Sticks and stones

So have you read or heard some of the extensive media coverage of the Slutwalk? There’s one due over here in London talked about here on the BBC.

I’ve read some great posts and discussions about it and generally all positive. The most dissention seems to be about the language of it – I’ve read some really articulate posts and heard many discussions about  the rejection of this sexual hate crime language.

It’s one of those things where I find myself astride a fence unable to decide what I think. Sometimes I loathe the way I feel so uncomfortable having an opinion. It’s one thing being open to other people’s position, it’s another being to damn wishy-washy to lay my cards on the ground and stand on them.

So I’ve spent the last few days turning it over internally. Listening out for the bubbles of coherent thought popping on the surface of my muddy primeval swamp of a subconscious.

While I understand the power, both open and insidious, of language I can’t work myself up over slut and cunt. Let me be very clear – I am absolutely in opposition to the statement that provoked the whole slutwalk protest. It is rapists who are responsible for sex attacks not short skirts.

Slut and cunt though…I use these words a lot, slut – as in my sluttish behavior, as in I’m a dreadful sluttish slattern who wouldn’t hesitate to wipe a dirty teaspoon on her skirt and offer it to her friend to use. I use it light-heartedly between friends – I can’t think I’ve ever used it as a greeting or an insult. Cunt is a word is I regularly use as an anatomical description and an insult. I spent too much time in my youth hanging out with a very leery south london geezer. It has entered my (immense) swearing lexicon. I just can’t seem to find any guilt about this. (Anyone who knows me will see how extraordinary this is from a woman who apologises to passing strangers when it starts to rain…)

Are words just a conduit to the intent behind them? I’m not trying to reclaim those two – I just use them when they seem appropriate to me. Does me make me an unwitting puppet to  The patriarchal Man?

When a bullet if fired through a gun is it the hardware’s fault or the finger on the trigger? Are words the bullet or the gun? I think language is the gun that delivers the bullets of hate. That it is the intent behind the word that delivers the hate or otherwise. (no, you’re quite right – I wandered off track there.)

Overwhelmingly I think – aren’t there more important things to be enraged, politicised by,to be motivated to change, to talk talk talk about – like the shocking inequality of women’s pay, the glass ceiling, the lack of female MP’s representing us in parliament, the rise of domestic violence amongst our teenage young women, the commercial sexualisation of our children, the astounding low conviction rate in this country’s rape cases, the number of women still killed every year in their own homes by spouses, the marginalizing of lone parents – the majority of whom are women…. pause for breath…. These are just the ones that spring instantly to mind.

 I know there are a million billion trillion more important things to disagree about than whether I’m a slut, cunt, lady or woman. We’re all sisters and this bickering over labels feels like divide and rule to me.

It’s a beautiful thing, my card is on the floor and – whoop – I’m standing on it.

Though obviously open to anyone else’s opinion…. 


2 responses to “Sticks and stones

  1. Great post. Is there room for me on your cards or can I put mine next to yours? H

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