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Fun-Fem Roundup: Long Island Serial Killer May 14, 2011

Posted by FCM in entertainment, feminisms, meta, pop culture, prostitution, trans, WTF?.
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as many of you are probably aware, law enforcement on long island, new york has a serial killer on its hands.  and when i say “serial killer” in this case (and as is often the case) i mean a mass-murderer of prostituted women.  and a man is doing this, obviously.  although we all have to pretend that it might be a woman doing it, until we know for sure right?

this isnt the first time this has happened in the area.  long island was also the birthplace of one “Joel Rifkin, a Long Island resident who killed at least nine prostitutes in New York City between 1989 and 1993.”  bold mine.  and those nine (nine!) are just the ones we know about, and represent half of his total known-vicitm count which appears to be 18.  in the current case, 10 bodies have been found decomposing on a long island beach in the last year; four have been identified as prostituted women who found johns on craigslist.

recently it was discovered that the area has been used as a body-dumping ground for awhile; in addition to the four women who were advertising on craiglist (which are believed to have been killed by the same man i mean genderless, sexless human, possibly female) the other bodies are now believed to include other known prostituted women who have been missing for years, and one man and a female child.

so those are the facts, and of course this has made national news.  so what do the fun-fems have to say about all this?  about the safety of prostituted women in the face of the predictable, normalized and routine violence of their johns; about the inherent harms of PIV-centric sexuality to women (okay thats a stretch, and its not like they will ever come clean about that one will they?) or about the fact that we are related to, living next to and partnering with male-bodied persons who believe that prostituted women are essentially warm meat, to be killed and consumed (or consumed, then killed) and thrown away?  or that the cops dont really care about it, because nobody really cares about prostituted women, or any woman?

and how about…the acceptance and persistence of male PIV-entitlement that runs so deep and wide that essentially all women and all men everywhere believe that men are absolutely entitled to PIV-on-demand from any and all women, all the time?  and that raping and killing (or killing then raping) prostitutes is the way some men “have sex”?

welp…see for yourselves.  when i searched the ever-popular fun-fem blog feministe for “long island serial killer” this is what i found:

one result, and its not even about the long island serial killer.  its about “lost.”  the TV show.  and some ads.  now thats good feminist commentary!

next, i performed the same search over at the fun-fem hub itself, feministing.  heres what was returned:*

two hits.  one is about the polar bear club (WTF?) and the other actually does pertain to the long island serial killer!  yay!  so feministing is doing better than feministe, but not by much.  when i read the article, however, this is what i found.  from “Protect Don’t Prosecute: Amnesty for Long Island Sex-Workers“:

Many of you may have heard the the [sic] awful details of a case on Long Island in which the remains of a total of ten people who were killed while apparently doing sex work were discovered on a beach in Long Island. Four identified bodies were women, but they haven’t disclosed the sex of the remaining six bodies.  [yes!  because some of the victims might be men i mean they might actually be human.  one of them *might* even be a transwoman, or a male prostitute, which seems especially compelling now that one of the victims has apparently been identified as a young man.  now that would be worth writing about!]

[some fun-fem] has launched a campaign requesting amnesty for all prostitution related offenses. Amnesty needs to be promised for all sex workers for people to be able to come forward with information about this case.  [see how sneaky that is?  all prostitution-related offenses.  not all prostituted women.  this includes amnesty for johns too!  yay!]

bold, red, italics and brackets mine.  this is feministings summation of the issue:  its “awful,” (at least they didnt say it was “shocking” i guess?) that some “people” (not women) were “killed” (not murdered by men) while they were “working” (yep, just another day at the salt mines!)  and…amnesty for johns!

so help me out here people: should i even bother going to the curvature?  sure ok why not.

i really did save this one for last, i wasnt even going to go, and i wrote this entire piece without knowing.  but in the end was this:

no results found.  could it be any more obvious that an active, experienced radical feminist HUB is desperately needed, and that people seeking out feminist commentary, including (but not limited to) commentary on current events need an alternative?  no.  no, it probably could not.

*since writing this piece, i see that feministing has added one!  when i searched “long island serial killer” on feministing today, 5/14/11, a third hit appeared which is a transcript of a speech given by “friend of feministing” [some fun fem] to rile up the crowd for slutwalk.  heres the phrase that returned this post as a hit to my keyword search:  “Right now, there’s a serial killer loose on Long Island, and the police aren’t doing fuck all about it because he’s mostly killing sex workers.”   okay!  and this unfortunate sidenote i mean gratuitous reference to a decidedly sexxxay current news item is going to be remedied or even affected at all by slutwalk, how, again?


1. FCM - May 14, 2011

BTW that last link is to a jezebel piece that turns up in an identical keyword search of “jezebel.” jez has covered this issue a total of 9 times to date, but dont seem to be adding any commentary. they are just reporting it as a news item. nine times. with pictures of cops and sniffer dogs, on a beach. CSI much?

but since they do not appear to even hold themselves out as “feminist,” i am not directly including them in my fun-fem roundup. their tagline is “celebrity, sex, fashion for women. without airbrushing.” wait, they *dont* hold themselves out to be feminist, do they??

if only the actually *didnt* use airbrushed photos on their site.

2. thebewilderness - May 14, 2011

Giving amnesty to the pool of suspects, pimps and johns, strikes me as a bizarre crime solving approach.

FCM - May 14, 2011

indeed! the fact that the fun-fem credo prohibits acknowledging that johns are routinely violent will be the fun-fems downfall on the issues they claim to care about, like keeping prostituted women safe, or making “sex-work” more like “other work.” the kind thats NOT likely to directly lead to your sexualized murder. oops!

3. Loretta Kemsley - May 14, 2011

This is a perfect example of how low the fun fems have pulled the feminist movement: not a word about male violence against women even when it is this agregous?

