Her nuanced essay on SlutWalks in today’s New York Times Magazine puts all the “she asked for it” editorializing on recent news stories into perspective. She puts the Walks in context and points out something that has dawned on many ’90s women this year while reading about Rape Cops, D.S.K., etc.: “There is still no way for women to tell stories of sexual injustice that allows them to bypass character assassination.” Every time an accusation is made, the woman in question is ruthlessly scrutinized, just like Anita Hill was in the ’90s. And, of course, no human woman is ever pure enough to be believed. She’s always too drunk, too sexy, too weird, too flashy, too something.
For the most part, I think women are so much better off now compared to twenty years ago, but sometimes it feels like our culture will always veer depressingly toward the lecherous cluelessness epitomized by Bill Napoli (he of the “sodomized religious virgin” abortion ban exception). It makes a lady want to break out her “I Believe Anita Hill” button. Or, if she’s younger, I guess go on a SlutWalk.
P.S. Hats off to Jessica Valenti, too. When questioned about SlutWalks on Morning Joe, she quipped, “Do you think I’d be sitting here if they were called Empowerment Walks?”