If you have a news tip or story idea, I'd love to hear from you...
To leave a voice message for Linda about any of her stories call toll free 1-855-251-2363
Is the Slut Walk a step forward for women?September 9, 2012 @ 4:19 pm (Updated: 2:07 am - 9/10/12 )
"In my day ladies didn't dress like that," says Nancy, 73, as she shakes her head and walks past the women gathering in Occidental Park for Seattle's Slut Walk.
A couple hundred women, wearing everything from business suits and bikinis to fishnet stockings and metallic skin-tight body suits, marched for a second year through downtown Seattle for a demonstration they call "Slut Walk."
They carried signs: "Naked or clothed, respect is what I'm owed" and "Stop Blaming Women."
Though the protest was in response to a comment a Toronto police officer made in 2011 - that a woman should avoid dressing like a "slut" as a rape-prevention measure - the women who demonstrated Sunday say they have plenty of reasons to be upset.
"Verbal attacks on women this year have been almost as bad as a physical attack," says Gloria Stevens. "It's verbal rape."
One "attack" came from conservative talk host Rush Limbaugh who used the words "slut" and a "prostitute" to describe Sandra Fluke, a woman who was not being allowed to speak before a Congressional panel on women's reproductive health issues.
Another insensitive, ignorant comment came from Republican Todd Akin who said women's bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Those are just two examples. The political action committee Emily's List has created an interactive timeline of the current War on Women.
"The election in November is a choice between women having free access to birth control and rolling back to the 1950s, so I think it's very important to make a statement right now about how we feel," says Alice Wheeler, who calls herself a proud feminist.
"Last year was the first time I've ever seen a women's protest in Seattle and I've been here 30 years. Seattle has always been a man's place so I think it's kind of cool that the women are finally stepping up and taking are equal place," she says.
Every woman I talked with at the Slut Walk defined herself as a "feminist" but they all had different explanations of what it means to be a feminist in 2012.
Sisters Amanda, 22, and Adrianne, 16, say it means "supporting equal pay for equal work."
"I think a lot of people think that it means women want more rights than other people and that women deserve more than everyone else, but that's not the way it is," says Adrianne. "We want to be able to do things without getting looked down."
She didn't want to be looked down on for the way she was dressed, in a blue polka dot bikini top and ultra-short shorts. Adrianne says she never dresses that way, but if she did, she shouldn't be judged negatively for it.
Demonstrator Yvette Zaepfel says for many years there has been a negative association with standing up for women's rights. Part of that general impression came from the 70s, she says, when women made a statement by not shaving their legs or wearing make-up.
"It's like there's a dirty association with being a feminist. It's like you're a man hater," Zaepfel says. "Feminism today is about having options. If you want to stay at home and raise children, do that. If you want to go out and work, do that too."
"Feminism is equality," says Joe, a man I talked with, "and by that definition, I am a feminist too. That's why I'm here."
What is your definition of feminism in 2012? Is a demonstration like the Slut Walk a step forward, or back, for women seeking equality?
Story and photos By LINDA THOMAS
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.