You’re right. This is why the rad fems need to be more vocal and there needs to be a rad fem collective like the one you are beginning. Rad fems have a unique voice and speak truth to power — in this case the power of men to destroy women with impunity for their own amusement.

What the hell is a slut walk? Why would that help?

FCM - May 14, 2011

thanks loretta! and YES, i am really excited about the HUB and i hope its everything you say it should be and more. also, i should have linked to the slutwalk business specifically. heres their website:


4. FCM - May 15, 2011

HA! one person has found this blog by googling “long island serial killer.” at least NOW they have something to read.

5. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

While I don’t see how the Slutwalk would help the women who are targets of the Long Island Serial Killer, I like the idea of the Slutwalk. It’s time we exposed the victim blaming to ridicule. Here’s an article on it I found:


6. maggie - May 15, 2011

This is the most accurate reporting on the killings to date and your conclusion is chilling. The funfems are certainly avoiding the elephant in the room on this one. Johns are the killers. End of.

Slutwalk – talked about endlessly and The Guardian newspaper is currently running a ‘debate’ on the issue. Check it out online and there’s no paywall. There is a link in the comments to this site.


I note that ‘women who watch porn’ support slutwalk. Says it all really.

FCM - May 15, 2011

the thing about “slutwalk” is that they are “kind of” calling attention to victim-blaming (i think this is the intent) but what they are also doing is calling themselves sluts. they think they are “reclaiming” the term, but really they are just using it the same way its been used against us forever: to indicate that a woman has PIV with multiple men. what would have happened, for example, if all the self-identified feminist men out there had organized a MENS MARCH, calling themselves SLUTS and telling other men that anyones sexual history is no excuse to kill or abuse them. and underscoring that its MALE violence (not just “violence”) we are all talking about here, and calling shit LOUDLY and in a real way that threatened his career, on that misogynist victim blaming cop who started the whole thing by telling women we shouldnt dress like sluts because it provokes men to harm and kill us?

7. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

I agree with all you said, but….the use of the word “slut” is what got this event covered in the news and what got women around the world motivated to hold more of these events.

Most women’s protests are ignored, thus people think the era of feminism is over. We’ve become invisible behind the pretend feminists (fun fems, right wing fems, etc) and people assume all the work is done.

By using the misogynist term, the misogynist media paid attention. Their misogynist gatekeepers allowed the story to gather strength — mostly because they were enamored of the term and partly because women in the march dressed like sluts, a bit of free video sex images to garner ratings.

We just discussed using language to help women. This is a good example of doing so, even though the term is misogynist and won’t ever be reclaimed in any positive light.

I loved the signs they carried proclaiming their right to do with their body (and how they dress) as they want. That’s an important message to get across in this rape culture. Using male ocntrol of our bodies and dress to tell us how to avoid male rape is beyond the pale and yet people accept it as normal.

FCM - May 15, 2011

i am still trying to work through this slutwalk business. honestly. its pretty bizarre.

first and most obviously, men are laughing at us here, and/or using it as an opportunity to show us how chivalrous they are by agreeing with a premise that ultimately only serves men: enthusiastic PIV!!11!! yay!!! we are only free to “use our bodies how we wish” if we are having enthusiastic PIV with men, or multiple men; otherwise we arent. but…men not taking women seriously, as humans, and them demanding sexual access (specifically PIV) to women is the whole problem isnt it? also…how many women spent MONEY on an outfit for this little shindig? were they wearing heels to march (sneakers arent that slutty) so they could march “like sluts” but could never run away from an actual rapist? or could never walk home instead of staying in the car with an abusive date?

i agree that its important to get the word out about victim-blaming and how it affects police involvment in sexual crimes, and i am glad that this cop is being publically ridiculed. however, i am not sure that this is the message that is coming across. its definitely not the *only* message. what we have here (as you say) is basically free porn (or at least a live victorias secret catwalk) and young conventionally-pretty girls telling men not to aggressively (illegally) abuse young conventionally-pretty girls. normalized “regular” PIV-related abuse is fine, and oh by the way, its perfectly fine to abuse prudes and ugly women and black/brown/nonwhite/nonwestern women, and hookers. unattractive hookers, by the way, are doing the lions share of the “fucking” across time and place (as dworkin says in intercourse) including coerced fucking and rape, and they are not represented here at all. in fact, the slutwalkers are all sex-pozzie pro-“sex work” too. its all vey convoluted.

8. FCM - May 15, 2011

speaking of doods being chivalrous (to pretty young women only, even if they are CHOOOOSING to be hookers and BTW what an admirable CHOICE you girls are so sexxay and brave!) see the jezebel article about some bozos dressed up like superheroes, encouraging “young pretty” hookers to call THEM (not 911) if they get into trouble with a “date.”


its fucking unbelievable. does anyone really believe these doods give a shit about the aileen wournoses of the world? or do they just care about the charlize therons?

9. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

I agree the slut walk has all kinds of implications. I doubt that the women who took part realize even half of it, but that’s okay. They showed up and made the news.

Remember the bra burning? That was the same sort of symbolism. Only happened once as a PR stunt for a NYC protest, but everyone remembers that symbolism — and most think it happened all over the country with hundreds of thousands of feminists burning their bras.

As to who walked: women of all ages. As to what they wore: all sorts of things. Yes, high heels and yes, tennis shoes. Yes, short skirts and yes, jeans. Of course, it was the “slutty” outfits that the media focused on. We can’t change that focus. We can only take advantage of it when we need them to cover an important issue.

10. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

I saw the Jezebel article and thought the same thing: these guys have no clue how to handle a serial killer but they see an opportunity to play hero and perhaps get some free nooky for their efforts.

