can you do about that problem? What amount of personal energy are you willing to spend, even if you fail?
Come to think of it, what should all the talking heads in London do about what happened? Especially the ones who make their living complaining about daily events? Precisely what are they doing about addressing the problems they describe? Spinning their wheels in moral outrage doesn’t count as “doing something”, except perhaps pouring gas on the fire.
Are they out there cleaning up? Are they organizing their neighbors to get involved in reclaiming the culture?
To the Theodore Dalrymples of the world: don’t tell us anything else, please. You’ve said enough already. You’ve repeated the same tale everywhichway to Sunday. Now from your font of wisdom, SHOW US WHAT TO DO IN RESPONSE. And by all means, show up to help us work out a solution. Either that, or have the moral fortitude to maintain silence so the rest of us can think.
As Magnet concluded in his essay,
Our culture isn’t something we merely consume. We also all participate in creating it.