Are you a bitch or a slut?

Times are changing.

Dignity is out-of-fashion these days. Once upon a time, being called a ‘bitch’ or ‘slut’ was very demeaning and it would take a hit on one’s self-esteem when someone would throw the provocative insult. Recently we saw the ‘Niqabitch’ campaign where two French girls took to the street in a face-veil (niqab), on a miniskirt. They walked outside French government buildings, posing happily for amused passers-by. It was argued that this was done to spark a dialogue.

Then, and now, I still don’t believe that it was the best way to have created dialogue. Why do people think that by behaving like immature, stubborn teenagers, we can make a strong point? Ask a niqabi about her niqab; why she wears it and how it is a matter of holding herself with dignity. And then you find two girls strutting their stuff in a niqab, calling themselves a ‘Niqabitch’. What is the value in such discussion when the basic point it makes is flawed?

Many, especially those in the Arab countries and/or a Muslim perspective, tend to agree with the points above. From a Western perspective, the argument is about freedom, and not necessarily the value or reason behind the niqab. They support the campaign because it’s your right to wear what you want to. Fair enough but with this single-dimensional argument, you miss the point of why people who understand the niqab find a problem in being called a Niqabitch.

Then, there’s the Slut Walk.

How it took shape is a different story. A Canadian Police officer remarked that women who dress up as ‘sluts’ are asking to be raped. His moronic statement is enough to infuriate anyone. So, as a result, women took to the streets in what was called a ‘slut walk’. The cause is larger than the petty branding–whoever thought of it. Many people now focus on its name and not the reason why it came into being. I want to support the cause–why blame the victim for a crime that someone else has committed?–but I don’t think I have to glorify myself as a ‘slut’ to do so.

No, I am not a bitch. I’m not a slut either. But I support the right of niqabis to wear the niqab and I support the right for women to dress as they want to without being labelled as sluts or accused of ‘attracting’ rape. I don’t have to lash myself with derogatory terms to make a point.

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4 comments
  1. Yes, its true, that people focus more on the name and donot understand the reason why it came into being. We’re not trying to glorify ourselves as sluts, but the fact is, some people need to wear certain clothes as a part of their profession, and teenage girls want to wear certain dresses and shorts. This cannot invite rape or blame Them, can it? So, the slutwalk delhi is not about flashing bras, its about wearing what we do, and sending across a message that we’re not sluts inviting rape just coz we dress a little skimpy at times. You don’t have to Portray yourself as a slut, you’ve got it all wrong.

  2. Huda said:

    Great comment.

  3. Masarat Daud said:

    @shitgodamn: I understand your POV but I think the branding ‘slutwalk’ takes the focus away from the reason behind this. It’s one of those things where we have to agree to disagree. I don’t think this is necessarily the right way to do it. Also, from an Indian perspective, I don’t know if ‘slutwalk’ really sends the real point across. These will not change the Indian mentality which is deep-rooted in tradition and religion. The whole ‘slut thing’ is a very urban concept, so the message, I am afraid, will not go too far. To ask for dignity and respect, you need a campaign that promotes the same. It will take a VERY long time (if ever) for people to associate a slut with a postive connotation.

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