FCM - May 15, 2011

you know, i really do hope that the fun fems (or someone they trust enough to listen to) will read at the HUB and start to get it, and some of our radfem analyses will start to seep into their movement. they need a coherent platform, and arguments that make acutal sense, and instead all they seem to have is incoherent rage (but general happiness and fuckability of course, otherwise teh menz wont like them!) i do like the fact that this made them mad. but like all thier analysis it falls flat because they are unwilling to criticise PIV, or PIV-centric sexuality, or male violence, or even men as a sexual class, at all. even when their crimes against women are so egregious (as you said earlier) the best they can do is to accidentally say “he” when referring to a serial killer in one sentence of a speech that didnt even have anything to do with the long island serial killer, like the slutwalk woman did.

of course, i also believe that their “movement” is exactly what they want it to be, and that they will NEVER get what we are saying, because its deliberate ignorance on their part. because their whole “platform” is pandering to men, so the women can earn enough money in traditional careers (or be subsidized as domestic slaves) so they can buy the products that make them feel better about themselves, as women under the P. and so they dont end up homeless, and without the protections of any men, and victims to all men, and where they will quickly realize whats so harmful about PIV, and about men as a sexual class. in other words, they will finally understand in a real way what the radfems have been talking about all this time.

i dont blame them for their collaboration, i really dont. i DO absolutely hate that they are calling it feminist, and that they are selling their platform as feminist, and that people are buying it.

11. KatieS - May 15, 2011

Slutwalk. I hate it that if I want to dress in as little as possible during the dog days of summer, and cannot do so without unwanted male attention. But it’s not about that.

It’s about women defined in terms of sex, not as full humans. Like the way in which feminism and “sexual freedom” got conflated in the second wave. This hides the violence in the background, makes it about sex, and minimizes the danger to women of “conventional” PIV. In that second wave, women were more in control of reproduction via the pill, etc. The pill (and IUD) were dangerous, of course, but that was downplayed at the time. This because PIV was seen as a given for heterosexual women. Unless a heterosexual woman defined herself as a separatist or political lesbian, PIV was there, even as a goal, hoping beyond hope to find that exception, a “good man,” and have a “healthy” sexual relationship.

PIV as a danger (and thus undesirable) in heterosexual relationships is something that was not clear in second wave feminism. The violence in the background was always there, always understood, but women choosing not PIV was never fully understood on widespread scale.

I’d like to see a “PIV-free” walk, instead. That would be about sex, but would put it in its proper context, not the patriarchal sexualizing of women that slutwalk represents. Instead it would focus on the dangers of all PIV to women and our right to be free of it. From all dick-challenged humans.

If PIV were no longer seen as normative, how would that change things?

FCM - May 15, 2011

yes, someone on another thread mentioned “prudewalk” which of course would never get any media play…but the right to be PIV-free is going to be key for straight women. i think this much is clear. perhaps now more than ever we are ready to believe that there IS no egalitarian way to “do” PIV and thats because its intrinsically dangerous, to women. its possible that 2nd wavers pinned all thier hopes on the Pill, but 40 years later its clear that sex-poz hasnt worked. the radical lesbians and early spinsters of course were critiquing PIV from the beginning, because they could see what straight women couldnt, or wouldnt. but i like to think that its been made more than clear, now, and that what we must do is to figure out how to implement it.

12. maggie - May 15, 2011

Please it must be a given that what the Canadian police guy said in his lecture was unacceptable. It should never be thought let alone voiced. But that is our goal. Right?

I love the idea of prudewalk but isn’t slut shaming is synonymous with prudishness. Or is that assumption just within the patriarchial paradigm?

I also love the idea of a PIV free walk. Now I would love to see the comments on that!! Bring it on.

13. thebewilderness - May 15, 2011

I think that feminists saw the pill as making women free to say yes with less dire consequences, while acknowledging that we have never been free to say no without risking dire consequences.

I hope I am wrong about slutwalk. I hope it does carry the message that clothing women wear is not signaling to men which women welcome being assaulted.
But considering the audience I just don’t think it will make a dent against the constant cultural message to the contrary.

14. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

Second wave feminists, of which I am one, viewed the pill as freedom. Freedom from the constant threat of pregnancy. Freedom from financial dependence via too many children. Freedom to obtain a college education and a career. Without financial freedom, nothing else mattered.

The second wave was about legal freedom and rights. Progress was made by changing the laws. Marital rape became illegal for the first time in our history. There was no point in claiming freedom from PIV when we could be legally raped. Until women could have a viable education career, being single wasn’t a viable option, especially if you got pregnant. So we had to fight to make both birth control and abortion legal. We had to fight to force colleges to admit women and employers to both hire and promote women. We had to fight to change divorce laws and enact domestic violence laws. We had to fight to change the credit and finance laws so women could have credit and control their own money.

Those are the foundation upon which all freedom for women reside. While I wish we had more freedom from violence, etc today, I bless those who worked hard to obtain the freedoms we didn’t have when I was born.

15. yttik - May 15, 2011

It really is horrendous, I turned the TV away from the Long Island serial killer because I couldn’t take it anymore and what did I find? Nothing but crime drama after crime drama with a series of sexually posed female corpses. This is pornography at it’s endgame, the logical progression that we’ve been trying to explain to pro-porn fems for the longest time. First you sexualize, then you dehumanize, then you kill them. Then you celebrate the experience over and over again on prime time TV, until one day, being sexually attracted to killing women is just a part of our mainstream pop culture.

