This “sluts’ rights” stuff is getting pretty intense.
The summer of sluts was kicked off this week when msnbc cable host Ed Schultz, perhaps channeling Dan Aykroyd in his old “Saturday Night Live” debates with Jane Curtin (“Jane, you ignorant slut!”) called conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut” on his syndicated radio program . Schultz apologized, but was suspended from his cable show for a week.
The incident provided an unexpected publicity boost to “Slut Walk” protests planned for cities all over North America. Chicago and Los Angeles will see parades of of self-proclaimed “sluts” June 4, followed by San Diego on June 11, with 70 or so walks in Seattle, Portland, New York and other cities through the summer.
The walks, which began in April after a Toronto police officer advised women in a York University audience not to dress like a “slut” to avoid sexual assault, are not only attempting to raise awareness about sexual violence, but to redefine the meaning of “slut.”
“We have taken up the word slut … to claim that a slut does not have to remain a pejorative and demeaning epithet,” Toronto Slut Walk organizer Heather Jarvis told me. “A slut can be someone who is in control and unashamed of their sexuality…. A slut can be someone who is unafraid to enjoy consensual sex. A slut can be someone who refuses to believe…that enjoying sex or owning one’s sexuality is an invitation of violence.”
In other words, activists are attempting to do for “slut” what was done for “queer.”