The first “slutwalk” began in Toronto early this year by women who were angered by members of the criminal justice system continually blaming the victims of sexual attacks. Since then, these colorful protests have spread across the world.
While the slutwalks occurring in cities across Europe and the U.S. have faced critique by communities of color for being too ethnically homogenous, a group of militant Mexican feminists organized a June 12 “marcha de las putas” in Mexico City.
Mexican women have growing reason to take to the streets in protest. Recently, the mayor of Navolato, Sinaloa, proposed a ban on mini-skirts in order to tackle high teen pregnancy rates, noting his “political responsibility … to take a look at the problems that afflict society.” Perhaps the preposterous claim implicit in this suggestion does not warrant an extensive debunking. However, it is important to note the familiar “blame the victim” mentality operating here, the same logic used by the Toronto cop whose comments triggered the original slutwalk a few months back.
We can assume that the mere presence of 5000 demonstrators who gathered in Mexico City for the slutwalk gave the mayor reason to rethink the direction of his gaze in examining the root cause of high teen pregnancy rates, which have more to do with a lack of social and economic options than clothing styles.
March organizers and participants explained that they turned out to stand in solidarity with feminists across the globe against sexual violence and victim blaming, and especially to show their support for a bill to be voted on in coming weeks by the Mexico City legislature on whether or not to categorize femicide as crime. They also demanded that survivors of rape be provided with the option of abortion or morning-after pills without exception.
Marches will continue in Mexican cities including Acapulco, Cancun, Chihuahua, Leon, Morelia, Oaxaca, Orizaba, Tijuana, and Xalapa.
Marches have also spread to cities in Central and South American countries including Argentina, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Further, there will be a highly controversial slutwalk in Delhi, India, at the end of July called the “Besharmi Morcha” or “Shameless Front.” It has been organized by a 19-year-old Indian woman who felt that Delhi, which is known for high rates of violence against women, needed a local campaign.
While the Mexican feminist organizers of “Marcha de Putas D.F.” explained that they gathered to combat a particular breed of sexism—namely, the deeply embedded culture of Mexican machismo—it should be noted that backward police and policy makers in North America regularly provide evidence of the global nature of sexism and subsequently, provide fodder for a global fightback for women’s liberation.
> The article above was written by Ona Tzinger. It first appeared in the July 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.