FCM - May 15, 2011

the way that illegal contraception/abortion and legal marital rape worked hand in hand for our entire history just chills me to the bone. until i saw dworkin SAY IT, i didnt GET IT. i dont know how i missed it but i did: these things were happening not just “in the past” but they were happening AT THE SAME TIME, so that married women literally had no legal control over their reproductive lives. i know that they were subverting this in different ways throughout history (including being “prudish” about PIV) but this is what marriage was, for women, for every generation of women before mine. when our mothers were first married, marital rape was legal, and abortion wasnt. and catharine mackinnon literally invented the concept of workplace sexual harassment.

you are right loretta, is was all about legal rights and status for women during that time. i wonder if the fun-fems are enraged by the victim-blaming stuff because they actually believe that gaining legal status was the end of the battle, and they are upset and angry when men (including men in positions of power, like that fucking victim-blaming cop) dont live up to their end of the bargain, to treat us like human beings, or emancipated slaves at the very least. its upsetting when they are so blatant about disregarding our legal rights and status, but what the fun-fems dont seem to get is that theres alot more to it than that. civil rights and the equality model worked for men, because it was meant to work for men. it was never meant to work for women, and it was never meant to be the last step. it was the first step only. the necessary, crucial first step. and men cant even get on board with THAT.

16. Loretta Kemsley - May 15, 2011

As to the Slutwalk…I think we all agree that the need is great to force a new concept of women being able to define and control our own bodies, sexuality and the way we dress. Protests and marches are only viable strategies when people pay attention.

So what other term for this protest would have garnered that same amount of attention? I can’t think of one. Is Slutwalk ideal? Nope. But it did the job of getting this in the media and getting women motivated in ways that they haven’t been motivated in years, perhaps decades.

As to an anti-PIV protest, are we there yet? Could we marshall the numbers needed to get noticed? I don’t think so, not even if we called it a Lysistrata protest. I might be wrong, but I believe the foundation is not yet strong enough.

The Slutwalk only worked because we’ve been speaking out against misogynist language and victim blaming for decades. It’s finally gotten to the point that most women believe we’re right on these issues. But look how long it took us. How many policemen and others have been saying the exact same thing to women and have not been called on it.

One of the most important things about the Slutwalk was the embarassment of that cop and the reprimand from his superiors. That made the news in a big way. It will stick in the minds of others who are tempted to use the same ugly sexual slurs when talking about victims of rape — because that is what they are doing. They are calling rape victims sluts.

That will still go on for a while because we’re still deep in the rape culture, but now we have a point of reference to use when that idoicy arises — the Slutwalk where thousands of women cared enough to say to the misogynist, “Stuff it. This is my body. I’ll dress any damn way I want — and you still don’t have the right to rape me.”

17. maggie - May 15, 2011

Reclaim the night didn’t have the same effect because it wasn’t sexaay enough. But women dressed as sluts will have an effect because it makes for great photo opportunities. It’s good to put a picture of a half dressed woman on the cover of a paper or magazine. It’ll sell and make a profit. You can be sure that they won’t show a picture of a man holding a placard or a grandmother. Only those deemed PIVable will get the money shot.

Sorry but slutwalk is the same as ‘women who watch pron’. Enslaved dressed as empowerment. Women can dress whatever way they want but it won’t stop rapes. Women are not raped because of the way they are dressed. That’s only ever brought up in a trial and done so because it fits in with the assumption that if you dress like a whore then you’ll get the same treatment. Whorewalk doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. What it might do is dispel the myth. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

2nd wave feminists took women’s rights to a limit. Thankfully. However, there was, and still remains a limit, a glass ceiling. Until women get the same breaks as men do regarding childcare, i.e. a man having a baby wont impact on his pay check, then and only then, will this ceiling no longer exist.

FCM - May 15, 2011

ultimately i think they are buying the same old shit about rape being a property crime, or at least they are acting like they buy it, and arguing it like thats the case. before, rape was a crime against mens property while today, women like to believe WE OWN our “sex” but its still only a crime like theft or trespassing when it happens. the fun fems (i think) are enraged that men dont respect our ownership of our “sex” and they are right: they dont. even when its framed that way, men wont let us have whats ours and stay the fuck off our lawns (as it were). but guess what? rape isnt a fucking property crime. this is obvious, when the whole entire point of PIV in the first place is to destroy women, and to cause medical events and trauma bonding that keep us weak and vulnerable. TO MEN. men know what they are doing when they fuck us. women know it too. but again, men arent even playing by their own rules here, and i think thats whats got the fun fems all in a lather. they dont think its “fair” or its hypocritical or whatever to give women legal rights and to then not honor those rights, even as inadequate and improperly framed as they are, but HONEY its so much worse than that.

FCM - May 15, 2011

see my “the language of consent” post for more on that.

18. Loretta Kemsley - May 16, 2011

Sorry but slutwalk is the same as ‘women who watch pron’. Enslaved dressed as empowerment. Women can dress whatever way they want but it won’t stop rapes.

I have to disagree. Slutwalk is a public protest meant to draw attention to a problem. Women who watch porn are doing it in their own homes and are not even thinking there is a problem.

I doubt anyone at the walk(s) thought rape would magically stop. That wasn’t the point. The intent was to draw attention to the attitude that supports the rapist. Rape won’t stop until our society stops supporting rapists. There is only one way to begin that process and that is to begin that process using whatever means possible.

One of the reasons why people don’t understand feminists today is because today’s feminists seem to be clueless when it comes to getting their message out there. It does no good to have a message if no one hears it. This title– slutwalk — got the message heard.

It’s going to take more than feminists talking to each other to affect the change you want. Have you thought about how you could reach the general public with your message? If so, I’d love to hear your strategies.

2nd wave feminists took women’s rights to a limit. Thankfully. However, there was, and still remains a limit, a glass ceiling. Until women get the same breaks as men do regarding childcare, i.e. a man having a baby wont impact on his pay check, then and only then, will this ceiling no longer exist.

Agreed. What is the solution? How are we going to get from here to there?

BTW, the term “glass ceiling” did not exist when I was young. That is a gift from the 2nd wave. When I say that is a gift, we’re back to language. Before then, no one even thought a woman should have a career. Women who wanted a career did not have any way of explaining how unfair that was, but today’s women don’t have that struggle because they have that phrase.

