One of the most stressful & protracted conflicts on my FB wall was in 2011 over the Slut Walks phenomenon where women half-dressed in sexy lingerie marched ostensibly to reclaim the streets. Many, even those opposed to “identity politics,” heralded it as the rebirth of feminism. Many feminists, young & old, including myself, but particularly Black & Latina women in the US & Dalit women in India, considered Slut Walks racist & playing to misogyny–exactly as FEMEN does today.
You wouldn’t believe the vituperations we received. I was told by men & even some women that I was “sex-negative” & had aged out of credibility & usefulness as a feminist–drawing of course on the misogynist cliche that older women are as good as dead.
But I am one to do my homework. I went through every city I could & contacted the organizers of Slut Walks. In some places, the organizers were students with the brand of feminism that considers exhibitionism to be empowerment. In most places the organizers were prostitute front groups & strippers, & believe it or not, in several cities the organizers were men. Let’s get real! The feminist revolution will not be led by such forces who are among the most politically fractured, vulnerable, apolitical, & unorganized in the world.
The organizer in Los Angeles was a man named Hugo Schwyzer, unknown then except on a few feminist blogs he wrote for but now notorious. He was a college professor who called himself a “male feminist,” a category I do not accept–anymore than I would call myself a Black activist because I march for civil rights. Hugo’s schtick was promoting prostitution & pornography.
Our man was consequently publicly exposed as a pervert, a sexual predator, an unstable opportunist who used feminism to get laid by dozens of women students half his age & by prostitutes he invited to his classroom to speak. When he was completely discredited, he did one of those born-again moves, did a little meltdown, some public prostrations & contritions. Then he laid low & took an extended leave from disgracing himself any further in the public eye–hoping a new generation of coeds would come of age that he could prey on when he re-emerged from hiding.
Now, after being dumped by his fourth wife, he’s trying to get back in the dating scene & is on FB asking for internet dating advice for a sexual reprobate with an international reputation as a dishonest, manipulative swinger who uses women & tried to murder his girlfriend. My suggestion would be he join a cloistered monastery on the North Pole.
I post this not in the vindictive spirit of “I told you so.” Just let me restate for the record: the women’s revolution will not be led by women in their underwear playing up to misogyny. The struggle against women’s oppression is deadly serious because the violence is so extreme & we will allow no confusions about whether or not we mean business.
(Photo is meme of our “male feminist”)