It’s time to pay attention to inventing new phrases and words that do the same for existing problems. Some of you have intro’d words here that do exactly that. We need more of it.

FCM - May 16, 2011

well, the PIV-pozzies in general (including pro-porn and pro-prostitution) are calling attention to what they perceive as a problem, and thats female-inorgasmic PIV-centric sexuality. as opposed to what they want, because they think it will liberate them: female-orgasmic PIV-centric sexuality. but they are wrong about that. PIV in any form is not going to liberate women, because female-specific PIV-related harm is the foundation on which the patriarchy exists. it is the source of every single bit of female-specific harm and female-specific suffering. all of it, in the entire world.

i do see this slutwalk business as existing on the PIV-pozzie continuum, but clearly its not exactly the same as watching porn at home. it doesnt have to be exactly the same to make a comparison. everyone is talking about slutwalk, all over the world, and all around the feminist blogs. i am glad we are talking about it here too. i guess my question at this point is exactly WHAT are they calling attention to? this is a serious question. i think their message is incoherent, unless it really is that simple: that they dont like what that cop said, and they think we deserve better from the police. which is true. thing is, that cop probably demands PIV from his wife, and he has in all likelihood (considering his attitude) raped his own wife. the problem is that all women deserve better from MEN, as a sexual class. and that men have JOBS, and they bring their misogynist biases to work with them daily no matter what they do. but the fun fems refuse to criticise men as a sexual class. they wont do it.

FCM - May 16, 2011

frankly, i dont see how they can be criticising “rape culture” without also criticising the men who comprise it, and enact it, and benefit from it: namely, men as a sexual class. literally all of them. it cant be done. this shit is completely muddled. it really is.

19. Loretta Kemsley - May 16, 2011

As I said before, I don’t consider “fun fems” feminists. Feminists don’t champion men’s issues or men’s rights at the expense of women.

I agree with all you said, and yet I wouldn’t be too hasty in thinking all the women in Slutwalk are fun fems. If there was one near me, I’d be there too. There are probably many women who don’t consider themselves feminist who would or did join in because this is an issue that harms us all.

So are you condemning Slutwalk just because fun fems had it on their blog or because of what it represents? I’m getting a confused message here.

I consider them two different things. I hope that is clear from what I’ve posted.

FCM - May 16, 2011

thats probably because i *am* confused. about all of it. there isnt a coherent message here, at all. thats a good point that it wasnt necessarily all fun fems who participated, but it does add another layer to it that the fun fems are involved. they are pro-porn, pro-prostitution, PIV-pozzie, and they dont have a problem at all with the sexual objectification of women as a general rule (although they *also* manage to perform cursory fake-feminist analyses of objectification of women in the media…why again? real porn is fine, but empornulated media images that sexually objectify women arent? why not?)

so i dont understand what their position is here. what is the message we are supposed to be receiving?

20. Loretta Kemsley - May 16, 2011

I suspect they don’t have a clear vision for situations like this. There is no way to reconcile denial that men commit violence against women and the beliefs that encourage male violence against women.

There are three things all feminists must accept:

Patriarchy is vile. The only reason for its existence is to oppress women.

Male privilege is vile. It is real, and it harms women. Men (as a group) aren’t going to voluntarily give up their male privilege. Most of them are in denial it even exists. Some of them are in such violent denial they pretend they are the “true victims” of our society. Yet they have no barriers when it comes to oppressing and harming women while using their privilege. This privilege is supplied by patriarchy, thus they will not renounce patriarchy or even admit it oppresses women.

Male violence against women is vile. It is part of our society because of patriarchy. To oppress women, patriarchy must encourage violence against women. No one voluntarily accepts being oppressed. They must be terrorized into it.

As long as “fun fems” deny any of the above, they will never make sense and will never be able to reconcile their false belief they are feminists with the actual basis for the patterns of harm to women our society embraces.

21. yttik - May 16, 2011

I think one problem with slut walk and rad/fems is that we’re tired of seeing so called movements that are all still all about women as sexual commodities. Bra burning and “Boobquake” comes to mind, as well as the recent protests in Italy. Threatening to go topless or trying to shame men into viewing you as a full human just doesn’t work. However, I’m not totally condemning these things, a few hundred “sluts” lined up in front of your workplace does cause an inconvenience.

The other part of slut walk is that I think they’re trying to force people to feel some empathy, like these “sluts” are really your wives, daughters, sisters, mothers. That goes back to rape as a property crime, which again bothers me. We’re always trying to convince men to care, to wake up and realize that this could be one of their own who is being harmed. The thing is, they don’t care! Not as a patriarchy, not as a system anyway. You might convince this cop that his wife is off limits because she’s his property, but you won’t convince him that a woman who doesn’t belong to him has a right to be free from rape simply because she’s a human being.

So, I’m not terribly opposed to things like slutwalk and I’m not standing in fierce opposition to them, I’m just a bit cynical and jaded about the whole thing. I’ve watched this dance for way too many years. In my rad/fem fantasy the best way to handle this cop would have been to beat the crap out him because of how he was dressed. There, instant empathy! And if you want to end rape, well, you have to make it incredibly painful and inconvenient. Rather than telling women to stay in lighted areas, avoid stairwells, and to dress modestly, we need to teach men that you shouldn’t sexually assault women because they’ll kick your ass first and than file charges. Being a rapist needs to be a painful and short lived career choice so less men chose it.

Needless to say I’m not advocating genuine violence nor am I saying that individual men don’t care. It’s just that women have spent forever trying to get the patriarchy to care, to empathize with them. The problem is that the language that men are taught and raised to understand isn’t empathy, it’s power and dominance. Some boy being bullied doesn’t spend years trying to convince a bully to care and to empathize, he stands up for himself and slugs the guy in the nose.

22. cherryblossomlife - May 16, 2011

“Until women get the same breaks as men do regarding childcare, i.e. a man having a baby wont impact on his pay check, then and only then, will this ceiling no longer exist.”

The only way out is through a woman-made economy or something similar. This liberal feminist idea that sharing half the childcare with teh menz is the way out of oppression makes my blood run cold…

Men are already using their “hero” status against mothers when it comes to who gets to keep the kids upon divorce. We already live in a world where a man who thinks reading a story a couple of times a week is “taking on half the childcare responsibilities”. We already live in a world where men use “equality” to get what they want when it comes to lording it over mothers. And don’t get me started on all the men who KILL or sexually abuse their kids?!?!?!

Separatism is the only way out.

23. maggie - May 16, 2011

Cherry I agree, sharing the childcare is crap. Because it’s seen as a patriarchial sharing. My point is that having a baby shouldn’t impact on a woman’s paycheck. I heard a woman discuss the financial implications of childcare and she implored all women to return to work after six months. Up until then a woman’s paycheck won’t be impacted on. Though how this translates to when a child goes to school is beyond me, as it takes an extra helping of organisation to fit all the activities in. Ultimately it’s the woman who does the organisation. But not always.

Slutwalk has got the debate started no doubt. But my fear is that it’s taking us along the wrong road. And that it will ultimately be fruitless resulting in a despondancy among all those who gave it their best shot. And that will mean yet another generation hooked up to the patriarchy.

24. rainsinger - May 16, 2011

Threatening to go topless or trying to shame men into viewing you as a full human just doesn’t work.

No, it doesn’t. Whatever their intentions, the “message” is twisted, or co-opted, re-framed, by the popular media and pop culture, to support patriarchy – any politics they may have begun with, is gone *poof*. Any women who are there, for the sake of an original ‘message’ are invisibilised as well.

For feminists have tried these same tactics before, and failed, and some went on to analyse the “mistakes” – for you need to learn from mistakes – and today’s feminists are making the same mistakes our generation did (and other generations before us).

Oh Little Sister, don’t you do what your Big Sister done… (sing along 🙂 )

Patriarchy is Terrorist / Fascist State.

You can’t negotiate with terrorists.

25. cherryblossomlife - May 16, 2011

Got to admit, at least they’re angry. Slutwalk is better than apathy. Perhaps subconsciously they do know that if they wore ordinary clothes *nobody* would pay them any attention, certainly not the media, Not even if millions of them hit the streets, probably.
They need to acknowledge this and get even angrier.

26. Loretta Kemsley - May 16, 2011

I don’t think it is subconscious at all. They were deliberate in choosing their in-your-face clothes and the name of the walk.

Men will never voluntarily give up their privileges, including the privilege of rape. Let’s face it. That’s how they view it.

But…..although this march is nominally aimed at the entire world, including men, the real people it is aimed at is women. That’s who all feminist protests are aimed at. Always have been.

We need women to wake up and support women’s rights. Without them, how will we make progress? We made progress in the past because the message resonated with so many women — as this did.

The fact that the women’s blogosphere is talking about this is proof it hit home. (Haven’t a clue if the menz are discussing it, but I suspect not.)

We can’t scream for women power and then continue to focus on whether or not men are “getting it” or ceding their power voluntarily. That part matters the least. Look at all the men still whining that women are now the majority of college students. The laws were changed long before they were born — and yet they feel as if they’ve been personally wronged by every woman who is a college student.

But the facts speak for themselves: women got the message. It isn’t an accident that they are the majority of college students. The whining of men didn’t stop them from attending and didn’t stop them from wanting financial independence via a career. So, despite the whining and despite the fact that men still resent it, women are winning.

The same will happen if we focus on women when it comes to sexual violence. Women are getting the messages. They are getting angry. They are banding together and marching.

That’s what we want. That’s the beginning of changes to come — even though the men will still whine about how their right to rape shouldn’t be on the line.

27. Sargassosea - May 16, 2011

You can’t negotiate with terrorists.

I’ll raise my glass to that, Rainsinger!

28. maggie - May 16, 2011

There are indications, though it’s not from ultra reliable sources, that the Long Island murders have been carried out by two policemen, and both have links to prostitutes. This source is via Jezebel. Kind of chilling the link between Long Island murders and Slutwalk (given it was a policeman’s insensitive and dangerous remarks that sparked the global phenomenon).

The majority of comments on Slutwalk I’ve seen from men seem to think it’s a bad idea, ranging from those who wouldn’t let their daughters out on the street dressed like a slut to those who believe you can’t claim the n word no more than you can reclaim the slut word. Those in favour tend to be either liberal dicks who claim to be feminists or libertines who want the ‘girls’ to dress as sluttishly as possible as this turns them on. A mixed bag of reactions.

Still women as a group are getting attention and that’s good though I’m not sure if slutwalk organisers want this to be a feminist protest given the brief research I’ve done so far. And I’m still not sure if it’s the right attention. Men will continue to hold sexual power over women as long as women continue to define het sexuality within the patriarchial paradigm. I personally believe that protests like slutwalk fit neatly into this arena. As was said above, women need to start thinking outside this constricted box and begin the honest fun part of redefining sexuality on their terms. It can be done.

FCM - May 16, 2011

Yes, they are saying today that one is an ex cop fired for fucking prostitutes while on duty, and the other is still a cop but is pushing papers after assaulting a prostitute. The nypd denies there’s an investigation.

29. SheilaG - May 16, 2011

I don’t think the word slut can ever be claimed, and I would never march under a woman hating word like that. However, if young women want to continue to repeat the mistakes women over the generations are repeating, that’s what’s going to happen.

However, when women come together in a march for a woman centered purpose and out of anger at patriarchy, this keeps feminism alive and connected to street actions. The women meet at the marches, and new things get invented in this connection.

30. womononajourney - May 16, 2011

I fucking hate Jezebel.

Anyhow, I am all for an anti-PIV march, but those who have said there isn’t enough backing for it (yet) are right. Also, why not just have a “woman-identified-woman” march? I was going to say “lesbian” but there already are dyke marches that aren’t particularly radical, certainly not in the meaning of being for womyn’s rights.

I have read your many, many excellent posts on the harms of PIV sex, FCM, but I think women might be more inspired to focus on a positive term.

31. thebewilderness - May 16, 2011

Just as the most obvious perp in the murder or a woman who is partnered is the partner, so is the most obvious possibility in the serial killing of prostitutes a cop. Next come a taxi driver and the johns.
One of the worst consequences of victim blaming and how to advice on rape and murder avoidance is that it teaches women that they not only can but are responsible for recognizing and avoiding their murderer.

FCM - May 16, 2011

Yes, avoiding a cop when you are a prostitute is probably quite difficult to do, especially if the cop has targetted you for some reason. And I would imagine the cops can legally restrain you at any time, and/or legally force you into their car, whenever they want. Of course, it was reported today that the first suspect (the ex cop) was busted PAYING prostituted women for sex. He wouldn’t even have needed to restrain her. She would’ve gone with him willingly, as it were.

Is it any surprise that men want prostitution to continue? There are so many reasons this setup is perfect for them.

32. rhondda - May 16, 2011

RE the slut walk. While I agree that this word can never be reclaimed and agree with what has been said so far, I also think it is brilliant and works on a deep symbolic level.
Women are the sex class. Men see us as that. There is a continuum from slut, prostitute,girlfriend, the one I take home to mother, the one I marry, the one who has MY kids. We are all placed on that continuum somewhere. What these young women are doing is mirroring that back to the men. You want sluts, well you got it. I think that is why this has taken off all over the world. Women are telling men that we know what you think of us and fuck you.
Just imagine the little girl watching the news and turning to her dad and asking ‘What is a slut Daddy?’ It can potentially be a revaluation of values. It can neutralize the word as an insult because we know what you mean by it. It is no longer personal. It is political.
I just hope that the idiot cop who said it is getting alot of flack from his peers.

FCM - May 16, 2011

Women are telling men that we know what you think of us and fuck you.

is that the message? seriously, because if thats it, you are right. its catchy!

33. rhondda - May 16, 2011
FCM - May 16, 2011

I have read your many, many excellent posts on the harms of PIV sex, FCM, but I think women might be more inspired to focus on a positive term.

how about “take back/reclaim the vag”? it has a nice ring to it. and, its literal. men have staked their claim to womens vaginas for millenia. its time to take back whats ours, is it not?

34. rhondda - May 16, 2011

Just now on my Google search for the word slut. The slut walk was number 3 on the list. I rest my case.

35. Jane - May 16, 2011

This whole SlutWalk thing is cringeworthy. Here:

Slutwalk co-founder, Sonya JF Barnett, wrote in her blog post entitled: “Being a Slut and Getting Pissed Off” that she would “label [herself] a ‘slut’ before a ‘feminist”; embracing ‘slut’ because she enjoys sex, but rejecting ‘feminist’ because of the “reputation of ‘man-hating, hairy-legged, birkenstock-wearing’ descriptions that appeared around the term”.

Source: http://www.feminisms.org/2585/were-sluts-not-feminists-wherein-my-relationship-with-slutwalk-gets-rocky/

36. SheilaG - May 16, 2011

Slutwalk co-founder lesbian baiting and stereotyping at its best. Gotta love these young het women fighting the great lesbian dissing cause.
It’s frustrating how this persists for a couple of generations now.

I believe all women could unite behind a take back the vagina march theme– both lesbians who want nothing to do with penis people, and het women who know PIV is a killer/colonizer act, and all women who hate rape and men who keep on doing it or profiting from it, or getting benefit over women’s being put in a state of rape threat terror… like women going to drunken frat parties!!!

37. SheilaG - May 16, 2011

And on another note, I believe each generation simple wants to coin its own words. Gay women of the 50s turned into women wanting the word lesbian in the 60s…. suffragists of the early century, flappers(fun femmes) of the 20s (thanks to FCM for making that herstorical connection for me), and on and on it goes. Each generation of women never quite knowing how to fully connect and stay connected. Or is it just the fear of social rejection that is so hard on young women who have to “fake” loving sex poz stuff. Hey sex was never a big deal for me, never a driving force in my feminism, actually not all that interesting to me.

Must have been a reaction to hating het culture and male / female “dating” rituals, proms etc etc that was completely lesbian erasing. It never made any sense to me… off topic a bit… sorry… carry on oh fearless PIV haters 🙂

FCM - May 17, 2011

ok i finally read that f-word link, and found it helpful. obviously i am not the only one who finds all of this very convoluted, and the message unclear. again, IF they are only saying that what this cop said was wrong, and that its wrong to BLAME THE VICTIM (cause ya know, we dont blame the victims of theft and trespassing do we?) then i think what they are really saying is that men arent playing by their own damn rules here when they say that rape is a wrong against us (albeit a property violation, but still) but then proceed to victim-blame. and they are saying that this apparent hypocrisy bothers them, and they want men to give us what we have been promised: ownership of our “sex.”

they are saying that they have hope for men, and that PIV will survive womens equality with men. i think they are wrong, on both counts. they are right about one thing though: men ARENT giving us what we have been promised, when it comes to ownership of our own sex. this should be a huge red flag for them, that men cant even bring themselves to give us something so pathetically inadequate as that: female bodily autonomy thats exactly as important as…candy. or…some pennies. or gum. or anything else that can be owned. they cant even give us that, yet this is not a red flag for these women, or most women. they just want what they were promised. they have taken thier eyes off the ball.

38. cherryblossomlife - May 17, 2011

Following on from Rhondda’s point, yes I do see why they’re doing it. It’s anger at being told how to behave and dress by paternalistic powers that be, in the same way that muslim women in the west often protest against cultural imperialism (or something) by wearing the headscarf. And It’s true, Loretta, the message is other women, not men. And as SHeila says, anything that gets women *together* in a political sense has got to be good. THe patriarchy puts a lot of energy into keeping us apart. Something has got to spark between women at these slutwalks

39. Jane - May 17, 2011

I’m not so sure, cherryblossomlife. Nothing seems to have sparked between the women at Feministing and Feministe in the last, what, 7 or 8 years.

And, according to the co-founder of the whole thing, SlutWalk isn’t about feminism at all, not even the choosy, “fun” kind. We might as well look at S-factor classes as a good thing, because something might spark between all those women.

40. womononajourney - May 17, 2011

Yes, I think Take Back the Vag sounds better (IMHO) than Anti-PIV walk.

One thing about slutwalk, no one seems to know what it is REALLY trying to accomplish. To reclaim the word slut? To have men stop calling us sluts? To say we like being called sluts (one woman wrote how she does)? To say all women are sluts….or no women are sluts? Is it directed at men…or at the people, mostly women, in the march? And how will it be taken at men who have grown up surrounded by a porn culture where women are constantly named sluts?

I listened to an online podcast where one of the women affiliated with Slutwalk Vancouver (I believe) said she was very impressed by the number of male supporters she was hearing from. She said men love this idea. Duh! It makes sense to them more than TBTN because they think we’re sluts anyway.

It’s the sex-pozzies that are so into this slutwalk. So, I think you are giving them way too much credit rhonnda, for thinking this through.

Lishra at Againstallevidence.wordpress.com has a great collection of links critical of slutwalk up, if anyone cares to check them out.

41. womononajourney - May 17, 2011

Also, after the slut walk, will womyn stop calling one another sluts? Or will it be a free zone to call any womon one feels like a “slut”? Not that women are the source of the problem, but I’d really like to know. What will change after this walk?

42. cherryblossomlife - May 17, 2011

“She said men love this idea”

If so, then that proves it’s a shit idea for a feminist movement!

FCM - May 17, 2011

in the F word link, she posts comments from FB and other places, with men showing their support by saying “I LOVE SLUTS!” yeah no shit bro.

43. cherryblossomlife - May 17, 2011

LOLLOL “yeah no shit bro”

44. delphyne - May 17, 2011

There are already Take Back the Night marches that run in many countries and that are specifically against male violence and rape, but they don’t generate the same level of excitement and media coverage because they aren’t sexualised. They don’t generate pictures of young thin white women in lacy tights and knickers holding up signs saying “Sluts say yes”. I don’t remember any sex pozzie getting enthusiastic about TBTN, and basically it’s because they’re not offering men an erection opportunity. In fact they kill erections. There’s no danger of that with SlutWalk.

There’s not a lot of point in women trying to put across one feminist message whilst completely undermining another.

45. womononajourney - May 17, 2011


at my school, they wanted to make up for that by having a sex toy showing right after TBTN!

Also just read Shira Tarrant, pro-porn academic, will be speaking at slutwalk L.A. That just about says it all, folks.

46. Noanodyne - May 18, 2011

The feminism espoused by the sex-poz bloggers reminds me in an odd way of this quote:

I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

That’s a pretty low threshold for being a feminist, no? But it seems that some “feminists” have come to take that literally. As long as they’re not being treated as outright doormats, they’re fine with their lot in life. Bring on the slut walk! at least they CHOSE to be treated like a piece of meat (and not a doormat)! We might as well just go ahead and call them doormat feminists.

Maybe the rest of us can have a “Not a Doormat” walk.

47. Mandy - May 18, 2011


Funnily enough, that full quotation is actually “I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute..

By Rebecca West (1892-1983)


It’s odd (though not surprising) that when you search for this quotation, many of the links you’ll find leave out the last part about being a prostitute. Because who doesn’t wanna be a super sexy sexxxeee prostitute?!

48. womononajourney - May 22, 2011


OMFG!!! You just made my day by telling me the rest of that quote! I’ve seen it on t-shirts, mousepads,quoted in books, all over the ‘net….but never, ever in its full form!

Wonder why, huh? (actually, I don’t wonder too much…).

49. Noanodyne - May 22, 2011

West’s full quote is based in the firm notion that there are good women and bad women and she’s not one of the latter. She’s merely saying that she should be able to speak up for herself without being thought of as something as debased as a prostitute (which she conflated with being a doormat). She threw a bunch of women under the bus and that’s what ties her very neatly to the funfems and slut walkers. It’s also why you don’t see the whole quote in popular culture — with the last part it stops being a witty feminist credo and instead displays very neatly West’s own, and society’s, view of a certain type of woman. And it’s why I used only the first part for the irony. The whole quote is just ugly.

50. thebewilderness - May 22, 2011

It is odd the different way people interpret what she said.
To me, it is a rejection of the madonna/whore social judgment of women, not an endorsement of it.

51. Noanodyne - May 22, 2011

But her background explains it more fully — I’m going by what I’ve read of her other choices in life. Yes, she supported Emma Goldman and socialist politics generally, but not un-problematically. She bucked the system, but remained a product of her times and her upbringing — she believed that women like her should be able to do more and say more, but she wasn’t an all-out radical or even that outspoken about feminism. To her credit, she wrestled with the issues, but at one point in her life she wanted very badly to convert to Catholicism — the longtime standard-bearer for the madonna/whore construct. I think that quote is a case for using another person’s words to mean what we want it to mean, but being very clear that that is what we’re doing.

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